We took the shuttle bus to the Hotel Lisboa – it’s right in the centre of Macau and it took us through the streets filled with big hotels and casinos. When the bus dropped us off, and we looked around, walking behind the Hotel Lisboa, we were surprised. Macau is still a Chinese city, it is full of little back alleys, old houses, small shops and restaurants.Originally, Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999.This is still visible today. The city is a mix of old Chinese buildings, Portuguese historic buildings and a lot of new and very modern buildings are next to each other. Some of the new modern buildings are fascinating to look at, but others are really ugly.We started our journey by walking through the backstreets, away from the typical tourist footpaths, into an eastwards direction. We passed through some little streets, with little backyards and immediately we noticed that we passed through a very Chinese district. All the houses were built closely together, often expanded and enlarged with additional floors on top.
Every flat seemed to have a balcony and the balcony was often caged, and clothes were stored in there. It’s like an open-air wardrobe.A lot of houses had little shops and restaurants at the bottom and the first floors, and then rising up high in the sky were flats. Between the Chinese houses, you could always see a Portuguese or Western-style of house. These were easy to notice, often smaller in height, and more colourful. Also, they were often better kept or freshly renovated.We walked through some streets in a zigzag fashion, until we suddenly arrived at the Lazarus Church one of many churches in Macau. It’s a very nice church – like a lot of the Portuguese buildings, it’s colourful with a lovely church yard, full of palm trees and beautiful flowers.We crossed the streets and walked towards the north – suddenly we entered into an area that felt more Mediterranean, with its cobbled streets, little colourful houses and courtyards with trees and flowers.In this neighbourhood, everything was quiet and calm.