An Amazing Day in Chania, Crete, Greece

Chania is the second largest city in Crete after Heraklion and one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island.

As the city was once ruled by the Venetians, the style of the buildings was heavily influenced by Venetian elements. Many other historical heritage remained from the period, like the Venetian lighthouse, fortifications, walls, etc. along with some mosques that survived from the history of Ottoman rule after the Venetians. All together made a distinctive skyline, especially in the Venetian Port in the old town. Along the coast, tourists can also opt for horseback riding for an exotic stroll.

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Walking around the old town was such a delight; it literally rolled back time with all those quaint and historic houses and lanes. There were lots of interesting stores and inviting restaurants. It was a good place to shop for handicrafts, leather goods, olive products, etc. I spent a relaxing afternoon around the area and had a nice tea with fantastic sea views. No wonder people fall in love with the city.

How to get there?

I took a bus from Heraklion, taking about 4 hours to get to Chania. Alternatively, people go by plane to Chania International Airport from Athens. During popular seasons, there are direct flights from other countries. Go by ferry from Athens is another option.

Read more or book: Hotels in Chania


遊覽希臘克里特島上風光如畫的干尼亞

干尼亞是繼首都伊拉克利翁後克里特島上的第二大城市,因着迷人的風光和獨特的文化背景,成為島上最受遊客歡迎的旅遊地點之一。

干尼亞曾被威尼斯人及鄂圖曼帝國統治,所以城上隨處可見許多歷史遺物,特別是在威尼斯港灣,就有極具威尼斯風情的建築,如燈塔、堡壘、城牆,以及鄂圖曼帝國時建造的清真寺,形成一道干尼亞獨有的風景。遊客也可以在海邊乘搭觀光馬車,享受悠遊的下午。

干尼亞的舊城區是必到的地方,看着古色古香的建築和小徑彷如時光倒流,別有風情。當中有許多不錯的餐廳以及值得逛的商鋪,可以買到當地的特產如工藝品、皮革製品、橄欖產品等。我們在異國風情的舊城閒逛着,吃個下午茶,欣賞美麗海景,不知不覺就度過了一個悠閒的下午,難怪那麼多人會愛上這個城市。

如何去干尼亞?

我從首都伊拉克利翁乘搭巴士大概四小時就到了干尼亞,也可從雅典搭飛機或者渡輪到干尼亞國際機場,旺季時亦有從其他國家飛到干尼亞的航班。

更多相關資訊︰干尼亞酒店

Reverse vending machines may reverse decline in local recycling industry

Have you wondered where the recyclables collected by recycling bins will go? Are they really recycled at the end of the day? In Hong Kong there are 2800 recycling bins and they collect 4 tonnes of disposals every day, out of which 1.5 tonnes are non-recyclables that’ll end up in landfills. But the 2.5 tonnes of recyclables may just share the same destiny as the local recycling industry is facing a serious decline.

In the past the collected recyclables were exported, especially to mainland China. For example in 2011, 98.5% of collected waste was exported to the mainland. However over the past years, the mainland has been tightening their waste import regulations. The prices of waste exported from Hong Kong have been dropping, causing a serious blow to the recycling industry. This year China further imposed a regulation banning the import of 24 types of solid waste, making it harder for local recyclers to survive.

The problem with the local recycling industry is that it is too dependent on waste export markets and that the recycling culture in Hong Kong is not mature enough. To improve local recycling, in 2007 some local catering enterprises launched a batch of reverse vending machines (RVMs) to facilitate recycling. RVMs are vending machines that collect used plastic bottles or other recyclables, and reward users with coupons. This encourages recycling and more importantly, it automatically processes and sorts recyclables. Countries like Norway, Finland, Germany, America, China, etc are adopting RVMs to their benefits. However unlike these places, the practice didn’t work well in Hong Kong because of its voluntary nature, insufficient reward initiatives and a lack of promotion.

If recycling with RVMs is encouraged or even made mandatory by the government, RVMs will work as well in Hong Kong as in other cities. This year a mandatory producer responsibility scheme on glass beverage containers will go into effect, which will enforce the “polluter pays” principle in treating and recycling glass beverage containers. The scheme can in fact be implemented on other recyclables like plastics, cans and so on to share the responsibility of recycling among producers, retailers, consumers, etc. RVMs can complement the scheme to ensure the quality of recyclables. This can help establish a self-sufficient local recycling eco-system and develop Hong Kong into a green smart city.


逆向自動售貨機能逆轉香港回收業困境? 

