Nature in the city

The top thing on every list of things to do in Hong Kong is visiting Victoria Peak.  So that was top of my list!  To get there, I took the metro to Central Station and then walked up to the lower tram station.  I was there late morning, and line was already snaking around the front of the building, but it only took about a half hour to get through the line.  Plus, I got to hang out with Vin Diesel, so I’m pretty much in the Fast and the Furious now.Vin

To get to the top of the peak you ride a tram.  There is a small museum that talks about the history of the tram, which has been in use for 130 years.Tram 1

At the top you’re dropped off in a building that has several souvenir shops and restaurants.  Along with a Madame Tussauds, if you feel the urge to look at candle versions of your favorite stars. You have to take the escalator up a couple of floors to get access to the outside, and then walk around the building for a minute. But once you find the view, it’s amazing! Victoria Pano

You get to look down at the whole bay of Hong Kong!  And from this vantage point you can really see the number of high-rises in the city.  In fact, Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world!Victoria view 3

There are several places to enjoy the view, including a deck area, complete with moon gate. Victoria Moon

And a two-story gazebo.  (Word to the wise, go down to the bottom floor of the gazebo, there are far less people down there, so your chances for a great picture are better.)Victoria Gazebo

There is a path that you can walk down instead of riding the tram.  I didn’t walk all the way down, but I did spend some time on the path, just enjoying the landscape.  I hadn’t previously realized how tropical the climate here is.  I just wasn’t expecting to see so many palms.  Oddly, it made me want to go back to Hawaii.Victoria Palms

After spending quite a while on the peak, I took the tram back down the mountain.  This time I paid a bit more attention to the angle the tram travels at by looking at the buildings next to the tracks.  When you …really look at, it’s pretty surreal!Tram 2

By the time I came off the mountain the line for the tram was so long that they had moved the bulk of it across the street to a large staging area.  I think the earlier the better on this one.

My next stop was St. John’s cathedral, which is the oldest ecclesiastic church in Hong Kong, built in 1849.  This church has been serving the people of Hong Kong since that time and is still very active. Cathedral

I loved the dark wood of the ceiling, which made it feel cooler inside than the temperature outside.Cathedral 2

Near the cathedral I came across a small park called Cheung Kong Park.  I saw some complaints online that the park is man-made.  To that I would like to respond with a resounding “no duh”.  If you looked at the rocks here and thought those were formed in nature, well that’s your own fault.  Even still, that park is freaking magical!  The sounds of city fade almost completely away, there are a ton of song birds just singing their little hearts out, the flowers are in bloom, and there’s a waterfall!  A waterfall for goodness sake!   I could have spent all day in this jewel!

Along the way I also explored the larger Hong Kong Park which is very near Central Station.  This park was a little less magical, but still lovely!  And I saw the cutest little finch that flew away before I could get a picture of it. HK Park

I headed back to the Mong Kok area of the city and to the Ladies Market.  Back in the olden days people used to illegally hawk goods on the street to make money.  In 1975 the Hong Kong government set up 20 different zones called “authorized hawkering zones”, and Ladies Market is one of them.  Originally this area mainly catered to women’s fashion and accessories.  Now they have everything from backpacks and suitcases, to jade carvings, works of art, and your more popular souvenirs.

The market stretches for about four blocks and is a pedestrian only zone most of the time.  It is easy to get lost and enthralled with the stalls up on stalls of items to buy!  Although I spent quite a lot of time perusing the stalls, I am proud to say that I only bought one thing.  You may applaud my fortitude.

From there I found something to eat and headed back to the Airbnb.  I was amazed at how many people were just walking around the area.  The streets were packed!Mong Kok

As you might know, Hong Kong was a territory of England for 150 years, until 1997.  It’s been fun to see the small influences that are still left here.  For instance, they drive on the left side of street, even though the rest of China drives on the right.  Their streets have notes painted at intersections telling pedestrians which way to look for traffic before crossing.  They even use the same outlets as the ones in England.  And half the subway stop names are western.  Having recently been to London, it’s so fun to spot those little things!Look left

This morning I found an English-speaking church to attend.  After traveling for so long without being able to go to church, it was an absolute delight and so refreshing!

Currently I am having my clothes washed, as I was down to my last shirt.  I thought I’d be spending the majority of my day hanging out in a laundromat, but it turns out that here you just drop off the clothes. They wash the them and then you pick them up at a designated time.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s kinda weird having someone I don’t know wash my unmentionables.  But it also makes me feel like a fancy, fancy lady!

Tomorrow I’ll be checking out of the Airbnb and moving out of the heart of the city to the Disney Resort.  Hong Kong Disneyland, here I come!

Categories: China, Travel Diary

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