After six days in Luxembourg, I flew to England to visit family and attend the Flying Legends Air Show at Duxford. The air show takes place at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, which is fabulous because you can walk through the hangars and look at old airplanes until your heart is content, and then watch the display! Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit on Sunday so I didn’t see the Red Arrows display, but there were plenty of other amazing airplanes in the air. Imagine seeing nine Spitfires in the air at once, or a B-17 Flying Fortress, or the only airworthy Bristol Blenheim? Actually the Blenheim at IWM Duxford is a rebuilt Bolingbroke, the Canadian-built variant of the Blenheim. There was a formation of racing planes, including a de Havilland DH.88 Comet, and a replica Travel Air Mystery Ship. Anyway, I’ll just put up some photos to show you a selection of the legendary airplanes that were flying that day!
La route préférée pour se rendre à Vianden est de prendre le train jusqu’à Ettelbruck, et ensuite l’autobus № 570. Avant de monter dans le train, il faut acheter un billet de €4 euros (billet longue durée). Ce billet est valable sur tout le réseau national pendant une journée entière! Si vous montez dans un train express, le voyage à Ettelbruck durera environ 30 minutes. Si vous montez dans un train régulier, le voyage durera environ une soixantaine de minutes. Je n’ai pas bien examiné l’écran dans la gare à Luxembourg, donc j’ai pris un train régulier… Le voyage lui-même est beau. Si tu t’asseois à côté d’une fenêtre, (selon moi) le voyage est beaucoup plus agréable.
Le village de Vianden n’est pas grand. Il y a une rivière, l’Our (qui se jette finalement dans la Sûre), qui traverse le village. Il y a un chemin le long de la rive qui permet de prendre des belles photos du château. Si vous vous promenez sur la rue de Sanitorium jusqu’au numéro 39, vous trouveriez un télésiège qui monte une colline voisine. Le télésiège grimpe lentement la colline, donc c’est aussi un chance pour prendre plus de photos du village et de la vallée. J’ai acheté un billet aller simple, parce qu’il y a un chemin qui descend jusqu’au château. Le Château de Vianden fut construit du 11e au 14e siècle. Au cours des années, le château était laissé à l’abandon jusqu’en 1977 où il devint propriété de l’État du Luxembourg. Il est maintenant restauré et considéré comme un monument célèbre du Luxembourg. Le prix d’entrée ne coût pas cher, il faut absolument découvrir l’histoire de ce château!
Le village d’Echternach se trouve sur la frontière allemande. Le voyage de la ville de Luxembourg dure environ une heure en autobus (№110 ou 110) de la Gare Centrale. Le réseau national de Luxembourg est très utile, la fréquence des autobus est très élévée et le prix pour un billet est bas (€2 billet court durée, €4 billet longue durée). Les billets longue durée sont valable sur tout le réseau national pour une journée entière tandis que les billet court durée sont valable que sur les routes dans la ville de Luxembourg pendant deux heures.
Le paysage entre la ville de Luxembourg et Echternach est très beau, mais il faut s’asseoir dans la partie avant de l’autobus car ils roulent très vite et la route serpente dans une manière qui peut donner la nausée! La “gare” d’Echternach se trouve à côté de la rivière Sûre, qui signale la frontière. Ce village est aussi le point de départ de plusieurs randonnées dans la région “Petite Suisse Luxembourgeoise.” J’ai décidé d’abord de suivre un chemin vers Rosport, mais je me suis enfin rendu au village de Steinheim, et puis retourné à Echternach à pieds, un voyage d’environ dix kilomètres. Ce n’est pas facile de faire la randonnée quand on n’est pas habitué au nouveau fuseau horaire. Cependant, la randonnée était très belle. Il y avait beaucoup de formations rocheuses dans le forêt, et le chemin est signalé par plusieurs chevrons et lettres “M” stylisées (qui désigne la région Mullerthal?) peinturés sur le tronc des arbres, donc facile à suivre!
