With the BRICS conference over, Putin et al back in their own fiefdoms, we were finally able to cross to Gulangyu, the old colonial enclave of Xiamen.
Ceded to the Europeans after the Opium Wars, this small island makes an excellent day trip of walking, sightseeing and a long relaxing lunch. It is particularly delightful because no cars, bikes or scooters are allowed. You get to walk the 5km around the island in peace, only a dream elsewhere in China. In fact, it felt like walking around an Asian version of Lake Como.
For us the main interest was seeing the splendid early 20th century buildings. There are several ex-consulates, including the British and American, and mansions built by wealthy Taiwanese merchants, many padlocked up, looking for their next owners.
TripAdvisor reviews warn that Gulangyu can be heaving with tourists. We were evidently lucky, the well-kept paths and gardens were fairly empty, the conference keeping the cruise ships away.
If you plan to do this It’s important to go to the correct ferry port, as travellers are segregated from the locals, paying more for their tickets, though still a bargain at £10 return for two. You’ll need the northern port at the cruise terminal.