Allen’s Adventures in Europe – Part Two

Introduction

Stewart Goes Walkies continues with Allen’s adventures in Europe. In this section he visits:

Salzburg, Konigsee, Hallstaff
Austria
After a delicious lunch, we continued our way to Salzburg, a four-hour drive away. The midway stop is both modern and efficient. Two things that made Salzburg famous. I would say first, it’s the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who started composing at the age of 4, and died at the age of 35. It was here that he composed many of his symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, masses, serenades, and a few minor operas.
Salzburg, Mozart’s home
But most tourists will come here to make the pilgrimage to the von Trapp family. Mozart became an added bonus. As it is the movie “Sound of Music” shooting locations. From Mirabell Gardens to the Felsenreitschule and Schloss Leopoldskron: Salzburg is practically teeming with “Sound of Music” locations.
Beautiful Austrian country roads
One just has to love Germany and Austria. The cities we visited are tidy and orderly. People drive with care and respect for other road users. And all that finally came down to, the quality of people. Nice people that lived under rigid self-imposed conduct.
Konigsee
First, we visited Konigsee. This area has been used for outdoor recreation for centuries; Bavarian royalty and the local rulers of Berchtesgaden and Salzburg hunted here, Hitler went boating on the lake, and Eva Braun liked to sunbathe on the shore. The Königsee is a wonderful example of a crystal-clear alpine lake.
The mirror-like Konigsee Lake
Crystal clear water
Snow-capped mountains
Taking the electric boat. There are only two stops: St. Bartholomä and Salet. The mountain walls are so sheer, there is no path around the lake, so the boat is the only way to explore the Königsee. Gliding through crystal clear water, passing vertical mountain walls to the much-photographed baroque church of Sankt Bartholomä, which was built in the 12th century. It’s a hiker’s heaven as it has many world-class trails with breathtaking scenery. Along the way, the boatman blows a blast on his trumpet and the echoes bounce back from the mountain walls. Being there, I can understand why this place is ranked as the third most visited tourist spot by the Germans.
There are numerous hiking trails – all world-class quality
Hallstatt
Continuing our journey, an hour and a half drive away, we visited Hallstatt. The town is perched on the shores of Lake Hallstatt, well known for its salt mines that date back to prehistoric times. Taking our time, we explored the labyrinthine alleyways and cobblestone streets, lined with 16th-century Alpine buildings painted pastel pink, yellow, and blue flower boxes decorate their balconies.
Hallstatt, for centuries the only access is by boat

 

For some reason, the Chinese from mainland China love to have their honeymoon here. As a matter of fact, they love it so much that, they built an exact replica city in the town of Luoyang located in Boluo County within the city of Huizhou, Guangdong, China.
The town square
Alpine-style houses
As the town is very small, it cannot deal with the vast amount of tourists, especially those who just stop for a few hours stop, not spending any money to support the local economy, with the possible exception of the pay toilet. They requested that all tour buses can only park there with a booking with the local businesses, be it a hotel or restaurant. We had lunch there, and the trout was excellent. The town lives up to its reputation. A beautiful quiet retreat for all. Especially now that there is practically no mainland China tourist.
St. Peter’s Benedictine Monastery and the Mozart Dinner Concert
The historic Benedictine monastery where we enjoyed a candlelight Mozart dinner concert
We cannot leave Salzburg without attending a Mozart Dinner concert. It took place at St. Peter’s Baroque Hall which is part of the famous Benedictine monastery of St. Peter in the heart of Salzburg. It is one of the last concert halls in Salzburg illuminated by only candlelight. This evening, we were taken back to Mozart’s time, enjoying an evening likely to have taken place in 1790 – in the Baroque Hall lit by candles, having a dinner based on historical recipes, sipping Austria fine wine and listening to a concert with musicians in authentic costumes and the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The dinner concert
Conclusion

Stewart Goes Walkies is very grateful to our old friend, and rock-climbing mentor, Allen Lai. His pictures and descriptions are wonderful. We are looking forward to the next installment.

