Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shanghai: Yuyuan Gardens

Chinese Gardens follow the principle that "the works of men should match the works of Heaven." Traditional Chinese Gardens aren't exactly what North Americans would consider a garden...there are no lawns and few flowering plants. My Lonely Planet Book describes, "Chinese gardens seek to create a microcosm of the natural world through an asymmetrical layout of streams, hills, plants, and pavilions (they symbolize man's place in the universe-never in the center, just part of the whole). Symbolism works on every level. Plants are chosen as much for their symbolic meaning as their beauty... Finally, it's worth remembering that gardens in China have always been lived in. Generally part of a residence, they weren't so much contemplative (as in Japan) as they were a backdrop for everyday life."

The Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai were built during the Ming Dynasty.  They were destroyed by the British in the Opium War but later restored to their original beauty.  The original gardens were built by the Pan family and took 18 years to build (1559-1577).
I thought the furniture within the garden was so unique and beautiful.
Outside of the gardens was the Old Town Bazaar.  Here, they had traditional (restored, of course) buildings and lots of good shopping.  My favorite part of the bazaar was this!!!  HELLLOOOO OLD FRIEND!  I spent some good quality time with a blizzard or two here:)
And then it began to pour...for hours!  I found refuge in Dairy Queen for quite awhile.  Then I ventured out to find food until it calmed down a bit.  Everyone had that idea and the lines were out the door.
I stopped at this lovely restaurant because there was immediate seating and I knew I'd understand the menu.  Looks beautiful, maybe even a little classy...huh?  You may have heard of this restaurant back home...I believe it was called...Pizza Hut.

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