Archive for the ‘historical site’ Category

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Wandering East London

December 24, 2016

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

four story brick building

Spitalfields Market

If you have followed our travels previously, you should know that we tend to wander around neighborhoods just to see what we can see, instead of following a typical tourist itinerary filled with museums and touristic sights. We stayed in Whitechapel, but did not bother with the Jack the Ripper tour.

This trip was heavily influenced by the fact that Daddybird has been following the Spitalfields Life blog, so many of the buildings and places we sought out are historical places mentioned in that blog.

neoclassical church colonnade and spire

St Leonard’s Anglican Church, Shoreditch 1740

We wandered into the Shoreditch neighborhood and happened upon St. Leonard’s Church which had a sign announcing a carol service that evening at 6 pm, so we made a point of coming back in time for a bit of Christmas music.

red stone building with arched windows

The Jamaica Wine House – used to be the first coffee house in England ca 1652

Daddybird’s itinerary included buildings like the one above which was the first coffee shop back when coffee was the new, exotic drink.

root beer float

What have we been eating? (surely you wonder about this) Our breakfasts have been English, but all other meals have ranged from Turkish to Pakistani to American. I generally don’t drink soda/pop/cola (whatever you call it), so having a root beer float was a pretty fantastic blast from the past.

fried chicken and waffles

I had not had fried chicken and waffles before, but now I understand. I understand.

See Day 1 pictures here. (129 photos)

See Day 2 pictures here. (89 photos, 3 videos)

See Day 3-5 pictures here. (131 photos)

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Shanghai Sacred Places

December 16, 2016

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

December is time for the Historic Shanghai Sacred Places tour. We enjoyed seeing a variety of religious buildings – some still in use, some turned into museums, and some repurposed to something completely different. To see all the pictures, click here.

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Playing Catch Up

November 5, 2016

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

I have been terribly remiss in posting to the blog. Procrastination is my forté. So, having looked through my photos to see what we’ve been up to since summer, I find:

  • Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
  • Yuyuan Garden
  • Quixia Garden
  • Soong Ching Ling home
  • A weekend in Tokyo

large jellyfish

In early August, we went to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. We got there in the early afternoon and found that there was a very long ticket line. It is open until 9 pm, so we decided to come back later to see if the line would be shorter. Unfortunately, we decided to go to the nearby shopping mall and see a movie in the cinema there. We ended up seeing Time Raiders in 3D on the IMAX screen. The movie itself was horrifically bad. The sound was brain bruisingly loud. 3D always gives me a headache. I was so glad to get out of there alive.

Back to the aquarium, the line was very short by the time we returned, so we went in and found it very pleasant, since there were very few other people there and we could enjoy the exhibits at our leisure. If you want to see all the pictures, click here.

tree framed by a window

In September, we visited Yuyuan Garden for a second time. This time we were with Historic Shanghai and had a knowledgable guide (author of The Classical Gardens of Shanghai) to tell us about the history and symbolism of the garden. Despite the fact that the garden is surrounded by bustling city and crowded tourist shopping, it is amazingly peaceful. To see all the pictures, click here.

Chinese garden wall with vase shaped doorway

In October, we visited the Quixia Garden in Jaiding. We had seen it from the outside on our previous visit to Jaiding. It is a combination of a Daoist temple and three private gardens that were donated to the temple and united into one. It is quite beautiful and was very peaceful. Chinese gardens are not really about plants. They are an effort to bring the mountains (where the gods live) into man’s living space. Therefore, the garden design is more about the structures built and not the plants. Plants are an afterthought. However, this garden has far more foliage than most. To see all the pictures, click here.

framed picture of Soong Ching Ling

Also in October, we visited the museum in the former residence of Soong Ching Ling. If your knowledge of Chinese history is as sketchy as mine was before coming to the country, Soong Ching Ling was one of three sisters who were married to prominent and powerful men – Sun Yat Sen, Chiang Kai-shek, and H.H. Kung. Soon Ching Ling is called the mother of modern China. She was a highly educated and strong woman. To see all the pictures, click here.

Tokyo street

In mid-October, we made a quick weekend rip to Tokyo to crash the vacation of our dear friends Mali and Zarina. It’s hard to do or see much in two days, but here’s what I learned about Tokyo. It is very clean, although public garbage cans are few and far between. Drivers actually drive in the lanes and obey traffic rules. No one jay walks. No one runs red lights, so it is safe to cross the road. It is amazingly quiet, despite the large population.People are very polite. I had the best airport experience, ever. We had a great time being with M & Z. You can see the pictures here.

There. All caught up. I’ll be in Beijing for two days this week, but it is for work and not touristy pleasure, so I doubt there will be much of interest to share about that. Our next travel plan is to head to the U.K. for Christmas. Looking forward to the cold weather, shopping for sweaters (or jumpers, as they say), and visiting another dear friend.

