In and Around Hou Hai Lake, Beijing China
We felt incredibly lucky to have been able to stay in a hutong so close to Hou Hai Lake (apparently this is pronounced HO-hi, I wish I’d known this). This area was our introduction to Beijing and China as a whole. Serene and wild at the same time, the word beautiful comes to mind, but the word is almost not enough. The lake shore is lined with restaurants, cafes and shops, but one turn into a side street will take you into winding residential areas. We were there in April, still a bit cool, especially since we had just left the stifling humid heat of the Philippines. Spring blossoms everywhere, greenery all around, men fishing right off the the shore, and pedicabs with the drivers offering rides were our introduction to the area, and I immediately fell in love.