European’s Adventure in Zhejiang Province
Day 1: Arrival in Hangzhou
The moment of descend and landing into Hangzhou offered the majestic view of the lush green landscape, starting an adventure of a lifetime. As a European traveler, this journey through Zhejiang Province in China promised to be a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang, welcomed me with open arms.
Arriving to the city, my first impressions of Hangzhou with its rich history and enchanting buzzling sites around the West lake, definitely proved to be rightly as one of China’s top destinations. Exploring the city, the city breathes fusion of tradition and technological edge, offering a high-quality experience to both tourists and locals.
Day 2: Unearthing Ancient Treasures
Today, my quest for history led me to the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These ruins served as a window into a 5,000-year-old Chinese civilization, and the Liangzhu Museum most certainly proved to be a real treasure, offering such a vast range of artifacts, most certainly offering not only educational perspective but inspiration of one of civilization’s birthplaces. The particular enigma captivating my imagination was the Jade Cong, unveiling the mystery of ancient rituals.
Strolling through the archaeological site, I couldn’t help but to be impressed by the sophistication of early urban civilization, where rice-cultivating agriculture served as the economic foundation. It was evident that this place held a complex ritual system, a realm where deity and kingship were intertwined.
My today’s special menu featured dishes that had been passed down through generations, each a tribute to the region’s rich history. I savored traditional dishes like Beggar’s Chicken, Dongpo Pork, and West Lake Vinegar Fish. The flavors were a revelation of complexity of flavours, and I couldn’t get enough of the unique combinations of spices and ingredients.
Day 3: Nature’s Embrace
Hangzhou’s natural beauty took center stage on the third day of my adventure. West Lake, with its serene waters and lush surroundings, was a breathtaking sight. Surrounded by hills on three sides, the lake boasted ten best scenic spots, each with its own story and charm.
One of the highlights of the day was my visit to Lingyinsi Temple, a place steeped in history with a history spanning 1,700 years. Nestled between two mountains, the temple exuded a sense of tranquility and spirituality. It was a beautiful reminder of the enduring Buddhist and poetic legacy of Hangzhou.
Continuing my exploration of nature, I was taken by the complete surprise when visiting the valley of Amanfayun. Another confirmation of the picturesque scenes Zhejiang has to offer. And to experience the process of picking and roasting the Longjing tea, for us western tea lovers more known as Dragon Well tea, offers the understanding of the commitment province has to nature. This wide variety of green tea, produced in Longjing Village, renowned for its high quality, felt like the first-hand experience of the Chinese tea culture and traditional principles.
In the evening, the city came alive with the Impression West Lake performance. This open-air spectacle of music, light, and dance was staged right at the lake. Against the backdrop of natural mountains and the lake’s waters, the performers seemed to dance like fairies on the water’s surface. It was a spectacular mesmerizing experience, most certainly the testament to the creativity of renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou and the musical genius of Kitaro.
Day 4: Hidden Gems in Lishui
The next leg of my journey took me to Lishui, a city in southwestern Zhejiang Province. A short, scenic train ride (something I would recommend to every visitors) transported me to what has been hailed as “the last secret land” by the Chinese edition of National Geography.
Songyang Village was my first stop, hidden in-between the mountains and rich heritage spanning more than 520 years ago. Impression of stream-like meandered through the village, flanked by dwellings with mud walls and grey tiles. The ancient buildings were beautifully preserved, painting the impression of a living city-museum, where the local spectators offer an intimate view into their daily routines. A tourist product very rarely seen in China and something you would authentically expect in the Northern Italian settlements.
As night fell, I had the privilege of experiencing the overnight stay in one of the local villages, where I was offered to experience the true authenticity of local cuisine. The flavors and warmth of the people made me feel truly welcome.
Day 5: Tea Gardens and Terraced Splendor
The penultimate day of my journey was a captivating exploration of rural Zhejiang. Yangjiatang Village, with its traditional architecture dating back to 362 BC years, was a testament to the enduring beauty of ancient Chinese villages. The stepped distribution of buildings preserved both their exterior and interior design, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.
The Damu Mountain Tea Garden was a highlight of the day. A bike-tour through the tea plantations, surrounded by the lush greenery of the Tea Garden was simply breathtaking. It was an immersive experience that allowed me to appreciate fragrances and the craftsmanship behind some of the world’s finest teas.
My journey culminated at the Yunhe Rice Terrace, hailed as the most beautiful rice terrace in China. The altitude ranged from 200 to 1,400 meters, with individual terraces comprising as many as 700 layers. The result was a breathtaking landscape, particularly during the spring and summer season.Coming day, the early morning offered a once-in-a-lifetime spectacular view on the picturesque terraces reflecting the morning light with a backdrop dream sea of clouds.
What made this day even more special was the opportunity to interact with the She ethnic group, a minority with a small population in China. Their unique culture and customs added depth to my experience, making it all the more enriching.
As I reluctantly prepared to leave Yunhe Rice Terrace, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment. This journey through Zhejiang Province had been a tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. It had offered me a glimpse into a world that was both ancient and modern, and it had left an indelible mark on my heart.