We’ve decided to take a holiday in May to the Greek Island of Kefalonia for 10 days.
We picked May because we are taking our granddaughter Lily with us, she will be 9 months old when we fly so don’t want to go somewhere too hot, (it’s supposed to be warm during the day and require a cardigan in the evenings). It is also supposed to be one of the prettiest times of year too, many different flowers in bloom
Convenience means we are going to hire a car, so I’ve been researching if we need mini, economy or compact sized vehicle. We will need to fit in car seat, pram wheels, nappy bag, suitcases (large & carry on). Its looking like compact will be required.
Our hotel is not flashy, (great tripadvisor review – 4.5) but seems to be a home from home, family run place where we are staying half board, this should be easier for us instead of self catering with having the little one, and will mean that I will have a break from the day to day cooking. (yeay)
Car Parking in Manchester is my last thing to sort. Then on with planning what we are going to do and where we are going to go – the best bit! So exciting…..
We are at our local Steam Rally where Simon has the ‘pleasure’ of being a part of the event – we clean toilets and pick litter!!
It’s a lovely sunny day and between bin runs we’ve had time to wander the aisles and view the vintage cars, lorries, tractors & bikes. Steam engines and stationary engines (the just sit and chug – no idea why) then there’s all the old fashioned rides, galloping horses, dodgems and even bikers riding the ‘Wall of Death’.
This morning and last night hot air balloons were taking off into the big blue yonder. The speed they leave the ground once inflated was surprising!
Loved the logo badges and couldn’t resist the lorry named Hannah…
Here you can see the wall of death and one of the wagons coming out of the arena, I’m not sure how many there are but there were definitely plenty of them and in a rainbow of colours!
So after a day of shifting dustbins I’m tired and I ache. But it’s been really good fun, got a great team working with us and we kept on top of the rubbish.
It felt so good to have a shower when we got home! Recharging my batteries for day two!!!
Took the metro to Tung Chung to the cable car departure point. Ngong Ping 360. This was amazing 5.7km long, took about half an hour to get there (after an hour of queueing!) We didn’t go for the crystal one, glass bottomed, you can see so much anyway.
IT WAS AMAZING – the views! Such a smooth ride. loved it….
At the top was restaurants and fast food, gift shops and ‘experiences’. 1st things 1st – food!
Whilst eating the Pogo Jumpathon started. Boy! were we surprised, the were great, it seemed a bit of a joke to start with but once they started bouncing, flipping, jumping they had our attention!
The mist had cleared once we’d finished eating so we walked up to the Tian Tan Buddha – a lot of stairs but worth the effort.
The mist came and went whilst we were there – up in the clouds…
On the cable car on the descent we found we were up in the clouds… the mist was rolling over the hills and at times it looked like the cable just disappeared, and we were heading into nowhere. Beautiful.
At Central Station we said goodbye to Hannah…. went our separate ways, hugs tears and more hugs.Back at our hostel we collected our bags from Simon To and then took the train to the airport. We treated our selves to a shower (HK$300! way too expensive but after such a hot and humid day I couldn’t subject my poor neighbour on the plane to me being too smelly!)
Metro to Central to meet Hannah for Breakfast 1st, at McD’s, do syrup pancakes really taste that good in the UK?
We then caught a bus, HK$8 for a ticket to Stanley Market. Winding roads climbing up, quickly making Simon sick despite the Kwells! A beach came into view so off we hopped, and legged it down umpteen flights of steps to get to the beach (and toilet facilities). Repulse Bay, imported sand apparently and only a lot of Chinese people posing for photos, we were the only ones paddling!
A paddle and a drink then back up the steps and on to a mini bus this time (lets see if its any easier for him) HK$3 and 10 mins we were in Stanley. Dropped off at a smart shopping centre, so looked for the beach and food, then market shopping.
Fresh coconuts! have you ever! mmmm they are beautiful, the flesh inside is white and sweet and soft, very easy to scrape out (just like eating a boiled egg!) and they’ve been stored in the fridge so are really refreshing.
We wandered through the market and got a new handbag (BOGOF-buy one get one free) Lots of traditional arts and crafts and small gift ideas. But shopping is exhausting refreshments required, more coconut and a platter of fruit. Time to brave the bus home – poor Simon – but he managed it really well this time.
We arranged to meet Hannah at the Symphony of Lights then go off to eat, she arrived with a number of friends who were staying at the hostel with her and the plan of going to a bar on 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton. Unfortunately we had not read the information where it explains that no one wearing flipflops will be admitted. A fun evening meeting new people, wandering HK at night and food. 😉
Goodbye Time, I do so hate to say Goodbye, Hugs and tears and more hugs, Not sure when we’ll see Mike & Nell again, but they are hoping they to come over next year to the UK for a visit 🙂
We took a midnight flight from Perth to Hong Kong, and arrived at 7.30, early. Stowed our large case and just took hand luggage into the city.
Found the high speed train station and took the train to Kowloon, quick McD’s then got a free bus! Found Nathan Road then the Chung King Mansions.
