The perfect Sunday

My Shanghai bikeWarm weather finally has come to Shanghai. Spring 2008 was just a nightmare with gray sky every day for weeks and temperatures remaining around 12 degrees… when they should be above 20. Spring is one of the best time in Shanghai along with autumn… and it has finally started this year. This was an opportunity to spend a great Sunday. A day like this is the best antidote to the restlessness of the city that drives people mad at one point or another.
The perfect Sunday starts with waking up around 9 or 10 am and write or read a little on the balcony. The garden of the old house we live in is full of trees and green leafs have just come out, obscuring the view from all the neighbors. Birds sing in the trees, they create a countryside atmosphere right in the middle of the city. Drinking coffee on the balcony while writing or reading, I just enjoy the view. While Jiajia is waking up, I take my bike to the Paul bakery on Dong Ping Lu a few roads down. I often meet friends in this neighborhood, taking time to chat while buying croissants for breakfast. After eating French pastry and more of the balcony, I jump on my bike again for a trip to the old city.
The peak time of my perfect Sunday is biking along the streets of the former French Concession. I cruise on my bike under the shadow of plane trees. Passing by the old houses, it really feels like I am back in 1930’s Shanghai. I generally take Route de Seyes (Yong Jia Lu) up to Route Delastres (Tai Yuan Lu), then going on Fuxing Lu all along the way. Rue Lafayette (the old name of Fuxing Lu) is a one way street with a large bike lane. Crossing right through the whole of the French Concession, it has kept a lot of its old buildings and is still very charming. The end of Fuxing Lu reach into the old Chinese City… that now exists only in some people imagination since most buildings have been destroyed. Fan Bang Lu and Dong Tai Lu antique markets or Wen Miao Temple book market are my favorite places to go to.
Walking through the lines of shops, one needs a lot of attention to spot anything valuable amongst the stacks of stuff piled around. The most interesting sellers are the ones that get in bulk straight the demolition works. They are not the most appealing but something they have hidden gems. Most of the items are of little if any value… but you may find something interesting. This is when strong bargaining is required as the asking price is often beyond any reason. After shopping, I jump back on my back, going home via one of my favorite coffee place on Route Cassini (Taikang Lu) or Citizen Cafe (Jinxian Lu) and enjoying diner with a few friends. This is my perfect Sunday in Shanghai.

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