Friday, 6 January 2012

The Hong Kong, Macau & China Visit, October 2011 - Part II

Well it's only been about 6 weeks since I wrote up part I and ended saying that i hoped that it wouldn't be too long before I got to Part II... ah well!

Oh my... i've just realised that Part I finished with us leaving for Macau... I thought that i had at least managed to cover Hong Kong and Macau already but it would appear not.

The ferry journey across to Macau was grand, less than an hour I think! We were staying at the Ponte 16 hotel which, like most other hotels in Macau, a casino. First impressions were so very different to our hotel in Hong Kong which was quite discrete. This hotel was not - the reception area was HUGE and quite austentatious. I imagine though that for anybody whose been to Vegas it was par for the course for a casino hotel. Did you know that Macau has actually ovetaken Vegas for gambling income? The Chinese are big gamblers! After a short delay we were checked in to our room which, it has to be said, was very nice. I really liked the view from our room; not scenic in any sense but interesting - a view to local flats.

Residential Building
Residential Building

After a taking it easy afternoon we headed out for dinner. It was a really warm evening and not raining; I was happy :)

On Hols

Macau is well known for its Portugeuse influenced style of cuisine and the Lonely Planet gave a v good recommendation to a restaurant in the centre so after a wander we headed there. I can only assume that this restaurant a) doesn't care about the LP or b) they've read it and are now taking things easy. The service was fine but one couldn't help feeling that they didn't actually want us there! The food was alright but really nothing to get excited about. But it was still a lovely evening as afterwards we went for a wander around... I thought that all the little side alleys and Senado Sq in the dark were lovely.

Macau Alley

Senado Square at Night

Our hotel may have looked very stylish but the kitchen needs to sharpen up a bit! We decided to treat ourselves and order breakfast in bed for the next morning. Dave wanted fried eggs with bacon, I wanted scrambled eggs with tomato. We both got scrambled and Dave got chicken sausages instead of bacon?! I got cereal which I didn't want. Dave got fruit which he didn't want. Interesting... :)

This was to be our sightseeing day as we were going to be leaving early the next morning to get the ferry directly to Hong Kong airport. We got the public bus to the A'Ma temple and then spent the rest of day wandering back up the city via many 17th style Jesuit churches, old government buildings, the odd museum, a great library etc.

Dave at A-Ma Temple
Dave at A-Ma Temple

A-Ma Temple

The Old Moorish Barracks were beautiful. We couldn't go inside as it's now the HQ of the Macau Maritime Administration but the outside is beautifully maintained and lovely to wander along the terrace.


Next stop was the lovely Sir Robert Ho Tung Library (unfortunately the Mandarin's House which we really really wanted to see was closed :( ). The courtyard of the library (I want my local library to have a courtyard!) had free wifi and some tables and chairs so we just took a wee break there. Very relaxing...
In the Library

The architecture in Macau is stunningly beautiful! There are many beautiful old buildings from when the Jesuits were there in the 1700 and 1800s. This is a road we walked along on our from the library to the Leal Senado Building. I love the black and white mosaic tiles under foot.

Portugeuse Architecture

There were a raft of churches but not too many photos of those as a) I can only take so many churches in one day and b) I got asked to leave one and not allowed in to another as my head and sleeves were bare!

The Leal Senado Building had an amazing old library (Senate Library) of antique books... many under glass and upstairs fabulous book shelves full of antiquarian books. Unfortunately no photo were allowed so none to show there. Anyway, while this building was full of tourists it is also actually home to Macau's main municipal administrative body.
Leal Senado Building

After a small lunch in Starbucks (Dave needed coffee and there was a small rain shower so it seemed opportune timing though with the air conditioning in there I was frozen!!) we headed over to the small little 2 room museum of the Holy House of Mercy... I liked being out on the terrace best.

Holy House of Mercy Terrace

Then off to the Lou Kau Mansion which was smaller than I expected but interesting to wander around a few rooms nonetheless...
Entrance Hall of Lou Kau Mansion

When we came out it we needed to wander up an extremely busy street... if you think Grafton St at Christmas is bad you want to try navigating up through this!
A Very Busy Macau Street!

We visited the old protestant churchyard and another few churches and by 4.30 we were pretty whacked so headed back to the hotel for a break before heading out for dinner again. I think that Macau is really very lovely in the evening...
Fountain at night

Shuttered Windows

The next installment will be us actually getting to the China mainland!

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