This is where it suddenly got worrying, we were entering another world, lots of market stalls, people everywhere. We found our lift entrance, and got in, only to find no floor 5, so got out at 6 and walked down a floor. The stair well was scarey and grubby. On floor 5 we knocked on the door of Guangdong Guest House and found a palace! spotless, clean, and a smiling Simon To. He’d offered to store our bags, as check in/out was after 12 and it was still only 9.30am.
Hannah called to say she was downstairs so lets go get coffee! Hugs tears and more hugs, I’ve not seen her since September
I was amazed at the sky scrapers. There were so many, all so different. I walked round with my head looking up and my camera clicking.
These all light up at night with different patterns, but they look amazing at any time of the daythat direction, took the Star Ferryacross to Hong Kong Island (you just have to do it, don’t you) and on every walk way we bumped into more and more Brothers and Sisters. We got to the meeting place and stayed for the Special Talk then our stomachs got the better of us and we found a chinese restaurant to eat, the only one in Hong Kong that doesn’t speak english! But we survived… replenished we found Starbucks for proper coffee, comfy seats and plan making for our next adventure.
The Peak was decided as we were quite near to the tram terminal. There was a queue (the HK’s queue for everything) and we held our place whilst each of us took turns to find a loo! After an hour+, and a decision of should we spend and extra HK$25 to go to the Sky Terrace 428 (not knowing what that was) we voted yes, lets do it. later we worked out it was the princely sum of £2.
After queuing for the tickets we queued for the tram, a red car came into sight and on we climbed. The incline is so steep (I’m sure it was a 45° angle) and half way up we passed the return car. Once at the top we followed everyone like sheep up escalator after escalator up to another ticket barrier – this is the Sky Terrace – up two more escalators to find ourselves on top of the world, in a cloud!
You can wander round the top to take in the views, its very windy (but a warm wind) but as the mist cleared you can see all the city laid out below. Stunning, I found the colour of everything so different here from WA, there its sharp blues, whites, high contrast, but here its all gently blended blues, greys, purple and greens, and they change every 5 mins depending on the mist.
Next it was noodles in a noodle cafe for a pick me up before our descent. We left the top in daylight, it was dark by the time we got to the bottom.
Popped back to our hostel to check in with Simon To, get a key etc and dashed out to see the Symphony of Lights. As all our phones, cameras etc were flat we opted for watching tonight, film photos tomorrow (its on every day 8pm), that we we could really enjoy it all rather than what you see through a view finder. And WOW was it cool! 15 mins of synchronised lights and music.
Found a lovely Japanese restaurant very close to home for tea, made plans to meet at McD’s for breakfast near her in the morning and said goodnight to Hannah
We found a 24 hour metro pass was great value, HK$55 each and it gave you unlimited travel on the underground. We worked it to only need 2 as we got our 2nd one late enough to last us til we were heading to the airport again. The metro is easy enough once you get the hang of the station names, and when you know where you are based it all falls into place very quickly. Although busy I never felt threatened anywhere in Hong Kong.
So back at our hostel we showered in our tiny bathroom and slept like logs til 9am (due to missing a lot of sleep the previous night)
Mike and Nell’s friends Bob & Lisa have a boat – ‘Och Aye the Noo!’ (he’s Scottish) and they offered to take us out on the ocean to see if we could see the dolphins.
Bring your snorkel and bathers (aussie for swimming costume).
The Cut is the gap where we sail out of the bay into the sea, for real, then its all eyes peeled looking for a fin, a splash or a silent glide. Dolphins ahead…..
I could just overload you here with picture after picture of the dolphins, they were beautiful.
Bob told me to drop the ladder and go down into the sea, it was cold… so I just jumped in after 1 step, once you’re in you get used to it quicker don’t you. Then I put on my snorkel and goggles, I’m still a novice and found it quite hard to control my breathing, especially when this grey smiling face came up from beneath me, turning, looking, smiling at me. Then just a foot or so from me he turned and swam away, boy did he tease me, swimming round and round me. They say animals can smell fear, maybe that’s what he worked out, I was petrified, but he just hung about.
We had a couple of little fish and I put my arm out, and ever so gently he took it from my fingers, smiling and watching me. The people in the boat said the screams that were coming out of my snorkel were so funny, but all I could hear was the clicks the dolphins were making, it made the hair on the back of my head prickle, so strange. As the water was deep and I could only see 10-12 feet away I kept trying to turn round and see where they were, then I felt a nibbling on my fingers, the dolphin was playing with me – hoping for another treat? He let me touch his nose, swam past me and I stroked his side, he was beautiful, about 8-9 foot long and had quite a light underbelly.
I was unaware just how many dolphins were round the boat, 2 mums and 2 babies, another large one who had lost his dorsal fin somehow, the one that was hanging round me plus 2 more. Bob has never seen them jump and come so close before.
I couldn’t believe it. I was amazed, it was one of those times in your life that takes your breath away, brings tears to your eyes and makes you smile big time….
Thank you Bob & Lisa for being able to give me such an experience. What a privledge I’ve had!