Shanghai with a touch of Italy, America, France and China

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Fifty km away from Shanghai, you will find a village called Zhujiajiao. Zhujiajiao is like Venice in Italy. It is a village on the outskirts of Shanghai, located in the Qingpu District and was established about 1,700 years ago. The population of Zhujiajiao is about 60,000. We took a taxi to this town but there are bus services as well. It is said that to visit Zhujiajaio without seeing the bridges means that you have not really been to Zhujiajiao at all! The bridges are distinctive and old, built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The old town is connected by 36 delicate spans in different shapes and styles, from wooden to stone to marble. And don't miss the Fangsheng Bridge. It is the longest, largest and tallest stone bridge. We took a short boat tour through the small canals. It's a tourist trap but still nice to experience. The village contains a lot of small shops and tiny restaurants. If possible, avoid the weekends and Chinese holidays because than the village will be fully packed with tourists.

The day after our visit to Zhujiajiao we went to the flagship store of Dragon Fly Therapeutic Retreats in the French Concession district in Shanghai. You can relax with high quality, affordable but luxurious massages. First we tried to have a massage at the Peninsula but that was too expensive. A good alternative is the Dragon Fly. It is absolutely worth a visit but be aware that it is not cheap. Their treatments are excellent! Next to this great spa we had lunch at Al's Diner after our treatments. Al's is not really a Chinese hotspot but based on an American diner. The setting is great. There's a couple of tables outside where you can sit, relax and enjoy the French Concession street life. We wandered around in the French Concession and visited hip artistic small shops with fashion, bags, books and jewelry. It is a nice mix of eastern and western influences.

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Discovering Xintiandi in Shanghai, a historical district combined with modern influences. There is a small museum called The shikumen open house museum. Nice to visit with free entrance. Xintiandi is a combination of modern and historical aspects. There are a lot of design shops and tiny hip coffee bars. It is frankly just one single street next to the museum that is worth a visit. The nice relaxed ambiance instead of the hussle and bustle of most of Shanghai is a nice gift. We visited the French Concession and afterwards we spent some money in the 580, a fake market with all kinds of fake shopping stuff. Nanjing road offers a lot of restaurants. Most of the time you have to go inside a building and take an elevator that brings you to a nice restaurant or bar somewhere in the sky. Don’t forget to visit the Bund when you are in Shanghai. Always nice to see the famous skyline and take a selfie!