HANGZHOU

Hangzhou – clean, green and actually really, really nice!?  Not what we’ve come to expect from Chinese cities, but the perfect setting for catch up with my long time army mates, Tim and Frank.  Chaperoned by our expert local guides, we ate, drank and kareoked our way around town.  The stunning West Lake, with its arched bridges and pagoda topped hills, was the highlight, and easily made up for the woeful singing!

In need of a little rural timeout, we took a side trip to Mount Daming.  The bus ride out, and surviving it, was the first achievement.  Climbing the 7,000 steps to the top, through rugged misty peaks, and even right under a mountain via an old tungsten mine, was the next.  Tim, you sure this leaky, crumbling tunnel is safe mate?? 

Shanghai was the next excursion.  China’s flagship city is truly amazing, fast paced and ultra-modern.  It’s the China of the future, right here and now.  Being annual holidays though, we were not alone, 1.3bn Chinese had come out to enjoy it too!  After braving the metro, fighting our way down neon lit shopping streets, we finally took refuge in a, colonial-era styled, jazz & blues club.  Vodka Martini please waiter.  Will that be shaken or stirred, sir?

It was a week for celebrating too.  Beijing was first, with a monumental parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of China’s unique form of communism.  This was a just a warm up though, to the grand finale in Hangzhou – Tim’s 40th birthday!  The perfect end to a brilliant week, and one that reminds us the hardest thing about cycling the world, is the friends and family you leave behind…

Tim & Mimi, you folks were just great.  Thanks for sharing your China with us.

Frank, thanks mate for flying out and enjoying it with us too.

We are now back on the road, and pedaling for Hong Kong.  Why does this bike feel so heavy today?

 Jules & Jess

Boys are back in town. Frank, Tim & Me.

The boys are back in town. Frank, Tim & Me.

 

Kareoke - this one goes out to Hangzhou

Kareoke - this one goes out to Hangzhou

 

Frank, straight off the plane and taking over the stage.

Frank, straight off the plane and taking over the stage.

 

Tim & Mimi.  Our expert local guides.

Tim & Mimi. Our expert local guides.

 

West Lake. Much better than our singing.

West Lake. Much better than our singing.

 

Not so squeezy! Bus trip to Mount Daming.

Not so squeezy! Bus trip to Mount Daming.

 

Misty peaks...

Mount Damings misty peaks.

 

Frank, Tim, Jess & Mimi.  The intrepid hikers.

Frank, Tim, Jess & Mimi. The intrepid hikers.

 

Chinese fast food on the summit.

Chinese fast food on the summit.

 

Jess braving the holiday crowds to Shanghai.

Jess braving the holiday crowds to Shanghai.

 

Shanghai - China's flagship city of the future.

Shanghai - China's flagship city of the future.

 

Slick and ultra-modern.

Slick and ultra-modern.

 

Blinking neon lights

Blinking neon lights

 

Shanghai market. So good, so cheap, just buy.

Shanghai market. So good, so cheap, just buy.

 

Tim's 40th. Perfect end to the week.

Tim's 40th. Perfect end to the week.

 

Korean BBQ.  Yum Yum.

Korean BBQ. Yum Yum.

 

Then Chinese girlie bars.  Well not quite, kareoke with light beer!?

Chinese girlie bar? Not quite, girls singing kareoke with light beer!?

 

Saying goodbye. Tim joins us for the ride out.

Saying goodbye. Tim joins us for the ride out.