Thursday, 16 January 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - January 16, 2014

Faraway Places...

Grey January skies with too few sunny breaks, tune up my wistful heart to recall an old song. The version I recall was sung by none other than Vera Lynn with my parents joining in whenever it was played on the radio.

Have a listen...

"Faraway places
 With strange soundin' names
 Faraway over the sea
 Those faraway places
 With the strange soundin' names
 Are callin', callin' me

 Goin' to China
 Or maybe Siam
 I want to see for myself
 Those faraway places
 I've been readin' about
 In a book that I took from a shelf

 I start getting restless
 Whenever I hear
 The whistle of a train
 I pray for the day
 I can get underway
 And look for those castles in Spain

 They call me a dreamer
 Well, maybe I am
 But I know that I'm burnin' to see
 Those faraway places
 With the strange soundin' names
 Callin', callin' me..."

Our 2014 excursion to faraway places begins in some twelve weeks with a short stop in Hong Kong, then a cruise to Shanghai followed by a river cruise ending in Beijing. There is a reason, a big reason, why I love cruise travel. There are no hotels to book and no restaurants to research yet there is still plenty to explore.

Case in point: I have spent the better part of the last three days sifting through all the hotel options for Hong Kong. Tripadvisor, Fodors, Lonely Planet and more flashy websites have left my eyes swimming and brain swirling. There are no less than 553 hotels to chose from according to Tripadvisor, from the sumptuous to the seedy, from one side of the harbour to the other, from neo-modern to traditional. It's mind boggling, which I suppose befits one of the most densely populated cities in the world. I'm truly relieved that this is only city for which I have to find accommodation!

We have little more than 24 hours in this metropolis, and for all I know this will be the only time my love and I are ever here, so bring on the sumptuous! If we were staying several days, as the city truly deserves, we would have to be far more frugal, but it is only one night and Shangri-la is just such an evocative word...

Some faraway places we've been:

Sydney, Australia 2010

Oslo, Norway 2007

Muscat, Oman 2011

St. Petersburg, Russia 2012

Ushuaia, Argentina 2008
And so many more, but none in Asia - until this year! My feet are itching to get going.

©2014 April Hoeller

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