Xuhui, Shanghai

It wasn't the first time I had thought about Shanghai, but it was the first time I'd contemplated an adventure to the exotic Eastern city.

I thought I knew about China, however it wasn't until I got there that I gained a deeper understanding of its intricate tapestry of culture and place.  It is a frenetic uber metropolis, but the intriguing neighbourhood streets harbour a tranquility and hidden beauty that is very welcoming. 

We step out into the Former French Concession (also known as FCC), where the leafy, tree-lined avenues could be a backdrop from a french film. There is a bustling cafe on the corner up ahead, and by the subtle sounds of coffee machines whizzing in the background, I know we have found our perfect brunch spot.  After devouring too many freshly baked pastries at Farine Boulangerie, we meander through the streets admiring the charming old-world buildings surrounding us in every direction. There are so many stores dotted around here, that we pop in and out at our own pace, until heading out to The Bund for the rest of our afternoon.

People say that the best things are often hidden from sight, and this is the case for the huge sprawling city that is Shanghai. Our wonderful hosts have invited us for lunch at a place called M on the Bund; a delightful rooftop spot with river views. Seeing the city buildings from a great height only adds to the mystery that inhabits this place.

As we start to discover more corners of the city, I am truly in awe and intrigued by all it's hidden gems. Our weekend jaunt doesn't feel like enough, so I know one day we will be back here again.