17.11.2016 Hangzhou – Tea Museum

Guy wanted coffee. I always want coffee but as it is expensive here we only have it occasionally so if Guy wants coffee we have coffee. Our place has Illy coffee signs,  we order 2 western breakfasts which costs half the days budget, but was delicious. I had oatmeal and yoga breakfast, and was slightly disappointed when yoga was actually yogurt. Guy had American breakfast. 

We sorted out bikes from the hostel for the next few hours, planning on circumnavigating the lake and visiting China National Tea Museum. After testing brakes and bells, both worked, we set off down the high street and across junctions like pro’s. It wasn’t actually as scary as it looked when you are walking. The roads are big and freshly tarmaced, cycle lanes are marked, albeit used by buses, coaches and most other vehicles but hey, that happens in England! 

We got to the lake and as there were a number of No Cycling or Vehicles signs we dutifully dismounted, parked up and started to walk over the causeway. Within a minute we had seen cycles, motor bikes and electric buses ignoring the No Cycling or Vehicles signs so we turned back, took the clothes and tea bottle off our bikes that had already been put there, and (guilty at first) rode over the causeway.  Bells ringing, to order people out the way, we raced through the causeway stopping for a few ‘atmospheric’ photo’s.

We excitedly got back on the road around the lake before realising we had completely forgotten about the tea museum! We couldn’t miss this opportunity for tea facts to bore people with in the pub at home so turned back and cycled down some lovely wide roads. 

It was a beautifully located museum and a massive place, very new and informative.  There were loads of kids there as well. 

Having had more information on tea than we could process we stumbled upon a Tea Cultural Exchange Centre whereby you got served 4 different types of tea served to you in a beautiful room and explained which tea was which. Also we were told what you can use your old green tea leaves for- mix with egg whites and honey, et voila you have a face mask. 

The teas were gorgeous, the types of tea we had were Longjing, Jasmine, black with lychee and Oolong, they were all really different and brewed and served in different ways as this affects the flavour, apparently. 

It looked stunning and we were thankful of having backpacks otherwise we could have bought all manner of tea brewing and drinking implements. The whole museum was free to enter, so we did buy some of the local Longjing tea. 9 quid for a small pot!!!

Budget blown and time cracking on we decided not to do as the locals and cycle at dusk/ night with no lights on so made a direct route back to the hostel, providing fruit for tomorrow’s 6 hr train journey. 

Our last night for a meal here, we have been somewhat underwhelmed by the food here, having had a few less than tasty foods but play a blinder on our last night. We had spied some vegetables through a window so went in and found a canteen style restaurant with lots and lots of veg. Every veg dish has meat with it, obviously, but it was still mainly veg. We piled up our plates with aubergine and soy sauce, cabbage with bacon, seaweed with bean sprouts and a sweet sticky pork dish. They were all fab, okay the seaweed wasn’t amazing but you know it is good for you to chow it down being thankful for its goodness. 

We debated a beer, but could only find expensive ones, 10 yuan a can, so had a crap crepe for 25 yuan instead. I know, it doesn’t make sense. The crepe was plasticy, with hardly any fruit filling but topped with vanilla creme custard and creme bruleed. 

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