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Indecision

Any Walk Will Do

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I don't normally go hiking two days in a row. My legs can't take it, but yesterday I had to go all the way to Central, Hong Kong Island to get eyedrops for my husband. I couldn't make up my mind whether just to go and get them and come home, go get them then go shopping, or go get them then go walking.

Eventually I decided I'd go get the drops, then take the nearby 15 bus up the Peak and from there walk up Mount High West which is famous for its fantastic views.

On the way my bus stopped at a red light right next to a beautiful market in Wan Chai, which was selling flowers and plants for Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Market.

Chinese New Year Market.

I was enjoying the views on the trip up the Peak, then I noticed it start to get darker and darker. By the time we arrived, the mountain was enclosed in a dense fog. I walked to the nearby viewing point to see how bad it was. It was almost impossible even to make out the Kowloon side of the harbour. Not a lot of point in climbing up Mount High West for views in such circumstances, so I'd have to do something else.

Lions View Point Pavilion.

Lions View Point Pavilion.

Foggy view over Victoria Harbour.

Foggy view over Victoria Harbour.

I took a wander around the Peak Galleria taking some photos and thinking about what to do.

The Peak Tram is currently closed and undergoing renovation.

The Peak Tram is currently closed and undergoing renovation.

Lounging around by the tram.

Lounging around by the tram.

I always photo this little cafe, just because I like it.

I always photo this little cafe, just because I like it.

Chinese New Year Decorations in Peak Galleria.

Chinese New Year Decorations in Peak Galleria.

Outside the Backyard Pet Store.

Outside the Backyard Pet Store.

I liked Mr Jelly Belly outside Candylicious.

I liked Mr Jelly Belly outside Candylicious.

I finally decided I would just enjoy walking back down the Peak instead of taking transport. There are quite a few different ways to do this, but I decided I would go via the Pokfulam Country Park. Previously I have walked down to Pokfulam Reservoir on a dirt trail after visiting the Pinewood Battery. This time I took the paved path, which is very easy to walk on and completely closed to traffic.

Entrance to Pokfulam Country Park.

Entrance to Pokfulam Country Park.

Foggy view of the reservoir I was heading to.

Foggy view of the reservoir I was heading to.

There were lots of beautiful trees around the path, many were covered in moss. They seemed to be thriving in the damp environment and leant a kind of spooky air to the walk, but I mean spooky as in atmospheric rather than scary. I passed by several gurgling streams. Their water level was low as this is dry season, but their sound was still a peaceful accompaniment to the walk. In many places people had written messages onto the moss covered rocks - a sort of plant based graffiti.

Tree clinging to a wall at the start of the walk.

Tree clinging to a wall at the start of the walk.

Trees taking over the world.

Trees taking over the world.

This huge branch was covered with growth.

This huge branch was covered with growth.

Multi-trunked tree.

Multi-trunked tree.

Stream but the water level is low in the dry season.

Stream but the water level is low in the dry season.

Another nearly dry stream.

Another nearly dry stream.

Jungle view.

Jungle view.

People leave graffiti here by writing on the moss.

People leave graffiti here by writing on the moss.

Little shelter on route.

Little shelter on route.

Naturally having decided to walk down, it began to clear up a bit, but it didn't matter. I was enjoying my forest walk. I felt a bit lazy though as everyone else I passed was walking up the mountain, rather than down.

Some mountains were beginning to clear up as I walked down.

Some mountains were beginning to clear up as I walked down.

I passed a couple of little waterfalls and a place where many trails branched off. One day I may do the Peel Rise Walk, but today I just stuck with going down to the reservoir.

One of the waterfalls on the way down.

One of the waterfalls on the way down.

Stream.

Stream.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

A Choice of Routes.

A Choice of Routes.

Decisions, decisions.

Decisions, decisions.

Selfie on route.

Selfie on route.

Eventually I reached some war remains which I have seen before and knew I was nearly down. It was incredibly quick, considering how long it took the bus to get up there.

War Remains.

War Remains.

War Remains.

War Remains.

I think these will have been store rooms.

I think these will have been store rooms.

Maybe for weapons.

Maybe for weapons.

