Showing posts with label sightseeing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sightseeing. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

We picked up littleC at the Hong Kong International Airport on Monday evening. After only 4 hours of sleep, she was ready to take on Hong Kong the next morning. We headed to town to join the AWA group tour of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.

Finding Buddhas in Hong Kong is not surprising, but seeing more than 10,000 in one place is quite impressive. To get to the monastery (this term is used lightly, as there are no actual monks living here), we had to walk a path known for monkeys hanging around (we didn't see any) and then climb about 430 steps completely lined on both sides with golden buddhas.

These buddhas all had very different facial expressions meant to demonstrate the various states of enlightenment.

The monastery was spread out over two levels. To get all the steps out of the way, we went right to the top level. We saw some of the most beautiful temples (there are five in total). I loved the colors in this one.

The different buddha statues continued. It was fun trying to figure out the significance of what they were holding.

The reclining buddha was a big hit. His toes were so big, I kept counting to make sure there were only ten.

The ivory white Kwun Yam statue riding a dragon was a stunning find in the farthest corner of the upper level. With a waterfall behind her, she seemed to be looking over the other buddhas and the village of Shatin far below.

On the main level of the monastery we found the nine story pagoda that is featured on some $100HKD bills. Rumor has it that you can climb up for great views, but it was closed when we were there.

On this level there were several pavilions, more and more buddhas and the main temple with more than 10,000 buddhas inside (no photos or video were allowed inside).

This place was just so interesting! We might have rushed a bit because winter temperatures have arrived in Hong Kong and we were really cold.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hiking: Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, CO

We spent some of our weekend time with our University of Colorado student hiking to one of his recommended places: The Royal Arch

But, let me back up to the beginning. 

The weekend started for mrC on Friday when he went to the Fraternity House Father & Son Poker Game Night (they did not win all the chips but they had fun). Then on Saturday, we were given a personal tour of the CU campus (amazing place), walked around Pearl Street and met the girlfriend and her mom for a lovely dinner at the Walnut Brewery.

On Sunday, after picking up the Frat boy, we had brunch at Snooze (an iconic eatery on Pearl Street). The menu was filled up with so many choices I wanted to try everything, but I finally chose banana pancakes with a side of eggs. 

We took a post-brunch stroll around Pearl Street and then because it was still pretty chilly, we drove up Flagstaff Mountain. We went all the way up to the scenic lookout at Lost Gulch and enjoyed the views of the Continental Divide.

On the way down, we stopped at another viewing area (no name) and did some bouldering because it's fun and we could.

Our younger tour guide did some solo rock climbing. He climbed right up, but then walked down on a path. 

Our hike began at Chautauqua Park. We parked the car on Baseline Road and then cut across the field using the 6th Street Connector.  Our route to the Royal Arch ---> Chatauqua Trail - Flatirons Loop trail - Royal Arch Trail. The first part of the hike was easy walking uphill on a mostly gravel path. It was very much like the start of our first Flatirons hike.

Great hiking capris from Athleta

After following the Chatauqua Trail into the woods, we switched to the Flatirons Loop trail. This part of the hike was bit more challenging. The terrain changed over to rocky and the incline increased slowly. There were plenty of places to stop and take breaks. At one stop we had rock climbers on one side of us and a perfect view of the CU campus on the other.

Finally we made it to the final section of our hike, the Royal Arch Trail. This section was by far the hardest (and rated as difficult) with the steep and steady climb through the pine forest and undulating hills that seemed to go on and on.

Sentinel Pass was a great place for a break and had the option of doing a little bouldering to a viewpoint (which we did) for a quick photo. Then we began a quick and dirty down-climb and resumed pushing upward to the arch.

The Royal Arch was much much bigger than I expected. Sitting at an elevation of 6,915 ft, it was worth the final steep climb to get to it. We walked under the arch to the outcrops and sweeping views on the other side. Looking back through the arch, the blue skies seemed to glow above the Flatirons.

We spent some time enjoying the view and watching the braver hikers climb up, on, and around the arch. To get back to the car ---> Royal Arch Trail - Bluebell Road Trail - Baseline - 6th Street Connector. We hiked 4.5 miles in a little more than 2.5 hours and we felt awesome!

It was a great day with the boys!

Other hiking posts you might like:

First Flatirons Hike in Boulder, Colorado

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sydney: Bike the Bridge, Hyde Park Loop and Fortune of War

This was by far my favorite day in Australia. Hanging out with mrC, riding bikes and just moving at our own pace felt really, really good.

We walked back down to The Rocks to a cute little outdoor eatery that we saw the day before for brunch. DARE, Delicious And Responsible Eating, serves everything gluten free. We took full advantage and ordered gluten free toast and banana pancakes with our eggs. Everything was delicious.

We earned that BIG meal after the full body workout we did at the hotel. A little warmup on the treadmill followed by arm and leg circuits then a cool down. My new Lorna Jane tank spoke for me.

After eating we walked around the corner to rent our bikes for the day from Sydney Bike Tours. In the past we have gone on guided bike tours, but this time we went on our own. The bike rental comes with helmets and maps, but we used the bike store app to download the maps onto our smartphone. They gave us a phone holder to attach to the bike and let us use a locker to store our extra belongings while we were biking.

Our first route took us over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. To me, this was kind of like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. The dedicated bike lane is on the west side of the bridge, so we could not see the Opera House, but we could see Goat Island. 

On the north side of the harbour, the bike route went by Luna Park, Australia's oldest theme park. It was closed for "filming" but open to walk around.

We rode the path around Lavender Bay past the marina to the secret gardens. We did not spot the home of the Prime Minister, but part of the bike trail was closed for construction. We had to carry our bikes up the stairs to bypass the construction. By the way, my Athleta pants were amazingly comfortable. I love that I felt sporty without having to wear tights.

Back across the bridge we stopped for a gluten free brownie that we got to-go from DARE on Observatory Hill. It was a well-earned treat after riding about 9km.

After our snack stop we continued our biking adventure picking up part of another route. We made our way down Macquarie Street to Hyde Park. Archibald Fountain was a popular photo spot.

We paused at the reflection pool at the Anzac War Memorial at the south end of the park. 

Then we made our way up College Street stopping to visit St. Mary's Cathedral. It was so big and so beautiful. 

We returned our bikes and walked to Fortune of War, the oldest pub in Sydney.

We hung out at the bar learning more about The Rocks neighborhood and tasting some of the local delicacies like crocodile skewers. They tasted like a fatty piece of chicken.

Afterwards we walked back to the hotel.

Coming up next our last day in Australia took us to the mountains.