Shanghai – downtown and Yuyuan Garden

Right in the center of Shanghai, between modern shop fronts and high rise buildings you can walk through a gate and find a beautiful garden : the Yuyuan Garden. Winding pathways lead you past little pagodas, ponds, flowering shrubs and walkways decorated with banners of golden Chinese letters. In between you can rest your weary feet on roofed benches inside shady and artfully carved wooden frames. This is one place you shouldn’t miss. It is a real oasis within a busy city.

After enjoying ourselves among the shady fronds and Chinese pointed pagodas, we decided to have some nice tea and look out over the rooftops of the city, where a cool breeze dried our damp forehead.

Shanghai by Day

When visiting Shanghai you should take some time not only for the fashionable colonial street “Bund” and the skyscrapers, but also for their wonderful museum.

Right outdoors of the museum is the river bank walk, where we witnessed a young bridal couple having their photo taken. From the walk you can admire the Bund and the skyscrapers opposite.

Funnily enough, on the way to the airport we saw an area with low houses and little grass + garden plots all around. We were told they belong to affluent people who can pay to have a larger plot and not have to live in a tall building.

As to ownership, the Chinese may only lease their appartment for about 70 years, then it is given to the State. Those people who wish to make money by renting out appartments can only buy a second or third flat under certain circumstances, such as divorce. One lady was in the newspaper for divorcing her husband several times over in order to buy new appartments!

Shanghai by night

Our study group was spontaneously asked whether we would like to go on a boat trip to see Shanghai by night. Naturally we agreed, little knowing that you should book in advance to spare yourself 2 – 3 hours of waiting in the ticket line. Be it as it was, we boarded the ship with many other tourists.

There were drinks, but no seats. All the tourists ran from one side to the other to take the best possible snapshots and it was almost impossible to reach the front row or find something to stand on to get a better view. Still we enjoyed the ride very much!

After Shanghai we flew to Yichang to embark on a larger ship through the Three Gorges Dam. We had to pass several locks to go up the river Yangtse. We also visited a town and a cloister that had been relocated.