Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hong Kong: Victoria Peak

Our second full day in Hong Kong we woke up to another cloudy day…BUT!  On this day the clouds were sitting high up in the sky.  The tops of the skyscrapers and mountains had revealed themselves.  Having to play the weather by ear, we determined that we were not likely to get better weather than this on our trip, so we seized this mostly clear opportunity and headed for Victoria Peak.

Hong Kong is by far one of the most fascinating places I have visited.  The amalgamation of Western and Eastern cultures coming together for about a hundred and fifty years during the British occupation  has resulted in a totally unique place.  There is nowhere else like it. 

Sixteen years ago Hong Kong was handed back over to the China mainland government.  A treaty was signed saying that the current system in Hong Kong would remain unchanged for fifty years.  This is known as “one country, two systems,” and seems to be the topic of much debate.  How will the capitalistic society of Hong Kong and the neo-communism of mainland China eventually meld together?  Or won’t they?  I am the first to admit that I am completely unqualified to comment on this issue.  Although I am very interested in learning more about it and seeing what the future holds. 

Sixteen years after the turnover, Hong Kong retains a strong Western influence.  One of the most evident contributions to Hong Kong by the British is the tram system that is still fully operational today.  The most famous tram ride in Hong Kong is the Peak Tram.

Built in 1888, the peak tram became the main form of transportation to Victoria Peak.  Made famous by movies back in the 50's, it has become a favorite among tourists.  

After the relatively short-but nearly vertical-tram ride, you arrive at the top of Victoria Peak.  You can pay extra to view the breathtaking cityscape from the special Victoria Peak observation deck, we, however, took a hike instead. 

There are multiple trails and parks atop the mountain.  We took a lovely little hike around and to the very top of the peak.  It afforded us a fantastic 360 degree view of the area.  We were even able to see some of the outlying islands in the distance. 

Having taken in the view, we decided to trek back down the mountain on foot.  By time we reached the bottom, we were ready for lunch.

Lucky for us, we happened to walk right into Soho…

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