11.07.2012 – Time to Say Goodbye…

It has been an extremely impressive and insightful time, which will last in our memories forever. But like anything else, our journey unfortunately draws to an end. For our last day together on the trip, we met at 8.00 am in the hotel lobby after discovering some of the thriving and pulsating nightlife of Shanghai. The excitement among the group was high, since Mr. Rüttimann promised us two surprise visits, about which we had nothing but a vague idea.

During the bus ride, which took roughly two hours, our nice tour guide for today, Alex, first gave us some profound information about the history and present of the city of Shanghai. Afterwards, we were given the opportunity to watch out of the windows on the contrasting city of Shanghai and its surroundings or – more likely – to catch up on some sleep.

Before our arrival at the first destination, Mr. Rüttimann unveiled what we were about to visit: the cashmere factory of Artwell.

We were welcomed by Alfred Lee, the general manager. After a short presentation about the activities of the company, the group was divided into two parts and we were shown around the company’s production area, where we gained a deeper understanding of the value chain of the manufacturing of cashmere sweaters. It was extremely interesting to be directly at the source and to experience the whole process. When we are going to buy clothes for the winter made of cashmere, we will definitely be reminded of Artwell.

After the visit, we made our way to Wuzhen, which people call the Venice of the East.

First we crossed the river by ferry and tried to find a nice place to have lunch in the village, which turned out rather difficult given the already advanced time. However, we finally succeeded and enjoyed a traditional Chinese meal. Then, we strolled along the old houses, the canals and the bridges while enjoying the picturesque atmosphere and listening to the explanations of our tour guide.

However, the heat was a real issue and everyone was soaking wet due to the humid climate, which was extremely fatiguing. Therefore, a warning for potential visitors is in order: business casual dress code is definitely not recommendable! 🙂 Mr. Rüttimann then gave us some questions to deliberate about and afterwards, we returned to the bus to travel back to our hotel.

In the evening, we all met for the farewell dinner at the Yuxin restaurant after an urgently needed shower. The food was delicious and a worthy conclusion of our field trip.

While some of the group return back to Switzerland, many others grasp the opportunity to extend their journey in order to discover the for many uncharted continent of Asia. Popular destinations include Beijing, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Vietnam. We wish each and every one who continues the journey a never-to-be-forgotten trip and hope that everybody arrives safely at his or her destination.

In the end, the time to say goodbye approached, which was fairly difficult since the group grew together quite closely during the time we were able to spend in each other’s company. However, we will always be connected with each other through the treasured memories we have experienced together over the past two weeks.