Thousand island Lake Scenic Spot

Located in Chun’an of Hangzhou, Thousand-island Lake Scenic Spot gets its name from the 1,078 islands scattering within the lake. The scenic spot is a national key tourist area and it was rated as a National 5A Level Scenic Spot in 2010. The lake has a water area of 573 km2 and a water storage capacity of 17.8 billion m3. The shoreline of Thousand-island Lake is 2,200 km long, winding between the verdant mountains and green waters like a flickering golden belt. Hence the lake has been given an epithet of “three thousand Xizi” and “the back garden of Yangtze River Delta”.

In 2009, Thousand-island Lake of 1,078 islands was enlisted by the World Record Association as the lake with the most islands in the world. Thousand-island Lake has an average water depth of 34 m and a visibility of 9-12 m, and belongs to the national first-class water. As the hometown of the world famous Nongfu Spring brand of mineral water, the Thousand-island Lake is really the “most graceful lake in the world”.

Recently, “China top ten ecotourism scenic spot” announced the results. Among them, the thousand island lake scenic area with unique natural landscape and good ecological environment, and sichuan jiuzhaigou, jilin changbai mountain, qinghai qinghai lake namco, wuyi mountain in fujian province and Tibet and yunnan shangri-la’s da cuo fanjing mountains national park, guizhou and hubei shennongjia was named “China’s top ten ecotourism scenic spot”.

Outdoors activities are the draw in this ginormous recreation and resort area built around a massive reservoir in Hangzhou municipality’s southwestern corner. There is speed boating, water skiing, animal-themed island-hopping, mountain climbing, biking and hiking options galore — also excellent seafood and everything from budget cabins to five-star hotels.

The vastness of the area almost guarantees privacy and tranquility away from the expected tourist zones.

Chongming Island

Located on the estuary of Yangtze River, Chongming Island is the third largest island in China. Being the largest alluvial island at the estuary of a river and the largest sand island in the world, Chongming Island is also acclaimed as “Door to the Yangtze River, Yingzhou Island (a celestial mountain in fairy tales of ancient China) in the East China Sea”. Chongming Island has been in existence for more than 1,300 years. Now, it covers an area of 1,267 square kilometers (489 square miles), with a population of 635,000.

The whole island is flat in terms of terrain, with fertile soil, luxuriant forests and abundant resources. As a result, Chongming Island has become a famous region where the cultivation of rice and the breeding of fish flourish.

Green Farmland

According to a survey by an authoritative institution, the negative oxygen ion amount in the Chongming Island reaches up to 1,000 per cubic centimeter, and more in Dongping National Forest Park between 10,000 and 20,000. In contrast, the negative oxygen ion amount is only between 10 and 20 per cubic centimeter in the public places of the city and between 100 and 200 in the green land of the city.

Wind Power Generation

The average wind speed in Chongming is 6.7 meters per second, while that in the Dongtan area is even higher, making it the place with the highest average annual wind speed in Shanghai. In 2005, three wind-power generating units of Phase I Project of Chongming Wind Farm started the grid-connected generation. The wind farm, to be constructed in three phases, will realize the generating capacity of 70,000KW upon completion.

A Moment of Serenity

The Xisha Wetland will be built into an eco-demo zone of multifunctional wetland integrating science promotion, research, eco-education, leisure and sightseeing.

Dongtan Wetland

The 30,000-hectare Dongtan Wetland in Chongming, appraised as the National Natural Reserve of Birds, has been designated as the major wetland in the world by the “Convention on Wetlands by United Nations” and has built the national nature reserve of Chinese sturgeon. The area of the wetland is still expanding by over 10 square kilometers annually.

Green Lung

Home to Dongping National Forest Park, the 230-kilometer forest belt around the island and numerous forest belts near the fields and rivers, Chongming, by now a State Designated Eco-Demo Zone, the first of its kind in Shanghai, boasts the forest coverage of 21%. It also has the river network water system, accounting for nearly 10% of the total land area, and the ever-growing shoals.

Flight of Migrant Birds

Braving the great changes in over 1,300 years, Chongming, the largest estuary alluvial island in the world, still keeps the natural environment of blue sky, green land and clean water, soil and air. With flowing river, primitive wetland and expanding shoals, it is an important habitat for the migrant birds in the Asian-Pacific region.

How to Get There:

It is only a one-hour drive from the center of Shanghai to Chongming Island thanks to the Shanghai Yangtze River Tunnel.

