A little more poetry

I wanted to share a little more poetry from one of the poets local to the Wye Valley area, Edward Thomas.  Again this is just an excerpt from this poem, please do go and read it all.


Haymaking
– Edward Thomas

Aftear night’s thunder far away had rolled
The fiery day had a kernel sweet of cold,
And in the perfect blue the clouds uncurled,
Like the first gods before they made the world
And misery, swimming the stormless sea
In beauty and in divine gaiety.
The smooth white empty road was lightly strewn
With leaves—the holly’s Autumn falls in June—
And fir cones standing stiff up in the heat.
The mill-foot water tumbled white and lit
With tossing crystals, happier than any crowd
Of children pouring out of school aloud.
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Tintern Abbey

I have enclosed below a small part of a poem by William Wordsworth which I find very beautiful.  Please do read the rest, I think it evokes the beauty of the area and brings the ruins to mind.
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798
– William Wordsworth
“…And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. …”

Lantau Island

We’re off is most famouon our final Hong Kong adventure to Lantau Island.  There are lots of ways to get to Lantau.  The cheapest is on the underground and bus. But, the most iconic transport is the cable car.  You can pay extra for a private cabin, or a cabin with a glass bottom.

Flying across the mountains, watching the forest go by is serenity tempered with by fear.  It really is an experience.

Lantau’s biggest attraction is the Big Buddha.  As you fly over the hills the Buddha appears between the lush trees.  Serenely sat atop the mountain, the Buddha  is 26m tall and bronze.  When you arrive at the terminal you will be in the created village, pass though this and follow the path to the steps to the Buddha.  There are 268 steps to the top.  You ascend these looking up a Buddha.  When you reach the top there are magnificent views of the surrounding areas.

Lantau Island is also home to Po Lin Monastery.  You are able to wander though the different areas of the temple and view the golden Buddhas within the temple.  The area is full of birds and the sound of water.

A lovely, calm day out.

More of summer

“Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape…” 

Haper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Elf in St Albans

If you, like us, want to escape the city summer heat for the day, head to St Albans.  St Albans is only a short drive or train ride away from London and has a beautiful village feel to it.

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With a lovely Cathedral to admire and Roman ruins to discover there is actually quite a bit to see.  St Albans also has a lovely shopping area and great food on offer, one of the most famous eateries is the Waffle House.  Be prepared to que at the Waffle House on the weekend, but once you are in there are savoury and sweet options to choose from.  I go for the salted caramel with peacan nuts….ooooo it is yumo!

We walk off our waffles wandering though the Verulamium Park, named for the Roman city outside who’s walls St Albans is built.

Shek O Beach

Today we are ready to get away from the hustle of the city and so are off on an adventure. We’re in search of a beach so we decide to head to Shek O.

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Shek O can be reach via bus from Hong Kong Island, head to Shau Kei Wan Station and take bus 9. The drive it’s self is beautiful with sweeping views of Hong Kong’s shoreline, taking you up and over the Dragon’s Back. For the fit and unafraid there are brilliant hikes along this area.

We alight the bus at its last stop head down to the beach. There are changing rooms, showers, bathrooms and so on. The water is lovely, cool and clear. The beach is beautiful and it feels like a little slice of tranquillity.

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We wander through the town and enjoying the winding streets. The look out over the peninsular is beautiful. We decide to have lunch at the café by the roundabout, the food is fresh and yummy.

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Shek O might just be my favourite bit of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

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The first decision when heading to Hong Kong is whether you are staying on the island or main land.  We opt for main land, because the hotel rooms are generally slightly bigger and slightly cheaper.  We decided on Butterfly on Pratt due to its easy location, it is on the main land.

First thing to know when  you arrive, is transport.  At the airport head to the information booth and get an Octopus card.  There are ordinary ones which you top up as normal and there are tourist Octopus cards, which include one or two airport line trips and two or three days of travel.  The card its self can be exchanged for 100 dollar deposit on leaving.  We opt for the three day tourist card and it is well worth the money.  The transport system is great, easy to use and very well organised.

We arrive late on our first day and head into Kowloon on the airport train, then make the terrible mistake of thinking that we would be able to walk the short distance from the station rather than try to navigate further trains. Don’t do this.  It is not a good idea!  Eventually we admit defeat and follow the signs to the transfer bus.  This is a free service that runs frequently all days of the week to the big hotels…much better idea.

imag3856-1.jpgWe spend our first morning an a free walking tour (our fav!) of Hong Kong Island.  This is a great tour with lots of interesting information about politics and the current situation in Hong Kong.  I definitely recommend this as a great starting point for your trip.

This same group offer a “jump the cue tour” for the Victoria Peak Tram.  We take advantage of this, and again I would recommend this, simply because it cut about an hour standing in the sun in a line.  The Tram is great, really is something to experience.  We then spend almost two hours walking around Victoria Peak enjoying the views, the countryside and the wildlife.  There are amazing birds of prey and wild pigs rootling around.  This is not what you would expect from Hong Kong…its cool and calm and blissful.

So ends our first foray into Hong Kong.  Bring on the rest of the trip!

More information on the Free Walking Tours