Tag Archives: WMAF

Revisiting the Middle Ages

Last weekend we visited a Renaissance Fair again after three years. The last time we went back in 2016 in Hamburg which is/ was the biggest one in Germany. This time we went to the town of Hohenwestedt which is nearby my hometown and is probably the best location of all middle age markets we have visited. The entire fair is set up in a large park in the middle of the town and a small sports field next to it. The feeling is just so different when visiting such event when nearly everything is located in a park surrounded by huge old trees compared to other fairs where you only walk around an open field.

Some interesting fellows

We all (except MIL) went there dressed up in some costumes. Nothing historical correct or whatnot all, just what we like to and this kind of fair is just right for it as the name already says “Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum” – “Medieval Fantasy Spectaculum”. You can see all kinds of people there dressed as knights, monks, Vikings, death and even some animals. Anything goes and the atmosphere is just great with music playing from several music stages and some randomn groups playing in between. We met some friends there and of course also other people we know already from my hometown such some neighbors and even a civil official working in the registry office specialized on marriages who has a Galadriel tattoo on one of his arms.

Sunken Nathalie

It was a lovely day with nice weather and a lot of walking for us. Nathan and Nathalie had tons of fun in the straw bale field playing with other kids and I could enjoy a couple of “interesting drinks”. Visiting such event, especially in Hohenwestedt, feels like entering a different world disconnected from the outside. Clothing for the event was kind of odd at first as we hadn’t done so in way too many years but as soon as we left the parking lot we were surrounded by like-minded people and everything felt right. Ruowei went once again as a Chinese princess, Nathalie was a mini princess, Nathan a General and I went in some odd mix of clothing and armor similar to the Rangers of Ithilien. Nothing too fancy but it took us long time collecting everything till we were satisfied. I think it was back in 2015 when we started this all after visiting the very same Renaissance Fair for the first time as a family. Back then my wife was shocked to see so many people dressed up for such event and loved it immediately. I always wanted to dress up for something like that but I had no idea that my wife of all people would like it as well! Even after several years of marriage she still manages to surprise me from time to time.

Have you visited any events where you have dressed up in a similar way?

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Delightful Disneyland

One of the reasons I could convince my wife to visit Hong Kong was the prospect of spending a day at Disneyland. For all the past years we had plans of visiting a Disneyland. Here in Europe we got Disneyland Paris but the costs of travelling there and spending just two days pretty much equals the flight tickets for the entire family to Japan! The thought of visiting Disneyland here popped up from time to time but due to our penny-pinching nature those ideas were quickly quenched. Last year we travelled to Japan so the idea of Disneyland came up again but we decided against it as Nathalie was just way too young to enjoy it and have some faint memories of it later. This year however we planned for a day at Hong Kong Disneyland for a very long time. My wife especially planned our trip so well that she had decided on a specific day to go there based on our travel plans within Hong Kong and most importantly on the number of average visitor of the theme park. All those plans were for naught as she did not consider one factor: The Weather!

A grey sky but no rain for now

While we had pretty stable weather during our first days with some sunshine all rainy hell broke loose after our trip to Lamma Island. It was not just some drizzle but more like a constant water fall flooding the streets.  The day of our planned visit to Disneyland came and was washed away by the rains. In fact we already gave up on visiting the theme park and planned for some other trip to Hong Kong the following year or so. However the kids were so sad about not being able to go to Disneyland, especially because my wife hyped them up for it with videos of the park and Disney Movies for several weeks prior to our holidays that we decided to take the risk of being drowned in the rain and just went there on our fourth day in Hong Kong.

Just some mist, no real rain yet

We took the metro and as soon as the train left the safe underground tunnels we were surrounded by rain. However we were prepared with umbrellas, raincoats and rain boots for the kids. But then we got really lucky as the rain stopped as soon as we arrived at Disneyland and no drop fell down from the clouds until the evening. I mean we had so bad luck in the past six months that we could not fathom something lucky as that happening to us at all anymore. Arriving at the Disneyland station felt so strange as you are immediately “transferred” into some strange and happy fantasy world. Everywhere you go you have some calming background music, the park is designed that you forget the outside world and you really feel like that you stepped into some other place entirely disconnected from the outside. Well that is at least how I felt. To make matters even better was the fact that there were really few people visiting as the weather report had forecast heavy rainstorms for the entire day. This meant for us that we never had to wait more than five minutes for any ride.

I will never ever go on a rollercoaster in the dark again

The kids loved everything there and wanted to go on every single amusement ride. Needless to say that Nathalie was more than once disappointed as she was just to small for the rollercoasters and few other rides. Nathan however was able to go on every ride except one in Toy Story Land where there height requirement was minimum 120cm were he fell short by a few centimeters. All prior research and planning of my wife for this visit came in handy as we arrived at each ride at the right time in order to have short waiting times, not missing any important parade and to go to the best possible restaurant for our requirements. The food was plenty and well enough for a theme park. Nothing extraordinary but on a sad note it was one of the best food we had during our trip to Hong Kong. I know food is not everything went travelling but we had our disappointments with restaurants during our stay.