Moien! C’est comment on dit “salut” ici en luxembourgeois (Lëtzebuergesch), une des trois langues officielles au Luxembourg (y compris le français et l’allemand), mais c’est la seule qui a le statut de langue nationale. En fait si tu souhaites devenir citoyen du Luxembourg, il faut au moins réussir un examen du niveau B2 en luxembourgeois. C’est une bonne façon de s’assurer la préservation de la langue!
J’étais dans ce pays pendant une semaine, mais les premiers jours étaient complètement annulés grâce à la fatigue due au décalage horaire. C’est un vol de 9h 20min de Calgary à Zürich et une autre heure (après l’escale) jusqu’à la ville de Luxembourg. Car le vol s’éloigne de l’équateur afin de réduire au maximum la durée du vol, c’était toujours de la lumière naturelle qui traversait les fenêtres. Elle nuit à la capacité de dormir…
J’ai fait une randonnée dans les bois le long de la Pétrusse, rivière et affluent de l’Alzette, jusqu’au quartier Grund, où elle rejoint cette dernière, avec l’abbaye de Neumünster. En marchant à côté de la rivière, j’ai passé au-dessous du Pont Adolphe, pont à voûtes d’une longueur de 153 mètres, actuellement un symbole important de la ville. Puis j’ai grimpé à la falaise jusqu’au centre-ville. La vue était superbe, il y avait même un viaduc qui traversait la vallée. Le centre-ville lui-même était aussi magnifique. Les vieux édifices parmi le palais, l’hôtel de ville se mélangeaient avec les nouveaux édifices. Le centre-ville piétonnier avait un air européen, rues pavées et rempli de boutiques de mode. Le soir, j’ai commandé des crêpes délectables dans un restaurant avec un auvent bleu.
Avant de terminer, je veux aussi dire que les autobus sont remarquables. Tous les autobus sont flexibles, c’est-à-dire articulé. La capacité écrit sur la vignette affichée dans ces autobus est plus de 100 passagers ou passagères… C’est époustouflant que les autobus d’une telle longueur peuvent rouler dans les routes étroites dans la ville, les chauffeurs sachent comment conduire!
This post has photos from Century Park, Jiading and Shanghai Tower.
Century Park (世纪公园)
Century Park is in Pudong, between Century Park station (世纪公园) and Shanghai Science and Technology Museum station (上海科技馆) on Line 2. You have to pay ¥10 for a ticket to get in to the park, but that only works out to about CAD$2. The park is the largest in Shanghai, on 140 hectares of land. It was completed in 2000, and is located at the end of Century Avenue (世纪大道), which is where its name comes from.
There were also some interesting signs. The one above is interesting because I wasn’t quite sure what the difference between the two was. Now I know that 垂钓 means fishing with a rod and 捕捞 means fishing with a net. We don’t have that distinction, and would probably just write “No fishing” and assume that people would know that that includes nets as well as rods.
Jiading is a little bit of a trip from well anywhere. But it is well worth it. From People’s Square Metro Station (人民广场地铁站), you go on Line 2 to Jiangsu Road Station (江苏路地铁站), and change to Line 11 and ride to Jiading North Station (嘉定北地铁站). You could probably walk from the metro station, or, alternatively, take the Jiading #1 Bus (嘉定1路) to the Jiading TCM Hospital (嘉定中医医院) and walk from there.
I visited the Bamboo Carving Museum (嘉定竹刻博物馆), which is really neat. I didn’t take any photos because it is a museum and lighting was poor. Bamboo carving is something that Jiading was famous for, all of the master carvers lived here and they made some really amazing things. You’ll have to visit!
My next stop was the Fahua Pagoda (法华塔). It really stands out from the rest of the buildings in the area. Nothing is quite as tall. I believe it stands about 41m tall. It was originally constructed in the Song dynasty (960-1279) and has been rebuilt across the ages. It is now a protected historical site. You can’t go up the tower, but you can go into the courtyard.
The Pan Jia Garden (潘家苑) is behind one of the fancy hotel complexes in Jiading. They have a villa in the middle of the complex, around which the garden is built.
