Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: hill

February 2021

I’ve been back from my two-week Chinese New Year holidays for more than a week already but let’s admit it, the holidays could always be longer. This year, Chinese New Year was celebrated in my husband’s hometown, with a brief visit to a nearby city in Hubei province beforehand. The week post-CNY was spent in Guangdong province in the south, close to my hometown. Good company, good food, and good times!

Evening stroll along the river that runs through the urban centre of my husband’s hometown.

Abandoned shack in Xianning, a city known for its hot springs. The graffiti on the door says “Zhang Fengming is a pig”. Hmm, I wonder whom Zhang Fengming offended…

Plum blossoms in full bloom in Xianning! Didn’t have to go to the plum blossom gardens in Wuhan to see them this year 😉

We encountered the plum blossoms along the boardwalk that runs along the Crescent Bay in Xianning. ZJ was probably chewing a sugar cane slice (a whole bag in his right hand) as he commented on the beauty of the plum blossoms.

Whereas we were still in mid-winter in Xianning, we immediately entered what felt like mid-summer when we reached Zhuhai in southern Guangdong province. Sun, T-shirts, and iced bubble tea are preferred here! This rainbow staircase in the Hengqin district in Zhuhai further brightened our day!

Instead of plum blossoms, we saw these bright flowers in Zhuhai, tentatively identified as araguaney by a plant-recognition app. Too pretty – I am in awe!

Not smiling here as we were resting during a hike on Jiangjun Hill. It wasn’t a tall hill but there were lots of stairs going up and down and up and down and…up up up. Do not underestimate even the most gentle hills…!

View of Macau in the distance, from the top of Jiangjun Hill. I had been there several times but Jian hadn’t, and the original plan was actually to visit Macau, but with COVID restrictions, that had to be cancelled. So close, but so far away…

Highlight of any trip to Guangdong: FOOD!! From left to right, top to bottom – 1: stir-fried gailan with beef in Zhuhai; 2: steamed garlic oysters in Zhuhai; 3: Hakka-style chicken in Zhuhai; 4: deep-fried spare ribs with beefsteak plant in Zhongshan; 5: wonton and beef brisket noodles in Zhongshan; 6: clay pot rice with chicken and spare ribs in Zhongshan; 7: steamed chicken feet @ dim sum in Shunde; 8: pineapple bun with roasted pork filling @ dim sum in Shunde; 9: shrimp pork dumplings (siumai) @ dim sum in Shunde. This is my type of food – I MISS IT SO MUCH!!

In the last photo, I mentioned Zhongshan and Shunde (a district of Foshan), which are cities in Guangdong that we visited after Zhuhai but didn’t further show in the photos. These places, especially Shunde, are known as food havens in China and they did not disappoint. With limited time, we were only able to sample a small portion of the local gastronomy offered by Zhongshan and Shunde. This definitely wouldn’t be the last visit…I will be back!!!

Sunset from Mount Lycabettus

Sometimes a city doesn’t have to be super glamorous or impressive to earn a ★ on my travel checklist – perhaps a simple yet stunning sunset will do, and that was the case with Athens. It was a fulfilling week in the Greek capital with the annual European Society of Biomaterials conference, and certainly the most memorable part, aside from the conference itself and my amazing companion, was the sunset on Mount Lycabettus tonight, the highest point in Athens. I want to say that all sunsets are beautiful, but some are more beautiful than others. To expect clouds to add some more colours at this time of the year might be wishful thinking, but I gotta say – sorry Santorini, you have nothing on Lycabettus. It was a magical dusk, not a moment too late to marvel at God’s spectacular creations. The cradle of western civilization, the birthplace of philosophy, democracy, the Olympics, and more – good night, Athens.

Sunset from Mount Lycabettus, the highest point in Athens, on September 7, 2017.

The hills are alive…at Loch Lomond!

This post is waaaaaaaaaaay overdue.

You see, I went for a hike on Conic Hill near Loch Lomond at the end of June, enjoyed it so much, and was so excited about writing a blog related to the experience. Alas, more than three months have gone by and still no blog post. I am a procrastinator!!

If Kinnoull Hill was my introduction to hill walking, then Conic Hill was what made me fall in love with this activity. I am aiming for the West Highland Way in the upcoming years and some real mountains eventually, possibly some Scottish Munros, but hill walking will get my training started nicely and slowly. Having searched the nearby Loch Lomond, I saw that many people have suggested trying Conic Hill before taking on the real beast of the Munro, especially for the inexperienced, which clearly referred to me. So one very sunny Saturday morning, I packed my backpack and my camera, hopped onto a very early train to Balloch (hills have the power to wake me up at 6:30 in the morning on a weekend, which is impressive), took a bus to Balmaha, and promptly started my solo ascent to Conic Hill at 9am.

At an elevation of approximately 350 m, Conic Hill is a gentle climb and rather straightforward. The hill could be done as part of the West Highland Way (the Way), but since I was climbing it without doing the Way, I think I can skip it when I actually take on the Way in its entirety (though the views on Conic Hill were so impressive, as you will see, that I may contemplate repeating the route). The ascent was slow and steady with some gradual changes in elevation at the beginning, but be not fooled! Past the well-shaded foresty patches, the slopes suddenly became very steep quite quickly, and never-ending steps seemingly appeared out of nowhere in front of me. Oh, I knew I was in for a very sweaty workout, alright!

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