Flights of Fantasy

One of the main parts was the Flights of Fantasy Parade were pretty much every visitor came to the main road to watch. Towards the end the actors/ artists/ performers (what is the right term here?) invited some kids from the audience to dance and play with them. Our little Nathan was one of them and just beamed all the time while Nathalie screamed like a demon as she didn’t like to be apart from her brother (or just angry for not being invited, you never know with her). One of the interesting parts of this parade was in fact a person in the audience, an elderly woman in a wheelchair who apparently had the time of her life dancing and singing that even some of the performers came to her to dance. In the evening just when to “We love Mickey” Projection show ended the rain started and we quickly hurried back to the train station. By the time we arrived again in Mong Kok the rain had transformed into a proper storm and just walking from the station to our apartment left us soaking wet even with umbrellas and raincoats. For this day I have to say that we really got lucky and I hope the kids will have fond memories of it.

Have you visited a Disneyland?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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Huge Hong Kong

This blog post took a bit longer than I expected. My plan was for this to be published already last weekend but my brother’s birthday and the EU elections didn’t leave me much time for editing. Today will be all about Hong Kong and next blog post will be about our experience in Disneyland. At first I wanted to bundle it all together in one post but I must admit that our day in Disneyland deserves its own blog post.

We had six days to discover Hong Kong and it was honestly not enough. We did not even have full six days as we arrived at our Airbnb apartment in Mong Kok right at the Ladies Market in the evening and flew back to Xi’an in the early morning of the sixth day. As for flying I really have to mention that it was our first time flying with Cathay Dragon and Oh boy what a difference it is to our standard Finnair flights. To sum it up Finnair feels in comparison with Cathay more like being bundled up in your own carry on while being manhandled by farmers with pitchforks. Of course this is only when comparing it with Cathay Dragon as all our other flights were pretty much on par with Finnair so far but it was really nice to have such different flying experience for once.

Nice view

Yes our Airbnb was in Mong Kok right next to the Ladies Market. It was rather an interesting sight stepping out of the bus and to be right in the middle of Nathan Road,  everywhere advertisement and way too many people. Our accommodation was small but good enough for us and the most important thing was the location. From here we were able to get around with ease and could experience Mong Kok every day. For our first day we set out immediately to Central to take the Cable Car to Victoria Peak. At least that was the plan. While walking from Central uphill with Nathalie in a push car in that incredible warm and humid air we saw a sign near our destination telling anyone interested that the cable car is out of order for maintenance and that we should take the bus. Great, just great, everyone was exhausted from the march but complaining wouldn’t help so we set out for the bus station few hundred meters away.

So much happening at once

The bus ride to the top was really fascinating and I tried to record as much as possible with my camcorder. However in doing so I could not take any pictures. More than just a few people got a bit scared when the bus was just on the edge of the road as most of the times there was no curb, just a steep drop few dozens of meters. Nathan was no help either for those poor souls when he explained excitedly in Mandarin  “Ohh it is so high we are falling down now!”. At the top it was a bit cooler and pretty windy. For some reason most people wore winter jackets of all things while I was just happy to be able to cool down a bit after the oppressing humid warm air below. The view was really something else and it was really hard to find some good spots to take videos and pictures without having dozens of people in front of you taking selfies.

Nathan at the beach on Lamma Island

The next few days we continued our exploration of the city such as taking a ferry ride, travelling between Kennedey Town and Causeway Bay on a Ding Ding, walking along the Avenue of Stars and “hiking” around Lamma Island. The island was a really nice change to the lively city even more emphasized due to the near complete absence of tourists due to occasional rainstorms. We did not suffer the rain as nothing major came down on us until reaching the ferry port again where we met a group of people with their Shiba Inus. I had some interesting talk with them while the rest of the family slept due to the little hike up and down the hills on Lamma Island.

Lamma Island is worth several hours of exploration

Now I come to the part which was not working out at all for us. Hong Kong is known for its cuisine, especially the seafood. However none of us is really fond of seafood so we tried to settle for all the other great restaurants. But here comes the problem: either each restaurant we wanted to go had a line of people already reaching the street (which is a no go for a family with two little kids near starvation according to them) or they had no space to take us all in (three adults and two children). The worst of it all was that we even got kind of kicked out of a couple of restaurants when Nathalie started to complain too loudly due to being hungry and slightly feverish. In the end the best food we had were some takeaway noodles from a Sichuan restaurant and pizza slices from Paisano’s. To be honest even the food we had a Disneyland was grand in comparison to most of the restaurants we could find seats in Hong Kong. It is not that we hated the food but we could not get into any restaurant we had planned to due to the above mentioned reasons. Enough of the food for now even though it was a downer for us. All in all Hong Kong was a great experience, especially for the kids. Even now I still can see little Nathan looking at Nathan Hotel in awe telling us that he didn’t know that he owns a hotel, kids can be really wonderful.

 

Next up will be all about Disneyland and how we got very lucky with the weather.

 

Have you visited Hong Kong  and how did you like it?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily