On our way back to Sydney from the UK, we stopped in Hong Kong as a bit of a buffer before we got back into real life.
We arrived exhausted from tearful goodbyes in London and the twelve hour flight. After checking into the Eaton Hotel and getting settled, we walked down Nathan Road towards the Star Ferry terminal to get a proper look at the city from the water.
Despite jetlag, Oliver & I stayed and watched the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour. To be honest, neither of us were particularly impressed – I guess we have been spoilt by Sydney Harbour New Years Eves (him) and annual trips to Disneyland (me) – so we left before the end and escaped the humidity in an ice cream parlour.
The jewellery store displays were pretty impressive, but I couldn’t help but stop and stare at these pig necklaces, complete with suckling piglets!
The next morning we headed across to Hong Kong Island and got the tram up to Victoria Peak. The rickety old tramline has been running since 1926, which coupled with its steepness, makes for a pretty interesting ride.
Once at the top we were rewarded with spectacular views of the city…albeit for a limited time as the clouds rolled in around us.
Back down the mountain we returned to the close heat of the city, exploring Hong Kong Island a little before making our way up to the ladies market at Mong Kok. Stalls and stalls of everything you can thing of – bags, phone covers, rip off toys. Oliver proved to be extremely good at bartering and we quickly got addicted to the buzz of getting a bargain. We returned to the hotel laden with bags, exhausted and looking forward to a local feast.
My favourite memory of the Asian leg of our big trip was the day we spend visiting the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.
We left the sunshine of sea level and soared up into the clouds in a gondola. Being a sucker for a view, I loved the very different perspective of Hong Kong from above, swapping the cityscape of yesterday for lush green mountains. When we approached the top, the fog was so dense we couldn’t even see the giant Buddha, just the hundreds of steps that we would ascend to see it.
The climb was well worth it, as the sun tried to peak through the clouds when we reached the top, it was a very special moment.
All shopped out, Oliver, Izzy and I decided to opt out of the trip to into mainland China for yet more markets, and instead we hopped on a ferry across to Macau for our last day. With historical Portuguese influences, it couldn’t be more different from Hong Kong. I loved the juxtaposition of Asian fonts on mosaic street signs similar to those I had seen in Europe. We spent a few hours wandering the streets in the sweltering sun, before venturing into Macau’s famous casinos in search of air conditioned respite and lunch.
After almost a month on the go, I was ready to get home to Sydney. The stopover had thwarted our jetlag and sadness at leaving behind family, but it was bittersweet returning after having looked forward to the trip for so long.