Weekend trip to Shanghai, the gateway to the world
19th October 2018
19th October 2018
Our first weekend trip to Shanghai was scheduled for 12th October. I was really looking forward to this trip because I had already lived in Shanghai for three years and was able to show my favourite places to the others.
With good reason Shanghai is also called “The Gate to the World”, because with over 20 million inhabitants it is one of the biggest cities in China. Two thirds of the Germans who live in China live in Shanghai and together with numerous other nations ensure an international, modern life with a traditional Chinese character. This makes Shanghai a vibrant city that is constantly changing and yet retains its character.
We left Ningbo by train in the afternoon. Arriving in Shanghai, we searched for the metro to get to our apartment in the city centre. The closer we got to the city centre, the more crowded it became. You have to get used to these crowds first and the noise is also a reason why you get tired quickly.
Arriving in the apartment we quickly unpacked and went to a food court and went on to the Bund, the promenade in Shanghai. Here you can impressively experience the old and the modern in Shanghai. On the western bank of the Huangpu river is the promenade with old colonial buildings. Among them is the Peace Hotel, famous among citizens of Shanghai and expats, the Bar Rouge and a bell tower that rings like Big Ben every hour on the hour. To the right of the eastern shore is the Pudong Economic Zone and the skyline of Shanghai.
In the meantime it was evening and the buildings were brightly illuminated. The buildings are used as advertising spaces and show short videos or GIFs of Chinese brands. The advertisements are deliberately used to embellish the cityscape. This makes Shanghai’s skyline one of the most special in the world.
Of course it was very crowded here, because everyone who visits Shanghai wants to see the skyline first. Especially the Pearl Tower, Shanghai’s landmark, Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai Financial Tower, also called bottle opener because of its shape and the third highest tower in the world the Shanghai Tower stand out.
We toasted the weekend in Shanghai with a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the Captain Youth Hostel. Besides culture and big buildings Shanghai is also known for parties. What kind of parties are celebrated in Shanghai we experienced on the first evening.
The next day we explored Shanghai more closely. We started from our apartment in West Nanjing Lu with an extensive breakfast at Baker & Spice in Mall K11. I was especially looking forward to their carrot cake – to die for. Everyone who knows Baker & Spice knows what I mean.
Strengthened we started with a discovery tour through the French Concession. The cafes, restaurants and the whole flair of this quarter make it one of my favourite quarters. The old village of Xintiandi successfully shows how to combine tradition with modernity. The former residential buildings stand for the typical living culture of Shanghai and contain modern shops such as Shanghai Tang. In the Fuxin Park you can relax with the Chinese. Chinese people like to stay here and do what they have no room for in their flat. Older people sing karaoke or meet for a chat on the park bench.
The marriage market in People Square Park is also worth seeing.
Chinese parents refer their children to suitable spouses. For this purpose, they usually have short profiles attached to umbrellas, while other parents walk through the park looking for the perfect partner for their child. It is accordingly full and the whole event reminds a bit of analog version of Tinder.
Afterwards we went to the Pearl Tower. This tower has a glass floor and from a height of one hundred metres you can see what is happening below you. A little thrill and it costs some effort to enter the glass floor. As the tower is the landmark of Shanghai, the waiting times are usually one hour or more. But the view rewards the long wait and if the view is good, you can see the whole of Shanghai.
Another highlight are the Fake Markets in Shanghai. In the last years the number unfortunately decreased, so for example the most famous Fake Market in the Nanjing Lu closed some years ago.
Nevertheless, there is no shortage of the notorious Fake Markets where we left our last money.
While some of us went shopping, the others visited different temples and parks on the last day. In the evening we met at the train station and took the train back to Ningbo.
Altogether we had a very nice weekend in Shanghai and gained many interesting impressions. I really enjoyed visiting my old hometown.