全港有2800個分類回收桶,平均每天收集4噸回收廢棄物,但當中有1.5噸是不可被回收的,要被送到堆填區,然而另外2.5噸回收物料可能亦難逃棄置堆填區的命運,因為本地的回收業正面對嚴峻的回收市場,收回的回收物料可能前無去路。

以往香港的回收物料會出口到外地,尤以中國內地市場為主,在2011年,本港出口到內地的回收物料就高達98.5%。然而,近年內地提高入口物料要求,各類回收物料價格驟跌,對本地回收業造成嚴重打擊。今年內地更進一步禁止二十四種洋垃圾進口,讓本地回收商更難經營。

從回收商面臨的困境可見,最大的問題在於香港回收業過份依賴內地市場,加上本港回收風氣亦不盛行。為了改善回收風氣,2007年幾所大型餐飲企業推出了一批逆向自動售貨機,以積分制鼓勵市民回收飲品膠樽。逆向自動售貨機 Reverse Vending Machines(RVMs),又稱智能回收機,能自動收集、分類膠樽及其他回收物品,市民投入膠樽後,售貨機會回贈現金、積分或禮品劵等。RVMs現時有多個國家採用,如挪威、芬蘭、德國、美國、中國等等,成效顯著。然而RVMs在香港卻不像在這些國家般成功,2007年的回收計劃就因自願性質、缺乏宣傳、獎勵不夠吸引等原因成效不大。

現時政府正擬議塑膠產品容器生產者責任計劃,強制性讓污染者負擔處理及回收廢棄物的責任,相信屆時RVMs能成為有效的輔助工具,不但方便市民回收廢棄物,同時提高物料的質素,幫助回收業建立一個自給自足的生態環境。

Why I Like the Chinatown in Yokohama, Japan

On my way to Izu from Chiba last month, I could not stop myself from routing to Yokohama to have lunch at the Chinatown.  It’s the biggest Chinatown in Japan and Asia. It’s a vibrant place; there’s always something going on especially during festivals. If you’ve been to Yokohama Chinatown, you sure won’t forget the richly Chinese elements in its architecture, like the grandly decorated gates, plaques, and the must-see Kwan Tai Temple and Ma Zhu Temple. It’s interesting to know that the design and location of the gates are combined with Chinese feng shui.

Despite being impressed by the construction style, what I like most is the food. And I believe it’s one of the places with the best Chinese cuisine! There are numerous Chinese restaurants. I always like to try out some whenever I’m there. I’m never let down.

Perhaps it’s homesickness or maybe it’s pure curiosity, when I’m abroad, I like to check out the Chinatown there. I’ve been to some unforgettable Chinatowns in the world and my favourite one is in Yokohama.  What is yours?

Read more or book: Hotels in Yokohama


日本橫濱中華街讓我留連忘返的原因

上月從千葉到伊豆途中,還是忍不住跑了一趟橫濱,特意到它的中華街去吃午飯。橫濱中華街是日本和亞洲最大的唐人街,總是熱鬧非常,節慶時更是熙來攘往。說到橫濱,到過的人難免想起其華麗及富濃厚中國特色的街道、牌樓、匾額,當然少不了必到的關帝廟和媽祖廟。其中牌樓的設計和方位更揉合了中國風水。

橫濱的建築和街道固然讓人神往,但最讓我留連忘返的還是它的餐廳。橫濱是一個吃中菜的好地方,有很多好吃的中菜館,每次到橫濱我總愛到不同餐廳大快朵頤。

不知是思鄉還是好奇心的關係,每次人在外地總喜歡逛逛該處的唐人街,雖然到過不少富有特色的唐人街,橫濱的中華街始終最讓我難忘,你呢?

更多相關資訊︰橫濱酒店

My Very First Beach Day this Summer – Creta Maris, Crete, Greece

I was trying to do some research before the trip to Crete to ensure I would be able to arrive at the conference venue on time and have an appropriate place to stay for a nice rest (Hotels in Crete). However, as this was my first time going there, I was not familiar with the names of the places, nor the transportation options available.  I found it very difficult to comprehend the information collected online.  Not until I was there in person I started to realize that the same place could be referred to very differently.  For example, Chania, the second largest city of Crete, is presented as Χανιά (Greek), Canea (Venetian) or Hanya (Ottoman Turkish).  No wonder it took me so long to get myself up to speed with the map of Crete.

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During this trip, I spent most of the time in Hersonissos, a beautiful traditional touristic village and port. Most of my friends stayed at Creta Maris Beach Resort, which balanced between convenience reaching the convention venue and access to the beautiful beach.

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Like the rest of Crete, the convention centre was just as quaint with an antique construction style. This old-fashioned and relaxing environment gave me a very relaxing and peaceful feeling – highly recommended for retreat or a quiet break.

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Read more or book: Hotels in Hersonissos


希臘克里特島的消暑勝地 — 克雷塔馬里斯海灘渡假村

因為要參加一個國際聲學會議,我到了美麗的希臘小島克里特島。為了能準時到達會場和尋找合適的落腳點(克里特島酒店),出發前我在網上做了點資料搜集,可是因為我從未到過克里特島,所以對島上的地名和交通選擇都十分陌生,覺得網上的資料很難明。直到我去到當地,才發現同一個地名有不同寫法,例如島上第二大城市干尼亞,英文名是Chania,希臘文是Χανιά,威尼斯語是Canea,還有鄂圖曼土耳其語叫Hanya,竟有好幾個看來各不相干的名字,難怪我花上好些時間才看明白克里特的地圖。

這次我大部分時間都待在赫索尼索斯,一個歷史悠久的美麗村落和海港。我的朋友們住在克雷塔馬里斯海灘渡假村,離會議場地和沙灘很近,十分方便。

這次會議在克雷塔馬里斯會議中心舉行,會議中心是典型克里特島古色古香的建築風格,環境十分平靜舒適,絕對是放鬆和散心的好地方。

更多相關資訊︰赫索尼索斯酒店