The train pulled into Shanghai at 3.50pm. Considering I didn’t have a map or any notes (just a street name of my hostel), I seem to do pretty well navigating my way around China- of all places! After getting off at People’s Square, I hazily thought back to the hostel directions and remembered I had to take a left; so I did. I walked down the street, and then the street where my hostel was was just on the right! Again, it all went weirdly to plan for someone without a map in China. I stayed at Mingtown Etour Hostel, which I’d definitely recommend. It overlooked a kindergarten and high school, so walking down the stairs meant you could always see the boys playing basketball! Check out the view from the balcony outside the dorm:
Look at that gorgeous sunset! Construction workers on smaller buildings in the foreground, and the giant skyscrapers, including the Pearl Tower on the Bund, in the distance.
The next day, I took a trip down memory lane, and it was weird. I walked from the hostel to the train ticket office, which was down a little road behind the hostel I’d stayed in back in 2014! Using my practiced Mandarin, I was able to book a return train ticket from Shanghai to Ningbo, so I was pretty pleased with myself- and I think the woman working there was too! I had lunch at a local restaurant (beef noodles and a Tsingtao for £1.80), where I’d eaten before, walked through the main shopping street on Nanjing Road, where I’d got a taxi from with my old roommates to a club, and then ended up on the Bund. It was as if I was time travelling, or jumping into an old photograph that comes to life again. Very weird, but lovely! I love the old style buildings in Shanghai, with clothes drying everywhere and so many cables draped high across the street they almost block the view of it.
Later that night I went shopping at People’s Square metro station- some of the major stations have rows of shops everywhere, such a good idea when there’s not much space! Again, I practiced my Chinese in every shop I went in, and managed to buy a blue shirt for £6!
On my last full day in Shanghai, I visited a couple of art galleries and watched the sunset on the Bund. Whilst I don’t mind travelling solo, there are moments when you realise it’d be nice to share that with someone. But it’s never going to stop me from doing what I want to do; I’d rather do it alone than not at all!
I liked all of my roommates I met during my stay; the two Irish girls who I drank at the hostel bar with every night, chatting with the French girl Karin and the German girl Jennie, and then those whose names I didn’t catch (woops) like the American girl who was teaching and studying in China and the Mexican I spoke about shopping for tea with! There’s always a diverse range of people you meet whilst travelling, which is just intensified by staying in dorm rooms!
I was really sad to leave China, and a piece of my heart will always be with it! But the next leg of my journey was taking me to Japan, and I was brimming with excitement….