For the October 2006 issue of MORE magazine, resident Moganshan expert and Shanghai legend Mark Kitto penned a piece for us. Since then, the area has seen a marked increase in tourism. Some go to bike, and some go just to have a day or two away from the hustle and bustle. For many, a meal in Mark’s café, The Lodge, is reason enough to make the trip. In 2006, he wrote,
“The buildings of Moganshan are simple, square, and solid. They were designed to be summer homes. You can't do much to change them. Although where they have been turned into guesthouses their original, wooden windows have usually been replaced with slick, aluminum frames. Inside those there are few traces of the past. Victorian terracotta floor tiles have been ripped out of the bathrooms and functional white ceramic slabs laid in their place, and on the walls of course. But there are still plenty of survivors, houses that have not yet been turned into guesthouses because they are inhabited as grace and favor apartments by the descendants of the carpenters and masons from Anhui who built them for the rich foreigners and the “better class of Chinese”, as they were patronizingly referred to in those politically incorrect days. You can tell those houses apart by the chickens in the yard, a tidy vegetable patch and more oft than not a cast iron ball and claw footed bath full of rainwater outside the front porch. Solid shutters are plastered against their walls, held in place by rusted hinges that have not creaked in fifty years. The residents will tell you stories of the old days, of catching sight of Chiang Kai Shek, tennis parties, and watching over the foreign children splashing in the spring fed public swimming pool.”
We recently revisited Moganshan on a mountain biking trip with Gaia Trips (www.gaiatrips.com). The well-organized adventure started at the Yellow Dragon Stadium. Fourteen of us set out on what was to become a rainy, wet, and totally fun day. Gaia Trips took care of everything from the bus to the drinks, the top class mountain bikes to the Subway sandwiches. Leo, the bike leader, effortlessly spoke in both Chinese and English (Leo: 0571 5683 1224). Though the trip was ended a bit prematurely due to the heavy rain, we still got to cover just less than forty kilometers. Gaia Trips originally planned to take us to a spot to swim, but it was raining so hard that we were practically swimming on the road. The ride was superb. Egrets flew over the rice fields. Bamboo swayed on the mountainside. Participants were light-hearted, and jokes came easy and often. In short, Moganshan has much to offer and it’s only about an hour away.