This post is part of a series of love letters written by travel bloggers and expats about their favorite places around the world. Read more here!
Love Letter to Hong Kong
from Inna from the Executive Thrillseeker
Dear Hong Kong,
What do people usually imagine when they hear “Hong Kong”? Probably, the skyline dotted with skyscrapers, a modern, high-tech city, everybody speaking English, businessmen in suits – all this is indeed about you, but the city is not limited to this.
Upon arrival, I realized that it is a place of contrasts with untouched nature, stunning beaches, and delicious national food. On one hand, it’s China and on the other—well, not China at all. You have one of the largest ports in the world, one of the leading financial centers of Asia and the world. You are a fusion of Eastern and European cultures.
‘The Pearl of the Orient’ is the most common name to describe you. Sometimes the city is called Asian New York. To call you a Chinese city is difficult, as it doesn’t look so and a lot of people speak English. Despite the colonial history of the city, locals did not acquire English mentality but at the same time ceased to be Chinese.
I love you for the concrete jungle surrounded by untouched green hills with hiking trails. The view from Victoria Peak to the city is breathtaking. Having visited different areas, I plunged not only into the atmosphere of an ultramodern city with a crazy rhythm of life but also felt the local flavor: home owned-shops, poor residential areas, markets that sell counterfeits for any brand.
Huge skyscrapers, expensive restaurants, luxury hotels and boutiques, and nearby— restaurants where nobody knows a word in English, old residential buildings that have not seen repairs for decades, and local shops selling dubious Chinese delicacies.
In no other country have I seen so many contrasts, however banal it may sound, and for this I love you, Hong Kong!
Love Letter to Copenhagen
from Julianna at The Discoveries Of
Copenhagen, you’ve totally won my heart. The first time I visited on a cold March four years ago, I wasn’t expecting much—I was mainly interested in catching up with some old friends who are lucky enough to call you their home. But somewhere during the four days of that trip, I started to fall in love with you.
Cruises along the canal, delicious street food, cycling at a gentle pace to get to another part of town—it was all so perfect that I couldn’t resist coming back again… and again. Each time I visit you, I discover something new: I spent most of my last trip exploring the gorgeous castles and palaces dotted around Copenhagen, something I’d never done before. I love that you can pop into a royal palace and learn about the history of Denmark—all before lunch.
That’s before I even talk about food and drink. Your residents take their food very seriously— and it shows. From the world-famous Noma to local restaurants like Kodbyens Fiskebar and street food markets like Reffen Island, every trip is like a culinary adventure—a seriously addictive one.
Mostly though, I love your relaxed pace. There aren’t many capital cities that are so effortlessly cool and laid back at the same time. You pull it off well though—and I love you for it.
Love Letter to Jerusalem
from Rachel at Rachel’s Ruminations
You are ancient and beautiful, but most of all: intense. Your winding stone streets, stone walls, stone paving—exude the patience of the ages: this too shall pass. You show the scars of your long history in Biblical ruins, Roman pillars, ancient marketplaces, Crusader fortress walls, all jumbled together.
Yet those scars don’t make you ugly; they attract. Men and women alike are drawn to you with a sort of fervor that no other city can match. They all—Jews, Muslims, and Christians—seek to own you and define you, yet you defy them all. You’ve stood too long, too deeply-rooted, to be changed by their demands.
Even I, nonbeliever that I am, feel your attraction. I love nothing better than walking your streets aimlessly, hearing, smelling, and breathing in the intensity around me, feeling the age of the stones that surround me. You fascinate me.
At your center is the Western Wall, where Jews pray. It is the most sacred place in the world for them, the only remnant of the Second Temple. Above, on the Temple Mount, supported by that very same wall, Muslims pray too, at the Dome of the Rock. From this spot, Mohammed ascended to heaven, they believe. Nearby, the Christians pray just as fervently in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, their sacred place, believed to be where Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
I watch the coming and going of so many believers and wonder at how they live so intertwined, yet so separate, within you. You, meanwhile, remain unmoved.