Last month I visited Thames Town a British inspired town in Shanghai created by the “One City, Nine Town” initiative. I was back in Shanghai for the weekend so I decided to visit another European inspired town.
I choose Luodian which is a Swedish inspired town. To get there I rode the 7 line till the last stop. While still on the train I could see of some the Scandinavian architecture which clearly did not belong in the outskirts of Shanghai, China. Once I was out the station I could see a castle in the distance. I decided to ditch the bus and go by foot. I headed toward the castle.
This castle did not belong next to Chinese stores but there it was loud and proud. I was ready to see more. According to my Google maps it wanted me to go the opposite way of the other Scandinavian building I vaguely saw. I went with the map and kept walking. I passed gated communities and then it dramatically changed as I crossed the street to working class life in China. Still no Scandinavian buildings. My phone died but I decided to be a good girl scout and explore without it. I kept walking. And I walked some more. Then I saw a it: a very large sign that showed the Scanavian town. I asked a lady if it was “that way” but she did not know.
I walked straight but instead of finding Scandinavian architecture I found traditional Chinese. I asked some young people for help but they didn’t really know either. I decided it was best to back track to the castle. I grabbed some fried bread and walked past the working class area and then the gated community. Along the day way I had a construction worker shout “Hello!” but my Starbucks latte from earlier put me in a good mood so I just shouted “Ni hao!” five times. I definitely was in a different Shanghai then the one full of western stores and many foreigners. But at least the bread was cheap.
I got some better photos of the castle and started walking around. And then I finally saw more of Sweden… I mean, Luodian. I could vaguely could see it through bushes and trees. This meant I had to walk around a big block.
As I started walking I saw my first sign. And then I saw another.
I walked around looking for this Scandinavian town. I saw some more colorful buildings, lots of Chinese restaurants, and a hotel. And I did see the naked statues that were mentioned on someone’s blog.
I was back near the train station and saw a Starbucks. I charged my phone and Googled Luodian town yet again. I had found it and I was there and I passed by it. It was just so Chinese that I didn’t know I had found it. Thames Town was so in-your-face-trying-to-be-British. Let’s put statues of British people everywhere! Princess Diana! Winston Churchill! Harry Potter! And we will even had the police officers where red coats cause we are that British! There was nothing Scandinavian about this town besides the farm shaped buildings. It was not trying to be Scandinavian at all. Everything was so Chinese. I decided to go again and look at it with a new perspective. My phone was recharged and I was recharged after an iced tea and going to the bathroom at KFC.
I went up some broken escalators and took this picture of the castle. While taking the photo a Chinese stringed instrument was playing over a speaker. It was one of my favorite moments of the day. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
I walked around more and saw the local Chinese life inside Scandinavian buildings.
There was also an area with props for wedding photography and even included a white grand piano. I also saw another foreigner, an Australian with a big camera.
With my new perspective and by being careful to not fall into the man made pond, I got the photos I wanted.
Going back I walked by the lake. Many people were there fishing, selling trinkets and paintings, and enjoying the weekend. It seemed like this happened often.
Luodian Town was so completely different than Thames Town so I am really glad I made the trek and went out there even if I got lost along the way.
How to get there: take the 7 train to the last stop, to Meilanhu. Go to Exit 1 and walk towards the lake.