About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spectacular Hong Kong, Part IV

Final Chapter

On our second full day in Hong Kong, while admiring the view from our room, I became aware of one lovely building that, not being a skyscraper, stood out from the rest. While it wasn't small by any means, it looked diminutive compared to the surrounding structures. Beneath large Chinese characters on the front of the building were English words. I strained my eyes to make them out and was delighted when I read "Hong Kong Central Library." 

This I had to see.
I know. I know. A library is not a bookstore, but I am a retired librarian after all, and libraries are related to bookstores in many ways. And this was such a grand library that I thought it well worth a brief post. I called my husband to the window, and he agreed that it deserved a closer look.  

It was an easy five-minute walk cutting through Victoria Park to a pedestrian bridge that crossed a busy Hong Kong street and ended precisely at the front corner of the impressive edifice.

Guests are welcomed into the cream colored stone and green glass building by a broad tiled terrace, the center of which boasts a spectacular fountain enclosed in a round stone pool surrounded by flowering plants. From the center of this fountain springs a world globe slowly rotating on another pool of water. 

At both sides of the terrace, steps lead down to yet another fountain, this one featuring sculptures of children merrily splashing in the falling water. Greenery is all around. Trees, bushes, and flowering plants grace not only the entrance, but numerous planters on upper levels of the building as well.

The interior of the library is every bit as stunning as the exterior. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures, and my description could never hope to do it justice. So I will rely on, dare I say it, Wikipedia to provide a better sense of this breathtaking interior. A beautiful, bright open atrium in the center of the building extends to nearly the top floor. Brilliant glass elevators on one side and escalators on the other provide a dramatic means of ascent.

Our first stop, not surprisingly, was the children's floor. Yes, one entire bright, cheery floor is devoted to children, and on the morning of our visit, we were in the pleasant company of a group of school children. There is also a floor for young adult materials, some in English and some in Chinese including many titles also popular in the U. S. I noticed, for example, an extremely well-worn copy of Harry Potter

On the reference floor, we saw many reading and research areas and plenty of computers. So many miles from home, yet here I spotted a familiar site, a teen using a computer to check her Facebook. I guess the world really is flat.

Our last stop before leaving the library was the gift shop, not something I am accustomed to seeing in a library. Well, if you're going to have a gift shop in a library, it may as well be wonderful, and this one was indeed, featuring tasteful items unlike the usual offerings in the tourist spots. Here I purchased several souvenirs and gifts.

After our brief visit, we headed back out past the fountains, over the pedestrian bridge, and through the park, glad that we had taken the time to visit Hong Kong Central Library.

Now lest you labor under the misconception that all we did in Hong Kong was visit bookstores and the library, I thought it fitting that I conclude my Hong Kong series with a bit about some of the other sights we saw. 

Directly after visiting the library, we headed out via train to visit the Po Lin Monastery and Tien Tan Buddha, the largest outdoor seated Buddha in the world. Very impressive indeed. I can still feel the burn from climbing the 240 steps to the top.

The following day we took the famous tram to the Peak and from there went on to relax at the picturesque coastal village of Stanley where we enjoyed refreshments at the Pickled Pelican.

Remember: If you click on the photos, you can see them full sized.

Entrance to temple at Po Lin Monastery

Foggy view from The Peak

The beach at Stanley

Pickled Pelican in Stanley

Our final evening in Hong Kong happened to be our anniversary. We celebrated by having a delicious dinner at the gourmet restaurant on the top floor of our hotel. Not only did we enjoy the food, but the view, although foggy, was spectacular. Our celebration was enhanced by a stunning light display on the skyline buildings. It was a fantastic way to end a great trip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a remarkable adventure. I am overwhelmed by their investment in such a library; I wish that our libraries were this well funded. They should be.

Happy anniversary. Glad you had such a wonderful trip.