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Catching Up – Lazy Blogger

December 19, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

I have been terribly lazy about posting our adventures. So, I will try to catch you up on the last 2 1/2 months.

ballroom set with formal dining tables

We went to a fancy dinner held during the World Congress on Art Deco at the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Everything was lovely. The food was based on a menu from the 1920’s. Everyone was dressed up.

blue Nanjing metro token

We took a quick weekend trip to Nanjing.

two cats, one white, one tabby & white

Where we met Oliver’s and Bert’s doppelgängers.

statue of Sun Yat Sen

Sun Yat Sen

We spent the day trying to see as much as we could of the Presidential Palace grounds. It is amazing as it contains structures from hundreds of years exemplifying the different styles from the Ming Dynasty to the Republic.

small lake surrounded by Ming dynasty buildings

Ming Dynasty

yellow building with a colonade

Republic – Provisional Presidential Office

This brings us to December. We went on an Historic Shanghai tour of religious buildings, including Daoist temple, Buddhist temple, Islamic mosque, Jewish synagogue, Catholic cathedral, Anglican church, and Protestant church. You may be surprised that these buildings still exist after the Cultural Revolution. Worship was disallowed during that time, but the buildings were kept and repurposed (as storage facilities or factories). Now, the five major religions are allowed to worship (although proselytizing is not allowed). So, the churches have been refurbished and are currently in use.

front of a Jesuit Catholic church

Cathedral of Tungkadoo

inside of the Grace Church

Grace Church

At Grace Church the choir was practicing. They were singing the Hallelujah Chorus in Chinese. No matter what the language, this song brings tears to my eyes.

8 large Christmas trees in the hotel lobby

The tour ended with walking down the Bund to see the Christmas decorations. The Astoria Waldorf had 8 huge trees in their lobby. (Real evergreens, not artificial.)

So, this brings you up to date. We are about to embark on a nine day trip to Xian, the home of the Terracotta Army and the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

To see all the pictures from Nanjing – click here.

To see all the pictures from the tour of religious buildings – click here. The pictures are a bit out of order because I was using multiple cameras.

 

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Historical Walking Tours, Shanghai

April 12, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Statue of Christ above the door of the church

The last two Saturdays we have gone on walking tours with Historic Shanghai. The first included the Jesuit buildings of the Xujiahui area.

Background information: Father Matteo Ricci came to China in 1582. He learned Mandarin Chinese and formed a strong friendship with Xu Guangqi, a scholar and political figure. The Xu family donated land to the Jesuits who built a cathedral and many related buildings.

We began in the Virgin Mary Convent which is now a restaurant. It is very close to the original condition because it was a convent until the 1990’s, so remodeling has been minimal.

five story white building

We began with a lunch composed of traditional Shanghai dishes. All yummy, well, except for the spicy peanuts.

The tour included the convent, the College of St. Ignatius, the biblioteca (library), the cathedral, the observatory, and the orphanage. There were many more Jesuit buildings in this area, but these are all that remain.

To see all the pictures, click here. (113 photos)

The second walking tour was of the Bund. This is on the bank of the Huangpu River. This was the center of the Western business trade. There are several generations of buildings, beginning with late 1800’s to the present day.

We began at the former British Consulate and walked south to Bund #1 the Asiatic Petroleum Company building which is currently vacant. I have included pictures taken before and after the tour while walking from and back to the metro station.

To see all the pictures, click here.  (275 photos)

arial view of the Bund from the 7th floor of a building

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Guyi Garden

February 26, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

oriental garden and lake

We spent the afternoon in Guyi Garden. It was a long taxi ride (76 yuan – $12 USD – 45 AED). The admission is 12 yuan per person ($2 USD – 7 AED), so getting there is the expensive part. There is a metro station, but it is a bit of a walk. We took the metro home, but it was easier to find the place by taking a taxi.

The garden dates to the Ming Dynasty, as does Yuyuan Garden. It has been renovated multiple times since then.

mosaic of lotus blossoms

There is art everywhere – in the stone walkways, in the ceilings of every structure, and in the stone structures. The beauty of nature is not overwhelmed by the human art. They really knew how to balance and co-exist with nature.

rock sculpture

Spring is beginning. Trees are beginning to bloom.

white and dark pink flowering trees

To see all the pictures – click here.

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Disappearing Shanghai

February 25, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

You might remember Dontai Lu, the antiques market. It has been under the process of demolition for months. This picture below is from September 2014.

partially demolished buildings still being used

The picture below was taken this week. Same street.

Dontai Lu area Feb 2015

Now you see it, now you don’t.

We took another stroll through the area this week. About half of the shops were closed, although this may be due to the Chinese New Year holiday. The ones that were boarded or bricked up are definitely closed forever. In a way it is sad, because some of these buildings were very beautiful “in their day,” but their day has passed.

To see all the pictures, click here.