Day 4 – Easy going in Venice (or so)

With the weather being a bit cloudy today (still warm though) we had an easy touristy day. After brekkie we drove over to Zhujiajiao, the famous water city west of Shanghai city. Hans, our lovely guide (btw: Thanks again, Hans, for being such a great guide and for correcting the flaw on yesterday’s blog), gave us a nice tour (unfortunately – due to Sunday – a lot of other guides did the same with their groups, which were a lot larger than the 2 of us). Anyway, it was definitely worth the trip, we had a great time walking through this ancient city (1700+ years old) – with maybe the one obstacle of the smell of cooking tofu all over the place.

We started at Fangsheng Bridge which in translation means “Release Animate Being”. This very much based on rebirth believe, with an interesting touch when carried out today:

IMG 6233

You can buy a turtle to release it into the river 10 meters away – where it will be caught again for your next purchase….an everlasting circle not aiming at rebirth but at constant revenue for the dealer 😉

Despite the cloudy weather, the following pictures should give you an idea of how beautiful this place is – you might want to mentally remove the crowds:

IMG 6259

IMG 6262

IMG 6286

In addition to the canals you can also see some interesting art & architecture pieces (first pic shows a bowl made of one single piece of jade):

IMG 6267

IMG 6255

…as well as the often reclaimed mix of ancient and modern (take a look at the shoes):

IMG 6261

As all places we’ve seen so far, this one also is one for great food:

IMG 6281

 

…oops – sorry – wrong picture…food now:

IMG 6247

IMG 6248

IMG 6257

When we left this nice place (one more pic:)….

IMG 6286

…we basically went into real touristy mode, i.e. we drove back to the hotel for a short relax time, then went over to the part of the French Concession we did not see yesterday to just walk around and enjoy some teas (Oolong tea first, then hop tea). Funny enough – we really did not know – we ran into the Shanghai Fashion Week:

IMG 6318

As everywhere on this planet, large groups of young kids try to get a view of their fav VIP – especially here at the VIP entrance (no, we did not stay).

It’s a really nice neighbourhood, as explained by Hans very European, very price but we also had a good dinner and found a really nice brewery with a very nice wheat beer. 

We’re now back at the hotel, one more night in Shanghai, then we’ll take the fast train to Yichang where we will board our ship for a few day cruise on the Yangtze.

Stay tuned for updates

/Chris

Day 3 – Learning

Another great day in Shanghai.

In the morning we went down to Yu Garden again to this time have a guided tour through this amazing park. Our really great guide gave us quite some background on the Chinese garden art (have a look at the pics below). The pictures can’t really capture the beauty of the garden, you really have to see this yourselves, but maybe you get an impression and a trigger to make the trip.

IMG 5948

IMG 5951

The following picture shows three limestone. The one in the middle has 70 holes “drilled” by natural water flow, all connected – so if you pour water on the top it will spill out through all other holes or – if you light an incense cone on the bottom the smoke will come out through all – funny piece of nature.

IMG 5955

IMG 5974

We also learned why dragons in Shanghai do only have three fingers on their claws – 5 fingers can only be seen in Beijing, reserved for the emperor; having a dragon with 5 fingers somewhere else would have been considered as a threat and punished severely…..

IMG 5975

Also notice the pearl in the dragon’s mouth – this is where the dragon get’s his strength from. The frog beneath the dragon’s mouth is waiting for his own food (the dragon’s saliva)

IMG 5990

The following pic (actually showing our nice guide Hans on stage) shows an impressive piece of architecture. It’s the theatre in the garden, built by leveraging on quite some nice physics to have a great sound quality: It stands half on ground, half on water, the water reflects voice back to the building in the back of the theatre which in return echoes back so the actors on stage can be heard extremely well.

IMG 5978

IMG 6001

Do you see how the female bows her head while the male prances? These figures were made a few hundred years before the Yu Garden was created – times have changed a real lot since then 😉 

IMG 6009

Can you see the small pavilion to the upper left? This one used to be the highest building in Shanghai – at a hight of 14m.

