Nostalgic Trips in China – you really should think twice before deciding to go back to a place, which is connected with some memories and you have not visited for a few years in China – often you will be disappointed. Cities in China change very fast and many buildings are demolished and replaced by big department stores or office buildings.

8 years ago, I studied Chinese for one year in Hangzhou and recently I visited this city for the first time since then. I expected that the city probably changed but when I arrived, I was really surprised about the dimension of the changes.

First, the good news

  • the famous west lake does still exist
  • the old woman opposite xixi-campus of the Zhejiang University (still called Hangzhou University during my stay in Hangzhou) still sold telephone cards at exactly the same place.
  • the old supermarket at xixilu does still exist
  • and the paradise club in Hangzhou still exists (okay, I have not been there so often, but this club was the meeting point of foreigners at weekends – now there are a lot of more western style bars in Hangzhou)

Hangzhou changed a lot during the last few years; the best way to prove this is to count the number of McDonald’s and also the number of new restaurants, clubs and hotels at the west lake.
The students’ dormitory in xixi campus is knocked down (it was very old already, when I lived there). The Hangda Lu, which used to be full of small rundown restaurants, is full of modern department stores and office buildings.
In spite of all those changes and the development of the Westlake area – Hangzhou is still a place you should visit if you plan to travel through China.