Nacional de Arte Antiga

Our choice of activity on a cloudy day, sixth day of our trip 2 May 2018, was the Nacional de Arte Antiga (MNAA) National Museum of Ancient Art. We started the day with the Miradouro de Santa Catarina.  Despite of the gloomy weather, the open view of Lisbon is nice. Nearby is the Pharmacy and Health Museum.

The visit began with paintings of Lisbon before the earthquake in 1755. Big square, mighty Sao George Castle standing over the hill, big port with numerous ships, extinct buildings reveal the old look of charming Lisbon.


The most popular Panels of St. Vincent was crowded with people.  We arrived at the top floor to appreciate sculptures from the ancient time and then The Adoration of St. Vincent, a multi-panel work from a 15th century Portuguese master, Nuno Goncalves. St. Vincent is surrounded by noblemen and clergymen.  Some faces are repetitive in the different panels.

The museum is dotted with horrified and surreal paintings. We were shock by the terrible scenes at the hell.


Another stunning piece is the Last Judgement. Up the top is Christ with his throne.  Maria and John the Baptist serve both sides. Accountants reviewed ledgers of demons and angels for judging their final destinations. The bad ones were thrown into the hell and the good ones headed to the Glory.

Still ahead came the Temptations of St. Anthony, from Dutch painter Jheronomis Bosch (15-16th century) which is known for his fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. The painting contains multiple scenes of Christian monk St. Anthony faced  during his desert pilgrimage. He often saw Satan hovering in front of him in his prayers.  And Satan dressed in different ways to hide the evil nature.

On the second floor, 2 large lacquer screens depict the moment that the Portuguese, the first Europeans, landed in Japan. They were seen as villains, with big noses and wicked faces.

There are many beautiful paintings and sculptures.  I can't show you all but a few to make you more interested to visit the museum.  Among all, I like very much The Adoration of the Magi by Domingos António de Sequeira.  The structure of the composition, the holiness and the light are brilliant.


A bit more on the angels in different art pieces: Annunciation and the disastrous earthquake in 1755. It recalled the tragic event with very different scenes, extremely religious not offering assistance to the needed vs. helping the other victims.  The painter Joao Glama showed himself twice in the painting. 



Lau Shui Heung to Hok Tau 流水響至鶴藪

The passion of taking a nice shot of the reflection and trying out the shorter route drove me to revisit Lau Shui Heung within a week.  I arrived at Lau Shui Heung around 10.15 in the morning. The sun was not high yet. From far I didn't see the reflection but at the shrubs I could take nice photos.

I took time going here and there to take nice photos. When I started ascending the shorter path (left one with steps), it was about ten to twelve. Hikers advised me to go together with two ladies. They heard the recommendations and welcomed me to join them.  It's a blessing that I walked within a short distance with family Yeung a few days ago and this day with Ivy and Samantha. 

The shorter path is the blue line on the map. Up to the end is an intersection, going down to reach Hok Tau.  If you take the red route, you will go towards Tai Po with endless downward steps. It is a demanding path before you reach the staircase to go downward.

The path up to Hok Tau was about an hour.  The most difficult part is the staircase at the beginning. The demanding walk takes about 15 minutes. Afterwards are always hill roads up, flat or down. There is a side track to go up a hill to have a panoramic view.  We skipped as my new friends seemed like suffering from the difficult upward walk.  At a certain point, we had a fabulous view over Hau Tau Reservoir. The path was dotted with butterflies, tom bows and bird symphony.

The list minute to the reservoir is descending staircase. Hooray! Passing through a zigzag bridge, we went into the heart of the reservoir.  It is serene and peaceful.  Tourists were rare.  Occasionally a family with a strong smell of anti-mosquito chemicals.  It was a big contrast to the tranquillity, unfortunately.  Luckily, the smell of nature was back soon as they moved away.

Samantha found a farm when researching the hike.  We had a short visit after strolling the reservoir.  You will find a sign at the main path from the reservoir to the public transport spot.

E-Farm 川上農莊 is simple construction. The owner and volunteers finished their lunch when we arrived.  Oh, they had a big fish from their own pond. The owner showed us a round. Plants / crops are plentiful.  The orka tasted wonderful!

e-Farm - Orka

e-Farm - Dragon Fruit

e-Farm - Lime
The work of the owner is impressive.  He built everything.  Formerly he studied engineering and had worked with factory production for decades.  Owing to the declining importance of manufacturing in Hong Kong, he switched to organic farm. He built a big room to reproduce worms to feed his fish.  Waste from fish is used for fertilising his crops. Amazing work and results!

e-Farm - Guava

e-Farm - Owner
At the very end of the visit, we saw red tom bow at the golden fish pond which accommodates unwanted golden fish from his friends.


Lau Shui Heung Hiking 流水響

I joined a hiking group at Facebook about two weeks ago and read about Lau Shui Heung 流水響.  It is known for the gorgeous reflection of Paperbark trees 白千層. And one can take a hike to reach Hok Tau 鶴藪, another reservoir in the north of the New Territories. I visited Lau Shui Heung twice in a week. In this article I'll talk more on tips of taking the paperbark tree reflection and hike up to the high point. Then I'll talk about a shorter tour to Hok Tau in the next one.

I arrived at Lau Shui Heung by a minibus after 12 pm. After getting off, just went to the right and a bit upwards to arrive at the reservoir.

Continued on the right will have a great view of the reservoir.  Sunshine was strong. I could not see the reflection but still enjoyed the view of trees surrounding the reservoir and the flowing water.

Going further will be a dead end which a dam blocks the way. So, I went back and took the big street on the left. On the way prior to reaching a BBQ area, there is a small path leading to the water. Just before the end of the path, a diversion on the right allows you to have a closer view of the paperbark trees.  Go a bit further and if lucky you will be able to take a world-class photo.

Walk passed the BBQ area, on the right is a line of shrubs.  There is a great view over the paperbark trees and the reflection.  Well, I could take it.  I guess the reflection would be clearer on a cloudy day.

Continue the way you will see a bridge which takes you to the paper bark trees.  I could see nice reflection of the opposite shore.

Next, let's go for hiking! There are two ways to reach Hok Tau. I followed a family after seeing the trees (red path). I was going higher and higher. When I took a rest the children followed close to me. We walked till the intersection. There is a signage to go to Lau Shui Heung. But nothing was written for Hok Tau.

The vegetation is nice. Black fungus was in the damp area. Green dotted the whole place. Walking up was harsh.  The green made it more pleasant.

We went further to the south, higher altitude. Until we reached a wired tower and saw people walking from Tai Po, we knew we went the wrong way but should go back to the intersection to take the path to Lau Shui Heung which a detour will lead us to Hok Tau.

Going high wasn't bad at all. I could enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings.  There is a trick: go up the stairs for maintaining the slopes.

Going high with sweat.  The prizes are closer to the sky and fabulous views. I was proud to make it.  Next, I'll talk about the much shorter way from Lau Shui Heung to Hok Tau and a local farm.  P.S. If I haven't walked passed the intersection, the time of taking the longer way is estimated as 3 hours.