Hongkong

Hongkong was the last stop of the three week trip in the group and we added on another day before we flew the 13 hours back home. It is a fascinating city of old and new, hi-tech and traditional. We first had a harbor cruise and afterwards drove up to Victoria Peak for the best views. One can pay to get into the platform, but opposite there is a shopping mall with good windows too. We also visited the largest museum with exhibits of crafts, boats, city model and art.

Naturally, we went to visit a temple with buddha statues, puppet figures and many other buildings of interest. My husband bought a nice cell phone downtown, it just needs a different plug for charging. Many Chinese speak quite good English and are always helpful. We sometimes took the underground subway train, cheap and fast.

Downtown Hongkong is a busy, bustling place. There is so much to see and to admire that it is difficult to describe it all. It is rather a shame that the British influence has lessened, but it is wonderful to visit. We can strongly recommend the Maritime Museum down at the water’s edge.

Longmen grottoes in Luoyang, province Henan, China

The limestone caves or Longmen grottoes are about 12 km to the south of Luoyang. They are the finest examples of Buddha statues carved in the soft rock and formerly painted. At times steep steps lead up to the statues, other are farther down, sometimes an entire rock face has been transformed into miniature and large niches for different sized statues. The Yi river flows through this area, the Yique or “gate of the river Yi”.

About 1/3 of the caves are from the Northern Wei and about 2/3 from the Tang dynasty, with some caves from other periods of time. The grottoes have been included in the World Heritage list as ‘outstanding manifestation of human artistic creativity’ by the UNESCO in 2000 showing such an amount of Tang art. The surrounding area is home to almost 2,500 stelae and inscriptions, as well as 60 Buddhist pagodas.