Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai
When you get on the internet and do a search of Shanghai, chances are your screen will fill up with photos of the Bund. Full of skyscrapers stretching up to the sky, lit up in beautiful sparkling colors. But walk down south a few blocks, and you will have the chance to step back and time and experience a garden the way it was in the 1500's. The garden was built as a place to provide tranquility and even though it was full of tourists, you could still feel the calming effect of the architecture and waters.
To get into the garden it only costs 6 US dollars and it gets better, I was able to use my student ID to get 50% off admission! Since this is such an affordable place to visit, there are a lot of tourists present. Everyone is sitting around enjoying the peacefulness of the garden and just taking in the beauty that surrounds them.
Some people just sit and relax, others are on guided tours in their native language, children try to feed the fish, and photographers are climbing and crawling to get the perfect angle. Everyone is extremely respectful of one another and there is never any issues with taking turns or getting in one anothers way.
The garden is full of different buildings and ponds. Each pathway takes you into a new part of the garden making it a beautiful maze that you want to get lost in. Unfortunately, you do not have access to all of the areas. It is so disappointing to see a beautiful rock structure that you want to walk through but it has been roped off for safety reasons.
The Yuyuan Garden is my dream backyard. Ponds, rocks, trees, several little sanctuaries, plenty of spots to have a picnic. But if you look up and out beyond the garden walls, you can still see the city and it's buildings towering off in the distance. A nice reminder that despite how modern and busy the world can get we need to find that place inside ourselves that is simple and full of peace.