November 19th, 2019
I spent a few days recently at a company “offsite” meeting in Sanya, Hainan, a island in the very south of China. It’s a bit like a Chinese Hawaii. Not somewhere I’d usually visit but worth going once for the experience.
On the beach
The hotel we stayed in was a self-contained resort and there didn’t seem to be a lot else within walking distance, or even within a short taxi ride. But the hotel did have an aquarium and a water park.
Jellyfish in the aquarium
Carelessly got sunburnt on the first day. In November! But the latitude is similar to Thailand or Vietnam so guess I should have known better…
November 10th, 2019
I sometimes feel a bit nostalgic for the time a few years ago when I would plan epic county-crossing adventures for the weekend. But there isn’t any reason why I can’t do that here in Shanghai, I just need … a goal. And what better goal than walking the entire length of metro line 12. I pass my local station every day, but where does it come from? Where does it go? Today we’ll find out.
I started at the western terminus Qixin Road. The first few hours were pretty boring as this area is mostly residential and I’ve explored most of it already. My own backyard, so to speak. Anyway things picked up when I got to the city centre after eight miles or so.
Qixin Road station
The air quality in the morning was pretty bad so I did the first half wearing a mask. Bit novel for a hiking adventure.
Start of the northern section
The best part of the route is the section north of the city centre to the Huangpu river. West Nanjing Road to Donglu Road if you fancy following it.
Looking at the financial district from Hongkou
I’ve never been to Hongkou before, it’s a really interesting area: a mix of (relatively) old and very new. There was a large population of Jewish refugees living here during WWII and there’s a Jewish museum I’ve made a note to visit in the future. You also get some good views across the river to the financial district.
My constant companion
The eagle eyed might have spotted I missed a station on the map above, Fuxing Island. In my defence it really is an island and would have required a massive detour to get to, and then double back to catch the ferry across the river. I was tired, had a long way to go, and so I skipped it. Maybe I’ll go back another time to tick it off.
The eastern section over the river was unbelievably dull and ended up in some industrial estate. But eventually I dragged myself to the eastern terminus, Jinhai Road station.
Jinhai Road station
Yes I know it says line 9. It’s an interchange station and I guess they forgot to add line 12 to the sign when they extended it here, *sigh*.
October 27th, 2019
Shanghai seems almost totally flat but there’s actually two little hills out in the suburbs to the west at a place called Sheshan (佘山). Just take metro line 9 to the station with the same name and then bus number 92 from outside. The “forest park” is nice enough but the main attraction is a Catholic church and observatory on the top of the western hill.
This basilica has been here since 1924 but there’s been a church of some kind on this site since 1863. I actually came here last October but the building was closed for renovation. This time there was a wedding. Maybe better luck next time…
The observatory was originally built by Jesuit missionaries. There’s an exhibition inside which is worth looking at around, but it’s all in Chinese.
The photos below are a mix of this week’s trip and my original visit last year which I forgot to blog about.
October 19th, 2019
I finally got to fly on an A380 for the first time when I went home last month.
On the way out I got an economy seat upstairs at the front of the plane. More than a little bit excited.
Would have liked to spend a day or two in Dubai. Maybe next time…
October 6th, 2019
I went for a short walk on the South Downs near Willingdon with my parents last week.
Going up the steep hill from the village
This isn’t far from where I grew up but I only got into walking long after I moved away from Hastings so I haven’t explored here at all. Hope I can come back one day and do a longer linear walk, to Brighton, say.
August 11th, 2019
I went back to Suzhou for a weekend recently and visited a few new places, mostly around Mudu (木渎) to the west of the city.
Taiping mountain scenic area
Net master garden
I’ve been to Suzhou so many times but this was the first time I made it to Taihu, one of China’s largest inland lakes.
And finally I visited Mudu old town. But sadly I got there too late to go in any of the attractions.
Mudu old street
May 14th, 2019
I went to Zhouzhuang ancient town a few weeks for a day trip. It takes just an hour or so by bus from Shanghai, and because of that it’s extremely crowded on the weekend and also very commercialised. There’s also not many indoor attractions and museums to visit, just a lot of shops. The town is just 10km from Tongli which I thought was much more picturesque and authentic so you might as well just go there, although I haven’t been back since it got connected to the Suzhou metro. I want to go back to Anhui for a weekend sometime, as I really enjoyed visiting the old towns there a few years ago.
February 28th, 2019
I forgot to post anything from my work trip to Chengdu last year. A bit late, but I saw pandas for the first time ever!
Panda, eating some leaves
In a sort of semi-wild panda sanctuary. The best bit was when one of them climbed up a tree, looked around, and then climbed/fell down again. Otherwise they lived up to their reputation and didn’t do very much.
Panda, in a tree
Two pandas, playing?
December 28th, 2018
Here’s another of these traditional water towns. It would be quite unremarkable if it wasn’t in the Shanghai suburbs, which makes it very easy to get to (it’s actually just a few km from where I live). But this also means it’s full of tourists and very over commercialised. It’s definitely worth an hour or two walking around though. Getting there is really easy: just take subway line 9 to “Qibao” and the follow the signs to the old town.
August 24th, 2018
I was at home visiting my parents last weekend and decided to go out for a walk eastwards through the marshes towards Rye. But I didn’t make it that far and ended up in the ancient village of Winchelsea.
The Church is worth a visit as it’s very picturesque, and Spike Milligan is buried in the graveyard. The day was just a bit too gloomy to be enjoyable though, and the bleak marshland landscape didn’t help.
While I was out I met a lunatic. He announced “this is the year!” and then proceeded to tell me all about how Qanon is right about everything and something I didn’t quite follow about feminists. I think he was from 4chan.
Near where I met Qanon’s representative