I said I would and I am – well kind of. I kept up my country park walks right up until we moved out of Parkview so didn’t let up on those. But then we moved and the routine got broken. First it was a hectic week of unpacking, then my parents arrived for 2 weeks, then I had a week until Dan’s parents arrived also for 2 weeks. Of course I could have still made the time but as I hadn’t yet discovered a new walking route, the ‘first time’ was always going to be more daunting than subsequent ones so I kept putting it off!
But finally on the last Sunday morning that Dan’s parents were here, we enlisted them to babysit and Dan and I headed off. I had seen that there was a walking trail that started probably about 1km from our building so we headed in that direction.
Well, I was exhausted and sweating by the time we reached the start of the trail! As with everything in this city, it’s up hill all the way. As the road narrowed, the trail became pedestrianised and once we’d passed the official start of the trail there were markers every 100 metres telling us how far we’d come and how far to go. Go where? Well, as I could see from my iPhone map that I was following, the end of the trail was the top of the Peak! That would be exciting if it wasn’t for the fact that the Peak is a bloody great mountain! OK, we do live half-way up it (hence the inspiring name Mid-Levels) but having hiked 1km just to get to the start, the markers indicated that it was another 3km climb to the top. Now I know 4km isn’t really that far but we’re talking a steep unrelenting climb (not like the ups and downs of my Parkview walks), 30 degree heat at 8.30am and 95% humidity.
Maybe it was the (slowly) decreasing markers that spurred us on or knowing that we didn’t really have any pressing arrangements to hurry home for but we kept on going and after an hour-ish we bloody made it! Right to the top! The views were incredible, totally worth it and dare I say it was more spectacular than the views I got on my country park walks. Not as peaceful as these were city views but that’s my neighbourhood down there and all this is on my doorstep! There was a lot of sweaty back patting when we got there!
Dan had brought with him $100 (just under £10) which was more than enough for us to get a cab home from the top but we were both starving having not had breakfast so we staggered in to Starbucks! The peak of The Peak isn’t all trees & forest as one might imagine, there’s a shopping mall, supermarket, observation decks, it’s the biggest tourist attraction in Hong Kong thanks to the famous Peak Tram that you can take to get up and down.
Once in Starbucks we had the dilemma of do we just get a drink each which should leave us enough money for the cab home, or do we get some food too, get a cab with no money and ask Dan’s dad to meet us with the cash in our lobby?! What we actually decided to do, idiots that we are, was get the food and walk all the way back home!! I didn’t think that would be so bad, uphill is much harder, right? Well, kind of, but the really steep downward bits are not kind to the knees and my knees were shaking most of the way back. But when we got back 2.5 hours later, we were met with the respect we deserved, if I do say so myself (!) from Josh and Dan’s parents when we told them how far we’d gone!
I can’t say I’ve done that walk every day since. I set off once on my own mid-week but I only had an hour so made it about half way up before retracing my steps back again.
But last Saturday morning, Dan and I went off again, this time we not only made it to the top again but we then did the extra 2.5km flat circular trail that you can do at the top. If we thought the views were amazing on the way up, what we could see from this trail topped it all and was better than any tourist observation deck, that’s for sure. I cannot wait to bring my dad up here, and maybe my mum if she’s up for it, and definitely can’t wait to bring my sister and brother-in-law when they come, they’re going to love that all this is accessible from our front door. (I’ll need to set off about half an hour before them though, they’re fitness freaks!!)
Doing the extra trail at the top was instead of walking all the way home again, this time we did get that cab but not before the refuel at Starbucks of course – this time Dan brought plenty of cash and his credit card!
Keeping us entertained on every walk so far have been the most amusing people we could wish to come across. I was going to call them weirdos but whatever you’ve got to do to reach your goal really I guess! Firstly there’s the elderly men trekking up dressed in shirts and proper trousers who have probably done this walk every day for 60 years. Then there’s the dog walkers who do it in their flip-flops – it makes us wonder if we’re making a fuss about nothing with all our puffing and panting when these people don’t appear to break a sweat but really, it IS a fuss about SOMETHING! Then there’s the guy who was clearly at one with his surroundings playing his wooden flute as he went, the woman jogging down with a green parrot on her shoulder, the woman screeching at the top of her voice with every breath as she climbed, the woman clapping her arms in front and then behind her as she walked and the guy who was carrying a huge metal boulder slung over his shoulder, as if the challenge of The Peak was clearly not enough for him – and he was jogging up with it as well! There’s also the people who go down the hill backwards, are they just stretching their tendons or is there some weird spiritual reason for this?!
I promise faithfully that once the long awaited day of having both kids in school / nursery arrives in just over a month’s time, and the weather starts to cool down a bit, I WILL do this walk every day. No really, I will.