Tim Foolery

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Victoria Peak – Hong Kong

My body clock was all messed up on this trip, so the first night I slept about 3 hours and was awake from 05h00 on – showered and ready to hit the town by 06h00.  The night before, we planned on meeting at 08h00 for breakfast, then head into the City and see Victoria Peak.  No matter where I go, I want to go to the highest spot and just look around.  I’ve done it in Cape Town, Paris, Shanghai and I always make visitors to Chicago do the same.

After breakfast and just missing the complimentary shuttle at the hotel, we hopped in a cab and headed to Central Station.  From there we wandered aimlessly around the shopping mall, trying to find the best door to exit – dropping us off as close as possible to the Peak Tram.  Once we made it outside (the wrong door, of course) we realized the signs were pretty clear on how to get to the tram.  We walked up a bit of a hill (huge hill for a flatlander Chicagoan, like myself) and stumbled across St. John’s Cathedral – which warranted a quick stop.

St. John's Cathedral - Interior

St. John’s Cathedral – Interior

St. John's Cathedral - Interior

St. John’s Cathedral – Interior

I dig the Gothic arches and the colonial vibe of the fans in this Cathedral.  We spent a few minutes walking around – I always take time to sit in the center pew and just be.  I’m not religious, but I do dig the history.  I think about the building of this structure, the people who toiled in it’s construction, the people who eagerly awaited it’s opening, the children who begrudgingly sat their listening to the priest yearning to go out and play – where are those kids now? Do they do the same thing to their kids?

We then walked over to the Peak Tram Terminus where I attempted to buy two round trip tickets with observatory access.  I say attempted to, but something was lost in translation — we were sold a one way ticket.

Peak Tram Approaching Stations

Peak Tram Approaching Station

We waited for the Tram and were surrounded by a surprisingly large number of Americans.  I was a bit shocked.  I was also shocked that the largest advertisement in this tram station was for the American chain Bubba Gump Shrimp.  The large group of Americans around us talked constantly about how great Bugga Gump is and how they can’t wait until they get back from the Peak and can go their for lunch.  Let’s just say we did not have the same conversation nor the same plans for lunch.

Once atop the mountain you disembark and then walk through a shopping mall (for some reason) to get to the observation deck (this is where we found out we didn’t have the full access ticket).  We grabbed the audio guide, which I usually stay away from these because more often than not they go through painstaking details and I don’t have the patience or the time to listen.  This time was different – my first visit to the City and I hoped this audio guide would give me a better lay of the land (and it did).

From Victoria Peak you have nearly 360 degree view of Hong Kong.  The weather was beautiful the day we went to the Peak.  At the top, it was a bit windy/brisk, but the warmth of the sun made up for it.

View from the Peak

View from the Peak

View from the Peak

View from the Peak

Peak Tram making its way up the mountain.

Peak Tram making its way up the mountain.

We spent about an hour at the top of the Peak enjoying the views, the sun and the peacefulness of the space.  Such a quiet sanctuary in the middle of a crazy busy City.  I’m very happy we paid the Peak a visit – it is definitely one of those check-list items you need to do when visiting Hong Kong.  That being said, I can’t imagine making this a regular stop on my visit to Hong Kong.

When you visited Hong Kong did you visit the Peak?  How about on subsequent visits, does it remain on the required stop list?  Did you have the same issues I did with the tickets?


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