It was still raining buckets, and so many of the photos you’ll be seeing will not completely capture the grandeur of Xihu, The West Lake.

The place was mobbed with Chinese tourists, Lili explaining that this is a very popular destination for Chinese from other provinces. And I can see why, despite the downpour and the mist and the puddles, it was one of those places on earth that simply cleanse your soul. I honestly cannot wait to come back on a day with better weather and more time to spend just soaking it in.

We pulled into a little private area behind a hotel and piled out to see the lake and take a few pictures. Most striking was the top of a tall pagoda across the water sitting astride a small forested hill. Small boats plied the surface, the occasional heron drifted across the water and in short it was just one of the most serene places I’ve had the pleasure to visit. We stood there getting rain soaked for a few minutes before moving on to other climes.