As mentioned, Isaac and I went to Hangzhou for a couple of days last week. Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province and is one of the “seven ancient capitals of China“. It is famous for its long history and beautiful scenery.
Most famous is the West Lake with its traditional Chinese boats, surrounded by mountains, forests and pagodas. A large part of the lakes surroundings has gardens and green spots ranging from tropical and wild-looking forest areas to beautiful, paved tourist spots.
We rented bikes and biked halfway around the lake. It is possible to rent bikes at a very low cost; you pay a deposit of 300 yuan and get a card. When you had the card back you get most of your money back. I paid 30 yuan for two days. This card can be used at bike stations all around the city. When you use the card it unlocks a bike and this bike can be returned at any bike station. Very convenient!
We had a great time and I have a feeling this was not the last time I visited this beautiful city. We had planed to stay for only one night, but as we arrived late Wednesday night, we decided to stay one more night so that we could have an evening in Hangzhou. This was a good decision, cause how ever beautiful Hangzhou is by day, it can not compete with the way West Lake looks at night, when there are fewer people and the lights are on. Here are some more pictures from Hangzhou:
I’d like to end this post with a story about how God provides for His children:
We took a train from Nanjing to Hangzhou, and when this train reached Shanghai (after 4 hours – this was a slow train), a lot of people started getting off the train and me and Isaac were convinced that we had reached the final destination of the train; Hangzhou. So we got off.
It took us a while to realize that we were not in Hangzhou. I was surprised that the Shanghai Metro went to Hangzhou, and the train station was bigger, busier and newer then I had expected. It was also very strange that they had named their train station Shanghai South Station…
Finally it started to sink in: we were in Shanghai. We had no idea how it had happened cause we didn’t think our train went by Shanghai. But that was where we had ended up. It was about 7 pm by now, and getting a train ticket to one of the most popular cities in this part of China in the middle of a national holiday seemed unlikely. But we went to the ticket office, and this is where God enters this story. There were tickets that evening and we only had to wait about an hour. They were, naturally, no-seat tickets, but that’s always an adventure.
So we arrived Hangzhou at about midnight. We had booked a room at Hangzhou International Youth Hostel and I had written down the name and address of the hostel in characters and pinyin, so we assumed the rest of our journey would go smoothly. But it turned out our taxi-driver had no idea where this hostel was, and the address did not help. So we told him to let us off when we got to the right street, thinking “it shouldn’t be too hard to find, we’ll walk the rest of the way”.
Well, we were wrong. After walking around for about an hour, carrying our bags, all we wanted was a place to sleep. Even the benches looked comfortable. As a last attempt to find the hostel, we walked up to a gate leading into a street that we thought might lead us the right way. We asked, in stuttering, tired Chinese, the guard at the gate whether this was the right place, showing him my note with the address. It was not.
We must have looked very lost and tired, cause he asked us if we wanted to sleep. We sighted and nodded, and he took up his phone and called some hotel for us. It was a bit more expensive than we had planned, but it was a place to sleep so we gladly accepted and he said he would take us there. So we walked for a couple of blocks to this hotel. But they did not take foreigners. So this god-sent Chinese door-guard took us to another hotel and when they gave us an even higher price, he took us to yet another two hotels. But they were both full.
All the while he was smiling more than most Chinese I’ve met and he kept telling the people working at the hotels that they should help us and give us young, lost foreigners a good price. We ended up going back to the one hotel that would take us. The door-guard made sure they gave us the same price they had said earlier and then he left, smiling and waving at us. If there are angels here on earth, he must have been one!
God also provided us with the chance to stay another day, a wonderful youth hostel to stay at the next night and train tickets home even though the train station was packed. God is truly a providing God!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”