You could accuse me of being a cynic. A big, fat one. See, I’ve seen a lot of amazing things.
Huge, spectacular, memorable and life-altering. Maybe I’m at the point where a monument of beauty and historical significance really has to move me. To tears. Or ripples of joy.
When I was in Shanghai, I sampled a few things.
Hanging with Unbravegirl over a weekend:
Travelers try to pack in a week’s worth of sights in Shanghai. Me? I’m slightly pickier. My gut told me steer clear of Old Town.
My hostel mates warned me about Old Town: It’s cheesy and overdone. China goes overboard again.
Considering their fashion choices, how is that surprising, backpackers?
I’m lazy now, relying on other people (mostly locals) to tell me what to see, so when several said I should check out the Bund, I did listen (with skepticism).
How exciting can a former British financial district be? I saw London, all it did was help me understand why Brits are sarcastic, able to create moving music from misery. Think David Copperfield in the 21st century.
Anyway, back to the Bund. Once you leave the Las Vegas-esque shopping section of Nanjing Road, continue walking east on Nanjing, follow the line of tour buses, you will find yourself in what use to be the center of the British Empire in Shanghai.
It was impressive.
Curiosity traveled through my veins like an uncontrollable line of fire, what would I find around every corner?
My heart pumped with excitement as I discovered building after building.
The Bund is a standing memorial to a bygone era, a museum of exhaustive architecture in one place.
My exposure to British architecture is limited to the 18th or 19th century. The Bund opened my eyes to the 20th century, particularly the 1920’s and 1930’s.
In Chinese history, that time period is also significant because Chang Kai-shek had full control of Shanghai, making deals with European powers like Britain, France, Poland, and many others.
That’s why Shanghai is divided into international ‘sections’, a veritable United Nations in one city. The Bund is essentially one of those areas that was devoted to the banking and financial epi-center of the “Empire” in Shanghai.
What most fascinated me is how China has revitalized this area to make it their own and still retained the brilliance of these buildings.
After exploring the Bund, I found myself at the viewpoint along the Huangpu River, which also leads to Huangpu Park. You gain full view of the colonial buildings from this walkway, not to mention a decent look across to the ultra-modern Pudong area.
Then, I ran into an old Chinese friend.
The boardwalk covers about 4 km and it’s a terrific spot to see the harbor life of Shanghai.
The street views alone are inspiring. I felt time pulling, merging with the modern China.
If you do go, don’t forget to visit the Bund’s famous bull.
If you do anything, this picky traveler can tell you with confidence, the Bund is worth a trip.