Monday seems to be the day on which I do some of the tourist activities around Hong Kong. Last week we went up to the peak of Mt Victoria, on Hong Kong Island – the part of Hong Kong which was first settled by the British, when they wanted or needed access to the port of Canton.
On the way across to the tram, we walked up through Chater Square and past St Andrews Cathedral.
The traditional way up the Peak is the tram, of which there are two – connected by a large wire at the top of the peak. As one tram ascends, the other tram descends, passing each other (presumably) in the middle of the line, where the track is divided into two. The slope is very steep, so try not to think too much about the possibility of the wire’s breaking. There may be some sort of braking system on the trams…? These are old-fashioned trams, which seat quite a lot of people in three carriages
The peak is not really the peak. It is close to the peak, but I do not know if people are allowed to walk up to the actual peak. Still from the lookout, there is a wonderful vista of Hong Kong (on a clear day!) On a polluted day, the tops of buildings appear. I have been lucky that most days here have been clear, until the last few days, when it has also (thankfully) been a little cooler
Wisely or otherwise, we set out to walk around the peak. This starts off as a pleasant path – Reminder to self – there is no need to buy the expensive lookout ticket. The view is just as good from elsewhere. Next time save HKD$40. So back to our walk. AS I said it began rather pleasantly, with the path degenerating after a little into a roadway with varying degrees ( or not!) of pavement. The houses here are probably the most expensive real estate in Hong Kong. Mostly well established – with no doubt old wealth, they look out over Hong Kong, the New Territories and the South China Sea. There are trees here! the Island is mostly trees, with a few very dense housing areas at various places. My previous blog concerned my trek to Stanley, but Aberdeen is found here, as well as other bays and of course Central Hong Kong and Wanchai etc.
The roadway seemed to go down forever – I was thinking what goes down has to come up again?….and we thought for a time we had gone off the track. However it started to ascend again and we took a very slippery path by the road straight up, only to find that it ended at a construction site and they were not about to let us across to get back to the tram station terminus, so we had to slide our way down the path once more and continue up the road.
Eventually we found ourselves back at the terminus , looked around the shops and had some over-priced food and drink before setting off down the Peak on foot.
I did this first in 2004, when I was able to follow the tram line itself – mostly in concrete steps. However that has been stopped now and we followed our way down a very wide pleasant road. Again there is greenery here – something you don’t really see in the central parts of Hong Kong. You also realise how steep Mt Victoria is, and wonder at how they have managed to build on such a slope. I think it is even worse than Wellington.
Once mostly down, we managed to get to the Mid-Levels escalator which travels several hundred metres down to Central Hong Kong. However the escalator goes one way….and you guessed it….it was travelling upwards at that time of day. So we found ourselves walking down more steps until we found a friendly looking bar where a beer at happy hour prices was gratefully downed.
This was a real change from the sedentary remainder of an examiner’s week – a journey through Hong Kong Island with its peaks and troughs.