Travel Theme: Pathways

This week’s Travel Theme is “Pathways“.

In our travels, we walked so many paths, course, tracks  etc. and sometimes, even off the beaten tracks ; but the ones most unforgettable are the pathways at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia.

This is a view looking down from the hillsides of the Plitvice Lakes.  The  long and S-curve boardwalk is almost a work of art integrating so well with the surrounding series of waterfalls.  Every time when I look at this image, I feel so grateful to have the opportunity of travelling to this faraway place and have the opportunity of taking this photo. I also like the sole visitor walking on the boardwalk, as if he is having the whole watery garden of Eden to himself.DSCF0333

Plitvice Lakes have a very elaborate and well designed system of boardwalk. Sometimes, you never know where you are heading to. They are just so curvy and you cannot see what is at the end.DSCF0276A

Some of these boardwalks just let you walk along the shores of the lakes, allowing you to enjoy the lake view.DSCF0302

Other boardwalks may just go round almost in a circle, bringing you further out to the lakes.DSCF0369

Some of these just delight you when you passed through with foliage on one or both sides.DSCF0356

The pathway I like best are those which brought me out so near to the waterfalls.DSCF0300

Some of these bring you so close to the waterfalls so that you can admire not only at the view but also the wonderful work of nature.DSCF0358A

The boardwalks are just remarkable; they bring you so close to the water and the waterfalls. They offer an all-weather, non-slippery surface to walk on come rain, come shine. They are also suitable for kids and the more elderly people to walk on as they are normally flat or designed to have a small gradient.

What a wonderful system of pathways!

A Word a Week: Mountain (2)

I love mountains as serene places where I can seek solitude and strength.

Up in the mountains of Yunnan, China, I found not only solitude and strength, but also beautiful mountain views.

I felt totally relaxed at the sight of distant blue mountains partially covered by the clouds and  as a contrast, in the foreground, are green mountains. Clear and calcium rich fresh water came dripping down from the dams of travertine into the lake below where three Yaks were staying.DSC_0300

To take this picture, I went quite close to the Yaks. The image is made more interesting by the multi-colors on the saddles of the Yaks which are the colors of the local tribes.

Gazing at the scenery in front of us, we know our long journey to several thousand metres high up the hills was a worthwhile trip. . . . . . . . . . .

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

This week’s Challenge is on “Background”. Background generally means the part of a pictorial representation that appears to be in the distance and that provides relief for the principal objects in the foreground.

My favorite picture is one taken in Okinawa’s aquarium. The principal objects are the visitors who were taking  pictures or pointing towards the fishes in the aquarium. The interesting thing is that the background was changing all the time, with different types of fishes appearing on the scene.DSC_0211

On my next picture, the principal objects are the yellow fishes, in a background of rocks and corals in the aquarium.DSC_0197

In Furano, Japan, while the principal objects are the lavender flowers in the foreground, the rolling hills behind and the sky formed an interesting backdrop.CIMG0142

The limestone columns at Zhangjiajie, China are the main subjects but the multitude of similar limestone columns at a distance serves as an interesting background.DSC_0166

The trees in the foreground at Zhangjiajie, China contrast sharply with the misty background of hills behind.DSC_0103

The nearest hill sloping down into Three Gorges River on the right appears very distinct, however, the two vessels and hills at a distance are somewhat blur;  look as if they are disappearing into the mist.DSCF6153

It is fascinating that the background can be as interesting as the principal objects! Good photos have backgrounds that enhance the principal objects so that taken together they form interesting images.

The World’s Largest Rubber Duck!

This giant rubber duck has recently brought so much happiness and attracted so much attention from the ordinary citizens of Hong Kong that I can’t help reblogging it. Thank you Simple Cherishes for this wonderful post 🙂

simple cherishes

This morning when I woke up, I was greeted in emails by 1 video from my sister-in-law and 2 photos from my Dad and nephew in Hong Kong all on the same subject. What can they be so excited about?

The World’s Largest Rubber Duck has arrived in Hong Kong! The Dutch artist Florentjin Hofman designed this giant inflatable “Rubber Duck,” a 46 feet by 55 feet floating sculpture, that is tugged around by a small tug boat. The giant duck started “sailing” around the world in 2007, and could be seen in St. Nazaire (FR), Sao Paulo (BR), Auckland (NZ), Hasselt (BE),Osaka and Hiroshima (JP), Sydney (AUS), Nürnberg (DE), Amsterdam (NL) and now Hong Kong.

According to the artist:

“The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation.

The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial…

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Sunday Post: Window

This is not a composite picture.

I like this image because it looks like a composite picture although in fact it isn’t.

We came across this tourist vessel moored alongside the bank of the river in Annecy, France last year. DSCF1024A

It has a glass top and sides so that tourists on board can have a 360 degree view of the scenery as the vessel cruises up and down the Annecy river.

