Author: marina

5 Great Things About Visiting Germany

5 Great Things About Visiting Germany

With 2 Germany trips within a few weeks from each other I’ve neglected this blog quite a bit, sorry to the 3 people still reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

I got back on Monday so it’s time to get on with the blogging. Here is my Top 5 of why visiting Germany was awesome.

1. Seeing Family and Friends

Obviously the best part of visiting. I forgot to take pictures because I was having too much fun. So thanks to my sister for making us take that one ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, that’s a castle in the background. When in Germany …

2. Butterbrezeln, Maultaschen und Kรคsespรคtzle

There are 2 Paulaner and a couple other German restaurants and I’ve never been to one of them (with the exception of the Christmas market and a cheese fondue event but that doesn’t really count as German food). I don’t really miss German food in Shanghai that much, there is a lot other great stuff to eat. So far I’ve really craved Maultaschen once, and then we just made them ourselves. However, when I’m home I love eating my way through all the delicious regional food we have and the goodies my mom makes.

3. Driving

Flying down the Autobahn at 100 mph is fun and somehow very relaxing. I wouldn’t want to drive in Shanghai but I love it in Germany. Unless you’re stuck in a massive traffic jam around Stuttgart of course ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Drinking the tap water

Back in Germany we almost never bought water, just drank it straight from the tap. It’s super easy, tastes good and is almost free (important for me as a Swabian ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). In Shanghai we don’t even use the tab water for cooking, so it’s just a nice change.

5. Long summer nights

The sun doesn’t set until 9:30, so I never noticed how late it was getting. These extra 2.5 hours of daylight are fantastic and something I miss here. Eating ice cream in the dark is also fine if there’s no other option ๐Ÿ™‚

And I guess views like this also don’t hurt:

Though my trip was great, I’m happy to be back in Shanghai now, especially since I was greeted with perfect blue skies and relatively mild temperatures (only 33ยฐ!) and low humidity. I’ll back in Germany again a couple more times this year so until then I’ll be eating dumplings, meeting Shanghai friends and enjoying this crazy city that has become our second home.

Surprise visit!

Surprise visit!

I just got back from a Germany trip this morning at 7 am. Why I thought it would be a good idea to fly all night and then go straight to the office I will never know ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it was definitely worth it!

The visit was to surprise my sisters who celebrated their birthdays together last weekend. I managed to plan a visit almost 2 months ago and to keep it a secret until I arrived … which was pretty hard! To sum it up, they were definitely very surprised when I showed up ๐Ÿ™‚ We were very busy having fun but manged to take one slightly blurry picture together.

Besides the birthday party I also met up with friends and old coworkers and we invited both my grandparents over for a barbecue – they didn’t know I was visiting either :). Last Monday was Dragon Boat Festival so I used the chance to hang out with my mom all day, eat ice cream and stock up on summer clothes – today it was 35 degrees in Shanghai.

Also on the agenda: Butterbrezel, Maultaschen, Kรคsespรคtzle, Hefezopf, Pizza from my favorite place and berries and cherries fresh from the garden ๐Ÿ™‚ The weather was great too, I got a good fix of blue skies, sunshine and fresh air.

Time went by so quickly and now I feel even less ready for Shanghai summer. Especially not for this getting dark at 7 thing. I guess it’s good I’m going back again for business trip in a couple of weeks!

Moganshan: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo

Moganshan: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo

Last weekend it was outing time! Our company here gives each employee a budget and an extra day off to go on a trip, aka the outing, with coworkers. Thorben’s department always does something pretty fancy:ย  Japan last year and Vietnam this year – I’m still bugging him to finish his blog post. My department wanted to take it a bit easier so we stayed in China. Our destination was Moganshan, which is a 3-hour drive from Shanghai.

Moganshan or Mount Mogan is both the name of the mountain and the village we spent 2 1/2 days in. Our hotel was located on the edge of the town and – as everything in this area – was surrounded by bamboo. Besides lunch and dinner we didn’t have any planned group activities. The weekend can be summed up in a few words: Relaxing, reading, hiking and eating. Many of my coworkers brought their spouses and kid(s), so you could also call it “31 Chinese and Marina in a bamboo forest.” ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday and Sunday we got quite a bit of rain, so when I ventured outside the air was pretty misty. I joined some colleagues on a little hike to a waterfall on Saturday and then on a bigger one through the bamboo forest and up the hill for some good views on Sunday. Sadly, just because there is bamboo doesn’t mean there are pandas. They prefer a different he climate, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer to see some.

Monday morning we had beautiful weather but unfortunately our bus already picked us up at 10:30am. I took advantage of the sunshine for as long as I could and took lots of pictures. If anyone asks, that’s what Moganshan looked like the entire time ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, it was a very relaxing weekend (especially after all the kids returned to Shanghai Sunday after lunch ๐Ÿ™‚ ) in beautiful surroundings.

Shanghai Sights: Jingโ€™An Temple

Shanghai Sights: Jingโ€™An Temple

Jing’An Temple is a big golden Buddhist temple and the place our district is named after. It is our closest metro stop and the actual temple is a short walk away. We’ve driven past it many many times on our way to work and seen the outside lots of times. Still, it took me almost a year to finally go inside.

The first time I went was at the end of April when a colleague from Germany was in town.

… and I went again with my dad last weekend, so I thought it’s time to finally make a post about “our” temple.

Fun facts

The shrine at the entrance is really tall and people try to throw coins into it for good luck. Dad made it on the first (okay, it was really the fourth) try ๐Ÿ™‚

Jing’An Temple was first built almost 2000 years ago, relocated to where it is now over 800 years ago but then used as a plastic factory during the cultural revolution. In the 1980s it was turned into a temple again and then got renovated in 2010, so that’s why it looks very shiny and new.

Shanghai Sights: M50

Shanghai Sights: M50

This morning we said good-bye to our second visitors: my parents. They only stayed with us for a few days after their 2-week tour through China but we tried to squeeze in some sightseeing in addition to the dumpling eating ๐Ÿ™‚ There were also some spots on the list I hadn’t been to before, so this will be the start of a few posts about the Shanghai sights we saw. Up first: M50.

On Saturday we headed to M50, an art district named after its address 50 Moganshan Road. It consists of many little galleries/studios you can visit with different types of art. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, pottery, jewelry … there is lots to see.

In one store we encountered a rather pushy artist trying to sell us every piece in the space but mostly, you can just wander around and look. While I’m not very into art/ don’t know much about it, I think M50 is a cool place to spend a couple hours exploring.

Chinaversary

Chinaversary

One year ago today I landed in China and started this crazy Shanghai adventure. Happy 1 Year, Shanghai, and thanks for all the memories!

I know it’s a cliche to say this but time really does fly ๐Ÿ™‚ On the other hand, looking back on everything that has happened it’s hard to believe it’s only been one year. To celebrate this day, here is a little review of the past 12 months in China:

After one year I can definitely say that moving here was a great decision. Now if only our families and non-Shanghai friends lived closer, life would be even better ๐Ÿ™‚