Not long to go now before Sam and I make our way to Hong Kong for our ten days of adventures in China.  We leave on December 19th, unfortunately Zach doesn’t finish classes in Montreal until the 21st so he won’t be joining us on our trip this year.

It’s been a long time since Sam was in Hong Kong, over 10 years if you don’t count the stop over at the airport on our way to Australia.  She was so little last time we were there that she really doesn’t have any memories of it and so I think that’s why, deep down she was curious and so wanted to return. Now I’m traveling with an adult – just incredible!

I’ve been to Hong Kong many times over the years and like the frenetic pace of this incredibly vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Plus this time we have some inside help in terms of things to do and places to eat.  Sam has a friend in her class (part of her school has boarders from all over the world) that grew up in Hong Kong and moved here earlier this year so has given her all the insider scoop.

Definitely the Peak to get amazing views of both the Island as well as kowloon, perhaps the floating seafood restaurant in Aberdeen (albeit it’s a touristy thing to do but its on Sam’s list), the Goldfish market and street shopping in Mong Kok.

Strangely in all the times I’ve been to Hong Kong I’ve never made the trip to Macau, the old Portuguese settlement which is only an hour away by the fast ferry service so that’s on my list of to-do’s.  Sam even offered to accompany me on a hike along the Dragon’s Back.  I hiked it last time I was in Hong Kong and loved it, such a beautiful walk through soaring bamboo groves and along razor backed ridges, with incredible views of the South China Sea and the myriad of islands surrounding Hong Kong Island.

We both wanted to go to Lantau Island to visit the Po Lin monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha.  This 34 meter bronzed buddha is the largest in the world and sits atop the mountain.  Again, a great 10 km hike up to the top on a path that winds it way around the mountain and up the steep path.  Did I say fun???  🙂

Don’t worry Sami is definitely up for the challenge and very excited about exploring!

We’re flying to Shanghai on Christmas day, and unsure what to expect in terms of how busy it will be but judging from my experiences in Asia it’ll be busy no matter when or what time of day we go.

Neither of us have been to Shanghai, and it’s been on my “to see and experience” list for many years. I guess I was drawn in at an early age, and as a bit of a history buff and reader I’ve always had a fascination for the Shanghai of the 1930’s with the International Settlement and the intrigue and color that this epic era had surrounding it.

We’re staying on the Bund in the heart of the Settlement area, right on the Huangpu river (an estuary off the Yangtze river) and opposite Pudong and the incredible explosion of new development that this area has undergone in the last twenty years.

I realize that Shanghai is no longer the city colored by my romantic visions but an enormously modern and cosmopolitan city, so in some ways I hope I can still seek out remnants of the older city, but won’t be disappointed either way.  It’s going to be fun to take it off my list, and another place for Sam to mark on her wall map.

Ever since Sam was a baby wherever I’ve travelled I always brought her a postcard for her collection. She and I are similar in that she is also a traveler and last year brought a map of the world to put on the wall of her bedroom, which she has since surrounded with postcards all the from around the world.  Even her school friends now know about her famous postcard collection and have contributed including some of her teachers.

Instead of March break with me this coming year, she’s doing a service trip with her school to Ecuador and the Amazon basin.  She’s fearless when it comes to traveling and a bit of a chip off the old block…and although we won’t get a chance to have an adventure somewhere in the world I know she’s going to absolutely love it!

Yes, I feel sorry for her in some ways as my thirst for travel and adventure can be distracting at times, hopefully the world will remain a place full of wonder and adventure for her over her lifetime.

I have always loved creating these memories with Zach and Sami and will definitely miss Zach on our trip to China, but hoping that’ll we’ll still have more adventures in the future, although as you know it gets infinitely more difficult when he’s both away at school and has a job over the summer.

I’m savouring every moment I can with Sam and already starting to prepare myself for when she leaves for University in only 18 months time.  I can’t believe that I’ll be an empty nester when she leaves, best enjoy it now and plan for when they’re gone.

Language school for an extended amount of time in Florence and Bologna both sound good, maybe a winter in Sicily or Sardinia…the options are endless!

Stay tuned week for more of our adventures from Hong Kong!