A few more random takes from this morning in Yu Garden – we do have quite some more (and some of you might be forced to see them when we meet back home)

IMG 6019

IMG 6026

IMG 6029

Next stop today was a (bit touristy) Chinese tea ceremony – but still great. Learned about different teas, how to present, how to boil, how to drink…we always liked tea, but we got a new perspective today (and some interesting, if not really great, new tastes)

IMG 6045

IMG 6049

It’s been quite interesting seeing the flowers flourish in the hot water (plus a real great taste)

Continuing our education on Chinese culture we drove to the Jade Buddha Temple. No pictures in the Jade Buddha Chamber allowed, but here you can see a few from the Chamber of Four Heavenly Kings and the Grand Hall:

IMG 6068

IMG 6069

IMG 6072

IMG 6077

IMG 6080

IMG 6083

IMG 6087

IMG 6090

Last educational session today was a quick tour in a silk factory. We were kind of impressed learning that there’s basically a 100% use of the “material”. Silk threads from the cocoons are of course used for the silk itself while the larvae are used for different economics like animal food or ingredient for Chinese medicine or beauty products. Of course this requirse the death of the larvae…

IMG 6123 

IMG 6124

Now we really needed to relax for some time, so we drove over to the French Concession – beautiful place, great mix of old and modern, great shops, nice food stands, bars & restaurants, very open community, 

IMG 6164

IMG 6167

…plus a very interesting way to serve drinks:

IMG 6176

IMG 6182

….and I almost forgot the museum opposite side of the road:

IMG 6194

Final stop today was the Shanghai circus – not allowed to take pictures during the show though….so here just one inside the lobby:

IMG 6200

The show itself was impressive, although we’re both not really circus fans. I actually believe some of the folks on stage can’t have bones in their bodies – or made of a very flexible material.

 

That’s it for today – tomorrow we’ll go to see the Shanghai “Venice” – stay tuned

/Chris

Day 2 – Surprise

Well, sometimes one gets lucky. Today was the official start of our tour. I need to admit, I was a bit worried about the size of the group, i.e. we just didn’t know how many people we’d be for the next 12 days. Early afternoon we met our tour guide – and learned that we’re the only 2 😉 Great surprise!

But before we met with our guide we took a short stroll through Nanjing Road (main shopping road):

Nanjing.JPG

Really interesting area – with a few nice spots to sit outside and have a coffee or drink – or just sit:

Nanjing 1.JPG

Always interesting architecture to view:

Nanjing 2.JPG

At the end of the road a small art park. Saw some great sculptures there:

Nanjing 3.JPG

Talking about culture: German culture found its way into Nanjing Road (Couldn’t resist)

Nanjing 4.JPG

Walking back I saw for the first time in my life how construction work can be done differently – including the necessary safety equipment. Later we also saw the pile of material for the next construction. Honestly: I like that!

Nanjing 5.JPGNanjing 6.JPG

Plus a real great balcony opposite side of the road:

Nanjing 7.JPG

Later today (after meeting our guide) we had a quick tour around the city including Shanghai’s Wall Street and a short walk on the Bund:

Wall Street 1.JPG Bund 1.JPG

The view on Shanghai’s Skyline from the Bund is terrific as you can see on this pic:

Bund Skyline.JPG

We then decided to drive over to Jin Mao Tower for a breathtaking view from 88th floor (340m):

JM1.JPG JM2.JPG

JM3.JPG\

I especially like the view from the observatory in the inside of the tower:

JM4.JPG

Final pic for today’s post (who can name all three towers?)

xxx.JPG

So, this was great – we are really looking forward to the next days.

/Chris

Day 1 – Relaxed

We had a great afternoon. Went to see the Old Town of Shanghai for some time, just walking around. The combination of ancient and brand new is just terrific. Took some pics:

The Old Tea House.JPG

This is the old Tea House in Shanghai; pretty crowded place around it, but absolutely worth visiting. 

Later the afternoon, following a friend’s recommendation, we went over to the Captain’s Bar to enjoy the beautiful view across the river:

View from Captain's Bar.JPG

Now sitting in hotel bar, getting ready for tomorrow

(Apologies should not all images load – quite some trouble getting them uploaded….)

 

/Chris

Arrival

We made it. After a long, but uneventful trip we arrived at our first hotel in Shanghai about an hour ago. It’s been great leaving Germany at winter temperature and then arrive in Shanghai at what I consider a really warm end-summer breeze. We will take a first stroll soon and after that I will try to find some time to post the first set of pics

 

/Chris

Honeymoon In China

Finally!

After deciding for the direction of our honeymoon 18 months ago, shortly before our wedding, we’re now good to go. We’ll take off for Shanghai this Wednesday, stay there for a few days and then take the route via Yichang, Chonqging, Xi’An to Beijing. We are really excited!

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 12.56.54 pm

This also means during the next few weeks I will focus on this tour rather than blogging/tweeting business 😉

Not sure yet on quality of network coverage during our trip, but assume it will be suffice to post from time to time (at least I should have some time to write – even if publishing could come later)

Anyway – now back to my officially final working day before this exciting vacation – stay tuned for updates.

/Chris