But I was equally impressed by exhibitions in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, an interactive museum documenting the evolution of the city and its planned developments for future decades, with a vast scale model of the entire city on the top floor, and by the Shanghai History Museum, located in the basement of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, with its fun presentations of life in old Shanghai.
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But half way the East Coast, in springy Shanghai, the climate felt just right for making long walks through the city’s lively neighborhoods, enjoying the burgeoning blossom trees, watching locals’ activities in the parks, sampling steaming dumplings at a hole in the wall, or strolling over the Bund to take in the grand heritage buildings on the west bank of the Huangpu River, and the cinematic and futuristic skyline of Pudong across the water.
Architectural Styles and Neighborhoods For an architecture aficionada like me, Shanghai was a true treasure trove of fascinating styles: ancient Buddhist temples, grand cathedrals and Russian Orthodox churches, impressive Art Deco mansions dating from colonial 19th century times when Shanghai was divided into foreign concessions, For a few weeks, I soaked up the city’s cosmopolitan flavor from my temporary home on Julu Road in the eastern part of the former French Concession, a leafy neighborhood with atmospheric lanes, tiny boutiques and bistros, little soup joints where they still pulled noodles by hand, and wet markets where locals bought their daily vegetables and pork.
It’s also the best avenue to exchange culture and language.
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One Sunday, I headed for the weekend marriage market in the large and pretty People’s Park.