Remember those school trips you would go on in primary and secondary school and you would get all excited because you're going away from campus and exploring something new. Yeah, this is how I felt today. We were taking a free trip to multiple attractions in Shanghai, including Xintiandi, Yuyuan Gardens and a cruise across Huangpu river with dinner on top of that. Being spoilt or what? There were 3 routes to choose from as well but the other two I thought were too common and have already been to some of the places. Either way, all trips sounded amazing!
It was only for scholarship students so half my friends couldn't come which was annoying but despite of that, it was still going to be a good day.
The first stop wasn't planned very well between Aneta, Amy and I. We only had 45 minutes in Xintiandi and as we were all hungry, it was the perfect place to get some food. After hunting for reasonably priced and decent food, we found a restaurant called 'Vintage Element Fresh' which did really nice and light meals, ideal for lunch time. Not realising the time, we only had 20 minutes to order, eat and catch the bus. It got to 15 minutes until the bus was due to leave and we had to say to the waitress to put the food into take out boxes as soon as it was ready. We managed to catch the bus with 5 minutes to spare, walking and eating our food whilst on the way to the bus.
We then headed over to Shanghai's Old Town where the Yuyuan Garden is. Seeing as it was the Mid-Autumn Festival, it was packed with locals and tourists. I am definitely going to return when it is less busy and I have my camera with me (still very annoyed I forgot to take mine). The garden was a maze and very big so you can imagine how many time we went round in circles and ended up in the same places.
The contrast between old and new is amazing when you are walking out of the Old Town as you can see the skyscrapers in the distance.
After the visit to the gardens and a long wait for the bus in unbearable heat, we headed off to the restaurant they had planned for us to eat at. All of this was paid for so the amount of food we were treated to was very generous. It was basically a buffet; they put about 15 dishes on the catherine wheel between 10 of us and we would just help ourselves. We kept saying that this must be the last dish after being given about 10 but they just kept coming, one after the other. As soon as the fruit came out we knew that was the last dish.
It was a really good restaurant with a mixture of dishes; pork, vegetables, rice, noodles, fruit..they had it all and it definitely did not disappoint.
When dinner was finished, we hopped back onto the buses and headed on over to the ferry port. As we were walking past masses of queues, little did we know we had to join one of them. Painfully, and I mean painfully, it was an hours wait in that queue which felt like the longest hour of our lives. As we were approaching the front we were on the verge of giving up, grabbing a taxi and going home. We got in, eventually, yet did not expect the second queue waiting to board the ferry.
In the end, the queues were worth it as the ferry ride was incredible. We paid to get into the bar seated area where it wasn't crowded, as you could barely get to the side anywhere else on the ferry.
An hour's ferry ride along the Huangpu river giving the best views of the lit-up bund was an experience to remember. It was a very clear night as well so those queues were all worth-while.
The ferry ride was the perfect end to the day. With most of the group falling asleep on the bus back, you could tell we were all exhausted after this jam-packed day.