Daily Archives: September 7, 2012

Big Red Bus Tour

On a very hot sunny Sunday afternoon we decided to do some site-seeing in downtown Shanghai.  After a very local lunch (chicken head on our chicken dish!) we started our Big Red Bus Tour outside Madame Tussauds.  We were doing the red route which took us along the Bund (means embankment).  This area is 1 mile of spectacular buildings along the waterfront.  It is famous for magnificent 19th and 20th century architecture on one side with state of the art sky-scrapers on the other modern Financial District side.  There is even a mini Big Ben – a throw back to the old British influence!

The ever changing Shanghai Skyline

The ever changing Shanghai Skyline

Moving on from there, next stop was Xintiandi (“New Heaven and Earth”).  It is a traffic free area of restored Shikumen (“Stone Gate Houses”) houses on narrow alleys, some adjoining houses, which now serve as book stores, cafes and restaurants, and shopping malls.  Shikumen are 2-3 storey town houses surrounded by a high walled courtyard, built in the late 1800’s, they blended East with West.  As Shanghai’s population exploded many of them were cleared for new modern developments.   Xintiandi has been restored to its former glory and is a great place to eat out, stop for a drink or shop.  On the edge of Xintiandi is the building that hosted the first congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 and is now a museum.

Kids by a fountain in Xintiandi

Kids by a fountain in Xintiandi

Cooling off in the Fountain!

Cooling off in the Fountain!

We drove by, but did not stop at, Yu Gardens.  Owen and I had both visited here during our look/see visit in December.  It is a 5 acre spread of a wonderful example of a traditional Chinese garden.  It was established more than 400 years ago by Pan Yunduan who spent 20 years building the gardens to please his parents.  Surrounding the gardens is the Yu Bazaar.  Here, Owen and I were hassled to buy many Chinese souvenirs in December!!

Sara at the Yu Gardens (Look/See trip in December 2011)

Sara at the Yu Gardens (Look/See trip in December 2011)

Beautiful traditional Chinese building at Yu Garden

Beautiful traditional Chinese building at Yu Garden

The red route took us past Nanjing Road East which is one of the busiest shopping streets in China.  The street runs from the Bund to People’s Square, which is where it turns into Nanjing Road West.  I work in a big building on Nanjing Road West, just off People’s Square.  You could be anywhere in the world walking down Nanjing Road, as the shops are just as familiar to any in London, New York or Atlanta.

Nanjing Road East

Nanjing Road East. The building at the end (middle of photo) is the Radisson Blu hotel and is a 5 minute walk from my office.

I can thoroughly recommend the Big Red Bus Tour, but not on a hot, humid sunny day.  We will be back in the Autumn to do the green route.

Big Red Bus Tour Map

Big Red Bus Tour Map. Red Route – Done! Green Route – to do!

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End of the Summer Holidays

We arrived back in Shanghai on Sunday August 11th.  Everyone was excited to see Tetley – she had been on her own holiday while we were away and had a great time at a house filled with lots of other dogs – true dog lovers in that boarding facility!

Straight back to work for me on the Monday and Owen had 2 more weeks of days to fill before school started for another year.  Luckily, the weather was fantastic so lots of time at the neighborhood pool, in the garden and playing outside.  First item on the agenda was to pick up Isabelle’s birthday present – roller blades!  Grandma and Grandad had given her all the crash pads in anticipation of her receiving these and she was excited to try it out.  Owen had to pick himself up off the floor from laughing so much at her first attempt.  He said that he didn’t know that legs could move in so many different directions!!

New Roller Blades (still holding on!)

New Roller Blades (still holding on!)

It is always the little things that kids enjoy the most.  They both had an afternoon filled with fun with washing up bowls filled with water.  Oliver was even flexing his muscles:

Muscle boy in the tub

Muscle boy in the tub

Fun days filled with water, arts, crafts, pool, colouring, practising roller blading, bikes, scooters and play dates.