Hong Kong

We arrive in Hong Kong late at night. It’s raining outside, we just said our farewell to the Vietnamese heat and we can’t help but wearing the first jacket within reach. We get on a cab, a large car. The Chinese traditional lucky charms are hanging from the rearviewmirror. “Central, please”. Our home is in the city center, two steps away from Queen’s Road. We get closer to the center, driving on the highways and flyovers. From here we see the first images of what lies ahead. Our nose sticks to the windows, looking up to the incredible scenario. Miljians, welcome to Hong Kong!

It’s 8 degrees here. Just a couple of hours ago we were immersed in 33 degrees in Ho Chi Minh. We’re suddenly in the middle of a winter we haven’t experienced for a while and we’re so not well equipped for. Daddy J and I will spend the next days in flip flops (we’re officially promoting the philosophy “Cold feet? Never heard of”). It’s gonna be funny forever to see our pictures in coats and flip flops.

Hong Kong is a city that will shake something within you. A strong western, cosmopolitan hub full of high high buildings and pubs, locals, shops and business centers. All together with a strong asiatic personality, neon signs and chinese characters, Taoist temples and the smoke from the incense, thai chi. The contrast is so strong you cannot possibly be indifferent. That’s why Hong Kong is one of the most interesting destinations of Asia. It’s overwhelming, but in a good way. Our eyes are so tiny in front of all they see: signs, cars, markets, buildings and the city’s confusion.

Our home is in a narrow street, so narrow that from our windows we can spy inside our neighbors houses. The buildings here are so narrow we keep wondering how can we stand up straight so still across these streets.

Our home is in a narrow street, so narrow that from our windows we can spy inside our neighbors houses. The buildings here are so narrow we keep wondering how can we stand up straight so still across these streets.

We chose Hong Kong quite impulsively. We wanted to visit China but several complications made us change our mind. A bunch of mornings ago, while we were sitting in our unmade bed in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh: “So, what’s next?”; our Google Map shows Cambodia? Laos? Taiwan? We wanted to do something different this time. And finally we saw Hong Kong, so simple and clean without Visa issues, so incredibly urban and asian at the same time. That asian atmosphere we’re well used to. Decided. Hong Kong.

Pack the suitcases, book the flight, write down some notes and there we go.

The view from Kowloon Public Pier - reached by ferry, the famous Star Ferry

I love this image, it will always remember me that 5 minutes before taking this pic I formatted the camera’s memory card, losing a lot of pictures. Hands in my hair for about 10 minutes, but Julien forgave me immediately :)

Starbucks is our valid ally when it comes to hard work nights and when it comes to the kids demanding milk with cereals at 7AM - they have zero clue we’ve been working all night. It is also a valid ally when it comes to formatted memory cards. And also just because I love walking down the street with my take away latte.

Hong Kong is an extremely safe city, clean and organized. Some of you might be charmed by the skyscrapers and crazy skylines (like we are), then Hong Kong is the city for you. The Star Ferry is cheap and offers so much, it’s one of the most incredible ferry experiences in the world. On our second day in Hong Kong we decide to take it and reach the northern side of the city, where Kowloon and our favourite Mong Kok are, neighbouring China. We leave Hong Kong Island behind and after 15 minutes we’re in the most eclectic side of the city. In Central sometimes you feel West, here you’re back to East.

Babbo J is known as Bruce Lee, good job for that jump.

Hong Kong Science Museum is one of the places the kids liked the most, they would stay there forever.

Quintessence of modern dadhood, one of my favourite pictures.

In Hong Kong I developed even more my passion for supermarkets. Staying in an apartment allows you to keep your breakfast - lunch - dinner habits, because you can prepare your own food. We’ve been mostly in hotels lately, so we’re happy we can do this again here. That warm feeling of preparing a dish of pasta for your family after a busy day. The breakfast together, with coffee and cookies. Choosing and buying all together what you’re gonna cook and eat in the evening. This feeling is not granted when you’re travelling. In Hong Kong we felt home again, we also hung our little lights in the Airbnb flat :)

Lietta at the Hong Kong Park

While we were at the park we’ve been overrun by a school class. Teo Miljian, the son of the world, runs excited towards them. When the kids took their backpacks in their hands and headed back to school he followed them and said “ciao ciao” to us. Indeed.

Hong Kong is divided in several areas. The main area is Central, hub of activities and offices, buildings, shops, boutiques. Here is where the british settled in 1842 when they got the sovereignty over the city with the Nanking Treaty. However, not much is left of this period. Nowadays, Central is big streets, business, buildings, fashion shops and some narrow streets here and there that keep the soul of the city. The IFC Mall is main attraction, a huge mall hiding a tiny surprise: its Roof Garden on level 4, free entry and a free of charge lunch break with a view on the incredible skyline. Here Teo bought his first basketball journal (and from now on he got completely absorbed in it until the day when the journal fell in the hands of Terminator Lia. RIP basketball journal bought in the IFC Mall... we have loved you.)

