This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Jayden’s Shanghai Adventure ~ we recently returned home after traveling with our son Patrick, daughter-in-law Callie, and granddaughter Jayden on a wonderful, exciting and memorable adventure in Shanghai, China. Some would think traveling halfway around the world with a 14-month old is borderline crazy. But given Jayden’s excellent, adventurous nature, and some pretty great parenting, it turned out to be fantastic for everyone.
This is Jayden and today’s post is all about our little Shanghai princess!
There were a lot of “firsts” for Jayden on this trip. It was her first time to travel with Gram and Grandpa, the first time she used her passport, and her first time on an airplane. And, it was the first time for all of us to visit China.
We left early on a Tuesday morning and flew from Washington DC to Toronto where we changed planes and headed out on a long 15 hour flight to Shanghai (I waived to all my Canadian friends!) Shanghai is 12 hours ahead of eastern standard time, so we arrived in Shanghai at 3:00 in the afternoon (or 3:00 a.m. eastern) on Wednesday. I hope you don’t think I’m making this up, but Jayden was terrific for the entire flight. Mom and Dad packed a few (new to Jayden) toys and a Kindle for Kids so everything would be new and interesting, and hopefully keep her occupied for a while. This strategy was brilliant. Jayden was pretty happy about the endless snacking, and going from mom to dad, and then to Gram and Grandpa. Jayden also enjoyed sitting on her mom’s lap most of the trip.
We checked into the beautiful Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre (more to come in another post) and took some time to unpack and rest. We stayed in and ate dinner at the hotel and got a good night’s sleep. We all found ourselves going to bed early each night and waking up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. ready to go. We were on Jayden time. Most mornings we ate breakfast in the hotel, which opened at 6:00 a.m. Jayden enjoyed the buffet, trying all kinds of new dishes (including muffins) and lots of fruit.
Eating breakfast with mom!
Callie carried Jayden all over Shanghai in this pack. If Jayden fell asleep, we turned her around so she could nap a little easier.
Before we left on our trip, friends and co-workers advised us that Chinese women love babies so don’t be alarmed if they make a fuss or try to touch Jayden. We were somewhat prepared, and expected that she would get some attention, but what we experienced was incredible. Jayden was treated like a celebrity during our visit to Shanghai. It was such a constant phenomenon Jayden may have been spoiled a bit with all that admiration! We first noticed this on the Metro coming from the airport to the hotel in Shanghai. But funny enough, it was much more than Chinese women. Everybody including men, women, old and young, were smiling and waving at Jayden and many were taking pictures of her. Jayden embraced the attention and even started acknowledging people that smiled at her by nodding her head slowly, almost bowing, and blowing kisses in the air with cute little duck lips. It was very adorable, and the sweet people of Shanghai loved it, taking more photos and engaging with our son and daughter-in-law.
We spent several days walking and seeing the sights.
This is Nanjing Road, a 3.4 mile pedestrian street that hosts an estimated 1.7 million visitors each day. Ed and I went out on a Saturday night and saw at least that many people haha! We enjoyed the less crowded morning walks most of all.
We also visited the Bund, a waterfront area in the center of Shanghai at the end of Nanjing Road.
We lingered in many beautiful parks … taking time to rest and relax.
Patrick, Callie and Jayden went up in the second tallest building in the world – the Shanghai Tower.
Patrick took a GoPro shot from the top – 110 stories high! (Video coming soon)
Jayden napped while we did some sight-seeing in an older section of town.
Don’t you wish you could sleep like that?! Nothing like a peaceful nap in the ancient Yuyuan Garden.
Yuyuan Garden was first built in 1559 and encompasses about 5 acres. I can’t imagine how much work went into the pathways, walls, buildings, bridges and stone work. Plenty more photos from the garden to come!
Jayden also enjoyed her first international “phone” call while at the hotel.
This must be the first non-smart phone she’s ever played with.
But she seems to know what to do anyway!
What’s a phone cord?
We traveled by subway everyday. All the station maps are listed in English as well as Mandarin making it super easy to get around. Jayden was very popular on the Metro.
Thanks to Patrick’s mad-map skills, we found everything we were looking for including an out-of-the-way Harley Motorcycle dealership.
The subways are cleaner than those in Washington DC but they are terribly crowded. Sardines – we often felt like we were packed in a can. This was a rare sight – an almost empty metro stop – but we were pretty far out of town at the time.