Thank you for visiting Stewart Goes Walkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can contact us here:

 

 

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Sheung Shui to Yuen Long – A Kinabalu Moment

‘A Kinabalu Moment’ – The realisation that you have just accomplished a Herculean task and it occurs to you that, having done so, you will never have to do the bloody thing again – JS Sloan on having ascended Mt. Kinabalu (4,095 m), August, 1979.’

Introduction

Accompanied by my lovely wife, Airyn, who was in charge of photography, and son James, who was in charge of keeping me moving in the right direction, I was able to complete the Sheung Shui to Yuen Long section of the New Territories Cycle Network. Together, we were able to complete the section which was just under 17 kilometres.

This leaves only the Yuen Long to Tuen Mun section remaining.

The Route and getting to the start

Take the MTR to Sheung Shui Station and alight at Exit C. (If you walk to the very front of the platform after alighting you will find this exit on the same level). Start walking in the direction of the highrise buildings and you will soon find a cycle track. This is not part of the NT cycle network, but it will lead you in the right direction.

Continue down Choi Yuen Road in the direction of the Sheung Shui Ambulance Depot. There you will find a footbridge that takes you across the Shek Sheung River.

The Sheung Shui Ambulance Depot, the first of two footbridges can be seen on the left. Take the second one.

Of course, no Stewart Goes Walkies outing would be complete without a minor navigational error and this was no exception. I’m pleased to say that on this occasion it was not my fault but I’m not going to mention any names. (See the dog leg in the route map).

Once across the river, the footpath leads you towards the Sheung Yue River and our first rest stop at the Sheung Yue River Sitting Out Area.

 

Entering the Sheung Yue River Sitting Out Area
Long Valley

This part of the route takes you along the Sheung Yue River which, under normal circumstances would be a beautiful, picturesque section. Unfortunately, due to maintenance work on the river bank, much of the scenery disappears behind construction site hoardings.

After resting for a few moments at the Sheung Yue River Sitting Out Area we crossed the bridge and started on the Long Valley section.

Starting along the Long Valley
A farm to the right of the path
Some of the local residents, we also saw a large herd of goats on the opposite embankment

Very sadly, this was the scenery for almost 70 percent of the Long Valley section
Arriving at Castle Peak Road shortly before Kwu Tong
Kwu Tung and the Castle Peak Road Section
Setting off along Castle Peak Road towards Kwu Tung

This section was the most tiresome. Interspersed with road works and sections where either the cycle track disappeared, or merged into the footpath, or vice versa. Having said that we did pass by some drink shops that catered to the cyclists and interesting historical areas. One of them was Dills Corner, a housing area that used to be the quarters for British Army personnel characterised by the low-rise pink buildings.

 

The first of the very welcome drink shops that Airyn managed to find
Tedious hiking but still some greenery
Dills Corner
At one point we had to cross to the other side of the road
The footpath and cycle track became a shambles but…
…fortunately, we found another drink shop
Mai Po Nature Reserve

Just before San Wai Tsuen we branched off and followed the cycle track along the outskirts of the Mai Po Nature Reserve.

From this point on the scenery became more interesting as we followed one of the feeders for the Kam Tin River along Kam Pok Road. We passed by Chuk Yuen Tsuen and carried on past the entrance to Fairview Park. To the left of the route, we passed several commercial fishing ponds and took advantage of one to rest.

 

Nearing the end
The Pok Oi Hospital, Yuen Long

We decided to end the route at the Pok Oi Hospital. The reason for this is the nearby bus stop where we can pick up the route when we do the Yuen Long to Tuen Mun section.

Conclusion

We made our way to the Mall where we enjoyed a drink and a meal at a German Restaurant. It was here that I had my ‘Kinabalu Moment.’

Enjoying a well-deserved beer with James while Airyn looks on

Looking back on the route map I am still amazed at the length of the section. However, the reason for this is that all of the sections of the New Territories Cycle Network start and finish at transportation hubs. While it is possible to break up the Sheung Shui to Yuen Long section it would entail taking a bus, or mini bus to, or from, the Kwu Tung area, which still leaves a considerable part of the section left to be completed on another day.

This section of the New Territories Cycle Network was hard work and I could not have done it without the assistance of Airyn, who took charge of photography, and James, who kept me moving forward.