Soho neighborhood is one of the best to enjoy the night. Sheung Wan is one of our favorites. Narrow streets where you can find any sort of good, boutiques full of ginseng, herb, fried fish and its traditional chinese atmosphere. Hollywood road aka Antique street for its antique shops. Here is where our second apartment is placed. Every morning we have breakfast over the lovely view on the area. The tiny kitchen window is on Ladder Street, one of the most photographer streets of Hong Kong, so charming and steep. This is Hong Kong.

I loved taking pictures of them every morning just woken up. It’s the first time the slept together in a double bed. Daddy J and I left them the main bed and we slept on the sofa couch in the living room. They slept together every night hugging tightly. We found them every morning on the other side of the bed. Why will always be a mystery.

On the bus, to Choi Hung Estate.

Coucou Teo! <3

Just a few minutes before this moment I took one of our favourite pictures on this bus. Such an intense portrait that fills me with awareness for what we’re doing and the lifestyle we chose. Awareness of my children’s eyes, of the daily colors, of the passion and unconventionality, of the strength we’re gaining as individuals and as a family. I wanted to keep this for myself but then I was inspired to share it. The picture I’m talking about is the very first one you see in this article and it’ll be the first one I’ll show him when he’ll ask: “Mama, have we ever been to Hong Kong?”

Her <3

Choi Hung Estate. Mamma, Lia, a basket ball. Girl Power.

Instagrammers come here just to take a picture, most of the times without even touching a basket ball; we’re proud to announce that Teo played basketball for real, here. Not only, he also found his partner in crime: Mr. we-won’t-understand-each-other-because-we-don’t-speak-english. He just wanted to go out and shoot hoops, but then Teo arrived. End of the story.

We cross Victoria Harbour. Mong Kok is probably one of the most populated areas of the whole planet: 130000 persons per square kilometer. The amount of visual information is incredible: neon signs everywhere, super high and symmetrical buildings showing huge windows, clothesline, billboards. People walks down the streets in herds, traffic jam is congested. Wow, it’s love at first sight. I keep taking pictures like a crazy woman. I’m a lover of visual information and this is heaven for me. We find a cozy place where to eat real Dim Sum. Waiting in line, no particular kindness here: guests are accommodated in a mechanic way. You eat and you leave. It’s the best Dim Sum we’ve ever eaten. Our kids devour the ravioli (we had no doubts with Lia but Teo the Picky Sheriff definitely surprised us).

Mong Kok is basically a huge open air market. Fa Yuen Street is the sneakers street (but Julien won’t leave his flip flops, like a real gladiator ;-)). We buy Teo’s first basketballs characters in Ladies Night Market. Then there are the Flower Market and the Bird Market.

I'm big fan.

Teo Miljian, three years old. Basketball lover.

The night in Mong Kok.

Don’t say it around, but we spent an evening in Harry Potter’s secret spot. ;-) Finding our way here has been a great experience itself. We had a Burro Birra (honestly, it was mostly caramel) and we used a wand to fix Harry’s glasses. Magic!

Anecdote: the first time I showed Daddy J “Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone” I couldn’t foresee his reaction. He became the hugest fan of the whole saga and he was first in line to buy “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows”. When I was pregnant with Teo we watched the whole movie series in one week (... and the week after again, and again, and so on for many many weeks...). When Teo was born we didn’t want to traumatize him and Julien disciplined himself into “rebound”. Eventually he could get out the HP tunnel. But today he’s still suffering from it and still thinks of it. The real pearl? He knows the script by heart but he can’t pronounce “Wingardium Leviosa”.

Another Must Do: the Victoria Peak! We climbed to the top, fighting against our fears. Victoria Peak is the mountain over Central; reachable by tram. From here you can enjoy one of the best views over the city if you’re patient enough with the long queue. Daddy J tried very hard to make me forget of that vertigo feeling, he also asked me to dance on Frank Sinatra’s music. I accepted. But honestly, next time I’ll enjoy the dancing even if it’s not going to happen on a cliff.

We spent in Hong Kong the last two weeks of our first journey experience. In between the two, we also spent a weekend in Disneyland Hong Kong. It wasn’t planned, however we had one of the most beautiful experiences; we won’t forget this light.

With a Lot of Love - #miljiansgotohongkong

Our Airbnb sweet home : https://www.airbnb.it/rooms/5255754