Trip Start Jul 19, 2008
21Trip End Sep 29, 2008
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Me and Pete have finally made it to our last stop on our journey, Shanghai!
We arrived in Shanghai via high speed train from Suzhou (25th) which took all of 40 minutes! (Top speed was 250km/hr!). Once out of the train station we set about deciphering the Shanghai metro system, which has about 12 different lines! We eventually managed to reach our hostel (with the metro stop being right in front of it, handy for traveling such a vast city!), the hostel is pretty cool with friendly staff and guests alike. We decided that with our limited time (about 5 hours before everything closed)we should see the city center. We caught the metro to Peoples Square (or Renmin Park as its also known as) which was surrounded by tall skyscrapers and other buildings. We started of in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exposition Hall, which had some cool models of the city and some exhibitions about the 2010 Expo being hosted here. We then wondered over to the Shanghai Museum (cool looking building) which had a number of interesting exhibitions on Chinese history
On the 25th, we headed over to the Pudong District (the financial hub of Shanghai). There, we decided to go up some of the impressive skyscrapers, like the Shanghai World Finance Center (or the Bottle Opener as I called it!). Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very good so we only went to the 94th floor (423 meters!) where we got some good views of Shanghai (and Jinmao Tower, the former 4th tallest in the world). Once we got down and out of the tower, the weather cleared and Peter started ranting and raving about how we hadn't gone to the very top (100th floor) (such a winger sometimes!). Anyways we wondered through Luijiazui Park and got some interesting photos of the Bottle Opener Tower! Continuing through the Pudong District, we reached probably the most famous tower in the area, the Oriental Pearl Tower! We went up to all of the baubles and got even better views of the city (even though it was smaller than the bottle opener tower!). There was even a roller coaster inside one of the baubles which was pretty cool! After that, we caught the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel under the Huangpu River. It was pretty cool in the tunnel with lots of psychedelic light shows! We eventually reached the Bund, the main street running along the river banks. Here there were several impressive buildings built from the early 20th century, all of European design. We also got some good views of the whole Pudong District from the rivers edge. After walking down the Bund, we headed towards the old town where we found lots of interesting antique shops (I bought some impressive art pieces and some jade statues for a bargain price, thanks to Pete's bargaining skills!) and the Yu Yuan Garden (like Suzhou but less impressive)
On the 27th, we started by getting the metro over to the Jade Buddha Temple. The temple was pretty ordinary by temple standards but did have some cool Buddha statues, including a 10ft tall Buddha made of solid white jade! We then hopped back on the metro towards the French Concession area. We started in the small CPC (Communist Party of China) Museum which had some interesting exhibits about the founding of the Communist Party. We then headed through the Xintiandi Shopping area which had some cool shops in old European style buildings. Walking through Fuxing Park, we arrived at Dr Sun Yatsuns Former Residence (1st President of China after overthrowing the Monarchy). His house was a small two story building but was quite interesting to see where and how he lived. We then took a stroll around the Taiking Lu Art Center which had a number of cool art shops. Hopping back on the metro, we headed to the south of the city towards the Linghau Temple. There was a cool pagoda and some interesting statues inside the temples. We then headed over to St Ignatius Cathedral (nice to see a church instead of a 1000 temples, which all look the same!). We also wondered past the Bibliotheca Zikawui (a former library, now a small art gallery). We then headed back to the hostel and once again chilled out in the bar.
I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about our adventures and mis-adventures as much as i have enjoyed writing them.
We hope everyone is well and we'll see you all back in sunny old England!
Mark and Peter