But of course, we didn’t fly directly from Madrid to Cairns, and since we had the chance to choose another stopover, we decided to go for Hong Kong. I didn’t know the city and Steve had been there so long ago, when it was still under the British rule, that he expected many things to have changed.
We got there early evening, but as any good Asian city, shops and restaurants were still open, and lots of people were still out and around. I love that in a city, maybe because Madrid is “open” 24 hours a day, if you know what I mean. Even though we had eaten lots on the planes, we couldn’t really miss the opportunity to try real Chinese food, so after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we set off in search of a nice traditional restaurant. Easier said than done, since many of the restaurants we wanted to try didn’t have an English menu and we didn’t want to end up eating stomach or something even worse. But finally, in one of the street markets Hong Kong is full of we found this little eaterie where some of the patrons spoke a bit of English and helped us choose. The food, we both had some type of noodle soup, was absolutely delicious. If any of you make it to Hong Kong, be ready to try noodle soup, these people love it and it’s, by any means, one of the most common dishes in any menu.
We wondered around the city for a few hours, stopping at a couple of street markets and we made it also all the way to the harbour, from where the views of Hong Kong Island are just breathtaking, as you can see in the photo.
The next morning we got up early to make the most of the only day we had in Hong Kong. There were only a couple of “turist attractions” I wanted to visit. The first one of the Big Budha, in Lantau Island, and go up to The Peak, in Hong Kong Island. But we also wanted to have some spare time to walk the city, which is the best way to see it.
According to Wikipedia: The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. The Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. It is surrounded by eight smaller bronze statues representing gods or immortals. Like the Daibutsu in Kamakura, Japan, the Tian Tan Buddha is an image of Amitabha Buddha.
The Buddha is 34 metres (110 ft) tall, weighs 250 metric tons (280 short tons), and was the world’s tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha prior to 2007. It reputedly can even be seen from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps in order to reach the Buddha, though the site also features a small winding road to the Buddha for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped.
The Tian Tan Buddha appears serene and dignified. His right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction. His left hand rests on his lap in a gesture of giving dhana. The Buddha faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.
In addition, there are 3 floors beneath the Buddha statue: The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit, and The Hall of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Gautama Buddha, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. There is a huge carved bell inscribed with images of Buddhas in the show room. It was designed to ring every seven minutes, 108 times a day, symbolizing the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.
The Tram that takes you to The Peak is one of the steepest trams in the world, as you can see in the photo. Normally, we wound’t do such a turisty thing anywhere, but the views over Hong Kong from the top of the peak are worth it. We didn’t stay there long as it was really cold and windy, and we weren’t prepared for it. But we were lucky enough to have two of the most famous Chinese icons posing for us. Nice, isn’t it?
Back in mainland Hong Kong we started another search for some food. After walking for what seemed like a very long time, we finally found this place, which was both full and had its menu written in English. Steve went for a safe western option, but I had another of those famous noodle soup with seafood. It was very tasty. On the drinks menu we saw “Salty Lemon Seven UP” and decided to try it. It was a bit disappointed as it tasted as a normal seven up, although Steve said he could taste a bit of salt. I think it was his imagination. I went for an almond milk drink, very nice.
After filling our stomachs we decided to go back to the hotel to get another coat, we were pretty cold. But once in the hotel we were too lazy to go out again and stayed in. At 8pm we were in bed thanks to the jet lag. But we woke up around 12am hungry and guess what? We ended up eating McDonalds in bed. Completely unforgivable!!!