When you have a whole day to yourself, you really just want to walk around, wander, and get lost within a city. I was able to pull that off this past winter, taking advantage of one of Shanghai’s many subway lines. I’ve always wanted to go out west, far from center city, and, well, find grass and cleaner air. Funny how modernization works, going to Seven Treasures Street (七宝镇) was a car ride that took hours 10 years ago. Now, it’s a subway ride that took a little over 1 hour.
Oh what to do on the 9 train in Shanghai? You get a little bit of everything, going west to east, or east to west:
- She Mountain (佘山)
For you serious folks, there’s a basilica here, after taking a bus from the subway station. You can get a nice aerial view of the cityscape surrounding the Basilica. Given its far western location, it’s a nice break from the tall buildings, loud cars, and smog. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll see some blue sky. Now as you view the Basilica, your fun loving friends will be venturing to the amusement park nearby.
Happy Valley (欢乐谷)
Roller coasters, horseback riding, archery, and water rides. Sure, their mascots are (cute) ants, rather than mice, but who cares? What’s important is, given the opening of Disney, this park should have very few lines. The one time I went, my cousins and I focused on rides with sharp drops; no one was in that line. Now what I did appreciate was the one time use parka before the water rides to keep me somewhat dry.
- Seven Treasures Street (七宝镇)
Meat on a stick. That’s usually what I crave when I’m hungry, and boy does Seven Treasure deliver. In my 1 hours of strolling about there, I ate what I could only describe as a small pigeon, chicken hearts, duck gizzard, and some fatty fried mystery meat. Mmmhmmm good. And, if you take in that scenic backdrop, it makes for a nice day trip. You can make the pidgeo fly on the bridge! (see pic).
If this isn’t your cup of tea, stop at the two malls surrounding the subway exits for a Starbucks.
- Xujiahui (徐家汇 )
If you took line 1, you’ve been here. But the focus this time isn’t shopping. It’s *gasp* school. The two most famous universities in Shanghai are Fudan (复旦) and Jiaotong (交通). The latter is situated about 2 blocks north of here. You walk in and you’re thinking, oh dear, communist era buildings with fancy cursive Chinese print that I can’t read. Well, you’re right when you enter the main gate. The admissions office and main faculty clubs are genuinely old. But, walking deeper into the campus you get to see where their latest funding has contributed to the campus architecture.
I did some pull ups by the track, with all my gear. Just try not to spill your starbucks latte that you procured from their business school as you walk around the track. Kinda wish I brought my tennis racquet with me, and perhaps my track spikes. But, when on vacation, you tend to not take your bag of gym goodies with you on a one day excursion. No, you save that for the gym in your hotel 😉
Taking in the semi clean air that day, I do think I wouldn’t mind going to school here. Why did my parents even bother taking me out of Shanghai? Oh, right, DUKE!
- Madang Road (马当路)
Noms. I referred to 新天地 in the post on Line 1. Now, I can most definitely tell you to go to Tang Court (唐阁), the Michelin 3 star sister restaurant of its fellow Michelin 3 star restaurant, of the same name, in Hong Kong. I took my grandfather there for his birthday, as a morning after celebration. Ka-ching for making granddaughter of the year.
Some notable dishes to order:
- Goose shaped egg custard
- Crispy skin pork and roast duck
- Crispy fried shrimp and some delicious seafood hodgepodge that was also fried:
- I ordered this mango star dish because the dry ice looked cool (lower left)
Bonus: the restaurant is in the Langham hotel, so you know some high rollers would be staying overnight. The only question is, which baller though it was a good idea to plaster a massive decal on this beauty?
After lunch, take a stroll through the old buildings and, if you want more dumplings, go to the 2nd floor of the mall and hit up Ding Tai Feng (鼎泰丰). This small eats chain originated in Hong Kong and has spread as far as Australia and California. For dumpling lovers, this is most definitely a fine treat.
- Century Avenue (世纪大道)
Taking the 9 train further east has you arriving in Pudong. East of the Huangpu River (黄浦江), you can get off at Century Avenue and stroll your way to the riverside. Along the way, you can see the three towers hovering over the city skyling by Lujiazui (陆家嘴) in Line 2. Now if you get tired by the water and just have to rest up at a riverside hotel with a gorgeous view, take a detour to the Oriental Riverside Hotel. And check the view by the benchpress!