The trip started at 05:30 in the morning, though struggling to get up, it was not too hard to regain some of the energy afterwards. It is the start of my six day trip to my hometown, Shanghai.
The weather is lovely in Oslo, but the sky turns grey in Helsinki. Accompanied by a good book and the mac, six hours wait time becomes a pleasurable experience:)
My first day in Shanghai
After 9 1/2 hours flight time, I landed in Shanghai International Airport. A good friend who I went to primary school with picks me up at the airport. Having taken all the five days off from her work, she plans to take me around the city and look for some hidden secrets. She’s just got her nice flat refurbished, and I am grateful to be the first stay-over guest.
Before entering the flat, the bush under her tiny balcony catches my attention, it could not be a better welcome. Both of us have limited knowledge about flowers so we can´t figure out what the name of the flower is.
Feeling a bit sleepy, I go for a light start, a slow walk alone the street and a decent talk makes it all a perfect start in Shanghai.
My second day in Shanghai
Having a passion for nostalgia, we head for a place called Tian Zi Fang.
In Tian Zi Fang, the buildings (which used to be a residential area) with their original shape dating from 1933 are well-preserved, and it provides a great insight into the way how people lived at that time. Tian Zi Fang has become an attractive tourist destination, and is known for small craft shops, cafes, pubs and art studios, all with a nostalgic touch.
With the flowery decoration on the front door, it is not hard to figure out what the shop has to offer – soaps, fragrance and essential oil made of all kinds of flowers.
Some of the buildings are still inhabited by locals and they vary in quality. The flat building surrounded by a wall decorated with flowers is a more luxurious one compared to others, which keep a rather simple standard.
There are numerous of cafes and restaurants in Tian Zi Fang offering a wide selection of food. It is certainly meant to suit everyone´s taste. We go for a small, two-story cafe specialised in Italian and Thai cuisines. Sitting in a glass balcony and waiting for the food, we start to study the interior in the cafe. It seems to be a mixture of the East and the West from 1930-40s.
My seafood fry rice with Thai yellow curry is a bit spicy but delicious, so are her spaghetti with salmon and creamy mushroom soup.
Wandering around the streets, there are treasures to be found in every corner, A pottery shop is well hidden at the end of a narrow street. Despite its limited space, mugs, animal figures, vases, and teapot sets are displayed beautifully on the shelves. The owner, who is also the man behind the amazing creations told me, in a rather modest way that he has been doing this for decades, and his creativity has not come to an end, not yet. A couple of mugs become my possession after the visit – a real pleasure.