Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Walking Tour: Macau (part 1)

Macau is a nearby Special Administrative Region that is perhaps the most popular getaway destination for Hong Kong people. Like HK, it was once a colony (Portuguese) and it has since been returned to China. You can see evidence of its Portuguese history everywhere. There are so many things to see  in Macau that this walking tour will be in two parts.


My most recent visit to Macau was during the Chinese New Year holiday.


We saw a colorful market full of lucky New Year decorations.


It was right outside the big temple, which was the busiest I've ever seen it.


I don't like to take pictures inside temples and churches, so I snapped this picture of incense coils over the wall as we left.


We left the temple and wandered into the backstreets of Macau.


We walked around one of the many hills...


...and wandered along the waterfront.

  

Macau is full of beautiful architecture.


It's like wandering through a little piece of Old Europe in Asia.


But every once in a while you are reminded of the modern side of the city, too.


Macau is famous for its casinos, which bring in more gambling money than Las Vegas.


This tour will focus on the older side of the city. There will be time to see casinos next week.


We climbed a winding cobblestone street to a church on a hilltop.


We could see the little details of the surrounding buildings.


This spot is a perfect snapshot of the disparate elements of Macau.


The church itself is a beautiful relic of missionary work in Asia.


It's also a popular destination for wedding photos.


We walked down into a peaceful garden on the slopes of the hill, which was a nice respite from the city.


After visiting the church, we meandered back down the hillside, where we saw the terraced houses that are characteristic of Macau.


I like this city because everything is painted in soft, pastel colors.


Even the Chinese consulate building is lovely.


We made our way back down to the main streets, noticing the unique bits of architecture surrounding us.


Eventually we made it back to the main tourist area...


...which was decorated for Chinese New Year.


We walked beneath the lanterns and into a crowd of thousands.


We found a second church, this one more famous because it is right in the middle of the tourist district.


The street was lined with shops selling everything from food to designer clothing.


And there were so many people!


We fought our way past shops giving away samples of the famous pork jerky and egg tarts.


Finally, the crowds spread out when we reached the steps leading up to the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral.


We arrived just as a lion dance was beginning.


We stopped to watch the performance, which was the best lion dance I've seen yet.


Then we made our way up the steps to the ruins of St. Paul's.

We'll continue our tour of Macau next week. Come back to see more Portuguese architecture and the infamous casinos.

67 comments:

  1. Very nice, and I'm looking forward for part two about the casinos .. hoping for something about Casino Lisboa. In my novel the young couple makes a short tour in Macau and I picked up the information from travel books. But from your blog I get description like ... "everything is painted in soft pastel colors".

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Giora. I do have some pictures of Casino Lisboa and the new Grand Lisboa to include in my next tour.

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  2. Hello my darling! Great photos and what an interesting journey writing must be! :) I wanted to let you know that I am passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to you!! The stamp and blog post is here: http://walkinginmay.blogspot.com/2012/02/versatile-blogger-award.html
    If you choose to blog about it, then please list 7 facts about yourself and pass it on to other bloggers. Have a fabulous week my darling!
    May xx
    walkinginmay.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the award May! I really appreciate the mention :) :).

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  3. I really loved Macau and all the Portuguese influence. I went there at the end of last year and had a great time. I found this hole in the wall restaurant that served some delicious Portuguese food and walked around the old cobblestone streets. And I walked through some of the casinos, too. I could go for some Macanese cookies right now!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Flora! I agree that the Portuguese influence makes Macau a special place, and that definitely includes the food. We've been to the same place for garlic shrimp and African chicken several times and it's incredible. I'm not a huge fan of egg tarts in general, but the famous egg tarts and cookies in Macau are great.

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  4. As usual your photos are great, Shannon. We visited Macau just before Christmas. I liked the old town , especially like you, the pastel colours and the food.We got to see the ruins clearly because it was the day the Christmas Decorations were unveiled in Senado Square, so most people were there.I did not care for the casinos at all. My impression was of dirtiness; the smell of stale cigarette smoke, people coughing and spitting in there. Bleuch. However the Wynn resort, which was near our hotel, had a fabulous animation display of the Chinese zodiac, playing every half hour. For me the best thing was the small and deserted Protestant cemetary. I went there to see the painter George Chinnery's grave but was awed by the epitaphs on the graves of young sailors. We did not go to the Cotai Strip so am looking forward to your pictures of the grand casinos there!Missed you last Wednesday; I can't go this week, we are off to the races! First time!

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