Tourists can go to Shanghai Science &Technology Museum, North Zhongshan Road first. Ships from Gonghexin Road Wharf, Baoyang Road Wharf, Wusong Wharf and Shidongkou Wharf all go to Nanmen Port of Chongming Island.

13th July Plantaže

Who were the first to plant grapevines in Montenegro? Ancient Greeks, Romans, Slavs? Or perhaps some indigenous people who had lived here much earlier.

We may never know and maybe it is of no great importance, because for thousands of years the grapevines have been growing here, creating the wine which tells the story about its origins: ‘This is Montenegro – the Country of Wines’!

The viticulture here has been developed over a long period of time and by the first half of the 19th century, the Montenegrin king Nikola Petrovic had expressed his support with the words: ‘Let each soldier, coming from the place where the grapevine could grow, plant two hundred vines.’

The new age for Montenegrin wines had begun. At the Wine Exhibition in London, held in 1907, the Montenegrin “Vranac” won the first prize award and since the second half of the 20th century, the development of viticulture in Montenegro has been led by the company ’13th July – Plantaze’.

The wines of ‘Plantaze’ reflect the unique Montenegrin area, located amongst the Adriatic sea, Lake Skadar and high mountains in the hinterland with a micro climate that stretches across the broad valley of the Bojana River to Podgorica and creating the conditions for producing luxurious wines with a unique character.

The people who work for ‘Plantaze’ believe that the wines are ‘the children of ‘Terroir’ (environment) and that the character and quality of wines originate directly from the vineyards and so they are passionate about making the wines truly express their origin.

Thus, everything they do in the vineyards and wine cellars, they do with great respect to their own country, to their own vineyards and the grapes that grow there.

And that is how they have managed to make the best Montenegrin wines over the past fifty years – wines with a distinctive character given to them by the powerful influence of the ‘terroir’.

The vineyard of the Ćemovsko field is located to the south – east from Podgorica, between the Morača and Cijevna rivers. It covers the surface of 2.310 ha, making it the largest European vineyard as a single complex, planted with over 11.5 million of the grapevines. It borders with the range of bare, limestone hills, defining it as a rocky basin with particularly hot and dry summers and slightly colder winters than experienced in the coastal strip. Extremely low amounts of rainfall and an abundance of sunshine complete the picture of this area which you may imagine in the colours and sounds of hot summer.
Another challenge to which the grapevines face is the soil, hard and skeletal, made of  chalky limestone, intertwined with sand and gravel, with a lot of polished round pebbles. In such an epic battle between the grapevines and the stones, the authentic ‘Plantaze’ wines have been made, the wines are full-bodied with a luxurious bouquet, proving the uniqueness of the vineyard where they were born.
Thanks to this extraordinary area, soil composition and favourable location, the indigenous Montenegrin grape varieties – Vranac and Krstač have been successfully grown in the ‘Plantaze’ vineyards as well as the varieties known all over the world such as: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Caberne Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicant Bouchet, Negro Amaro, Marselan, Petit Verdot and others.
Vranac is an ancient Montenegrin grape variety, the true origin of which has been hidden in the depths of history. Vranac is the king of the imperial kingdom of wines in the Ćemovsko field, viticultural and covers up to 70% of the vineyards. It is produced in eight different varieties of wine such as: Montenegrin Vranac, Vranac pro Corde, Vranac Barrique, Vranac Reserve, Vladika, Premijer, Royal Vranac and sweet Medun.
Krstač is grown in the microlocality, called Nikolj Crkva in the Ćemovsko field, (all efforts to grow it in other world areas, have been fruitless. ‘Plantaže’ is the only winery in the world, to grow Krstač and make the wine of the same name.
A new dimension of the wines from the Ćemovsko field has begun with the opening of the majestic wine cellar ‘Šipčanik’. The old military airport was converted into an impressive wine treasury, based on the principle of the French chateaux, because the wine cellar is located in the middle of the vineyards, in the same country, on the same rock, from which the grapevines grow. The cellar is located at an average depth over 30 m underground. Its form is like a spiral tunnel, 356 m long, 13. 5 m wide and 7 m high. In this impressive space, covering 7.000 m2, the wine is tended to in the perfect climatic and technological conditions. Two million litres of wine, age and mature in the wooden barrels.
Wine roads are most often, comprised of paths and landscapes, culture and customs, wine and gastronomy in a certain wine region. However, it is a rarity to experience a whole area within one winery only and it may come true through a special wine tourism program called ‘WINE ROAD’, organized by the winery ’13 July – Plantaže’. Within different thematic programs, there is a possibility to visit three different cellars, vinotheques and restaurants of the ‘Plantaže’ – through the authentic world of odours and tastes of the Montenegrin land.
Besides the specialties of Lake Skadar, carp and bleak, fresh sea fruits and the finest Adriatic types of fish, the best Montenegrin prosciutto and exquisite local cheese come from the mountains. The local specialties are accompanied with the wide range of ‘Plantaže’ wines – from the sparkling to the whites – fresh or barrique, through refreshing rose wines to the reds – fruity and easy drinking or powerful and aged wines to the special, sweet wines. For the end, there is the authentic Montenegrin grape, made of the Vranac grape variety.
All visitors to the wine cellar ’Šipčanik’ have the opportunity to experince the impressive atmosphere of the unique viticultural wine cellar in Europe, enjoying the unforgettable smells and tastes – in the ’bouquet’ (special offer for visiting the cellar) of Montenegro. Choosing the appropriate program of the wine tasting, the guests discover the authentic world of our autochtonous grape varieties as well as winery’s committment, tradition and philosophy of wines and they have the opportunity to sail on the sea of vineyards in an immense Ćemovsko field in which Vranac rules – the national symbol of Montenegro.

