Children and adults play in a park by West Lake
I went to West Lake in Hangzhou, China in May and saw so many colorful flowers and people. Walk with me by the lake, on paths across stone bridges, through parks, temples, pavilions, and historic buildings with statues. West Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province. For 2000 years it has been the source of inspiration for poets, artists, photographers, and even filmmakers. My students told me the romantic story of the immortal White Snake who became a woman and fell in love with a mortal man. The turtle god of the lake was jealous, so he imprisoned her under a pagoda. However, the man still loved the White Snake Woman, and they were eventually reunited and had a son. This story has been made into television series and films. Emperors from many Chinese Dynasties visited West Lake and inscribed its famous “Ten Scenes” with poetic names like “Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds,” “Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon, and “Orioles Singing in the Willows.” As far back as the 14th Century, Europeans visited West Lake, including Italian explorer Marco Polo, who wrote that Hangzhou “is the most splendid heavenly city in the world.” Spring and romance are here in China!