Updated: Jan 27
That was a good morning. Nice breakfast of cereal and some fruit. Good yoga and meditation practice. Back is feeling better and I'm ready for another adventure.
I'm meeting a stranger and headed to Shanghai. Her name is Ivy. We've been communicating on and off for a bit. She lives in Hangzhou, but has family up in Shanghai and offered to show me some of the city. I've got nothing going on so I figured I should dive in head first and have another new experience.
Bullet trains go everywhere out of Hangzhou and the hour trip is only about $10USD. By car the same trip would take more than two hours. Trains leave Hangzhou about every hour towards Shanghai. I'm hoping to take one to Beijing later this year. That one is about a thousand miles and takes five hours.
Arrived at the Hangzhou rail station. Place was enormous. That picture doesn't do it justice. Thirty double sided platforms to load onto a train. I was surprised that buying a ticket and getting through security was similar to the airport. I had to register my passport so I can use it going forward to buy tickets online and then scan the passport in the future. That serves as my ticket after I bought the ticket online. The ride to Shanghai was super smooth. Like, gliding on air smooth. The speed was noticeable. Cars near the train driving parallel to the tracks were barely moving by comparison. No idea how fast it was, but it was humming along. Quiet too.
We arrived and took a subway from the train station to my hotel. There were problems trying to get checked in, but after a phone call to the booking website it was sorted and I dropped off my stuff in my room. 43rd floor with an excellent view of the Shanghai skyline. The iconic Oriental Pearl Radio Tower is right there. Super cool.
We met Ivy's sister and niece for dinner at a hot pot restaurant. They told me this one was popular with the locals. Similar to my experience earlier in the week with the Moens. I liked the thinly sliced beef best. The base for this soup was chicken. I think I liked the mushroom better, but overall his one was very good too. The plan after dinner was to hit YuYuan Gardens. I'm like, sure, that sounds awesome. Not sure what it is, but I figure roll with it. We took a subway to the area and we're in the middle of the city. I'm thinking "gardens", like plants and flowers and such. Umm. No. This was much cooler. As we approach I see this...
And then we enter the YuYuan gardens and Ivy explained to me that this is the traditional old part of Shanghai. It's been cleaned up and refurbished, but the pictures will tell a better story. I'm not much or a picture guy, but damn, I keep havejng the "so cool" look that I had to keep taking more pictures.
I was stuffed from dinner, but that didn't stop me from having some tanghulu (sugarcoated strawberries). Tons of tiny shops all over the place in the narrow alleys. The lanterns above all over the place were beautiful lighting in all the alleys.
Afterwards we all went back to my hotel and went to the bar on the 65th floor for a drink. The view was spectacular. Schmelmo thought it was pretty cool too when I woke him up the next morning.
Tomorrow? Planning on the Shanghai museum.