During my first days in Shanghai I was happy to see that our organization Xu Bo announced a weekend trip to the mountains based on a cheap price for us. So I decided to join this trip like most of the other people of our flat.

We started on Saturday very early at 7am. We went together with Dora and Summer from Xu Bo by metro to the bus station of the travel agency. Unfortunately it was raining this day which made waiting for the bus 30min outside not joyful – I had no umbrella and I was too lazy to get out my rain jacket.

Getting in one of the two buses it was interesting to see that we shared the trip with other Chinese tourists. This was nice as some interesting conversations were able – so we got also kind of cultural exchange. I talked for instance to one friendly man who has already been to Germany for business reasons.

After a 4 hour coach ride into the mountain area we reached our bed for the night. My expectation was that we will go to a rural area and will stay in simple farming houses. When we reached our accommodation I was quite surprised as the rooms were really good and we had even television – ok, we don't wanted to spend our time on this weekend trip in front of a TV, but as if there was staged the football champions league final we were quite happy – actually some of us got up in the middle of the night to watch the match.

After lunch we went to the touristic spot of the East Tianmu Mountain area. We had to climb many stairs - so many stairs, but it was worth it because all of the waterfalls and the scenery in general looked really beautiful – even though it was raining all the time.

Some of us went further up towards the top. The path wasn't finished for tourist but still good to walk by older stairs. On the way we saw some local people that taught us some phrases – a special Buddhism prayer as we realized later. After more and more stairs and seeing different temples in redevelopment we reached a small Buddhism temple that looked quite simple – kind of a interim solution. Some monks invited us to come inside to join their prayer – the prayer the locals on the way taught us. We also got some interesting information of this place. The monks were from Malaysia and stayed for a while at this place. This was a really nice experience offside the general tourism area. After that we went a little bit further almost to the top. As there were no real paths anymore and we had no more time left, so we decided to go back. We had not that much time and so we had to go down quite fast to reach our bus.

Back at our accommodation we had a typical Chinese dinner together. As some of us seem to be hungry all the time we went outside to get some snacks, drinks and so. It was a quite developed area, but surprisingly we could hardly find a supermarket. The first one we found had a really, really small selection of a few goods. And when I asked a fellow, where did you get these chips or that cake I always got the answer…I took the last one. The second one was a little bit bigger but still with a small selection – but I finally got some more or less delicious snacks. Funny thing was that in the room next to this “food store” local people were drinking and dancing. They invited us to join them…and finally on of our group danced with them for a couple of minutes - this was really funny.

Later in the evening we spent some nice time together by playing Chinese board games.

On the second day we left the place after breakfast and had another coach ride of about one hour to the Bai Shui Jian area with again its nice scenery of a lot of mountains and waterfalls. While we were walking uphill we went through kind of a labyrinth with different spots each of “Chinese signs of the zodiac”. So it was the challenge to find your own sign. Thankfully to Dora and Summer we could reach our individual signs as everything was written in Chinese characters. After that some of us decided to take a short funny downhill water trip with a raft - despite a whole-body rainsuit all of them got quite wet after that.

All in all I had a great time during this weekend trip. I really enjoyed the time, visiting a beautiful area apart from the exciting but also very crowded Shanghai as well as spending time with the other people from our group. I am already looking forward to join one of the next weekend tours during my stay in Shanghai.