Thank you for visiting Stewart Goes Walkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can contact us here:

 

 

Help us to make a commitment to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Dont buy drinking water in plastic bottles when its easy to bring it from home. Lets work together to save the planet.

 

Allen’s Adventures in Europe – Part One

Toronto, Wurzburg, Rothenberg, and Dinkelsbuhl

 

“It was the best of times it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens.

 

Introduction

Stewart Goes Walkies is very grateful to our old friend, Allen Lai, for another of his excellent travelogues.

No doubt (writes Allen) it was the worst of times to travel, the shadow of COVID is still hanging over everyone’s minds, the airlines and airports are struggling to maintain regular service, and flight delays, cancellations, and loss of luggage have become the norm. Not to mention there is a war going on. Many tour operators are suffering due to a lack of tourists and government regulations. But, it is also the best of times to travel. Less crowded, easy to book hotels and restaurants, and less traffic at the tourist spot. I have taken 4 trips since May, the Middle East, Alaska, Florida, and up north in the cottage country. So the next logical trip was Europe.

The confusion in Toronto Pearson airport

The trip started off badly. The 7-hour flight to Frankfurt was delayed for six hours. During the whole time, there was no clear announcement as to whether we could actually fly. It was not until 3 am, nine hours after we arrived at the airport, we were finally able to board. Well, look at the bright side, we were on our way.

Germany

We landed in Frankfurt in the late afternoon. I love Germany, always so efficient and orderly.

The beautiful Wurzburg with the Celtic fortress

Our first stop was Wurzburg. The site of a Celtic settlement, it was first mentioned as Virteburch in 704. A centre of grape growing and of rail and river traffic. Although much of the city was destroyed in World War II, its postwar reconstruction has been thorough.

The medieval main bridge that resembles the Charles bridge in Prague

Standing on the medieval Main Bridge, looking up to the Celtic hill fortress, which was the residence of the bishops (c. 1250 – 1720). The locals are drinking and chatting away everywhere. It’s difficult to think a war is raging nearby.  I sampled the famous local Wurzburg Silvaner and Traminer wine. Both are the vino of choice by the locals, fruity and full-bodied, the latter one is sweet and is recognized as the “wine for women”.  I love it, both are refreshing and will be lovely on a day like today.

Rothenburg
Almost silent, Rothenburg

We arrived at Rothenberg in the late evening. The well-preserved walled city with all the Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and Baroque and Rococo styles buildings are everywhere. It never failed to surprise me. We checked into Hotel Goldener Hirsch, which is a 13th-century building, right next to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most famous hashtag tourist spot, any closer, I will be right on top of it. The city is quiet compared with my last two visits years ago. The usual tourists are missing.  Wandering around the quiet cobblestone street at night, all familiar sights and fond memories came back.

The deserted main street of Rothenburg
Our hotel, right next to the hashtag tourist spot, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

We woke up before sunrise to explore the beautiful city of Rothenburg. The city was quiet. Gone were the days when every inch is packed with tourists from all over the world. The few I encountered were Germans from another city.

Dinkelsbuhl
Dinkelsbuhl, the walled city

After breakfast, we continued our journey to Dinkelsbuhl. Dinkelsbuhl may be the most romantic stop on southern Germany’s Romantic Road, with Renaissance patrician houses encircled by Medieval walls and sky-scraping gatehouses. The 15 century gothic St. George church at the town center, famed as one of Germany’s largest “Hall Church”, is massive and beautiful.

The gothic St George church, the largest Hall church
The grandeur inside of St George’s church

Then it was time for lunch at the star-rated Michelin restaurant, Altdeutsches Restaurant. This Old German Restaurant is in the Hotel Deutsches Haus which was built in 1440. It is a place of enjoyment and relaxation in one of the most beautiful half-timbered buildings in Germany. We were enjoying modern Franconian cuisine at the highest level.

The Michelin lunch at Altdeutsches Restaurant, a 14th century, half-timber house.
Allen and his lovely companion, enjoying the Michelin cuisine
Conclusion

Allen’s enjoyment of history and culture is evident in his photos and text. He continues his adventures in Part Two and we look forward to seeing it. SGW.

Thank you for visiting Stewart Goes Walkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can contact us here:

 

 

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