A few reflections on a journey in China and Russia

IMG_3840Shanghai’s new Pudong district
(above and below)


All adventures have to come to an end at some time. Ours finished on Friday when we returned to London on the Eurostar – the fourth and last leg of our train journey from Shanghai to London.

The first leg was a high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing, next a much more leisurely journey from Beijing to Moscow that took six days (five nights) and the third and most luxurious leg from Moscow to Paris’ Gare de l’Est. Our train trip ended a nearly five week visit to China and Russia – an amazing journey.

Before continuing I must thank Hervé for his additional posts on Tuesday while I was away – good to have some gravitas!

Many parts of China were just mind blowing particularly the pace of development over the past 20 years or so. Take the two photos at the head of this post of Shanghai’s Pudong financial district, across the river from the traditional centre of the city. The purple tower was the first new building and this opened in 1994 with all the rest following. A staggering transformation. We saw this view just a few hours after Teresa May had sent her Article 50 letter to start the process of the UK – England only? – leaving the EU. The gap in reality between May’s claims of new global power and what we were viewing in Shanghai was stark indeed.

While away we drank, when we could, Chinese or Russian wine and we didn’t have a bad bottle. Apart from Hong Kong we didn’t see evidence of a wine culture in China. In many restaurants it just wasn’t available, so we drank beer instead. The idea fondly held by some wine producing countries that China, away from the top end, will turn to wine seems far off.

In contrast there is certainly a vibrant wine culture in Moscow along with a buzzy restaurant and café scene, which took us aback. We ate well here. Clearly we were still wedded to the dour tales of Moscow in the cold war period!

Two fine wines:

Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Grace Vineyard 
Our best bottle of Chinese wine 
drunk in a Hong Kong restaurant

2014 Cabernet Franc
Villa Victoria, ANAPA Valley 


In Moscow we chanced upon the excellent Wine & Crab restaurant, not far from Red Square. Here we had to try this very enjoyable Cabernet Franc from Villa Victoria. Notice that the winery rather cheekily plays on the Anapa Valley and Napa – with a large N!


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