When the boy asks ‘do you want to go to Shanghai for the weekend?’ you don’t hesitate to answer with a big YES. With our bags packed and cameras ready we flew up to Hong Kong’s sister city.
I had only ever been in Shanghai for work so this was my first tourist trip and it was amazing. I didn’t want to leave. Our refuge for the trip was a little apartment in an old building on Anfu Lu that we came across on Airbnb. It was perfectly located in the Former French Concession (FFC) with plenty of cafes and shops as well as hawkers selling their wares on carts.
Day one was to be a surprise I was told, I was to bring my camera and was assured I would love it. When I spotted a cute vintage motorbike and sidecar, I said ‘thats what we need, one of those’. Little did I think that was actually what we were going to be sightseeing on. Best surprise ever (might have cried, but sh!). The sidecar belonged to a group called ‘The Insiders‘ which you can hire for full or half day. The driver will take you wherever you want to go depending on what you want to see. I love 20/30s architecture and all things old timey so we drove across the city in search of hidden gems as well as soon to be lost ones.
We were told that due to the popularity of the Xin Tian Di area, older local communities were being forced to move to make way for more shopping areas. Some of the people living in these low-rise homes have stood their ground (for now) and are re-fusing to move, living in an area which the developers have already begun demolishing. It was quite eerie to see, but those that we passed seem to be continuing life as normal.
Driving through the city like we did was by far the best way to do some sightseeing. We whizzed past markets and weaved through busy shopping streets. Truly amazing.
Day Two of the trip started with some yummy breakie and then a wander through the street of the FFC. The FFC is beautiful, the streets are lined with trees, all the buildings are no higher than 3 or 4 stories. Such a contrast to the ever growing skyline of Hong Kong.
We ended up over at an antique flea market where there was stalls aplenty with various curios for sale. It is fair to say that I was more than a little excited by the many vintage tins and random pieces of furniture. I was kicking myself for only bringing a carry on suitcase. That Golden Cock biscuit tin though, that did make it home with me. I HAD to have it.
I also purchased this adorable mini doctors bag for the shop…you can take a peak here
Day Three involved lots of art…gallery and street types. We headed over to the M50 area, an industrial area which has been converted to art galleries. There were many different types of buildings all holding different types of art. There was also some interesting wall art around, I particularly liked the patterns on the bricks.
On another of our wanders we walked down The Bund and I was amazed at how amazing the many hotels and banks are. The interior details had me in awe, you can just imagine what it must’ve been like in the 30s before the war. We nipped up to the roof of the Park Hotel for a drink and stared out over to Pudong and its ever evolving skyline. The world’s second highest building is currently under construction. I am sure it is a remarkable feet of engineering but give me the stone architecture of The Bund over it any day.
Shanghai stole a piece of my heart, take me back. Please!
All photos by me. 35mm Pentax or iPhone.