The Confucian Temple (孔庙) and the Imperial Exam Museum (科举博物馆) are both located in the same location. Unfortunately, the museum doesn’t have many explanations in English, so unless you can read characters, you’ll just have to look at the paintings of various scholars (or skip this one entirely, but still go and visit the Confucian Temple part). On the path that leads to the temple, you can see the wall below with the lions perched on top of each picket. Each lion is supposed to represent one of Confucius’ disciples.
The last stop of the day was the Jiading Museum (嘉定博物馆). This museum talks about the history of Jiading and how it was important. All of the museums in Jiading are free to visit, so for a low budget trip, this would be an excellent choice for something off the beaten track in Shanghai.
Shanghai Tower (上海中心大厦)
The Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, standing at 632m tall. Difficult to miss in Lujiazui, it towers over the Jin Mao Tower (金茂大厦) and the Shanghai World Finance Centre (上海环球金融中心) (which I visited on a previous trip). The observation deck is on the 118th and 119th floor. There are still another nine floors above the observation deck!! Anyway, you get an excellent view of the city from the top. I visited in the evening to take in the lights, much like what I did before. I’m sure it looks fabulous in the daytime as well, so long as it is a clear day with little smog. 上海之巅旅程开始！
吾本来想打字写此篇博客，but then I thought it would be easier to write in English… I have spent the past two weeks in the metropolis of Shanghai in China. I expect there will be several parts to these posts, so I have taken the liberty of calling this post part 1!
I left Canada on 6 June on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver. These flights are now operated using Boeing 787-9 equipment, and the plane I flew to Shanghai had only been introduced to the fleet in May of this year! It was even painted in Air Canada’s new black livery. I also got to see a Cathay Pacific A350 which departed shortly before my flight. I hope that one day I will be able to fly on an A350, and an A380… I’ve been on Boeing 737s, 747s, 767s, 777s and 787s, and Airbus A320s, A330s, and A340s (excluding other aircraft manufacturers), and that still leaves a fair few aircraft types that I have yet to fly on. But I digress… (this first one is flying over the Rockies from Calgary en route to Vancouver!)
It was fantastic to get back on the ground in China. This time around I stayed in a chain of hotels called Motel 168, at a location quite near Tangqiao metro station (塘桥地铁站) on line 4. It was very convenient to get from there to the core of Pudong (浦东新区), called Lujiazui (陆家嘴). It took me a few days to adjust to the new timezone, but here are some photos of the food and of Lujiazui! (The third photo is of duck tongue (鸭舌))
Shanghai is a large, sprawling city with a metropolitan population of some 34 million people. Just imagine that, the entire population of Canada in a single city. But the upside to that is that public transit is fantastic. There are currently 14 metro lines criss-crossing the city, that number will increase in the future as they are building even more lines! Buses also go everywhere, though I suppose it could be a little tricky reading the stops if you can’t read characters, but announcements on buses are made in Mandarin, Shanghainese and English, so it should be possible to get by without too much trouble.
On this trip, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a friend of a friend’s wedding! That meant heading out to Sheshan (佘山), a station that is fairly far away from central Shanghai. They had hired out a ‘villa’ (别墅) there which was very luxurious and spacious. I was in charge of tying ribbons to balloons and attaching little paper hearts to the end of the strings so they were reachable after they had been filled with helium. We went all the way out to Songjiang (松江区) for food that evening, mainly because there was more choice as to what to eat there than in Sheshan.
The following day, the actual wedding took place. That involved lots of interesting things that Western weddings just do not have. For example, when the groom’s party arrived, the bride’s party all made it difficult for them to get in by blocking the door and demanding little red envelopes filled with cash (红包). There were several of these “challenges” before the groom could see the bride. Then there was a tea giving ceremony where the groom gave the bride’s parents each a cup of tea. This was later repeated with the groom’s parents. In the afternoon, we went in a convoy on the road to the place where the ceremony and banquet was to take place, near Songyuan Road (宋园路地铁站). Unfortunately, as this is Shanghai, the roads were jam-packed with traffic (堵车) and so it took us almost 90 minutes to reach the venue. Once there, they had a short ceremony and then all of the guests went into the banquet hall for the dinner. During the dinner, there were several speeches. The bride never seemed to sit down during the dinner, as she was constantly changing outfits and parading around on stage. I didn’t stay for the entire dinner though, because it went quite late, but it was an interesting experience!
