Friday, October 11, 2013

China recap: Shanghai

We wrapped up our Chinese voyage in Shanghai, which held two special bonuses for us. 

First, a major hotel splurge:  we stayed at the Portman Ritz Carlton, right on Nanjing Road. 

Second, we had friends to visit. 

Highlights of what we saw: 

First stop was Renmin Park (People’s Park), where we walked before heading to the Shanghai Museum, which is China's answer to the Louvre and the Hermitage.  It has permanent exhibits on Chinese furniture, calligraphy, seals, jade, and ethnic minority costumes.

The Shanghai Museum:

Of course within the Shanghai Museum, I was seriously drawn to the display of Faberge eggs, apparently I didn't see enough of them when we were in Russia in 2010?  Oh well, they were awesome in Shanghai as well: 

This was the Trans-Siberian egg, made by Faberge in 1900 to commemorate the completion of the Trans-Siberian railway.  After sailing on the Memory of Azov, Tsar Nicholas stopped in Vladivostok to begin the construction of the railway's eastern segment, which was to connect the European and Asian sides of Russia.  Inside the egg, there is a miniature Trans-Siberian train, duplicated in every detail with precious materials.  There is even a mechanism in the locomotive so that the miniature train could be put in motion using a small gold key: 

This one is the "Moscow Kremlin" egg, so of course it was fun to see, thinking about our trip to the Kremlin.  It was created in memory of Nicholas and Alexandra's visit to the old capital of Moscow in 1903.  The design is white enamel with a gold dome, inspired by the Cathedral of the Assumption, where all the tsars were married and crowned.  There are 4 Krelmin turrets supporting the egg, two of them are connected by walls with whimsical railings and are based on the Savior's and the Water-Supplying towers.  Inside the gold turret and wall structure, there is a music box that plays two traditional Easter hymns composed by Kastalsky.  Done in 1925, and totally amazing: 

This blue and white vase has scenes of West Lake on it (in Hangzhou, a separate post for this trip).  From the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) during the Qing dynasty. 

Native minority costumes, a cool display with an electronic component where you could click on different regions in China and learn a lot about the native people there (and their traditional costumes): 

Second major sight in Shanghai was The Bund, a collection of 19th-century European-style neoclassical and art deco buildings buildings along the river that feature my old law firm's new Shanghai office (the grand opening was the week after we were there, but of course my friend took me on a tour since they had already moved into the building), other banks and law firms and luxury shops.  On the other side of the street from the buildings is a large sidewalk with views of the river and Pudong.

Night-time view of the Bund:

Of course on the Bund side, a couple obligatory pictures inside the new Shanghai office of the firm where I used to work:

And you could go under the river to get to the Pudong side from the Bund side via a tourist sightseeing tunnel.  It was really funny.   You got in these little pods and it was like a Disney ride: 

Our night-time view of Pudong from the Bund side: 

Pudong, the "downtown" of Shanghai -- well, it's all downtown, but this is the collection of the tallest of the cities more than 4,000 skyscrapers (with plans for over 1,000 more in the next decade).  We of course went up the famous Jinmao Obsersvation Tower to get way up there, but it was smoggy so the views weren't great.

Looking down inside Jinmao Tower:

Some daytime pictures from Pudong: 


The third major highlight of our Shanghai sight-seeing was Yu Yuan garden, a 16th-century collection of pagodas, pools, bridges, and rockeries that was crowded, crowded, crowded, but so beautiful. Rock sculptures, pavilions, little paths. It's a model of classical Chinese gardening architecture.  Built during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing (1559), as the private garden of Pan Yunduan, an administration commissioner of Sichuan Province.  The area is huge, over two hectares, famous, among other things, for the Big Rockery, the naturally hollowed jade boulder, the Hall of an Emerald Touch of Spring, an opera stage and the inner garden.  It was definitely one of my favorite places in the city.

And of course, we went to see lots of temples, even in Shanghai, since places of worship are one of my favorite things to see anywhere we travel.  In Shanghai, I really liked the Jade Buddha Temple:

And more temples:

And another Shanghai highlight, dinner with a law school buddy and a bunch of his coworkers to celebrate his birthday: 

Nanjing Road (where our hotel was): 

Random cool Shanghai building.  The city was HUGE!


  1. everything is so gorgeous! and full of history!

  2. It's cool to see your pics of Shanghai since Nick and I almost moved there and I've never been there before... interesting to see what our almost-home looks like :D Hope you are having a safe and wonderful trip! Can't wait to read all about your current trip when you get back!!