My Destination Montenegro visited the ‘Šipčanik’ recently and we were impressed with what this place has to offer. It really is a unique experience. From the entrance set within green fields with a path that goes through to the yard, where the cellar is situated, amongst beautiful plants: olives, lavender – it looked promising. When you approach the doorway, it looks almost unreal. The temperature drops, (set for the wines sake) and all you can see around you are barrels, full with numerous sorts of wines.

There is a huge dining room where you get the chance to taste the wines with your host or taste some national specialties. Inside, it feels like the King’s dining room, with chandeliers, high-backed chairs and an enormous table with velvet tablecloth.
Many stories and legends were told to us! But the one we remember the best is of the ‘Barrique’ production. Most of the barrels in the cellar were especially made for Barrique production. The Barrels are burned from the inside which adds an aroma to the wine.  These barrels can only be used for maximum of 3 times and then they have to be transform to another use.
Barrique is one of the rarest winers of the ‘Plantaže’ production which is why you can only usually buy this wine in their restaurants on the Skadar lake or Mareza river.
To complete the experience why not take the small train that will take you through the vineyards, and transport through the rich environment that goes in to producing the distinctive wine of Plantaže, wines which are now becoming recognised around the world.

Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory

The Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory was authenticated by Guinness World Records on its first anniversary. It holds the record as the highest observation deck in the world. The 100th floor (478 meters) of the observatory features a special 50-meter-long glass floor. It welcomes guests from all over the world to experience the spectacular bird’s-eye-view across Shanghai.It has 101 floors total and a total building area of 381,600 square meters. The inspiration for the building’s basic shape comes from ancient Chinese appliances, yubi and yucong. The building adopts a sleek and realistic glass and metallic shell so visitors can enjoy the building’s changing appearance depending on the weather and light. The 50-meter-diameter circular hole at the top of the building, in coordination with the design of the Oriental Pearl Television Tower from afar, creates a “moon gate” design, inspired from traditional Chinese architecture to reflect oriental culture’s conception of heaven and earth.

The entrance of the observatory is in Basement 1 on the west side of the building (just opposite the Jinmao Building). Tickets are sold here and visitors can take the elevator directly to the sightseeing platform. Sky arena on F94 provides a perfect and extensive view of Shanghai along the Huangpu River. The 750-square-meter (about 897-square-yard) sightseeing hall is also suitable for exhibitions. Parapets in the window on F97 provide a place to take pictures. The open skylighted ceiling shows ingenuity in design. In good weather, it can be opened, turning the hall into an overpass in the air.  The Sky Walk on F100 is a 55-meter (180-foot) corridor. While wandering on the floor made of transparent glass, you can see the top of theOriental Pearl Tower just in front and feel as if you are walking in the air above the roof of the Jinmao Building. Vehicles, pedestrians and even the whole city seem to be far away, down below.

There is also a beautiful sight of the whole city from the Park Hyatt Hotel. The hotel’s lobby, with cocktail bar, is on the 87th floor, overlooking Pudong. Overlooking the entire city, the 100 Century Avenue Restaurant on the 91st floor appeals to all senses, with a perfect perspective to see the top of the near neighbor Jinmao Building, the full extent of Pudong and the Oriental Pearl Tower as well as many symbolic landmarks of Shanghai.