We travelled to Hangzhou by bullet train. The train station was again so busy but it isvery efficient, clean and modern. We are staying at the Friendship Hotel. Our guide met us and then escorted us to arestaurant for traditionalChinese food. The food here is not so hot and spicy,more delicate and slightly sweet.
at the train station in Shanghai
cake display at the hotel
outside the hotel
This was our first day of touring with Odyssey Tours.Our guide picked us up and we went by car, first to the Bund with an explanation about each of the main buildings – both old and new. The western side of the river has the old buildings and they all have a history of their own. The eastern side has the very tall modern buildings – the tallest at present is the Shanghai Financial Centre Building and is nicknamed the “bottle-opener” because of the large rectangular opening at the top to allow air/wind to pass through it.
here we are on the Bund
We went to the Jade Buddha Temple where the buddha is made from white jade. People were lighting incense sticks to pray to the buddha.
Jade Buddha Temple
The Shanghai Museum was four floors of wandering corridors displaying many aspects of Chinese culture. I enjoyed the fabrics and embroidery on the traditional clothing, the carved jade and the carved furniture. You could spend a few hours here if you wanted but we were on a tight timeframe and went on to Xintiandi (the French connection) with buildings in the French style. Following this , we were taken to a silk factory but we resisted the pressure to buy silk quilts and quilt covers, although they were very beautiful.
my favourite sculpture
Tonight we went to the Bund to view the buildings lit up. It was very cold but there were lots of Chinese people strolling looking at the lights as well. Both sides of the river were lit with the eastern modern side with more spectacular lighting.
lights from the eastern side of the river
lights on the western side of the Bund
On the way back tothe hotel we decided to stop at a localrestaurant. It feels really safe walking around Shanghai at night so we continue to do it rather than getting a taxi. Taxis are very cheap here though which is great. The restaurant had pictures in theirmenu this timewhich made it a littlebit easier. We cmmunicated via gestures with a young man next to us about what he was eating and he pointed out a dish on the menu which we then ordered. It tasted great but there were really tiny bones on the dish as well as lots of chilli. We had no idea what we were eating so took a photo of the menu item tosave up forour guide the next day.
We docked early Sunday morning at Shanghai. We were met by our Shanghai guide,Run, and escorted to our hotel, the Bund Hotel. We walked down Nanjing Street where the mall and shops are and headed to Bund Street. Bund Steet is like a promenade along the river. The weather was cold and overcast so the view across the river was hazy. The eastern side has the old buildings which are fabulous and the western side of the river is the all-new side with seriously tall buildings – in fact some of the tallest in the world.
view across river towards the east
We wanted to get some lunch and got a taxi to the Yu Garden Market area. There were many people there – it is a very large market area and well worth going to,with shops of all sorts and street food. We found a food hall in the centre and bought food there – luckily here there was a description in English. We bought pork and celery dumplings and some fried chicken strips – the dumplings were delicious with the celery flavour. When we sat down at a table,the man next to us went and got us chopsticks because we didn’t have them – very helpful – not many people speak any English at all so we get by with gestures like thumbs up and so on – we can’t complain though because we only know how to say hello and thanks so far.
market near YuYuan Gardens
We had wanted to go to the acrobatics show but couldn’t find out how to get tickets so we got a taxi to the place on the tourist map which said Shanghai Circus World. The tourist map is the only way we can get anywhere with taxi drivers because of our language barrier. We got two seats in the best section for that evening and they were good seats – second row in the central section. The show was amazing – definitely recommend going to it when in Shanghai. At times it was very delicate with rows of beautiful women spinning plates on sticks and doing gymnastics at the same time with fluorescent greens and blue lights and lovely Chinese music. Then it would become fast and performers would be jumping through hoops, making people stacks high intothe air and so on. One couple who were dressed in pale pink and white with flowing fabric did acrobatics high in the air with the woman hanging on the man by a piece of cloth,a foot or being carried in his arms -this was all with no attachment or anything to fall on to _ they were wonderful. Then came the fast and furious motorbikes in a large metal sphere with up to 6 motorbikes in the sphere at once !!!!! Definitely go to the Acrobatics Circus show when in Shanghai.
Before we went to the show,we decided to have a quick dinner and went to a nearby restaurant. No one spoke English, everything was in Chinese and there were nopictures to go by! The people there thought it wasvery funny and couldn’t stop laughing at us. So they got out their iphone and using a translater app, we were able to communicate -we found out that pork dumplings and noodles were on the menu so that is what we got!. The dumplings were made from scratch on the spot and then steamed outside the front door. The beef noodle soup arrived from the kitchen.Everything was delicious.
Chinese ladies making dumplings