Wednesday 3 January. At Schiphol Amsterdam, I check in early for my flight to Shanghai. At the gate, 2 ½ hours later, I can’t fly to Shanghai now, but tonight is possible. The flight to Moscow leaves at 22:35 h. Instead of 13:00 h. In the plane two lovely ladies from Moscow sitting next to me. Luckily Jenny and Anna speak English and we have a nice conversation. Basically until we land and I need to go to Moscow someday. In the end the delay seems to be a lucky start of the trip.
Friday after a short night and breakfast at a very cold restaurant Ping, her nephew Eric and driver take me to the city center. First, a form with a stamp at the police station (where Ping luckily knows someone, otherwise it would take hours). Than Eric shows me the city. First the Jing’an Temple, one of the oldest in the city. Rebuild, but still a beautiful wooden construction in the middle of the highrise buildings. Too much tasty food for lunch and then the City of Gods Temple. The neighborhood is more in the old style, but with a lot of tourists. In the center a tea house and a big pond with Koi. Along the Bund we see the old buildings at one side of the river and the new highrise buildings at the other side. Impressive. The Shanghai Tower is twisted and seems to be 632 m high. Impressive. The wind makes it cold and we have Chinese tea to warm. After tea it’s dark and the Bund had a makeover. All the building perform a light show. Very cool. Back in the center we take the pedestrian road along fancy shops and to some (locally) world famous sweet snack store. I have to try and it’s good.
Have a hot shower Saturday morning, which is really nice, because the apartment has no heating at all, so inside the temperature drops to around 10C. Today we drive a bit outside the city to Zhujiajiao, the water city. Here we walk around and visit the Yuanjin Temple, originally built in 1341, the City Gods Temple, the old post office and have lunch in one of the nice restaurants. After again a big lunch we meander through the small streets with old houses, see many small shops selling food and souvenirs. It’s crowded with Chinese and some foreign tourists. We cross bridges, see the boats sail on the channels and enjoy the views. In the afternoon a visit at the Kezhi gardens, a mixture of Western and Chinese style from 1912. A bit further a private garden with lots of bonsai trees and fine art. Late in the afternoon we drive around in the financial district and see the highrise buildings. Of course, being amazed by the tallest Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower, the Oriental Pearl Tower and many more. We make a short stop at the Shanghai International Convention Center and then back to the apartment where I stay.