Wake up early to go and see the activity on the Bund. For once, we (Isabelle and I) take the bus.
Nice light but no activity at all (we were expecting to see locals practicing tai chi). It’s nice to see the Bund Promenade empty though.
A few words about the Bund: Symbolic of concession-era Shanghai, the Bund was the city’s Wall Street. Originally, a towpath for dragging barges of rice, the Bund (an Anglo-Indian term for the embankment of a muddy waterfront) was gradually transformed into a grandiose sweep of the most powerful banks and trading houses in Shanghai. The majority of the art deco and neoclassical buildings here were built in the early 20th century and presented an imposing – if strikingly un-Chinese – view. Today it is a designer retail and restaurant zone with the city’s most exclusive boutiques, restaurants and hotels. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. Building heights are restricted in the area.
We take a closer look at the nice buildings. We enter the Bank of China, the (Fairmont) Peace Hotel, an Art Deco masterpiece, and the building of the now Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB), which has stunning mosaics in the entrance cupola, featuring the world’s (former) eight centres of finance.
We do a quick tour in the backstreets. At one point, we can hear classical music being aired in the playground of a school during recess. We think it’s a great idea, which should be implemented in our schools.
We go to Yu(yuan) Gardens. The bazaar is not as crowded as when we previously came but the place is anyway much too touristy for us. This time, we visit the gardens; they are surprisingly quiet in this bustling environment.
It’s not even noon but we grab some dim sums at the counter of the well-known Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant (after queuing for 20′). We take xiaolongbao with crab meat and pork + a steamed bun with crab roe soup stuffing, which is served with a straw. Very good!
We take the metro back home. We leave today to Shenzhen. We have 2 hours to get ready, i.e. to pack everything and to eat something. It’s not the funniest part of the trip… but we’ve become pretty much efficient, and each of us is (nearly) independent. It’s always the hardest for Jules to fit everything in his suitcase and bag. Florence is always the first one to be ready and to propose to help the others. What a sweetheart! We are about to be ready when the cleaning lady arrives. Just in time!
We have 2 hours and a half before going to the train station. We leave all our bags in the apartment and go for a last walk in Shanghai. Isabelle goes with the kids to H&M where the girls spotted stretch (comfy) jeans and Jules a training pant, also for the chillax moments. I take this opportunity to have a massage, for the first time of the trip. I’ve been talking much about massages but had not yet the opportunity to do one (same thing with the hairdresser: I still haven’t cut my hair since the beginning of the trip!). I go to the nearest one. I thoroughly enjoy this 1h30 (!) oil body massage (I don’t choose the stronger Chinese massage). What a delight!
We leave the apartment before 5pm and go by metro to Shanghai Railway Station. There are not too many stairs; we’re lucky. We arrive well in time (1h30 before the departure of our night train, at 7:30pm).
Katie comes to the station for a last goodbye to Ludivine. Will they see each other again? Who knows…?
Train is very new and modern. Florence is very excited, as always when we take the train; it’s great to hear her laugh so much. We are tired and we fall asleep quite rapidly after our dinner (guess what: instant noodles of course, as always in the train…). Isabelle goes to the compartment just next door, with 3 other Chinese.
It’s with sadness that we leave Shanghai. It is the city where we all would most like to live, among the different places we’ve visited so far. We’ve had a great time. Our apartment was very well located (we’ve realized how important it was for us); the city “emits” a positive energy; there are so many different districts; we discovered the joy and liberty of the (Ofo) rental bikes; finally, we could enjoy the last 3 days with a beautiful weather. Regarding this last point, it is important to notice that it makes a big difference, not only for the pictures but also for the places you visit and the way you visit them. We’ve been lucky so far but here in Shanghai the weather has not been great.