Despite all the trouble and extra expenses we had to go through to get our China visa, after 3 weeks in the country we have decided to move on. Suddenly the planned last stop on the journey is no longer the last. We have agreed that Malaysia is better suited for our final stop. After Beijing and Inner Mongolia, we continued on to Shanghai. And even though we really liked the city, we still knew we would not be happy spending the last weeks of our adventure in this country with its over-construction and tampered with nature. Too many aspects just didn’t feel right for the end of this kind of journey.

To get to Shanghai from Inner Mongolia we decided to take a night train to the ice town Harbin from where a flight was much cheaper than from Hailar. We had to wait a while at the station and felt a bit like in a zoo. Every single passenger seemed to be staring at us. When it was time for the train to arrive, everyone got up and rushed towards the barrier preventing anyone from accessing the platforms. When the train rolled in and the guards opened the gate all hell broke loose. People started jumping over the barrier, lifting children over to the other side, pushing fellow passengers aside while squashing through the small gate. I watched the stampede in awe, horrified by the humans turning into animals.

Unfortunately the condition of the train wasn’t half as nice as that of our last one. No TV, no electrical outlets, not even a ventilation switch. When we borded the train at midnight and were still alone in our four bed compartment when we pulled out of the station, we were jumping for joy. When we were awoken an hour later by our noisy new roommates, we no longer jumped. Despite my ear plugs I was kept awake most of the night by one of the ladys’ snoring and her several trips to the loo. After breakfast and wasting time reading and watching the scenery in the small compartment, we finally arrived in Harbin at noon to catch an afternoon flight to Shanghai.

00 Softsleeper to Harbin

Shanghai surprised us by being really quite lovely and completely different than Beijing, while still being less western than many people say. To us it just seemed like another vibrant, colorful and modern Asian city with many contrasts, lots of areas to explore and charming little corners to relax in. Fortunately an old friend from University that lives in the city let us crash with her and we had the great privilege of being shown her favorite spots and told what were the must-sees of Shanghai. Before that though we had to register with the police that we were staying with Ulrike, which is something that needs to be done within 24 hours of arrival in a city in China if one is not booked in a hotel.

02 Police station registration Shanghai

French Concession Shanghai

French Concession Shanghai

01 Cafe French Concession Shanghai

M50 Shanghai

M50 Shanghai

Old Town Shanghai

Old Town Shanghai

Old Town Shanghai

Shanghai Skyline

Poor Ulrike had to play our translater one night when we met a wealthy Chinese fellow at Bar Rouge. He didn’t seem to care that we didn’t understand a word of what he was saying and chatted on incessantly. He ordered tons of food and drinks, but hardly ate anything. The guy told us about all the amazing apartments that he owned and all the countries he was traveling to. When he found out that Ulrike was from South Africa, he even called his friend in SA and put him on the phone with her. He was fun and quite tipsy already. His companion was more that and while we were having conversations, we would hear his constant loud hiccups in the background.

Bar Rouge Shanghai

Bar Rouge Shanghai

Bar Rouge Shanghai

03 Bar Rouge Shanghai 2

03 Bar Rouge Shanghai 4

With five days in Shanghai we decided to make an outing one day to the nearby historic canal town of Zhujiajiao. We were prepared that it would be a very touristy and overcrowded venture. What we had not taken into account was the fact that it was not only a weekend, but also a Chinese holiday weekend. Already when we went to catch the public bus from downtown Shanghai we realized we wouldn’t be alone on the trip. The bus was so full that we ended up sitting on the exit steps for one and a half hours causing our butts to fall asleep midway. When the bus dropped us off at the outskirts of town, we agreed to have lunch there before diving into the overpriced tourist zone. Naturally here no one spoke English. So, once again we tried with hands and feet, but before we knew it, V was called into the kitchen by the owner so she could point to the things we wanted. In no time success was ours and we were enjoying a tasty meal for only one Euro!

06 Zhujiajiao local restaurant 1

06 Zhujiajiao local restaurant 2

Afterwards we explored the little town known as “Venice in Shanghai” by trying to squeeze through the hords of mainly Chinese tourists. The narrow streets were lined by souvenir shops, food stalls and restaurants. The pungent smell of “stinky tofu” being sold from little carts was everywhere. Town was quite picturesque and cute with its old buildings and small bridged canals, but just like in Venice it was difficult to see that with the crowds.

06 Zhujiajiao narrow streets

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

06 Zhujiajiao tourists 5

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

06 Zhujiajiao tourists

Later we noticed that another part of town had a very different vibe with charming little cafés and boutiques. And when we walked all the way to the end of the touristy part, we actually saw “real” people chatting and enjoying Saturday with their neighbors.

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

Zhujiajiao Shanghai

On our last day in Shanghai it didn’t stop raining. So, before we headed for the airport to take the night plane to Kuala Lumpur, we went for another heart- and stomach warming hot pot dinner. Unfortunately the line at the restaurant was so long we would have missed our flight and therefore ended up eating in the almost empty dining room beneath the hot pot place. I’m already looking forward to hot pot nights with friends in Munich! 🙂

07 Last dinner Shanghai

 

6 Comments

 

  1. 05/06/2014  22:59 by R Reply

    Fusiott Stripes For the Win!

  2. 06/06/2014  07:57 by Heather Reply

    it all looks and sounds so amazing! Best blog EVER
    XO

    • 07/06/2014  13:56 by V Reply

      THAAANK YOU MY FRIEND!!! Next time we will travel TOGETHER AGAIN!!! ;) xoxo

  3. 07/06/2014  17:57 by Ulrike Reply

    Love it!!!! Feel very previledged to feature. Welcome back any time.

  4. 25/06/2014  18:54 by Antonella Reply

    So Strassenschilder gibt es? Unglaublich! Sieht aus wie ein Blumenstrauss. Tolles Night-Town-Foto. es ist so toll mit Eurem Blog mitzureisen!

    • 05/07/2014  13:13 by V Reply

      DANKEEEE dass du einer unserer treuesten Blog-Fans bist!! :-*

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