Traveling by subway leaves plenty of time to entertain your daughter.
Each ride on the Metro was very inexpensive at about $1.00 USD. It’s a great way to get around even if the guy next to you falls asleep and gets cozy on your shoulder!
We visited a brand new Hard Rock Cafe in Shanghai, Jayden’s first! If you ever go to Shanghai, remember this one important tip. Never drink the tap water. Bottled water is the way to go. Just saying.
Jayden got her very first swim lesson from her dad who used to be a life guard. This was also her first time in a big pool!
Swimming with mom – she was thrilled!
Patrick is a regular participant in Spartan races competing all over the US. He won this trip to Shanghai to run in a Spartan race by submitting a video describing why they should send him overseas. (We’ll have more on Spartan Races in another post.) We arrived at the venue for the race where Patrick visited with the event organizer. This race was a Spartan Sprint with 26 obstacles and a 4-mile course. Many races are 13 or 14 miles, with some up to marathon length at 26.1 miles.
Callie and Jayden set up next to one of the obstacles waiting on Patrick to come through. Ed and I took video and photos from the other side of the course. It was very exciting to see Patrick race and compete.
Jayden and Callie cheering Patrick on to his next obstacle, he did great! A few of the obstacles include mud.
Family photo time the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre lobby.
We went out early one morning looking for an authentic Chinese Street Food breakfast. Baby J was hungry and ready to eat and so was I!
Jayden loved her first jao bing, or egg pancake. With only 4 teeth, it was the perfect breakfast.
She was very interested in the soup dumplings her dad was about to enjoy.
But no soup for you Jayden!
There it is, we’ve been looking everywhere for the Barbie Dream Bus – haha!
This was Jayden’s first trip to a Shanghai McDonald’s. The food was actually pretty terrific (and we were hungry) and the restaurant was incredibly clean. Did you know that people get married in McDonald’s in Shanghai? They have wedding packages – seriously we saw two weddings in one day, complete with DJ, flowers, photographer, etc. It’s a thing!
We ran into a few more new Shanghai friends while shopping in one of the many, many malls.
We found ourselves making a fuss over their children too – it’s just what you do!
Callie and Jayden did a little dress shopping before we left.
Callie tried on a pretty new green dress, which looks fantastic by the way. Then Jayden tried one on too.
She wasn’t to excited about strange people helping change her clothes.
Our little Shanghai princess!
I guess she didn’t love it – but mom took it home anyway. She’ll grow into it.
Saying goodbye to Shanghai from our hotel. We stayed on the 17th floor and had a terrific view.
And then we said goodbye to our new friend “Frank” (not his real name) who works at the hotel.
Back to the Shanghai airport to jump on a flight home. But first, Jayden enjoyed walking fast on the moving sidewalk.
The return trip was only 13 hours (instead of 15) due to a tailwind. A two hour bonus yeah!
Jayden slept nearly the entire trip home laying across her mom’s lap. She is so smart and a joy to travel with. I wanted to do this post for Patrick, Callie and Jayden, to document their adventure. But I really hope that one day Jayden can read this post and remember what a fantastic time she had. I hope she keeps her great adventurous spirit as she grows. Jayden’s not one to sit and watch tv, she loves to go, and do, and see … everything. Being outdoors is her favorite thing and I would know since we spend every Monday together. Monday’s with Gram. One day I’ll teach her to bake.
The tired, weary travelers on our last flight out of Toronto. Home in an hour!
Thanks for scrolling through another post about our adventure in Shanghai. We have at three more to share over the next few weeks, so I hope you’ll check back. One post will be all about the Spartan race where Ed and I shot video for Obstacle Racing Media and Patrick finished 12th out of almost 5,000 competitors. Seriously – our son is an international athlete! Woohoo! I’ll share some photos from our hotel and a story about their employee “Frank” who was a tremendous help to our family. Finally we have hundreds of photos to edit taken during our sightseeing excursions and we’re working on a few videos too. This is such a fun way for us to relive our trip. I also want to thank Patrick and Callie for letting us tag along. We were thrilled to be able to shoot photos for them and spend lots of quality time together. None of us took cell phones or computers. We were completely unplugged for a week and it was wonderful!
We love to travel and since we are both photographers, we usually come home with tons of photos. Be sure to visit our TRAVEL page for more fun adventures. Thanks to my husband Ed for all the photos he took and shared with us. He taught me everything I know 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by!