Did we mention before that "in Heaven there is Paradise, on Earth there are Hangzhou and Su Zhou"? Well, this weekend we went to Hangzhou. It totally lived up to its reputation.
We visited just when the trees were starting to bloom, so we saw the pretty stuff without the big crowds (not that there weren't crowds, just not big crowds by Hangzhou standards). The thing to see in Hangzhou is the famous West Lake (Xi Hu). Here are Vernon and Cielo strolling along its shore.

As we mentioned earlier, Cielo is on good terms with all the lions in Shanghai. Here in Hangzhou she found a lion with a cub.

The first thing we did on Saturday morning was hire a boat for a one-hour tour of the lake. After some confused discussion in Chinese we all piled in and the boatman started out. Here are Vernon and Cielo taking in the scenery.

And a view out of the front of the boat of one of the islands in the lake.

As we passed by, Alison got this shot of a dragon on the island.

Our little boat trip went under three different bridges. Here's one of them as we approached it.

Here are Alison and Cielo with the boatman in the background.

And the whole family!

Hangzhou really is gorgeous. Here is one of the many pictures we took of flowering trees and water.

Later in the day, we took a larger boat out to visit one of the islands. Here we are arriving.

This is the Nine Bends Bridge, which you walk down to see various parts of the surroundings presented at different angles.

Cielo gets the giggles.

As Cielo turns two, we'll have to say that her favorite past-time is climbing up and down stairs. Sometimes it seems like she will go on climbing and descending forever - but even she has limits.

After the lake, we visited the China Tea Museum. This room showed various ways tea was pressed into different shapes (although that big silver sphere on the right is a strange interactive display of tea regions in China, not tea).

The tea museum is surrounded by an actual tea farm.

Here are Vernon and Cielo walking through the tea.

Alison and Cielo tiptoe carefully across a stream.