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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shanghai Surprise

 Back in late March I was able to cross Travel To China off my bucket list. 

I'm about to overload you with pictures from our trip, so I'll try and keep the descriptions to a minimum. In a nutshell the trip to Shanghai was amazing. There were surprises around every corner. 

After a terrifying 45 minute taxi ride from Pudong airport, we arrived at the Astor House Hotel. I highly recommend this place. It was very affordable and the location, right off The Bund, was perfect. And just look at this room! It's gigantic. 
 This is an early morning view from The Bund. I tried to find an open café at 7:00 a.m. with no luck. Even Starbucks didn't open until 9! 
 And here's a look at the hotel's breakfast buffet. They had almost every breakfast food imaginable. The list included: egg tarts, pastries, tiramisu, yogurt, fresh fruit, warm soy milk, coffee, espresso, tea, steamed veggie buns, wonton soup, cereal, spicy pickled stuff, bacon, eggs, toast, curry dumplings, penne bolognese, and some other items I couldn't identify. It was all delicious and we chowed down before setting off for a long day of sightseeing. 
 Another look inside the gorgeous hotel. 
 On the first day, we walked to the impressive Shanghai Museum. It was a perfect place to spend a rainy morning. We passed this shop on the way which reminded me of Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing chain. 
 The next day we checked out the posh French Concession West. Don't expect to find any bargains here (We forked out about $20 for a cheeseburger.). What I loved about this area were the quiet, charming streets and hip shops.  


 A little farther away in French Concession East was the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum. The building itself was interesting to see. Inside there were artists plying their trade. I loved the paper cuts and bought a couple to take home. 
We did a ton of walking, which is my favorite way to get to know a city, but the subways were great, too (fast, clean, easy to navigate). And as scary as the taxi rides were, they were inexpensive and convenient. 
 Having a little coffee break back at the hotel café. 
Old Town Shanghai was a bustling area with no shortage of little shops and street food. 


 Just off a busy street, we found a peaceful shrine where our senses were awakened by burning incense and musicians playing delightful music. 
 Then it was on to the Flower, Bird, Fish & Insect Market where I found all sorts of interesting creatures like this pastel assortment of frogs. 
 The market was buzzing with the sound of crickets. 

 Yuyuan Gardens is not to be missed. We got there fist thing in the morning before it got really crowded and enjoyed a peaceful stroll through the gardens. 


 The last stop on our 3-day adventure was to the art gallery district on Moganshan Road. We got a little lost (and hungry) trying to find the place and ended up at this shabu shabu restaurant (at least that's what this type of food is called in Japanese). Boiling live shrimp at the table was a first for me and provided plenty of entertainment for the kids. 
 Here's a glimpse at some of the art and street scenes around the galleries. 


It's always a good time for coffee and this was the perfect café to rest our tired feet. 
After Shanghai, it was off to Kobe, Japan to visit family. I'll never forget our adventure in China!
 
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