The smell of Tea and Love is in the Air2018-03-06
During spring, throngs of tourists are flocking to the overcrowded West Lake, and many seem to have almost forgotten about the city’s less bustling scenic spots that are quieter and well worth a visit due to their beautiful landscape. Shanghai Daily has picked two of the best scenic spots that offer some relaxation away from the crowds.
China Tea Museum
Spring marks the beginning of the Longjing tea picking season in China. Hangzhou is the home of Longjing tea, known around the country for its high quality and great taste.
The China Tea Museum was built to showcase the city’s long and abundant tea culture. It is divided into three parts — an exhibition hall, a reception hall and a teahouse. The first hall informs about the tea’s origin, historic development, and the process of making tea, and shows folklore and tea-related wares that highlights the city’s centuries-old history of growing Longjing tea. In addition, visitors can participate in an authentic tea ceremony with freshly brewed tea.
Currently, tea farmers are preparing to pick pre-Qingming tea, or Mingqian tea, said to be the best kind of Longjing. It is named Qingming as it is picked before the Qingming Festival, which falls on April 4 this year.
The museum’s ideal location at Shuangfeng Village, which is the best zone producing top-level Longjing tea, makes the freshly picked Mingqian Longjing tea available for purchase before it hits ordinary retail markets.
Address: 88 Longjing Rd
Nestled on the eastern side of the Phoenix Hill, Wansong Academy is now a park. The serene environment characterized by the hill, trees, bamboo, flowers and rock formations is ideal for a trip in the nature on a warm spring day.
Wansong Academy, which used to be a school that spread Confucianism and was known for classes held by well known scholars, is believed to date back as far as the to Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).
During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the imperial court took over the academy and turned it into Hangzhou’s largest academy. With the change of education policies throughout the centuries, the academy, too, saw many changes.
In addition to academic and historical values, an air of romance also shrouds the academy.
In the story “The Butterfly Lovers,” which is often described as China’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the two main characters, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, meet at the academy as classmates. They fall in love with each other, but Zhu’s parents have already promised her a rich man, and Liang dies soon after his heart is broken.
However, a whirlwind of events stop Zhu’s wedding procession and lead her to Liang’s grave, where the couple’s spirits turn into a pair of beautiful butterflies.
Due to this romantic story, the academy is now a popular place for couple and for blind dates.
Address: 81 Wansongling Rd