Published: September 2nd 2011August 16th 2011
This was just a few minutes from my hotel!
It's my first full day in Macau and I am ready to go! I slept surprisingly well considering how tall my walls aren't and even managed to sleep in! I went to Pacific Coffee for brunch around 10am, thus saving a meal and giving me a chance to read an actual newspaper. It was a lovely way to start things off.
My plan for the day didn't go according to plan. But that's okay since it went even better than what I thought was going to happen.
I set off through Sendao Square and stopped briefly at St Dominic's Church. It was built in 1587 and tucks neatly into a corner of the square. Watching the other tourists was the most fun. For many, it was clear that this was their first time in a church.
I hiked up the hill to the ruins of St Paul. I'd seen photos previously but they didn't do it justice. All that's left is a facade of an old church (built in the early 1600s), the rest of it having burnt to the ground in 1840.
Next to the ruins is the old Mount Fortress, built in the early
1600s as well. From the top of it, in the garden, there are panoramic views of the entire city. The diversity of buildings is astounding. Inside is the Macau Museum. It had been written up as excellent and I love museums, so checking it out was a must. I was not disappointed. Not only was the AC amazing, but so were the exhibits. The museum contained a wide variety of exhibits--staged chronologically--on the Europeans (especially the Portuguese) and the people of Macau and China, discussing how they intertwined, influenced, and helped each other. The whole thing was well done with just enough to fill you but not so much to make you feel overloaded.
Next I check out the old city wall and Na Tcha Temple, both conveniently located right next to the ruins. They war both good photo ops, but not much more. I wandered north, just curious what was up the street and ended up finding a garden and grounds dating to 1770.
I walked back to Senado Square, or tried to, but ended up taking a wrong turn and instead ended up much further south at St Joseph's church. I sat outside under the shade
of a large umbrella, sipping a cold drink for a while, reading my book, unsure what I wanted to do next. It felt good to sit and relax and cool off. I looked at the church and considered not going in--what's another church?--but went in anyway. I'm glad I did. Inside was the most welcoming church I've ever been in. Tall ceilings, painted pale blue, were held aloft by warm yellow walls. This was a place a person could relax and think, rather than feel surrounded by darkness. (I'm not a fan of dark churches since I think they feel gloomy and foreboding.)
Though it was late in the day, I decided to make the trek down to the Mandarin house since it would be closed the next two days. (I had missed that when I made my plans.) It was fantastic. It's a traditionally styled Chinese house with western influences, built in the 1860s. It used to house one extended family, which was the norm. My only complaint was that the videos were only in Chinese and didn't even have English subtitles (all the signs were in Chinese characters, Portuguese, and English).
I walked back up to
the main part of town via Nam Van Lake. I took a brief stroll, enjoying the cool breezes. The water and sky were so blue you'd never think you were so close to Guangdong's factories.
I made my way to Margaret's, tucked away behind some buildings, for egg tarts. I had two of them and declared them some of the best pastries I'd ever had. Noting the rest of the menu, I decided to return for brunch on Thursday (it's closed Wed), eagerly anticipating the egg tarts I would devour.
I had dinner at a Portuguese restaurant. I tried Bacalhao with seafood. Bacalhao is a codfish that's been dried and salted. So my dinner consisted of bacalhao, shrimp, and potato slices, all covered in a bit of cream and them topped with cheese and baked. It was a bit of heaven with a glass of wine and a fine night sky.
There are more photos below