Past the store rooms, I had reached the reservoir. I've been here before. It's a small reservoir and it is only possible to walk along one side. At the end of it, there's a beautiful old building which used to be a watchman's cottage. At the end of the reservoir there's a riding school.

View over the reservoir.

View over the reservoir.

View over the reservoir.

View over the reservoir.

View over the reservoir.

View over the reservoir.

End of the reservoir.

End of the reservoir.

The Watchman's Cottage.

The Watchman's Cottage.

Horse in the riding school.

Horse in the riding school.

Last time, when I was writing up my blog after visiting this reservoir, I discovered that there was a beautiful old building near the reservoir and that I had missed it. Of course, I had forgotten all about this, but then I suddenly saw a sign for University Hall and I remembered. To get to University Hall I went through a gate in the wall. To be honest, I wasn't even sure if this building was open to the public or if I was trespassing. There was no-one around, so I just went for it.

University Hall is currently a hall of residence for male students at Hong Kong University, but it has gone through many different incarnations.

It was originally built by Douglas Lapraik, a wealthy businessman of Scottish descent, and was known as Douglas Castle. In 1839 Lapraik travelled to Macau to become an apprentice watchmaker. Then in 1842, he moved to Hong Kong and ventured into the world of shipping. He was very successful and helped co-found the Hongkong Whampoa Dock Company. In 1861 Lapraik leased a hill next to a site where a reservoir was just about to be created and began building a castle. This was finished around 1864, but Lapraik only lived here briefly as ill health forced him to return to the UK where he died in 1869. His nephew, who inherited Douglas Castle, had a stained glass window erected in his beloved uncle's memory in Saint John's Cathedral. Sadly this was destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

On the opposite side of the road from University Hall stands Bethanie which was built by the French Mission in 1875 as a sanatorium for sick missionaries. In 1894, when Hong Kong was experiencing a terrible bout of bubonic plague and many people were fleeing, the French Mission bought Douglas Castle. They added a new wing, a chapel and a printing press. Under the French, Douglas Castle was renamed Nazareth. During the Second World War Nazareth was requisitioned by the Japanese. Then after the war, overseas missionaries were no longer welcome in Mainland China, causing the French Mission to be reduced in size. They maintained Bethanie but sold off Nazareth. In 1954 the building was bought by the University of Hong Kong and converted into a hall of residence.

The chapel of Nazareth is now a dining hall and its crypt is now a student common room. There are two elephant-like statues on the main staircase of University Hall. These are considered to be unlucky and students must not touch them near graduation or they will fail all their exams.

Entrance to the hall near the reservoir.

Entrance to the hall near the reservoir.

Entrance to the hall near the reservoir.

Entrance to the hall near the reservoir.

Stone Inscription.

Stone Inscription.

University Hall.

University Hall.

University Hall.

University Hall.

Beautiful Staircase.

Beautiful Staircase.

Elephant-like statue.

Elephant-like statue.

Elephant-like statue.

Elephant-like statue.

Bethanie.

Bethanie.

Instead of boarding my bus home next to Bethanie, I decided to walk along Pokfulam Road for a while, as I remembered there were some lovely views from here over Cyberport and Lamma Island. Previously I've only looked at these from a speeding bus.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Views from Pokfulam Road.

Finally, when I reached the Queen Mary Hospital, I boarded a bus, as it was difficult to continue along the road due to traffic. I headed towards Wan Chai, did my shopping and went home.

Queen Mary Hospital.

Queen Mary Hospital.

Posted by irenevt 12:44 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

You are right, kind of like "end of the world"-spooky, with the mist and without people in the photos! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Haha but it wasn't scary, just peaceful or maybe I just like trees.

by irenevt

I can't help admiring your walks and stories... Good for you, Irene!

by Vic_IV

Hi Victor, I hope all is well with you. Ukraine is on the news a lot these days.Hoping you and your family are safe and well. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

I love your spirit of adventure. Only you could have an adventure while picking up a prescription. Love it.

by Beausoleil

Haha, not having much adventure at the moment though. We are having a big Omicron breakout. Over 50 places hit with compulsory testing orders overnight. We are running out of space in the quarantine centres. Most people working from home again. I've been spending time at home reading and doing wordle. Hope life resumes soon.

by irenevt

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