I put the word ‘special’ in inverted commas as anyone, who’s been to Wuhan knows that the city is rather on the opposite side of the spiecialty(?) spectrum, however the infamous city of Wuhan will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s where I got married(I can almost hear your ‘ahhhhs’) and received the famous Red Book (a.k.a. the marriage certificate) complete with a super unnatural photo (weird body posture+idiotically cropped hair+ a striking red background=NOT your typical wedding photo).
I have never expected to have my marriage registration in a city, I hadn’t been to before yet it’s China and wedding registrations have to take place in the capital of the province, which the spouse comes from. As I’m a foreigner and my OH comes from Hubei, we had no choice but to register in Wuhan. Not the most romantic of places, let me tell you that. The city gets extremely hot in the summer (to the point of boiling), it’s very polluted (could probably compete with Beijing and that says something!) and super noisy; add to that the never-stopping roadworks and permanent building sites and you’re there. Paradise,eh?
Despite the unlikely location, it was a remarkable day for us and so we wanted to make the most of it. With the help of my father-in-law, we got to visit the West Lake, the largest one in central China I believe (Hubeinese are very proud of it but I’m sorry to admit that it wasn’t anything special-there are no benches to sit down and admire the view (on a rare clear day, that is), few pathways, the water looks murky), and later decided to do some sightseeing and try some local food. We finished the day off with a lovely river cruise, during which we had a chance of seeing the fantastic city lights.
Apparently Wuhan has changed a lot in recent years, has become more tourist-friendly and has seen lots of new developments (like the Western-style streets representing different European countries-bizzare but charming at the same time) popping up all over the place. I see it as a good thing but then I don’t live there. I bet the locals would disagree but then that’s just the way it is in any large Chinese city at the moment.
Wuhan is famous for spicy food, and by that I mean REALLY spicy! The staple dish is hot dry noodles (rè gān miàn), which may not sound very appetizing but as simple as it is, it tastes great:) Make sure you try it when you happen to pass through Wuhan. There is a fast food-type place in the Wuhan Rail Station (I realize there are three major ones; this is the one operating trains on the Beijing-Guangzhou line), where they serve tasty noodles so you don’t even need to go outside if you’re only stopping for a short while.
My favourite place in Wuhan was the Yellow Crane Tower (Huáng Hè Lóu) and its surroundings (located on Sheshan Hill in Wuchang District). There is so much to see inside the building itself, with every floor hosting different exhibitions. The site doesn’t consist of just one building but rather a collection of smaller and larger ones, with quiet paths, gardens and alleys to walk between them. There is even a small, artificial waterfall and so-you guessed it- a lot of Chinese couples have their wedding photoshoots taken there (we saw at least 4!). The tower itself was quite busy, as you’d imagine on a weekend, but the surroundings were tranquil and actually quite romantic:)
But see for yourselves: