Monday 30 May Shanghai

This morning, we woke to blue skies and a warm day. Unfortunately the blue skies did not last long and by mid-morning it was overcast, but at least it didn’t rain!

The activity we chose this morning was a visit to the Yu Garden and a cruise on the Huangpu River through the heart of the city. Our bus took us to China Town and we walked a short distance through Gucheng Park where some men had brought their birds to the park and had them hanging in trees while they sat around chatting. We could also see some of the homes and because it was a fine day, there was washing hanging on the verandahs as well as beside the road/park. We asked our local guide, Tracey if anyone ever gets their washing stolen and she said that this doesn’t happen. We walked through a large local market area and into Yu Garden, which is a model of classical Chinese gardening architecture under state preservation. It was built during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing in 1559 as the private garden of Pan Yunduan, Administrative Commissioner of Sichuan Province. With an area of two hectares, the Garden is famous for a number of architectural marvels, including the Big Rockery, the Naturally Hallowed Jade Boulder, the Hall of an Emerald Touch of Spring and the Inner Garden.

From Yu Garden, we walked back into the Market Area and spent about ¾hour wandering through the narrows market streets looking at the various shops/stalls. The markets are a fascinating place where you can buy anything from embroidered pictures, to clothes to dumplings. We saw the Nanxiang Steamed Bun and Noodle place that is an original family owned dumpling shop and we were told that it is so popular that there is always a huge line-up of people wanting to purchase the dumplings etc. (sometimes it takes over an hour to reach to front of the line).

From there we walked to the Huangpu River for our one-hour cruise through the heart of the city. We boarded the China Mobile Boat named “Go Tone” and went up to the top deck, which was an open, covered area. It cost us 30 Yuan (approximately $6.00) each to sit in this area, but we got a cold drink and some peanuts for free!! Our cruise was very picturesque and peaceful as we sat taking in the views with soft breeze. Unfortunately, the sun and the blue sky had disappeared and it was starting to get misty/foggy again. We finished our morning with a Chinese Lunch at a restaurant not far from our hotel. We arrived back at our hotel at 1.30pm with nothing planned for the afternoon other than catching up with our blog and photos.

This evening, we had our Farewell Dinner in the Shangahi Reception Room in The Fairmont Peace Hotel, overlooking the Bund and the Huangpu River. We sat with our usual group of friends, Anna & Chris, Sue & Kyle and Mike & Leanne and Helen & Allan joined us too. We had a lovely meal and enjoyed reminiscing about our holiday while Vivian summarised the highlights of our holiday. Fred said o few words to thank Vivian on our behalf for all that she did to make our holiday so special and gave her an envelope with some money in it as an extra thank you from all of us. We all enjoyed our last night together and marveled at how well we all got along, watching out for each other, sharing this special experience, enjoying each others’ company and we were like a big family. After our delicious dinner and much chatting and laughing, it was time to say our final goodbyes to everyone as people are heading off at different times through the day tomorrow.

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