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Hangzhou, China

The first sign of spring in Hangzhou can be found on the banks of the city’s idyllic West Lake. Surrounded by mountains, the plum-blossom trees bloom as early as January, followed by cherry and peach blossoms towards February and March. Plum blossom is associated with the myth of Princess Shouyang, flower goddess of the First Moon: while sleeping under the plum-blossom trees of the Hanchang Palace, five petals from falling flowers are said to have adorned her forehead. This became a popular look at court, inspiring the style known as (plum-blossom makeup). We like to take a day strolling around the water’s edge, making sure to stop at Viewing Fish at Flower Pond.