Kathmandu is the first place that I have travelled to abroad, which I have returned to. It’s also a special place for me, because it was the first place that I ever visited outside of Europe. I remember being slightly knocked sidewise by the sights and sounds and that rang true when I arrived for a second time, because upon returning it was both a city I knew and a city which I barely remembered.
Unfortunately, my stay was slightly hampered by an illness brought on by me going on a spending spree in a local shop and buying lots of random sweets all in Nepali, some which were definitely sweets and some which I think may have not been. I did find time, however, to re-visit Durbar Square and Swayambhunath, both, whilst equally lovely, also brought a certain sadness. A year on from the earthquake and the scars are there still very much to see. Durbar Square in particular has many information boards containing pictures of what had once stood in that place. Now you just look at either an empty space or a pile of debris.
The one place that bucked the trend in Kathmandu, was the Garden of Dreams. Sure it’s buildings were cracked, but everything on the ground had long been cleared and it was a peaceful sanctuary in what is a very dusty and noisy city. I also found time for a cooking course on how to make momos. Momos are one of the most popular snacks in Nepal and Tibet. To be honest I had hoped that they would be a quick thing to make, however, they took a while and the folding, as expected, was a nightmare. That said it was a very fun couple of hours and the end results were delicious.
From Kathmandu, I flew to Hong Kong. It was a huge contrast. The skyline is stunning. Who says modern cities can’t be beautiful? It is by far the most liveable city I’ve ever been to abroad. Public transport is easy, air-conditioned with very comfortable seats. Everything is clean and the people are endlessly polite. There are also fabulous outdoor areas. A big misconception about Hong Kong, is that it is a city on an island. Rather it is actually an island, which has a city.
I spent a gorgeous, if very tough day, walking through the jungle, up and down numerous hills (it became very clear, very early why no one walks it), before reaching the biggest seated buddha in the world.
I also spent a day walking up to Victoria peak, which whilst having a lovely view was overly commercialised and a tad disappointing. In the evening, I took in the light show, which whilst not being anything special did make for some lovely photos.