From the outside, you can see clearly the red chairs on the vessel, the glasses filled with water, the white table cloth, bottles of table wine, loaves of bread etc., at the same time, you can also clearly see the reflection of  the twigs and leaves  of the trees planted on the bank.

We were loitering on the bank of the river, but it is not difficult to imagine what it is like to sit leisurely inside the glass boat, looking out at the fantastic views of the Annecy medieval town. There was so much to see in Annecy and I love what I saw. This image  added to my liking of this beautiful place.

The other picture is an image taken casually at “The Temple of Dendur” in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.005A

Apart from the faint image of the trees outside the windows, I like the lines of the window frames and their reflection in the water.

Understand that I M Pei, my much revered architect, was involved in this part of the expansion of the museum.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Travelling is our escape from the bustling city where we live.

What else can be better than an escape to the seaside of the blue Adriatic sea?

We escaped last year to the sunshine of Dubrovnik, Croatia – to the fortresses by the sea.

The medieval fortresses helped us cast our minds back many centuries, to a time when Dubrovnik was almost as strong as Venice.DSCF0746A

Gazing out to the enchanting blue Adriatic with the castle on our right, our minds escaped even further when we saw a boat speeding out to the open seas; a man rowing a small boat  leisurely near the castle waters and, sitting on the rocks of the rocky shore, was a man reading his book.

Sometimes, we would like to escape, doing several things we like  or to be at different places we enjoy at the same time. . . . . .  speeding out to the blue sea, rowing leisurely and sitting quietly on the rocks by the seaside. I know we can’t physically escape immediately from where we are, but the mere thought of escaping already lightens me up!

PS  Please click on photo to enlarge as necessary.

Yellow Monday (5)

Even in my retirement, I want something to cheer up when starting on a new week.

After several weeks of rain, the kind Sun did show his face yesterday, However, this could be brief; forecast is that it will be followed by at least several rainy and cloudy days.

My mind still wanders back to February / March when our hearts were uplifted by the yellow rapeseed flowers in Luoping,  Yunnan of China.DSCF3137

I hope you don’t mind me posting a few more images showing similar but not identical view of the yellow fields.

What a joy it was to walk among the yellow fields. We felt blessed to be there strolling the fields when the flowers were in full bloom.CIMG3269

While I tried to take pictures without tourists in the images, but sometimes I feel that their presence would further remind us of the happy time when we were down at the fields.

Have a great week 🙂

A Word a Week: Mountain

This is the first time that I make a submission to the “A Word A Week” challenge.

The “Word” for this week is “Mountain‘.

Mountains loom large in many people’s mind. I used to think of them being majestic, mysterious and sometimes even sacred.

In my travels, sometimes, the best scenery are the ones that I miss while travelling in a car or a coach. When there is no way you can stop and take a picture; may be because it is a single lane road with many cars behind you and /or there are no places to stop. Perhaps, this is just like the river of life, the best view are those you see on the road. ……… life just goes on and on and cannot be stopped somewhere in between.DSC_0192

But this does not deter me from taking pictures while the car / coach are moving, while risking the fact that objects in the forefront may look blur when the images come out.

While travelling in Yunnan, high up in a mountainous area where even taller mountains appeared before my eyes, I took several images while the coach was on the move. More than half of the images came out alright; some of them suffered from the glare reflecting from the coach window.

I like the way the clouds have come down in an almost triangular shape, hiding parts of the mountain but leaving the peaks exposed. I also like the several distinct bands of colors of the mountain, the land etc.

I just couldn’t forget the lonely and dreamy house there too and the feeling that this couldn’t be China – this could just be anywhere in the world ( or out of this world)!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Patterns (3)

In big contrast to my second submission on “Patterns” which was multi-colored, this image is rather plain but contains a lot of details.DSC_0219

The image was taken in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. All patterns on the wall were hand carved hundreds of years ago.  There are many repetitive details, ranging from flowers to people. Some of the carvings go quite deep into the stone, while others are more superficial.

The patterns cover the walls, the columns and the lintel. In fact, they are everywhere.

The carvings were exposed to the elements ( although lost in the jungle) but still standing after all these centuries.

Weekly Photo Challenge : Patterns (2)

How could I have forgotten this image when posting on “Patterns”?

As part of the Three Gorges Cruise in China, we stopped by this temple and have a good look in the interior.DSCF6255A

Apart from the following which caught my eyes:

* four red timber columns supporting the roof with beams painted blue on the underside framing into them.

* four figures jutting out from the columns each with musical instruments in their hands.

* a Chinese lantern slung in the middle.

what attracted me most were the colorful patterns everywhere: on the ceiling, on the beams, gold-plated wood carvings near the bottom of the image.

Fantastic and colorful patterns!