16 Jul 2015

 After leaving Hangzhou, we headed to our last stop and the one most of us were looking forward to; Shanghai. After an hour on the bullet train, we met up with our tour guide and headed to our hotel to drop our stuff off. We then headed into the centre of Shanghai to visit the Gardens there which were beautiful as well as in an odd position being in the middle of markets. Once we'd seen them we were giving a few hours of free time to go around the markets and pick up some more souvenirs for family. I was seriously running low on money at this point and the only thing I really wanted to buy ow was some tea.
A group of us headed to a tea house where we had a tea ceremony which was so much better than the one in Hangzhou as we were also able to try some different types of tea. The tea was still expensive so we headed off to have a look round on the hunt for tea as well as to do a bit of shopping. After the tea ceremony we only had two hours and they flew by and I still hadn't picked up any tea. Before we knew it we were going for our tea before heading to the acrobatic show that had been choreographed by the same man who did the Beijing Olympics. Sadly, you weren't allowed to take photos inside the show so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say it was AMAZING. I had goosebumps for the just under two hours and couldn't stop clapping as well as my face having a constant jaw drop in amazement. I sat next to Mel who by the end was getting very annoyed with me because I've my constant talking during the whole thing; that's just what I do when I'm so amazed! It finished at 9 and we headed straight back to the hotel for an early night because our last day was going to be a long one!

We woke up and, after breakfast, we headed to The Bund, which is a stretch of buildings by a river which is a famous financial district with sky high buildings. It's also where the second tallest building in the world is. We spent some time walking up and down the strip of land across the river from the tall buildings as well as getting some photos. We then headed to the Shanghai World Financial Centre Observatory which was just across the road from the shanghai tower which is the second tallest building in the world. We headed up in a lift that went extremely fast and made my head feel like it was going to explode. The view up there was definitely worth the weird head sensation as you could see for miles. 

After a few hours there we headed back to the bund and were able to do some last minute shopping. I'd accepted I was going to get any tea and Chris had given me a website to have a look at when I was back. Once we'd all met back up, I saw a lot of them had bags of tea and I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to get any but then Lauren, the amazing person she is, bought me some of the Gin Zing tea that I wanted! I was so happy that I got at least one pack of tea to go back with. It's funny how something as small as tea really rounded off the trip for me. We then headed to our final Chinese meal where we reflected a little on the trip. Over the last few days I was growing tired and was ready to go home but at that point I really didn't want to leave. I felt I'd become close to so many people that I probably wouldn't have met during college as a lot of us had never seen each other around college before.
After the meal we headed to our last activity which was the Huangpu river Cruise where we were able to see all the skyscrapers lit up and it was amazing to see! It was a fantastic end to a fantastic trip and I couldn't begin to believe that I had this amazing chance and I actually took it and really enjoyed it. After the cruise we headed straight the airport to catch our first flight to Abu Dhabi before a 4 hour lay over before finally landing back in Manchester. 

Again, I can't really put in to words how grateful I am for this experience because it's not a place everyone would usually go to or get the opportunity to go to. One day, I do hope to go back to Shanghai and explore a lot more as it was probably my favourite of the three places to see and explore and so one day I hope to go back and experience more of China. If you ever get the chance to go to China, don't write it off and please consider it because you won't regret it; the culture and the history of China is extremely fascinating and not a lot people our age know about.

This trip has just spurred me on even more to start planning my own travels after college. 
Do you have any trips planned for the future?
I hope you enjoyed these accounts and I hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

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