Fanling

Trip Start Oct 15, 2007
1
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Trip End May 01, 2008


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

When I was on the plane browsing through the inflight magazine, I came across an article about Fanling in the New Territories. There is a historic walk through Fanling and the pictures in the magazine were enticing. I mentioned it to Frits and he was up for anything.

We got to the train station and were excited to read a memo that said trains will run to Fanling every two minutes to accomodate increased traffic due to the Bun Festival. Bun Festival, how exciting.

We asked for information about the historic walk and the ticket vendor had no idea of what we were talking about and told us to get on the train. Good advice for us so we got on the train.
The train into the New Territories took about 45 minutes. We got off at Fanling station and looked for an information booth. There was none. There was an exit sign and it led us into a mall. Somehow we ended up in the parkade beneath the mall. I had to use my broken Chinese to ask for directions to the centre of town. It was misunderstood and we were directed to a large shopping mall. Fortunately for us, there was an information booth in the mall. The girl at the booth didn't speak English, but was quick to run and get someone that did. We asked about the historic walk, and no one had ever heard of it. Excellent. Then we asked about the Bun Festival. Oh yes, they were very excited for the event. Unfortunately for us, it was happening the next day.

We were directed to the bus stop just outside the train station and saw a faded sign describing the historic walk. We were in the right place! There were two choices for the walk. We could wait for the bus that would take us to the beginning or take the bus already there that would take us to the end and we could do it in reverse. Reverse it was.

The driver let us off in the exact place and we found ourselves at the walled city. 
The gate into the city was giant. We walked in to see but were surprised that only the wall was historic. Inside the wall all the buildings were rebuilt in the modern Chinese/Taiwanese style. Plain, narrow, and three storeys high. At the end opposite the gate was a small temple in disrepair. The paintings on the walls and doors were beautiful in their day but now were in need of restoration.  


There was no map at this location and no signs of where to go. There was a small road that led past a school field and another that went through the village. We chose the one through the village. There was a treed path and it must have been the right way. As we were walking, civilization seemed to be leaving us behind. Although there was a path, there was farmland on either side. It was interesting to have a peek in other people's gardens. There was a fork in the path and we decided to go left. Somehow we ended up on a main road and were totally lost. Good thing Frits took a picture of the map at the bus station so we knew how lost and far off the historical path we actually were.

It was around lunch time and we were just across from a mall with a small restaurant. There was no English menu and the only characters I recognized were rice and noodles. One of the student sitting in the cafe offered to help us and we ordered lunch. After lunch, we continued on our mission of finding the historic path. It could be anywhere.
We found ourselves at an intersection of two main roads and consulted the camera map once again. We decided that following one of the main roads would get us where we needed to go. It definitely took us past some interesting things. Then we saw a sign for the historic path. We should have taken the dirt road past the school yard.
It took a while to actually find the path as there was only one sign but many roads. We did get on the right track and walked past partially walled cities set amongst new developments.


Fortunately the rest of the walk was easy to find and each stop had a map.

We found the place where the Bun Festival was taking place.
One of the temples on the route had a crew setting up chairs and tables.
There was also a Carlsberg keg and tap, it was going to be a good festival. Too bad we weren't going to make it.

We finished the walk and were now in the middle of an industrial area. The fumes were interesting. The streets were one way and the buses non existent. We tried to find a main road that would have a bus route that would take us back to the train station.
A guy at the bus stop helped us and even flagged down our bus. We were on the way back to Kowloon.
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