04 December 2010

Tianmu Lake 天目湖

The longer your eyebrows, the wiser you are. Oh and a big head helps.

Last year I went to this beautiful lake called Tianmu Lake. We went there for a faculty trip. We had a great time and for all that missed it, you can see a blog entry about it here. Anyway, this year the foreign teacher department which consists of Ramsey and I, two Japanese teachers, 1 Korean teacher, (the Spanish teacher couldn't make it), and 4 Chinese department heads all got to decide on a trip to go this year. This was a much smaller group. Last year, it was the whole faculty of the Tourism department. (Tourism...hence all the tourism). Well, we all put in our suggestions and I suggested Nanjing or Suzhou because I hadn't been to any of those places, but for whatever reason, we ended up going to Tianmu Lake. I guess no one, but Ramsey and I had been, since all of the teachers were new. Even those particular faculty heads hadn't been to the last one.

It was great. We had a very different itinerary. And I felt like everything was new and fresh.
Let me tell you, I needed this trip. I had been sick in bed for a week feeling like I was dying. I had the worst cold and I literally hadn't moved in a week. I finished a 500 page book in a week for goodness sakes. I skipped a whole week of school. I felt, let's say, shut in. Well, thankfully this trip came when my energy had returned and my body was screaming to me "yeah, let's get the hell out of this place!" "This place" being my bed.

To get to Tianmu lake, we took a 3 hour mini bus. We got there around 4:30 pm. First, we had a fabulous meal. And I wouldn't say the food was anything I was extremely crazy about but I love the style of Chinese eating where you get dish after dish, trying many different things, and you all sit around the food and share. It's such a social and fun atmosphere.
Fish soup. It's actually pretty good. But the true blue American girl in me still whispered...mmm hamburgers....my love...where are you?

Then we headed to the hotsprings. We also went there last time and I took pictures. I spent the evening picking my favorite spas out of the 68 to choose from and settled in the Rose oil/Red wine, ginger, and kissing fish one. They charged 2 bucks for the kissing fish one. I guess it was too crowded in the past. I remember it being very so. But this time, not many in there. Hey 2 bucks is a lot in China! Well, since everyone pretty much deserted the kissing fish one, all the fish had no one to suck dead skin off, so they headed straight for Ramsey and me. I swear I had 10 fish on each foot. They were bigger this year. I was a little afraid. But if I stayed and channeled my chi, and I could bear it. It tickled and sometimes I couldn't take it and would scare the little fish away. I couldn't handle them on my fingers or elbows. But everywhere else was fair game. Well, one did start heading toward my boob, and that was not ok.

After the hotsprings, we went back to our hotel. The next morning we had breakfast in the morning and headed out to Tianmu Lake. Last year we took Tour A which was the "Relaxing" tour where we took a boat around the lake. This year we took Option B which was labeled "fun" tour. This consisted of taking a toy train ride up towards the mountain of bamboo. These mountains are covered with 100% bamboo. It looks just like regular trees right? Yeah, you wouldn't guess by looking at the picture, but dude that's all bamboo! It's a national forest and well protected.

We then took a gondola ride up to the highest peak.

We still had to hike a bit to get up there. This peak is called Mt. Wuyuediyi. It's a beautiful mountain. It's 508 meters above sea level and stands as a boundary of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces. It's the highest mountain in the city of Changzhou. At the top, we snacked on sunflower seeds and fresh dates.

I donated money and got to hit a giant prayer gong.
Then we bought a lock and Ramsey had our names inscribed on it.
Probably the only lock up there engraved in English. =)
And we chose a spot to lock it. It doesn't come with a key and will stay there forever. If we ever come back, we can find our heart-shaped lock there and well, the whole idea is just so fantastically romantic to me. Our love locket is on Mt. Wuyuediyi in China!

Afterward, we took the gondola back down

...and hiked through some natural scenery. We found some lovely treasures along the way.
Check out this beautiful piece of Chinese art. =)
Stunning, isn't it? The way the sun beams.

Lake pictures...
Let me tell you, I needed my nature fix. Ahhh there's only so much Shanghai pollution I can take!

Various species of ancient trees, wild flowers and plants grow in the Tianmu Lake Scenic Area. It is also a habitat for wild animals such as wild boar, hare, pheasant, and mallard, etc, together with some man-fed animals such as camel, macaque, spotted deer, and peacock.
Black swans
A gorgeous spider. As long as it's not on my face, it can be labeled gorgeous.

Even the parking lot is pretty cool.
Random dog sleeping on pile of gravel
A wild boar in cage

Carrying away dead bamboo

Then we had lunch. We had a balcony and I took this picture from above.
The lake from the balcony where we had lunch.

I took some pictures of the dishes. We had a lot of fish.Bamboo leaf tea
Fish soup. Actually had a nice broth flavor.

I've never talked about this before. But did you know they have fresh watermelon juice here? No added sweeteners or anything. It's like my favorite thing.

This was a snack on the ride home. I have no idea what the English name is (Water Caltrop?) but in Chinese it's Ling Jiao. It's got a really nice meaty taste to it. You bite into it, and suck out the white insides.

Ramsey and I picked up apple chips from the store

My bosses gave me this nice gift package of all the traditional snacks of Tianmu. I had such a fantastic time.


  1. So enjoyed reading your trip report and seeing all the great photos. It made me want to jump on a plane and head to China before my visa expires at the end of the year. If only.

  2. Mmmmm, hamburgers. I say that to Trinh all the time.

  3. Awesome post. And yes, that heart lock is terribly romantic. Makes me want to go to China just to put my own up there.

  4. I agree with previous becca! And I think I ought to change my handle (is that what we call it these days? or is that so ten years ago?) to minimize confusion for you from this point out.