Penha Peninsula -- Where Portugal meets China

2009-12-01 15:03 BJT

There is a lot to see on the peninsula that lies between the Praia Grande and the Inner Harbour, so we suggest you break your itinerary for a meal along the way. NOTE: Avoid taking the walk on a Tuesday, when the Maritime Museum is closed.

Leave Largo do Senado by Rua Dr. Soares, the road that runs up the side of the Civic & Municipal Affairs Bureau, formerly the Leal Senado... Branch left on Calçada Tronco Velho and find yourself in Largo S. Agostinho, with wave-patterned pavements and green lamplights...On your left is St Augustine's Church (established by the Augustinians in 1586, it enshrines the statue of Our Lord of Passion which is carried through the city at Lent via Stations of the Cross)...On your right are the headquarters of the Casa Ricci charity, the Sir Robert Ho Tung Chinese library and Chapel of St Joseph Seminary...Opposite is the Dom Pedro V Theatre (the oldest European theatre in China, it opened in 1858 and is still very active)...Take the cobbled ramp beside the theatre down to Rua Central...Go right and follow the road as it becomes Rua de S. Lourenço...Be sure to visit the St. Lawrence's Church (with an interesting altar and brilliant wooden ceiling)...If you like historic churches, go a right around St. Lawrence's to Rua do Seminário to the Chapel of St. Joseph Seminary (built by the Jesuits, in 'Latin Cross' shape with a dome.)...Retrace your steps to Rua Central and go down the narrow Travessa Padre Narciso to the Rua da Praia Grande...The splendid mansion on your left is Headquarters of the Macau SAR...Turn right and stroll along the praia, looking across the road at the new suburb with man-made lakes containing the Macau Tower and Cybernetic Fountain...Pass a variety of restaurants, the century-old house that is now the Ricci School and a children's playground with a pedal-car driving school...Turn right, up the Calçada do Bom Parto, passing the home of the Portuguese consul (former Hotel Bela Vista) and Hotel Ritz (where you might want stop for a drink on the terrace)...Then head up Rua Boa Vista and turn left on Calçada da Penha to reach the Bishop's Palace and Penha Chapel (only the chapel is open but the courtyard is a fine belvedere with panoramic views...the souvenir shops here are worth visiting)...Go down Estrada de D. João Paulino...passing Santa Sancha (like the old Government Palace, it was built by Macanese architect Thomaz de Aquino, and once the home of the governor) the Avenida da República...Turn right and follow the old sea wall...Rising from the bay to your left is the Gate of Understanding (a monument to Sino-Portuguese friendship)...Turning the corner you'll reach Pousada de São Tiago (a 17th century fort transformed into a Portuguese inn with period furniture and fine terrace for refreshments and views)...Continuing around Barra Point, pass the Naval Dockyards to arrive at A-Ma Temple (built in the Ming Dynasty with hillside prayer halls dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers A-Ma, who inspired the name Macau)...Cross Largo do Pagode da Barra with its patterned pavement, to Pier Number 1 (the possible landfall of the first Fukienese and Portuguese settlers), where you'll find the Macau Maritime Museum (styled like a ship, with outstanding displays illustrating the relationship of Macau with the sea...outdoor exhibits include a traditional of trading junk and pirate-chasing lorcha brigantine. Open 10am-6pm. Closed Tuesday)...By now you must be hungry and you'll find some of Macau's best Portuguese/Macanese restaurants on the nearby Rua do Almirante Sérgio...take a bus or taxi back to town.