From Zhejiang to Shanghai

Written by Dec 29, 2009 18:50
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I made a quick decision just before my long holiday was coming – a solo journey to Zhejiang and Shanghai, though it was early March and the weather is still cold with plenty of rain this year. I had a whole week off and totally nine days including two weekends. As I planned, 7 days on road and two days left to rest for the next coming work week.

I called to book a train ticket 2 days before leaving. It had been overcast or rainy for quite a long time, but the sun came out when I just sit on my train bed. Farewell to the sun and bring away the unhappy cloud, here begins my trip.

Hangzhou&Shaoxing to Shanghai
I choose Hangzhou as my first stop, not because it is a well-known tourist city with high reputation and a must-go place when people travel to China. All about this decision come from a college friend. She once walked along the bank of West Lake. It was tranquil and she free comfortable and released. In his original world, her soul was free when she walked on lanes and glimpse at the shining lake under the moon. She likes to exaggerate something which is supposed to be not that real. Every time, when she told us she found something yummy, we would be disappointed after having a try. However, this time, I intended to go to see the city she wishes to live.

That was not a really solo trip in strict sense, for I had friends met me in Hangzhou, however she works in Shaoxing. The train arrived in the morning the next day. I deposited my luggage in the left luggage office which is outside the hall of the station and seems not operated by the train station. There are many such places in front of the train station. I paid 10 yuan from 10am to 5pm. After than we got to the bus station nearby for city bus K7 to the West Lake. I had no idea at all about which direction we are heading for. We got off at Hubin Station. In fact, the bus route circles the West Lake and ends in Lingyin Temple. You can get off at Duanqiao Bridge or any other places on the lakeside, and then circle the lake by food or bicycle. We had a long hiking that day and I highly recommend travelers to rent a bicycle. Local government set up some bicycle-hire lots around the lake area and many other places in the city center. The rental is very cheap, for free within one hour and only 1 yuan for two hours. We found this when we had nearly finished walk around the lake. It may save a lot of time and energy of course. You can give back the bicycle at other bicycle-hire lots. You could find some private runner offering rented bicycle. Do not take that. They are very expensive and you should give the vehicle back to the same place you rent it.

Speaking to our round hiking along the lake, we walk down to the south along Nanshan Road and the first scenic spots came to us: Golden Ox Emerging from the Lake. We were in the middle section of the east bank of West Lake. I feel kind to see it for I was born in the year of Ox and 2009 is the year of Ox either. The ox is also a measure to see the lake’s water level.

It was Orioles Singing in Ripples of Willows and I had a photo taken with the man of giant strength in front of the King Qian's Memorial Hall. Stone paved path was filled with tall trees standing on both sides. It rained a little and thin fog rose up from bushes and trees. It is hard to see such a twisted and long road like Nanshan Road in the city I live. We were still on this road till we saw Leifeng Pagoda which became well-known to the whole nation since long time ago as the legend of Lady White Snack. That is a kind hearted lady become human being from a while snack through a thousand years' practice repaying kindness to a young man once save her in his past life. The lady was captured by a monk and poisoned under the pagoda. Leigeng Pagoda in Sunset is also one of the most views in the lake area. Unfortunately, it was drizzling that day and I did not climb to the tower which costs 50 Yuan for the entrance ticket. The hiking routes went on and on, through Su Di (Su Causeway), Solitary Hill then Duan Qiao (Broken Bridge). There are far more places of interest nearby the lake. For the lake of time, I missed Dragon Well Tea Village and Lingyin Temple and so on. It is a good time to visit the tea village in middle march, for the first batch of tea in the year is just ready at that time. That is precious. However, I occasionally come across the Confucius Temple. I never knew there is a Confucius temple in West Lake. I found images of the famous 72 disciples of Confucius. To be frank, they look alike if getting rid of the accessories like beard, hat, etc, but it is really a tranquil location. West Lake in April is busy, for there are dragon boat competitions. Lotus in summer makes it especially charming.

Keqiao Town in Shaoxing is really a fabric town which is about one hour from Hangzhou. During my short stopover in Shaoxing, I only visited the Formal Residence of Lu Xun. Water town is a much see place when you get around Hangzhou and Shanghai. I choose to go to Xitang from Hangzhou East Bus Station and then head for Shanghai. Gloomy weather made the town of Xitang like an image in poetry but shade the glimmer of cosmo Shanghai.

In Shanghai
When I go to Shanghai South Bus Station, the rain stopped. Bought the train ticket back home at Shanghai South Railway Station and then take city bus to the place where lived, a shared apartment rented by a friend’s friend. I spend too much time on previous places and only have one day in Shanghai. After left my luggage, we headed for Xujiahui. That's the center of Xujiahui District and a nice shopping place of the city. In the street of the Xujiahui Bus Terminus, there are many food stalls. I tried octopus rolls, very tasty. Grand Gateway Plaza is a landmark in this area. Anyway, there are still several brands in the mall that affordable for me. The underground of the plaza is accessible to the subway station.

Transportation card in Shanghai do not have much discounts. I was told that only if you catch the bus within one hour from you get of the subway, you can pay half the price of the bus fare. No discounts when you just take city bus and subways. The meaning of the card is convenient for not bring money and changes with you.

We took Line 1 to People's Square, the very center of the city. I walk forth Nanjing East Rd after getting out from underground, saw the stone mark saying that is the start of Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street. Shanghai First Food Chain is nice place to buy some Shanghai desserts and preserved fruit. That is a time-honored shop. There are many time-honored brands and shops in Nanjing East Road. It took us more time than we expected to finish walking this street as it looks not that long in map. Finally we arrived in the Bund. I was disappointed when I got there, or I should say I had bad luck. The Bund was undergoing renovations. For the rain in the pas few days, there was muddy water on the road surface. The exotic buildings along the riverside were partly renovated too. Some are covered with scaffolding frame with green nets on it. It was a bit mess there and turned out to be better when you fact the Huangpu River. Ferry ships runs busily on the river. Skyscrapers on the opposite riverside look magnificent, standing still and stretching high into the cloud.

The night fell and I gave up a ferry tour and the Bund sightseeing tunnel to Pudong, straightforward to City God Temple, still by foot. We could not find the nearby bus stops and didn’t know where to drop off, either. We walked back to Nanjing East Road and turned left to Sichuan middle Road till Sichuan South Road. Pass a cross and went on to the same direction. After a few minutes, you can see a decorated archway on your right side. That means you are in the City God Temple area. Shanghai Old Street, City God Temple, Yuyuan Garden, Snack City are all located here. Old style building looks beautiful in lights and so may people here. That is a world of hustle especially at night. Nanxiang Mantou Dian has high reputation nationwide, which is regarded as the top snack food of Shanghai. I found it beside the corridor in front of (also a famous restaurant in Shanghai). There was a long queue and I left for other food. My companion told me that stuffed buns (we usually call bao zi, but called man tou in Shanghai) in Nanxiang taste not the best. It is its time-honored brand that is attractive better. Pan fried buns with port stuffing (chang sheng jian) is also a well-know Shanghai food. As the local tells, the tastiest ones are nearby markets and residential communities. The snack city only offers the convenience for tourist, extra fee added into them too. I bought some local specialities and desserts in City God Temple to share with family and friends. That's something commemorative.

It's nearly midnight when I get back to sleep. After a lazy morning, I took subway to Shanghai Railway Station and went back home. An happy ending to my solo trip.

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