The first stop on our adventure around China. We'd only planned for a 48 hour stopover to rest up before the trip really began. Our first day consisted of hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop to kick off a new blog series that just went live for my fellow coffee drinkers. You can read more about that here and the first episode from our time Shanghai.
Full of caffeine and with just 24 hours left, we headed out early in the morning to make the most of our short stay in the city.
At first, it kind of reminded me of New York. It has it's very own Times Square in Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street with the bright neon lights and flashing ads that are so iconic of the city that never sleeps. The sound of traffic and not so distant sirens through the night, the hectic streets and sidewalks full of people rushing in every direction, all things that were part of our experience in New York and are also very much part of life in Shanghai.
But, away from the noise, we found some real beauty among the chaos.
We started the morning at Huangpu River, watching locals perform martial arts in front of the cities iconic skyline.
As we made our way back towards the centre of the city we passed small corner stores preparing fresh traditional food right on the sidewalk. We wondered through tight residential alleys and quiet streets full of character and life hidden in plain sight, just a few blocks down from the typical tourist walkways and squares.
When the sun started the set the city was far from going to sleep. It actually came alive in a whole new way. We continued to walk the streets for hours admiring the beautiful details that make up this city at night.
We slowly made our way back to Nanjing Pedestrian Street to check out the lights after dark.
Stretching for over 5km with thousands of visitors every single day, it's definitely the busiest part of the city. But, stand to the side and out of the river of people and it's quite an incredible thing to behold. The road dates back to the Qing Dynasty and many of the same shops are still trading today. An amazing juxtaposition.
Somehow, even in one of the busiest cities in the world we found a quiet beauty.
Walk off the beaten path. Go out well before the sun rises and long after it sets and you will experience Shanghai in a way that few people seem to.