small city with a big soul – hong kong

It lives around 7,5 million people in Hong Kong! So I suppose looking at cities like Manila, Istanbul, Tokyo, Moscow and Shanghai … is it a small city.  But compare to Stockholm with it nearly 1 million is it big.

After our well-needed nap … after our’s 24 hours awakening. We came back to life around 5pm and it was time to get ready for Hong Kong by night.

We started our evening with a Mojito that we ordered at the hotel’s bar & restaurant. They cost me one arm and it was the worst Mojito ever. They had forgotten the sugar stock???!!! But we decided to suffer through it up on the roof deck on 40’s floor. To get there we had taken the life from the restaurant on 38’s floor down to the reception and there take the special lift up to the roof.

Breathtaking view over the harbour, but so windy and nowhere to sit down in shelter from the strong wind. It was a forgotten area of the hotel, that couldn’t have been so inviting. That view is priceless. Extremely windy and in combination with the Mojitos we gave up quickly, but at least we gave it an honest try.

Our first evening we had our dining adventure was at a little French bistro, Scarlett Café & Wine Bar on Austin Ave, just off Chatham Rd about 10 min walk from the hotel. Fantastic food, fantastic atmosphere and great service… and every table was taken. We both had mussels as main and they were up with the ones we had in both Belgium and France. Mine was with cream and bacon. Next to us sat a lovely couple from Switzerland that only had a couple of days stop over on their back home from Australia.

After that nice evening, we were able to sleep all night through but woke up a little bit too early around 7am.

We decided to enjoy breakfast at one of the designer cafes that was in short distance from the hotel and we picked Maison Eric Kayser on the corner of Minden Ave. and Minden Row.

Éric Kayser, a French baker that open his first bakery 1996 in Paris and now to be found all over the world. A brand that today quite widespread over in the States. Fantastic coffee, great bread/sandwiches, superb croissants and exciting fresh juices on bottles. Every morning we enjoyed our breakfast there … and the girls were so lovely and helpful. In average our breakfast came to 230 HK$ for both. On the hotel, it would have cost us over 600.

We always sat by the shop windows and was soaking up the everyday morning for the locals. The little restaurant (whole in the wall) opposite was preparing for their day and it was always busy. The woman and men that as taken care of all the hotels rubbish and waste on their trollies.

Next door to our cafe is Wasco Cafe, people were queuing every time we pasted it and so many young people always lost while looking after it, with the help of Google on their smartphones. Every morning the same show. They are famous for their Pineapple bun.  A pineapple bun – Bolo Bao (?????) is a kind of sweet bun predominantly popular in Hong Kong, never tried … next time. We didn’t feel for joining the queue. Never seen queues like that to a cafe and only Chineses. No tourists.  They have 54 dishes on their menu and only in Chinese, so I suppose the queuing was about more than the buns.

So after breakfast, we walked down to the Star Ferry terminal which was a bit difficult because the busy roads don’t have any pedestrian crossings. The next day we found out that we could walk underground using the metro entrances/exits. Learn something new every day, even in Hong Kong.

As seniors we travelled free on the ferry, we only had to scan our Octopus card. We had Stanley Market as our goal. On the Hong Kong side, I did a mistake about the bus stations. We should have followed the gangway to the Exchange Square. It was a bit of a walk and we had to walk through the IFC mall, but we found bus 260 and it was just departing as we arrived. It takes about 30 mins to get to the market. Bus 260 is faster than the express buses because it doesn’t do that many city stops.

However, if you want more interesting views of Hong Kong countryside then the 6 or 66 to give some very interesting glimpses of the wooded hillsides, views over the sea, and pass by some of the most prestigious residential tower blocks in the city. There are 25 stops from the terminus to the market. We took 260 to the market and used 6 back.

Stanley Market has shrunk a lot since 2015 but in a good way. The shops have better products and it’s much easier to walk around in between the shops. It has the same layout as the Souks in Marraches has – all under one roof. The most famous open-air market in Hong Kong. It was pleasantly quite that day.

It is a place to find silk garments, sportswear, art, Chinese costume jewellery, other souvenirs and a host of fantastic bargains. A trip to Stanley would not be complete without comprises a six-story shopping centre. Right next to it is Murray House-former British army officers’ quarters, now houses the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and various dining outlets.

I didn’t buy anything, but Anna Liisa got herself pearl earring, some linen tops and a linen dress plus that she bought some presents for her friends.

There are many places to eat and drink along the seafront promenade. The yellow house (The Boathouse) is one of them!!! Very eye-catching (can’t be missed) and I have never had a chance to visit because every time I been at the market is has been filled to the rim.

This time we got in and a nice table out on the balcony. We both enjoyed a very good “Fish & Chips” with the mushy peas and everything. Special offer; Fish & Chips with a pint of Carlberg for only 139 HK$.  An excellent lunch with a spectacular sea view.

We took bus 6 back and jumped off at Central and from there we took the metro  … in full rush hour. Never seen so much people and I was very worried about Anna Liisa, because of her nearly none exciting sight. But she just followed the stream of people and we even got seats while travelling under the harbour, the next stop we got off.

Hong Kong people were not used to a white stick … they didn’t really know how to react, but there weren’t any major problems. Just as here at home, everybody had their heads in their smartphone.

It became fantastic day (not too hot)  … and just enough of everything. And our day cost us only 6 HK$ (p.p) transport cost instead of 27.

“Who said Hong Kong too small?
In size perhaps but not in its soul and personality.
Every corner in this city giving you full of surprises,
if not every hour but at least every day….”
Baris Gencel

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