When I left off last month talking about our trip to China, we had completed out visit to Beijing and were on our way to Shanghai. The air was clear of smog the few days we were there and Shanghai did not disappoint our expectations.
Shanghai reminded me of a beautiful European city with it’s 19th century British architecture and Parisian influence. It’s easy to see whey it’s called “The Paris of the East”. Our glorious hotel, the 5 star Fairmont Peace Hotel is located in a section of the city called the Bund.
The Bund was settled by the British and French during and after the first Opium war in the mid 1800’s. I picked up a book by Rena Krasno entitled “Once Upon a Time in Shanghai,” and she said that where she lived as a child in the Bund before 1949, hardly anyone spoke Chinese. English or Frenchwas all she ever heard. Today the neon lighted high rises reminds one of Las Vegas.
Our next stop was a 4 day cruise on the Yangtze River. The Chinese are very proud of the Three Gorges Dam completed in 2006. We were reminded many times that the dam was the largest in the world. It was interesting to see the cities along the Yangtze and to learn how different life is now for those
1.13 million people that were forced to be rehoused in apartment buildings. I have mixed feelings about taking the cruise on the Yangtze River. If you do go, don’t go for more than 4 days. There is so much more beauty of China that you need to see.
Next stop was Guilin in the northeastern Guangxi Province. Guilin is one of the most scenic places in China. We visited the Reed Flute Cave also knows and “The Palace of Natural Arts”. This cave is a 787 foot water eroded cave with stalagmites and stalactites, stone pillars, stone curtains, birds, plants and animals in fantastic shapes and colors. A must see if you go to Guilin.
The day cruise on the Li River which flows from Guilin to Yangshuo for 52 miles is breathtakingly beautiful. The Karst topography is one of the largest in the world. 70 million years of the receding water in Guilin bared hills made from limestone and dolomite rocks. It’s hard to describe the natural beauty.
We ended our day cruise in Yangshuo where we stayed at the beautiful Banyan Tree Resort for a night. A zen like experience that you should treat yourself if you ever make it to China!