This morning I caught up on some much needed sleep to rest my legs after all the walking I did yesterday. I then got up and proceeded to do laundry. The dryer at the hostel proved to be very weak and therefore laundry took much longer than I had anticipated. While waiting for the clothes to dry I had pizza and beer for lunch, and then a couple hours later had a java chip frappuccino and a chocolate muffin. Finally, most of my clothes were dry (I had to hang out my jeans and towel to air dry) and I was soon off to walk around the lake again in the late afternoon.
I walked the perimeter of West Lake in a counter-clockwise direction just as I had done the previous day; although, this time I explored the southwest corner some more. This portion of the lake has a lot to offer with museums, parks, and many stone paths through the forests. I explored the remains of the temporary Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty, which served several emperors during the dynasty’s reign (1644-1911). There wasn’t much to see unfortunately – much like the ruins of the Ming Palace I saw in Nanjing; a few segments of columns and some remaining foundations of halls and gates. Although, further back, there was a spring and rocky outcrop with a pavilion nearby, greatly enhancing this park’s aesthetic worthiness. Even further back, were many stone pathways through the woods, leading to the lake on the other side. I also came across a number of statues (one concerning a folk tale about a local shepherd boy) and two tombs (Lin Bu, well known poet who lived from 967-1028 AD, and Su Manchu, a poet monk who lived from 1884-1918 AD).
I then walked through a garden with “yard art” set up on the lake shore – the type of quirky art you might see on an eccentric’s lawn, though admittedly more tastefully constructed here. Just like everywhere else around this lake, there were many pavilions and benches set up by the shore and along the paths underneath the cypress trees. I’ve enjoyed every park and garden I’ve been to in China; they have all been well laid out with many interesting trails to explore (though some stones along the paths can be deadly slippery). Unfortunately, the path I was currently on ended abruptly at what looked like a military compound (razor wire fence and guard at the gate), so I had to walk along the road for quite a distance with no view of the lake. Finally, I reached the southeastern part of West Lake (by the LeiFang Pagoda) and then proceeded up the eastern shore back to the hostel. Disappointingly, all the lights I had enjoyed so much yesterday during my night walk were not turned on (at least for the eastern shore, the western causeway was lit up – did someone not flip a switch or do they just light the whole lake up on the weekends or do they not come on until later even though it was already past 20:00?). Either way, I proceeded on; in the distance I could see a water show set to music on the north shore – similar to what you see at the Bellagio in Las Vegas or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I made it back to the hostel – the jeans and towel were still not dry – and soon called it a night.