This post about our two days in Shanghai (and the following sea day last October) is being in Raleigh in early February.
After the relaxing day at sea, we arrived at the ocean entrance to the river that leads up to Shanghai before breakfast.
It was an interesting morning making the slow sail up river past industrial as well as commercial areas.
After a couple of hours we arrived at our pier just a few blocks from The Bund – the riverside walk that is near the center of the city. The view from our balcony was amazing!
After lunch we took the included tour. It started with a bus tour of the city with stops at the People’s Square (I guess it’s a law that every city have one) and in a historic area that has been redone for shopping and restaurants. I guess what works for developers in the US also works for them in China. Anyway, not a terribly enlightening tour but we did see some nice parts of the city and at least one adorable Chinese girl.
As with all the other cities in China, the National Day decorations were over the top.
Vanna points out another building apparently designed by that same architect we have seen previously. Here, it looked like their ought to be a laser shooting out of its top.
Adjacent to the square is the Shanghai City Museum unfortunately we didn’t have time to go inside.
Their were a bunch of pigeons and doves (aren’t they just fancy pigeons?) in a portion of the park. Lots of kids were feeding them including this cutie!
From the square we headed to the shopping stop. The older neighborhood had been beautifully rehabbed.
After a stroll around (we aren’t shoppers), we headed back towards the ship. The final stop was The Bund. From there, you could either ride the bus back or walk the four blocks. We elected to stay at the Bund as the light show was coming alive and it was also a great people watching place. Shanghai Fashion Week was getting started so we aren’t sure how may of the folks posing were models and how many were just getting their engagement pictures made…but boy did they go out!
We walked back to the ship and after dinner sat on our balcony and watched the boat and light show.
It was interesting at 11 pm to watch all the buildings go dark as they shut down their light shows.
The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Mike and I walked downtown towards the metro station which was located on what our guide had described as the Rodeo Drive of Shanghai. We did pop into the Apple Store to see the new iPhone 11 but otherwise we didn’t stop. Along the way, we passed the Fairmont Peace Hotel which was originally the Sassoon House. Our friend Jane stayed here when she visited China after it first opened to foreigners. It’s a beautiful building but quite different than the modern Apple store.
The metro we were seeking was below the Apple store but unfortunately in order to take the train, we needed to break a larger bill so Mike ordered him a green tea with grapefruit drink. It was tasty and HUGE. Of course, after buying it we learned you couldn’t go through the subway gate with food or drink! So we found a bench while he tried to drink it all down.
It was funny to see the handles (with advertising!) which hung low-I really felt like a giant on the subway car.
The train ride was quick as we only were going two stops but it was under the river. We soon popped up right below the iconic Shanghai Television Tower.
While it had an observation deck, that wasn’t our destination. We were headed for the tallest building in China-the Shanghai Tower and the second-tallest in the World. Interestingly, in the same complex are the twelfth and thirty four tallest buildings.
At 128 stories tall, it’s certainly the tallest thing I’ve ever seen. Walking around the complex (probably a four block square area) left is both with sore necks.
Shanghai Tower’s exterior skin is a layer of transparent glass that twists around the circular (and vertical) interior. The double layer of glass provide heat and solar protection without the need to have reflective glass. The twisting is designed to help with wind and the seam down the side acts as a stop to keep winds from swirling around and around the building.
The building is divided into nine vertical neighborhoods-you can sorts see them in the picture above. At the base of each neighborhood is a two story sky lobby where dedicated double decked elevators take you when you visit that particular neighborhood. There are a total of 109 elevators in the building. We tried to get up to one of the upper sky lobbies but didn’t get further than the ground level lobby. It’s pretty swanky though.
To reach the observation deck on the 118th floor, we had to go down two stories and then we took the world’s second fastest elevator up. LBut of course first we got to go through a small museum about other tall buildings, the history of the Shanghai Tower, and models of it. All is this space is obviously used during busy tourist times as queuing space. Luckily that wasn’t an issue for us so we didn’t have to pay extra to “cut the line”.
Soon we were aboard the elevator and took the quick ride up.
It wasn’t quite as fast as that time lapse made it but at 18 meters per second (over 54 feet a second) it took under a minute to reach the top. There was minimal feeling of movement though the ears definitely popped!
The view from the top was pretty amazing including our ship!
But it was the idea that we were looking down on two of the world’s other tallest buildings that really made you realize just how high we were.
Of course there was a gift shop at the top (and another on the way out at the bottom)
The elevator ride down was not quite as fast, “only” 10 meters per second! It took about a minute. Pretty amazing. Here it is in normal time:
After reaching these heights we wandered through the underground mall that connects the three super tall high rises to the metro station and headed back to the other side of the river. Once we got there. We walked back to the ship along a less developed street. During the walk, we again saw lots of folks having their pictures especially the closer we got to the Bund. We could also see the tower we had just descended.
We got back to the ship and after a rest headed to the Chef’s Table for dinner. This is one of two alternative (but still complimentary) dining rooms on Viking. Here they have a menu that changes every three days. We have enjoyed our meals here before and were excited to try a new menu of a California cuisine. We were also excited when we entered to see Walter who had been a waiter aboard Sea when we sailed with Mike’s Mom last spring.
Everything was delicious though we found it odd that the dishes weren’t paired with California wines.
We had some onboard credit so I had the premium selections ($25 charge) while Mike had the included. Some (but not all) of the included were better to our palates than the premium.
We finished dinner and strolled around the upper deck taking in the light show once again before we set sail around midnight.
The next day was a sea day and we spent most of the morning on the balcony. It was wonderful to sit and read and enjoy the sound and sight of the ocean.
We went up to the pool deck for our favorite lunch (or at least one of them!) it was a beautiful day and they had the roof fully open. The pool grill prepares burgers, tuna, hot dogs, and wings to order. So we ordered a burger, dog and ohsotasty onion rings and split them half and half.
After lunch we had our first visit to Orion’s planetarium. This 26 seat theatre is only on two Viking ships. They show 3D movies about the solar system and occasionally use it as a real planetarium. While enjoyable, it is quite expensive to run and takes away a good bit of lounge space from the upper level of the Observation Lounge. It is my understanding that Viking is not putting one on it newest ship.
For dinner this evening, Viking set up the pool deck with various street foods and has a special cocktail. It was a fun evening and after our big lunch having a few (well some) small bites was just right-especially the fresh fruit including one of my favorites-Lychees!
It was a great way to end a relaxing sea day. Tomorrow we are back in Japan on Okinawa.