We’re a couple of days behind with our blog mainly due to being off the net for a few days and the effects of jet-leg. We’re much better today but our first day in Auckland totally knocked us for six, Paul especially. It seems that being a seasoned traveller in Europe doesn’t qualify you for long-haul!!
About to fly down to Queenstown from Auckland. Gorgeous weather here.
After arriving late in Hong Kong we didn’t get to see as much on our arrival day as we had hoped. After a fitful night trying to adapt to the new timezone we checked out and set off for our one day exploring.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very good – humid and foggy with clouds over the distant island peaks. We quickly realised that our planned trip up Victoria Peak for the famous views was going to be pointless. So we set off on foot to explore the area around Wan Chai. Breakfast places were few and far between so after a leisurely Starbucks we walked to the Conference centre and the nearby Great Bauhinia which commemorates Hong Kong becoming part of China. I was particularly impressed by the scaffolding up the side of the Conference Centre, a couple of a hundred feet high all made from bamboo poles!!
We then caught the Star Ferry from Wan Chai to Kowloon. Our timing was terrible, the humid, cloudy weather suddenly turned into a huge thunderstorm. Visibility was almost zero, the rain was lashing down, and the crossing was almost apocalyptic!! We didn’t stay on Kowloon for very long. The rain made it too difficult. We caught the Star Ferry back across to Central on Hong Kong Island. Central is quite interesting, lots of shops, government buildings and offices including the famous HSBC tower.
Going back to Wan Chai we eventually sat on the harbour side watching the boats going by. Mid afternoon we left for the airport.
My overall impressions was good, Hong Kong definitely lives up to the popular view of it. Trying to get a flavour of it in a day probably isn’t the best easy though!
Anne here. The flight didn’t start brilliantly. A 3 hour delay because of a lightening strike on our plane’s previous journey. The captain kept saying “the damage is only very minor”. Good job neither Paul nor I are nervous fliers. Also the amount of leg room might be fine for a three hour flight but suddenly seems very cramped for an 11 hour flight, after a three hour delay. My welcome to the world of long haul. But against the odds we both enjoyed the aircraft meals and slept for a few hours.
I was immediately impressed with the efficiency of Hong Kong airport and luxury coach transfer to the hotel. But I was totally, totally amazed by the journey into Hong Kong. You realise what a mad, mad, mad place it is. The most beautiful high domed islands covered in dark green foliage; the harbour is just fascinating; and then these unbelievably dense areas of the highest skyscrapers and high rise flats ever. It is both unbelievably different and strangely as I expected all at the same time.
As we didn’t arrive until 5pm local time, we have had a short wonder around. At one point we did a smart u-turn when the smell of joss sticks from what were obviously lap dancing bars was too pungent and there were more police than pedestrians. But it is all fabulously interesting stuff and we found a lovely restaurant that seemed to have a sensible mixture of tourists and locals and had a meal of about seven different taster courses. Very good.
Will we sleep as our time zones are out of kilter? My eyes are closing already! And after an aircraft seat, the bed looks just heavenly. Good night.
Well we’ve made it to Heathrow. A really smooth journey from Cowbridge. Our neighbour John gave us a lift to Cardiff rail station. It was a cold start. As usual the station was cold and windswept. But first class on the train soon sorted us out with lots of free coffee!
We’d decided to get the Railair link from Reading rather than the Heathrow Express from Paddington which worked out well. Quick, cheap and in a decent bus.
This was our first time in Heathrow Terminal 5. It’s huge and well laid out. The staff have all been really friendly and helpful.
Looking forward to being on the A380 double decker. Shame we’re not travelling first class for this leg of our journey!
Hong Kong here we come!
Well our last day in Wales has been a little dramatic. Anne’s mum felt unwell and the ambulance was called. However a visit to the hospital was avoided and the doctor called after a check-up by the paramedics. Luckily she seems fine and an adjustment of her drugs seems to be already taking effect. A bit of a stressful day for all involved with the prospect of cancellation at this late stage being considered.
Our garden is full of daffodils at the moment and Anne thought this symbolised our last day here in Wales pretty well.