Showing posts from 2010

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco is one of the landmarks in Milan.  It is a witness of the history.  It was founded  by the Visconti family .  The size of the castle reached 180m x 180m.  A tower stands at each of the four corners.  It was demolished after the last decendent had died.   But it was rebuilt after three years by general Francesco Sforza who married Visconti's illegitimate daughter.  The next heir transformed the castle into a luxury residence.  Thereafter, it fell into hands of different nations: French, Spanish, Austrian.  Only with the unification of Italy in 1861, the castle could recover its cultural an public functions.  Apart from as a key sightseeing point, it is also a transit point of getting through from one to another direction of the city. It houses many art treasures in its several museums.  With 3 Euro you can appreciate them in a day.  Fabulous! Ancient Art This section houses lots of stone sculptures of the ancient time.  The most striking one is the she


Towns along the coast in Liguria are beautiful.  We arrived first at S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino.  The local train from Milan took 2 hours 20 minutes.  At the railway station you can take a bus connecting Portofino.  It became very full at the town centre of S. Margherita.  People were crowding face touching face, almost.  The bus journey passes through the sea with resorts dotted along the coast.  A lovely start of the trip. Different pastel coloured buildings line up at the port.  They are not fighting to get the best attention but standing in harmony to charm.  Together with the many yachts it composes a fabulous view winning everybody's admiration.  No one can deny, reject the beauty.  Walk up to the hill with a castle.  Gorgeous views of the port and surrounding will sure be shot non-stop.  We skipped the castle but walked around to enjoy the nature. Head to the other side of the hill is a shady, quiet path passing some villas and leads to a view of t

Hong Kong Museum of Art 香港藝術館

Museums in Hong Kong have great collections and cost almost nothing (HK$10).  A visit should be included in your itinerary.  I visited Hong Kong Museum of Art .  There are thematic exhibitions apart from its permanent exhibitions.  At time, it is The Ultimate South China Travel Guide – Canton II (The Last Episode).  It outlines the travel needs of foreign visitors to the regions of Canton, Hong Kong and Macau after the outbreak of the Opium War, when China was in regular conflict with western powers. The beginning of steamships in 19th century reduced the travel time from Europe to China to around 2 months.  Trade and tourism flourished.  Ship journey departed from Southampton and Marseilles to Hong Kong twice a month.  Visitors then transferred to Canton by river steamers. Most visitors were merchants / traders coming to Canton with their family.  Due to the restrictions, they could only live in the factory area and the family in Macau.  Given the production lead time (except t

Lamma Island

Lamma  南Y島 is the third largest island after Lantau and Hong Kong Island.    It is peaceful and tranquil, a big contrast to the hectic city life.  A walk through a hiking trail beween the two ports of Yung Shue Wan 榕樹灣 and Sok Kwu Wan 索古灣 will definitely refresh one's mind.  Tourists will find the other face of Hong Kong beyond shopping and dining. Yung Shue Wan is on the north of the island and where the most population resides.  Villas cluster in this area with lots of different restaurants in the surrounding, Chinese, Western, Turkish, Thai, Japanese, etc.  Sok Kwu Wan is relatively barren to Yung Shue Wan.  Upon arrival are numerous seafood restaurants and a few villages dotted around.  Ferry service is rare.  If you miss one, be prepared to wait for at least 1.5 hours. I started my trip at Sok Kwu Wan as it is easier to control the time of catching a ferry.  The journey takes 40 minutes.  On the left hand side of the boat, one can have a glance of buildings along the coast


On 1 September 2010 we visited Genoa , a major port located on the north west coast of Italy, the region of Liguria .  It's a town with a lot of attractions.  Unfortunately we were only one day there.  I'll tell things we've done and try to list out others worth a visit. The train from Milan took about two hours.  It climbs mountains and moved slowly during the last 20 minutes.  We started with Villa del Principe . It is a rich and sumptuous noble house owned by Andrea Doria .  He convinced the emperor Charles V to grant independence to Genoa.  His art collection includes tapestries, frescoes, stuccoes, portraits and furniture.   The garden has lots of plants with bright and appealing colours.  The entrance fee was €12 including a modern audio guide, a iPod which categorised information nicely. Stroll along Via Garibaldi and Via Balbi your eyes will be delighted with many lavishly decorated mansions and old palaces.   Worth of mention is the Renaissance and

Half Day in Tai Po - Hong Kong

I heard about a Sunday organic market in Tai Po and had a visit today.  It's next to the Tai Wo Fire Station, a short walk from Tai Wo Railway Station or from Tai Po Old Town.  It is smaller than I expected.  But the warmth from people there impressed me.  The first stall came to my eyes was one selling organic food from Germany such as dry beans, sugar, juices, etc.  A neighbour store is Chun San Farm selling melon, bitter melon, pepper.  The organic farm was converted from a pig farm.  The plantation area is covered and fenced.  Production cost is higher and growth is slower.  Mrs She 佘 is very friendly.  One can visit her farm at Mai Po by appointment. Another nice encounter is a Chinese woman who had been living in Germany (D üsseldorf) for twenty years.  She divorced from her husband and moved back to Hong Kong.  She always wears a smile on her face.  Despite all hardship and sadness she finds reasons to cheer herself up.  I like her positive attitude. I bought mushroo