So a day trip to Macau it is to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. And why not since it is only a short ferry ride away and well, let’s be honest it’s another country I can tick off the list!
It was straight forward getting to Macau as there are regular ferries from and to Hong Kong all day. The first thing you see as you get off the ferry in Macau are the free shuttle buses that ship people from the port to their casino of choice. I had heard that Macau is the place for the people of China and Hong Kong to go to get their gambling fix, but there really is a casino everywhere and streams of people are going into them. We navigated ourselves from the port towards the town centre and made our first point of call Guia Hill Park. At the top of the park there is Guia Fortress built by the Portuguese where they have also built a lighthouse and a chapel. These overlook Macau to protect from invasions following a Dutch attempt in the 1600’s. But its pleasant walk around the park and great to get a view of the small country of Macau.
From here we meandered through the less claustrophobic and surprisingly quiet streets, compared to Hong Kong, down to the main touristy centre. The Ruins of St Paul, also from the Portuguese rule. All that remains from ground is the southern stone façade entrance. It is a beautifully carved façade and has remained visible despite the amount of time that has passed. But the amount of tourists in this area is insane and it gets worse when you try and pass down the small streets that are full of shops selling different types of jerky and Portuguese egg tarts. Obviously, when here you have to buy some and both the jerky and the tarts and they are so tasty. It made all the free samples hard to walk past, well when you could fight the Chinese tourists to them.
It is a bit quieter up in the grounds of the Macau Museum where we were lucky to stumble across a traditional Macau performance with the two girls in traditional dress and make up. Made for a nice break from the throngs of tourists. The rest of the afternoon, was aimlessly walking around the picturesque streets with the Portuguese architectural buildings, making you feel like you are back in Europe. Struggling to find something to eat we all wanted to eat; we opted for a dirty McDonalds and plonked ourselves down in the main square, in front of a fountain watching a school band performance. It certainly felt like a very European afternoon and it was nice and peaceful listening to the music even though behind us was the chaos of tourists screaming to get their jerky order first.
Deciding to make our way back to Guia Hill for the sunset, we set off back that way and made a quick stop in St Michael’s Church and cemetery. A peaceful spot tucked away amongst residential blocks. Then up to Guia Hill, where we soon realised that the amount of trees meant we wouldn’t be able to see the sunset, so instead we opted for a long walk around the park and back down to the ferry port.
It was a smooth crossing back to Hong Kong and craving a proper meal, we opted for a good old curry. We headed back to their hotel, before I continued on to the hostel and really nicely we found a birthday cake in their hotel room. So a quick coffee and a slice of cake were consumed before heading off to bed. Not a bad way to spend my Mum’s birthday.