School ended last Friday and I was looking forward to a two weeks holiday Far East. So I left home last Saturday for a two weeks trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang / Hoi An, and Hanoi). The railway ride to Zurich was comfortable and thanks to the many open counters at the Zurich airport, my check-in was quite fast, even though there were a lot of people at the airport. I was ready for my 19 hours three-flights-trip Zurich - Rome - Beijing - Hong Kong.
Because of the icy temperatures outside in Zurich, they had to defrost the plane's wings before departure, so we took off in direction of Rome with a delay of about 15 minutes. As if the scheduled transfer time of 45 minutes in Rome hadn't been sharp enough, this spiced up the challenge even more. The plane to Beijing was already boarded, when the 4 of us incoming from Zurich arrived, but the staff at the gate reassured us, we wouldn't have to worry about the luggage, since this had been sent from Zurich to Hong Kong on a direct flight. Whatever.
The overnight flight from Rome to Beijing took about 10 hours and since I was quite tired, I managed to sit-sleep a few hours. When they served coffee in the morning, I didn't hesitate long to do a silly move and to pour half of my coffee onto my neighbor's lap. That was the first time he said anything at all, but it was no more than "no, no, no" after each of my attempts to apologize and to offer my help. He just dried his trousers, made something I interpreted as moderate Tai Chi moves and then turned over to the window, said "no, no, no" a last time and never looked at me again.
We landed in Beijing on schedule and the transfer to the last flight was less stressful. Compared to the long over-night flight, the last 3 hours to Hong Kong went by quite fast. Did I mention my luggage already? Right! I first thought that the direct flight from Zurich to Hong Kong, my luggage seemingly took, might have been the reason, why my suitcase didn't show up on the baggage carousel in Hong Kong. But no, Hong Kong knew nothing about suitcases on direct flights. Luggage is always on the same flight as the passenger. Except when it's not.
My suitcase was brought to me 2 days later, I think it made friends with some other sexy bags on the first flight and decided to spend a little holiday without me in Rome...
Nevertheless, my first stay in Hong Kong was very pleasant. I met a work-colleague (PHBern) who lives in Hong Kong for 6 weeks in winter almost every year. She knows the city and its surroundings very well and it was nice having her introduce me, as a newcomer, to this enormous town! The first afternoon she led me up to The Peak, from where you've got a tremendous sight over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and the second afternoon we went north to the New Territories together, to explore parts of the city, tourists usually wouldn't see on their second day in Hong Kong. The outrageous number of skyscrapers in middle of nature reserves (40% of the Hong Kong terrain is protected!) make Hong Kong a very well-worth visiting and special place and a must see by your own eyes!
The pictures do not intend to give you a full overview of Hong Kong. They are much more merely unsorted travel impressions, for all the rest, visit Wikipedia or Flicker :-)