Soon after my little excursion to Germany, I made the small hop from the Netherlands back over to England for the Christmas holidays. As Schiphol is such a well-connected airport, I was able to fly in to London City Airport. I thought it would be great to see a bit of London on the final approach as you follow the Thames right to the airport. However, I was foiled by the poor visibility which meant that I could only see the runway just before touchdown. Ah well, next time perhaps! It was convenient to hop on the Tube at the airport and travel to London Bridge station (£4.90), where I did a little walk around a little to see the Tower Bridge, the Shard, HMS Belfast moored in the Thames, and the Tower of London. I even found a bus going to Edmonton Green! Kind of neat for me at least… Although none of the photos turned out as nicely as I would’ve liked because of the darkness.
The wonderful thing about London is that admission to museums tends to be free of charge. So the following day, I decided that I would go and visit the Imperial War Museum (near Elephant & Castle), and the RAF Museum (near Colindale). I know there were lots of other museums that I could’ve visited, but I like learning about war history and seeing aeroplanes. The War Museum was very well done, there are exhibitions on both World War I & II, the Cold War, Afghanistan, and even an exhibit about the British intelligence, namely, MI5 and MI6 (James Bond stuff!!). Overall, I would definitely recommend a visit to anyone visiting London with a vague interest in the subject. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos inside the museum, even though I intended to, so here is the facade so you know what to look for!
After the War Museum, I hopped back on the Tube and headed to Charing Cross station. One of the exits leads to Trafalgar Square, so named in memory of the Battle of Trafalgar against the French and Spanish Navies in 1805. Nelson’s Column, a 52-metre tall pillar erected in 1843, commemorates Admiral Nelson who was killed during the battle. There are other points of interest in the surrounding area too, like the National Gallery, St Martin-in-the-Fields church, the Canadian High Commission, and South African High Commission among many other embassies. It is just a few minutes walk through the Admiralty Arch and along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, St. James’ Park, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, the House of Commons, Big Ben… the list goes on.
Following Trafalgar, I got back on the Tube and headed to Hendon Central. Because Colindale is located in Zone 4, it would have cost much more to take the Tube all the way there, and so instead I walked from Hendon Central. It is a bit of a walk… 2.7km, but it is doable, and the RAF Museum is fantastic! Though I did neglect to take many photos. I could’ve spent all day in there… Definitely recommended as well!! They have a few that are quite special for me, like the Gloster Meteor, deHavilland Chipmunk, Harvard, Vampire and so on… You’ll also see German aircraft painted in the original colours from the war (something you won’t see in Germany).
That concludes the London portion of my trip. I went up to the Midlands to spend Christmas with my family. On Christmas Eve, we went off to Midnight Mass at St Mary’s in Warwick. I can’t even remember the last time I attended a service at a church, so it was quite a novel experience for me. Lots of singing, and standing up, and sitting down, and a lovely choir. We had Christmas dinner on Christmas Day and the meal was absolutely succulent. Afterwards there was Christmas pudding (with rum that was lit on fire), Christmas cake, and a trifle… so much good food!
A few days after Christmas, we went up to Loughborough in Leicestershire to have a ride on a train. Our train was pulled by locomotive №45305, which is a 4-6-0 engine built in 1937. The train ride takes you from the train station in Loughborough to Leicester North and back, calling at Quorn and Woodhouse, and Rothley. At Leicester North, they unhook the engine and drive it around behind the train, re-attach it, and then drive backwards all the way back. There isn’t a turntable… When it gets back to Loughborough, they take it to a water tower, where they fill it up with water, and then hook it up to the train, ready for the next departure to Leicester North. It was very exciting! You can even purchase breakfast which is brought to your seat! Behind the station in Loughborough, there is a shed where they rebuild old engines, and that was really neat to look at. They had a few boilers sitting outside, so you can really appreciate just how big they are. We also saw spanners that were about as big as a man’s leg!!