Wednesday, 30 May – Hong Kong via Doha
The abominable flight from Athens to Doha, which left at 01:15 in the morning and landed 6 hours later, was mostly bearable thanks to the lie flat seats on Qatar. Their business seat is definitely the best of the airlines we’ve sampled. We only wish it had been a longer flight because 3hrs sleep isn’t long enough for anyone and due to the lateness of the flight, neither of us felt interested in sampling the dining menu. Regardless, we landed at Doha and relaxed in the absolutely massive lounge, was disappointed in the quality of the restaurant, loved the showers and set off for Hong Kong.
Flight to Hong Kong was 7.5hrs so we ate and again was not really that impressed with the breakfast and lunch menu but the seats were great so I got another couple of hours sleep during my afternoon nap. We couldn’t fault the service.
Arrived in Honkers at 8.30pm, did a quick handover with Mum and Dad who met us before their midnight flight to Melbourne, and made our way into our hotel. Hong Kong is very pretty at night. Thursday, 31 May
– Hong Kong
We spent the day exploring a very humid Hong Kong. I was chuffed to see double decker trams, which I’ve only ever seen in museums, so we had to take one. We rode the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak and paid extra for the 360 degree experience, which was overrated, given you get the same view from the Lions viewpoint for free. We also wandered one of the bush paths around the peak. Lunch was very weird - durian and cheese toasty, and purple sweet potato toasty. We paid the princely price of A$10 per toasty for the privilege of trying weird stuff, and they were certainly not worth it from a taste perspective. However, you have to try weird stuff sometimes.
We returned to our hotel and had a swim in the rooftop pool, which afforded a lovely view of HK and we watched the sun set from the water as the city started to light up with approaching darkness.
After showers we went across to Kowloon to eat at the Temple St Night Markets. We opted for a Nepalese restaurant, which ranked #34 out of 7000 restaurants on TripAdvisor.
They had both a Nepalese and Indian menu but we chose to order exclusively from the Nepalese menu. The food and lassi were a bit disappointing in flavour and we were both left wishing we’d ordered the malai kofta instead. The reviews said it was cheap but at A$50 for 3 mains and 2 drinks, we didn’t think it was much cheaper than Australian prices. What we did enjoy, was the egg puffs we found after dinner. They are a waffle with lots of small round puffs (domes) on a square piece, and inside the puffs are ingredients of your choosing. I chose a mocha egg puff and Dwayne had banana. They were very yummy and an interesting way to enjoy a waffle!
We walked to Tsim Shui, caught the Star Line ferry back to HK Island and enjoyed the night time skyline as we crossed the harbour with our heads out the windows like shaggy dogs! Friday, 1 June – transit to Sydney
Our flight didn’t leave until midnight so we did a late midday check out and decided to visit one of the less touristy spots in HK, the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Li
Nunnery. They were a haven of peace and calm amongst a manic city. There is a pond in the middle of the gardens with a yellow multi-tier pagoda on a tiny island reached by a cute, red bridge. There is a manmade waterfall and lots of seats to sit and enjoy the serenity. Across the street the Chi Lin Nunnery has a courtyard of 4 ponds with lotus flowers, turtles and a bonsai exhibition, leading up to the nunnery hall. We were too late to enter the interior of the nunnery so we amused ourselves with the bonsai. The oldest one was 400 years old, which was impressive.
By 6pm we made our way back to Tsim Shui to watch the unimpressive light and sound show on the harbour before making our way to the airport to be impressed at the Cathay Pier Lounge – the best lounge we’ve been to. We relaxed with showers after a hot, humid day and ate our fill before our midnight flight home. Summary
So, after 16 weeks away our journey comes to an end. It’s been a fantastic trip with places we liked and places we loved. I’d return to
Tahoe, Portugal, Northern Spain, France, Switzerland and mainland/west coast Greece. I’m glad we saw Morocco, Southern Spain, the Greek Isles and Hong Kong, but I didn’t love them enough to go back (notwithstanding Granada, which I’d like to ski one day). Every place had its pros and cons and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about travel, is that it’s subjective. What is desirable, beautiful and interesting to me is not really someone else’s cup of tea. I know people who don’t like Paris, yet I absolutely love it. I know others who rave about Morocco but it was just ok for me.
I’ve learnt that I love pretty, postcard places with great landscapes, charming architecture, lots of history and good food. I’ve learnt that Asia is not my thing because the culture, food, architecture and history don’t excite me as much as European or Central/South American history and architecture. I’d rather explore a Mayan temple than a Chinese pagoda or read about Mycenean history rather than Ming dynasties.
I’m thankful to God that He went before us to clear the path of danger. I’m thankful for friends who kept us in their prayers, sent us texts and
emails and commented on our posts so we didn’t always feel like strangers without a home. I’m thankful for family members who were healthy enough and had points and money saved so they could join us for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. I’m thankful that my 93yr old Gran didn’t pass away while we were all overseas!
We will live on the smell of these travel rags for the rest of the year, and while we truly emptied our wallets, we would not have had it any other way! We’ll take these memories with us into eternity.
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