Spring has already set in when we arrived the small but charming town of Morges in Switzerland. This is where the Tulip festival is held each year to celebrate the return of spring. Apart from this, we didn’t know much about Morges, only that Audrey Hepburn (remember “Moon River” and singer Andy Williams who passed away yesterday?) was buried somewhere near this town.
Once alighted from the car, we couldn’t wait to have a walk in the flowered garden. Next to the Lake Geneva, the garden also has wide, green expanses of lawn and beautiful, stately trees.
Although the tulip exhibition has just finished, it was a lovely walk around the garden. Flowers were everywhere. Apart from tulips, Morges is known for its irises and in summer, the dahlia brightens up the shore in Morges.
There are great paths to walk along and flowerbeds to add colour, beauty and atmosphere to it all – benches to sit and relax under the trees in the shade or out in the sun. There are signs on the lakeside promenade which shows that you can walk all the way to Lausanne.
After the stroll in the garden and the lakeside promenade, we took a look at the town center. It was a surprise to find the cobbled, pedestrian-only main street was lined with shops, bakeries, fountains, and benches. It is also the venue of lively markets.
As with many things in Switzerland, the surrounding give you a sense of serene and tranquility. My first impressions of Switzerland were more related to chocolates, raclette, fondue, cuckoo clocks, bank accounts. After this visit, I am thinking of Switzerland more in terms of lake, yachts, flowers, mountains, beautiful sceneries and tranquility.
While we were in West Lake, we took the opportunity to visit Xixi, China’s only national wetland which is 5 km away from West Lake. Xixi National Wetland Park covers approximately 10 sq km. The wetland, which has a history of 1800 years, is a self-sustaining ecological system and is now an eco-educational center. It is also a paradise of various kinds of birds.
Water is the soul of Xixi. it covers 70% of the park. The park is crisscrossed with six main watercourses, scatter ponds, lakes and swamps. We took a boat which brought us along the waterways to various islands and sights.
Xixi has long been a land of seclusion. Thanks to the picturesque waterways and rural landscapes, Xixi has always been the home for artists and writers who produce poems, calligraphy, paintings and epigraphy. In some of the famous buildings here many scholars and poets have written their famous poems and prose.
As it was winter, we found we were the only visitors in many of the scenic spots.
The boat brought us to various locations where we could jump off and walked the trails.
This reminded us that it was almost time that we should be making our way back to the hotel by the lake in West Lake.
It is said that Xixi has several distinct aesthetic features: cold and secluded, raw and wild, simplicity and elegance. Throughout the whole trip, we were mindful of their presence. But our first impression of this park is indeed its grey and loneliness.
With the grey sky above us and with loneliness in our hearts, we vowed we would come back and revisit it on a more cheerful day . . . . . . . . . .
Last Summer, the World Heritage Committee has inscribed the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The inscribed landscape has inspired famous poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century. It comprises numerous temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens and ornamental trees, as well as causeways and artificial islands. The West Lake has influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries and bears an exceptional testimony to the cultural tradition of improving landscapes to create a series of vistas reflecting an idealised fusion between humans and nature
We knew it wasn’t the best time of the year for visiting West Lake in Hangzhou China. It was November, the sky was hazy and it was cool when we landed at the airport.
Early next morning, we started our exploration of the lake which is listed by UNESCO. We strolled along the banks of the West Lake, wandering into an area which is known as “Orioles Singing in the Willows “.
It was a joy to watch the kois admist the rain. The sky turned dark and this imparted a blue hue on the water surface. The whole thing started looking like a painting. Rain drops shooting into the water and spreading out as ripples.
The kois swam underneath the water and only surfaced when they spotted food on the water surface. The kois swimming in the lake were just like impressionist paintings with a blue background. The contrasting red and orange colors were in an ever-changing pattern of different spatial dispersion and intensity.
I thought I could stay here all day gazing how the kois came together against the blue background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For related post ” The Last Days of Autumn in West Lake, China”, please see https://retireediary.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/the-last-days-of-autumn-in-west-lake-china/