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Bai Causeway Travel Guide


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Bai Causeway as famous as Su Causeway is the highlight of scenes of Duanqiao Canxue (断桥残雪)and Pinghu Qiuyue(平湖秋月) and the must-see site in Hangzhou West Lake Scenic Area. Similar to the origin of Su Causeway, Bai Causeway was named in memory of Bai Juyi(白居易, who was one of three most famous poets in Tang Dynasty), a famous governor of Hangzhou in Tang Dynasty. The total length of Bai Causeway is 1 kilometer ranging from the Broken Bridge on the east to the site of Pinghu Qiuyue. It is across the lake and divides the lake into two parts – the exterior lake and the interior lake, and also connects the Solitary Hill with North Hill. Bai Causeway in Tang Dynasty was called Baisha Causeway(白沙堤, the causeway of white sand) as well, and Solitary Hill Road in Song Dynasty. In Ming Dynasty, it was full of the willows and peach trees, therefore it was also known as Shijintang(什锦塘), due to the inner side was planted with the willows and the outer side was planted with the peach trees. In spring, it was the best season to view the sight of Bai Causeway. Originally, the Bai Causeway was paved with the white sands, but today has been changed to be asphalt. Anciently, it was built by Bai Juyi for storing lake water to irrigate the farmlands.

In history, Bai Causeway was the poetic imagery widely used in poems, and the most famous poems were created respectively by Bai Juyi and Wang Zhideng(王稚登), a poet of Ming Dynasty. The translations of their poems hereinafter【 the first one named Qiantanghu Chunxing(钱塘湖春行, A Spring Visit to Qiantang Lake) was created by Bai Juyi , and the second one named Chunti Hushang(春题湖上, A Poem on West Lake in Spring) was created by Baijuyi, and the last one named Shijintang(十锦塘) was written by Wang Zhideng】:

孤山寺北贾亭西- North of Lone Hill Temple, west of the Jia Pavilion,
水面初平云脚低- The water's surface has just smoothed, the foot of the cloud low.
几处早莺争暖树-Wherever you go new-risen orioles jostle for the warmest tree:
谁家新燕啄春泥-What are they after, the newborn swallows that peak at the spring mud?
乱花渐欲迷人眼-A riot of blossoms not long from now will be dazzling to the eye,
浅草才能没马蹄-The shallow grass can hardly yet submerge the horse's hoof.
最爱湖东行不足-Best loved of all, to the east of the lake, where I can never walk enough,
绿杨阴里白沙堤-In the shade of the green willows, the causeway of white sand.

湖上春来似画图-Now spring is here the lake seems a painted picture,
乱峰围绕水平铺- Unruly peaks all round the edge, the water spread out flat.
松排山面千重翠- Pines in ranks on the face of the hills, a thousand layers of green:
月点波心一颗珠- The moon centered on the heart of the waves, just one pearl.
碧毯线头抽早稻- Thread ends of an emerald-green rug, the extruding paddy-shoots:
青罗裙带展新蒲- Sash of a blue damask skirt, the expanse of new reeds.
未能抛得杭州去- If I cannot bring myself yet to put Hangzhou behind me,
一半勾留是此湖- Half of what holds me here is on this lake.

湖边绿树映红阑- The red railings are highlighted in lakeside green trees
日日寻芳碧水湾-I look for the beautiful flowers everyday at the bend of blue water
春满好怀游意懒-The spring and mind are perfect, but I don’t want to travel
莺撩吟兴客情闲-The desire to chant the poems is stirred up by the singing of oriole, and the guests also feel free
波中画舫樽中酒- The fantastic cruise on waves and the tasty wine in cups
堤上行人岸上山- the walkers on the causeway and the hill on the lakeside
无限风怀拼一醉- the indefinite mood and delight just for a happy inebriation
醉看舞蝶绕花间- it is the time to enjoy the scene of butterflies dancing in flowers

Generally, going to visit West Lake, Bai Causeway is a must-see part no matter whether you are intentionally or unintentionally. Taking bus 807, or Travel Bus 1 and 2, and getting off at the station of Duanqiao, travelers will see it after crossing the Broken Bridge.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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