Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Round Lugard Road, Hong Kong

Our long weekend in Hong Kong wasn't quite a garden trip, but we managed to squeeze some green between all the grey... Feeling like the ultimate tourists, we took the century-old Peak Tram, Hong Kong's number one attraction, up the steep hill to the highest top of the island. Probably needless to say, but the Peak platform was a shameless tourist trap, full of utterly unnecessary things being sold for rip-off prices. A quick walk through, and you are out in the green, at the narrow and winding Lugard Road that starts just below the Peak Platform.
The Peak offers an amazing view of just how congested Hong Kong is; small-town girl as I am in the bottom of my soul, I really don't get how people manage to live in these megacities. I love to visit, but after a couple of days I desperately crave fresh air and calm that would be very difficult to afford if living there... It was touching to see, how even in this extreme environment, people had carved their green spaces wherever they could: look at the top of the pink building and to the left of it, and you'll find a couple of (probably very windy) roof gardens on the top of them.
Anyway, the pathway around the hill top could never have felt more inviting than after the knick-knacks of the Peak Platform. From 1921 (see here for some wonderful old pictures of the construction phase - they weren't afraid of heights, those guys...), it was originally built as a promenade, with the sole function to provide a stunning view of the city, the harbour, and the surrounding islands. Needless to say, it still delivers; despite the vegetation that has filled the hillsides since the early days, this is still one of the best (or if you ask me - the best) place to view the city. The walk is about 3.5 km around, so a gentle stroll takes about hour and a half - as in our case, combined with a stop at the two playgrounds found on the hillsides. Below some snapshots - as usual when having my family with me, I wasn't alert enough with my camera, but hopefully they convey at least a little of how lovely this walk is - really recommended if you need some fresh air while in Hong Kong.
One of the viewing platforms, with an original concrete bench still around.

An old Indian rubber tree, first photographed from the way towards it, and after having passed it - with another tourist as a measuring stick showing its huge proportions...
  More jungle vegetation on the hillsides...
 And lastly, a view to the other side of the island, towards the archipelago hiding in haze. So peaceful, and just a couple of miles away from the beehive of the other side of the island. This is where I could think of living - in a little hut amongst the greenery with a sea view ... not so much to ask?

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