The incredible legend
Saying that hiking the in Tiger Leaping Gorge was the reason for my trip to China would be an overstatement. It was definitely at the top of the list of things I wanted to do while exploring this huge country though. The gorge is one of the deepest in the world. It’s located between Jade Dragon Snow mountain and Haba Snow mountain. It towers approximately 3,500 meters above the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the famous Yangtze, the longest river in Asia.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
The legend of the gorge says that a tiger jumped across the river at its narrowest point, which is still a massive 25 meters, to escape a hunter. When I first read about this dramatic scenery and the story behind the name I got hooked on the idea of getting there. It seemed like a perfect place to finish my travels around China.
Away from the buzz
Exploring the outlying islands is chance to catch a glimpse of Hong Kong’s village life. A shift from urban to rural landscape brings out its contrasts again and surprises with a wide range of attractions and places to discover.
As the largest outlying island, Lantau Island is a very popular tourist spot but it also has some more quiet and reclusive areas. Although it is possible to reach the island by MTR and then a cable car I opted for a ferry ride from Central. Getting around by ferries was my thing while in Hong Kong so I was just swiping in and out my Octopus card (a bit like London’s Oyster card) and hopping from one place to another.
The Big Buddha
From Rossio to Sintra
Not that I wanted to part with Lisbon after spending only two days in this great city but Sintra with its famous palaces, majestic mountains and great views of the Atlantic Ocean were a part of my travel plans.
It is very easy to get to Sintra from Lisbon as there is a direct train from Rossio running frequently and the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. The station was literally round the corner from where I was staying so I had enough time in the morning to grab a coffee and something to eat. Although I am not a fan of orange juice, a freshly squeezed one served at many cafes around Lisbon as a part of a breakfast menu was incredible. So sweet! Who knows maybe some extra time in Portugal and I would develop a taste for it?
Sintra National Palace
The land of wine and olives
A weekend away from Barcelona? Walking and hiking involved? I was in as soon as I heard about this idea. A great place that was considered as our out-of-town destination, a picturesque county of Priorat also sounded amazing. It is based in the province of Tarragona that I already had a chance to visit in March so not very far from Barcelona but far enough to feel like a holiday break.
Once three busy ladies were involved it took some time to agree on a suitable weekend that would work for all of us but we managed in the end. Most importantly the dates we picked were also convenient for Aleksandra’s friend, who kindly let us stay in his house in Marçà. Luckily Priotat is easily accessible by train. With Marçà-Falset station situated only a short walk away from the village it was not a problem to find our way even fairly late on Friday night.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It’s very popular with sunshine-loving tourists, especially during the cold and dark winter months. During my trip in February I decided to look beyond beach resorts and explore its wild landscapes and see the vertigo inducing views.
Mount Teide, the third largest volcano in the world and Spain’s highest mountain, and the surrounding National Park were at the top of my list of places I wanted to visit. That was actually the case from the moment I started to plan my trip. Already in December I knew that obtaining a permit to hike up the mountain would not be possible. Mainly due to snow and ice plates around. There was, however, an important piece of information unknown to me when I arrived in Tenerife. The roads accessing Teide from the north of the island were closed. A man working at the Tourist Information Office in La Orotava reluctantly shared the news with me. Luckily I went there to ask few questions, just to be on the safe side about my next day’s plans. It seemed like I was on a wrong side of the island though.