27.10.16

Luk Keng 鹿頸


It was the last day that Roland was in town. We still took the chance to be close to the nature and exercise our muscles.  Luk Keng 鹿頸 to Kuk Po 谷埔 is a flat path yet offers great views of the sea, villages, green and part of China.  The walk is about 6 to 7 kilometres.   It doesn't take long, the walk is easy and the scenery is beautiful.

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We had dim sum at Dim Dim Sum in Shatin then proceeded to Fanling Railway Station.  Through Exit C we reached the mini bus station.  It was already around 1 pm. Not many people were there at time. We were at the beginning of the queue.  But mini bus (56K, 6.30 - 19.30) was sparse. It took about 20 minutes to be there.

Once you are there, follow the Bride's Pool Road and you will see a green building on the left. Nearby is a small path.  A signage points to Kai Kuk Shue Ha 雞谷樹下. Follow it.

You will soon pass a house with a sign of fierce dog inside. Yes, it is the right path.  Go further, you will soon find yourself in a totally green environment, a bit humid but your eyes will be pleased.

I said a flat path.  It is, but a little exception, steps up and down. And it is the only challenge of the walk. But you will get it through.   Once you have walked out the green, sea views awaiting.   Cranes! We saw a few, on rocks, around the mangrove of the lonely island.   Along the coast are numerous mangroves. Quite abandoned!
 

I mentioned part of China at the beginning of this article.  Don't believe me?  See the map next as a proof.  Opposite shore are Sha Tau Kok 沙頭角 and Shenzhen 深圳. It is well developed. But I prefer the nature.



 

Throughout you will see signage and distance of major viewpoints. There are a few old villages.   Be cautious of not going deep in the villages. Villages were subject to the government's re-development plan. Villagers were angry and blocked the way to the villages. There were notices telling you. Nevertheless, you can shoot some zoomed photos to grasps views of the villages and they are historical.


Villagers leverage the local resources and tourism to enrich their living.  You will find oysters scatter the coast. And we saw a few villagers opening oysters.


Eateries dot the path.  You don't need to worry that you will be starved or thirsty.  And I heard that the food was good. Since we were full, we did not have the chance to prove what we heard.

 
 

We spent a few nice hours and enjoyed the walk.  Queue for the mini bus got longer and longer. Unfortunately mini-busses were infrequent.  We could get on when the third one arrived.  Along the return drive, we noticed that more mini-busses were along the way.  It's about 4.30 pm.  So, be aware of it or call a taxi to get you back to the town.

2.10.16

Regensburg

29 April 2015

We returned to Regensburg after almost a decade.  It is a very proper city, with beautiful and well restored buildings, green and flowery parks, nice churches.  Architect Foster once described it as 'one of the most beautiful cities in the world.'


Regensburg is very green. At different places are meadows, trees, flowers.  Art is amalgamated with the nature.  A curved chair as a piece of modern art is assimilated into the green in perfect harmony. Kepler Denkmal (a monument for the famous physicist Joannes Kepler) stands in the green belt of Fürst-Anselm-AlleeCarnation, the nice blooming time in April, was right there to delight. Green is always soothing and calming.  Besides, it provides fresh air.

Park Hotel Regensburg
Remarkably beautiful historical buildings exist at every corner.  It can be a hotel, government office, gallery, residence, commercial building such as cafe, restaurant, etc.  They have different colours and styles to inject variety and enhance the appeal.

Government of Upper Palatinate in the former outer Palais
Regensburg Arnulfsplatz

Präsidialpalais (Presidential Palace), Jakobstor, Old Town Hall     
The Presidential Palace is styled neo-classical.  It was built in the early 19th century under Napoleon's direction. The original purpose was as a French embassy building. Nowadays the police headquarters is housed within.  The Jakobstor (Jacob Gate) of 13th century still stands admirably in the city though defense is not an issue in the modern time.

The yellow building is the old town hall, dated 13th century.  It consists of  the Town Hall tower, Gothic Imperial Chamber building and baroque Town Hall. If you join a guided tour, you will see the Imperial Chamber and the torture hall in the basement which people with offense were 'questioned', a lighter description for torture.

Regensburg does not stop with the past and old days grandeur.  The city is also dotted with modern architecture. Old and new are in harmony, complementing each other.   Open your eyes, you will see many beautiful small details, modern or historical.  What a joy for just looking around!

Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg

The stone bridge was under restoration.  It was blocked and covered.  Across the river Danube is a quieter district, Stadtamhof.  At the middle of a hill stands a nice church by the outlook. Unfortunately we were short of time, else we would have climbed up to see the interior and have a panoramic view over Regensburg.  Another time!


My friend loves art, music and architecture.  Churches normally contains all of his beloved elements. So, church visit is mandatory when visiting any European city.  We visited some in Regensburg but here shows the best three, in my opinion.


Not far away from the railway station is the Basilica of S. Emmeram, part of Schloss Thurn and Taxis.   It was a Benedictine monastery founded in 739 at the grave of Saint Emmeram.  In history the church had its down and up.  In 1812, the monastery buildings were granted to the Princes of Thurn and Taxis, who converted the complex to a residence.


The exterior of S. Emmeram is quite simple. However, the Baroque interior was ornately decorated. It is beautiful and elegant.  White walls with artistic ornaments and ceiling paintings.  Precious art pieces are preserved in a very good condition.  Paintings and sculptures are of supreme quality. The expressions, in stone or paint, are so vivid.



We visited the Cathedral after lunch.  It is beautifully crafted.  The exterior is full of outstanding quality sculptures and so as the interior.  It is huge and dark inside.   A few items were illuminated. The dim environment did not depreciate the beauty seen from the human eyes though the quality may be discounted with the digital camera.  My most favourites in the cathedral are the crucifix and the greeting kiss of Mary and Elisabeth who were pregnant with Jesus and John the Baptist. The previous is solemn and sacred. I think the latter is innovative and foremost at time that it was created. The expressions of the other sculptures and paintings are vibrant.  I felt they are smiling at me or interacting with me when I was standing in front of them.





The last but not the least is the Schottenkirche St. Jakob, the Scots Monastery.  Originally it was the Benedictine Abbey of St. James (Jakobkirche). It was founded in the 11th century by Irish missionaries and subsequently by Scottish monks. The most prominent is the Schottenportal. It is even protected by a huge plastic coverage.  The reliefs are amusing. One shows an animal swallowing a human being. Another shows a man teasing his wife by scratching her chin. The funny pieces are not limited to these two.



The interior is not excessively decorated.  The structure is clean and simple.  The sculptures are sweet. An amiable smile from Mary.  Two animals place their faces intimately together.  The setting is quite cool but the art pieces add cosiness to the church.