My winter 2018 trip to Asia. Day 2. Hong Kong, China

After been in Delhi the previous day, Hong Kong is a striking change.
Delhi and Hong Kong couldn’t be more different. The wide roads and big spaces of Delhi contrast with the narrow streets and high buildings in Hong Kong. 

Me with people walking in the background in a busy road and tall buildings.

As I was riding the Airport Express from the airport to the city High, I was able to enjoy the high-quality free wifi connection.

On the first day, I walked from Central to Mid Levels to Wan Chai trying to absorb all the details of the city. 

In one of the convenience stores I had the opportunity to purchase some of my favorite drinks and food from Japan. As I had no idea that they were solt here, it was a pleasant surprise.

I also took the tram to Victoria Peak. It was a shame that a thick fog was hiding the city. So, I have missed a great view. Is this maybe a good excuse to come back to Hong Kong sometime in the future?

Thick fog. Nothing can be seen.

Update: I have generated a video from some of the many pictures taken during the day.

My winter 2018 trip to Asia. Day 1. Delhi, India

This is my first trip to India. I had a 11 hours stop at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). So, I decided to apply for an e-Visa and visit Delhi while in transit.

The Delhi Airport Metro Express is a very convenient way to get from the airport to the city. Once in the New Delhi station, I walked to the National Museum. During this one hour walk, I experienced several interesting particularities of the city.

New Delhi station sign and part of the platform.

As you approach the station people starts to take the phones and keys out of their pockets. You will do the same as soon as you get used to it. All metro stations have security checkpoints. The faster way to pass by is to put your bagpack in the scanner and have everything metallic in your had. A quick check and you are in. The first time, I had to take out of my pockets the GPS, phone, and keys as the metal detector beeped.

Once at the New Delhi station I looked at my GPS and started the route that I had planned. Even that the poverty is apparent, in no moment I felt unsafe. The most dangerous part of the visit is to cross the streets. Cars will pass by ignoring most of the transit signs. The trick is to put all your senses on the road, pass with confidence, and listen to the honking. From the constant sound of the honking, you can understand “I’m here watch out”, “Pass fast”, or “I’m not going to stop, so better don’t try”. I will not recommend walking in the city. 

Another part of the experience is that people will approach you to try to lure you to their shops or to hire a ride. As I continued walking the driver of an auto rickshaw offered a ride for 200 rupees, then 50, and finally 20 as I was walking away. Another man talked with me for 10 minutes, while I just smiled and continued walking. He left me alone only when I went down the metro station (and went up on the other exit as I wanted to walk all the way to the National Museum). Tourists are a good source of income and the effort is worth their time. When I was young, in Spain people will call tourists “guiris“. It is a despective name to describe tourists with pockets full of money and a total lack of knowledge about prices. So, I can understand how they see me as I pass by.

Stray dog in front of the road.
Street dog close to
the Parliament House and Secretariat Building.

Close to the Secretariat a guy dressed in formal clothes gave me some advice on what to do in that part of the city. And make sure that I knew that a normal price for an auto rickshaw is 20 rupees, no more.  Probably he was frustrated with people trying to take advantage of tourists and he was willing to help. It was a very nice gesture. 

Me in front of the India Gate. There is fog.
A lot of fog and the India Gate

After one hour of walking and crossing roads, I arrived to my destination. The National Museum of Delhi is a place worth visiting. Even that some of the exhibitions are not very well maintained and a few were closed, there is a lot to see.

After the visit to the Museum, I had some time left. My original plan was to do a quick visit the Red Fort. But the stress of walking around, the noise, people approaching you, and the pollution and a fog that limited the view made me change my plans and I went back to the airport.

The visit was a very good experience overall. The next time I visit Delhi, I will plan it accordingly using what I have learned.

Poland trip

I went to Kraków to visit NetEnt’s game studio. I stayed the weekend to see the country.

Kraków’s air quality is among the worst of the world, and it was noticeable. But past this inconvenience, the city is modern, with a well-conserved Old Town – rare for a country with so many scars from WWII – and has many cultural attractions to visit.

Krakow's downtown

I booked a trip to Auschwitz. I read ‘The Holocaust’ by Laurence Rees a week before as preparation, a book worth reading. The guide also offered information and gave historical context to the tour.

In Kraków, I walked south of Vistula river early in the morning. From there I went up to the Muzeum Etnograficzne at Krakowska 46. It’s a good place to learn more about Poland’s culture, and one of the three buildings of the Ethnographic museum across the city. Kraków’s National Museum is west of the Old Town. The main attraction was the painting ‘Lady with an Ermine’ by Leonardo da Vinci. Paintings, sculptures, furniture, are part of the museum’s gallery of decorative art. I plan to return to the National Museum the next time I pass by Kraków.

I didn’t have time to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a must-see that my friends highly recommended. But this fact offers me an excuse to take some extra vacation next business trip to the city.

See more photos in my Poland’s photo album

Malta trip

This October I traveled to Malta for three days of company activities. After the event, I stayed the weekend as a tourist. It was a good opportunity to relax and to test my new SLR-style mirrorless camera, a Panasonic LUMIX G80.

I spent most of my time at Valletta. It is Malta’s capital and a beautiful Mediterranean city.

Even for such a short time, the island felt small. But overall it was a relaxing weekend and a welcome change from the cold Swedish weather.

Malta buildings

See more photos in my Malta photo album

(Updated March 2018)

Abisko trip by Artic Circle Train

On May 2015, I traveled for the first time by Arctic Circle Train. I went up to Narvik in Norway, stopping by Abisko and Umeå. But I didn’t achieve my goal at Abisko. So thick was the layer of snow that I barely advanced one kilometer of the twelve that I had planned.

Arctic Circle Train, Train 94

In the evening of Friday 4th, I took train 94 in Stockholm Central station direction Abisko. After 1,200 kilometers and 17 hours of smelling dog – I booked quite late and I need to settle for an animal-friendly wagon – the train arrived at ‘Abisko turiststation’.

I had 24 hours to reach Abiskojaure mountain hut, pass the night and come back to take the train next day at the same location and time but opposite direction. With a snow-free exuberantly green landscape, it was easy to achieve. This leg of Kungsleden is well traveled, kept in good condition and with easy to follow marks.

After three hours of walking back to the station, I still had some time remaining to walk alongside Torneträsk lake. A frozen white plane in my memory from May now transformed into a deep blue lake.

Abisko Torneträsk lake

Tired but feeling in peace and connected with nature, I took the train back to Stockholm.

See more photos in my Abisko photo album