Ritsurin Garden, Japan (Water Lilies)

My previous posts covered Lotus; but the Ritsurin Garden in Shinkoku do have lovely water lilies too.

Unfortunately, the water lilies were not as numerous as the lotus growing in the garden.DSCF0406

Also, they were basically of either white or pink in colors.DSCF0414

Can’t imagine what a Japanese garden will be like if it hasn’t has any water or if the ponds do not have any water lilies or lotus.CIMG5542

One regret is that there were no water lilies growing nearby the Japanese style curve bridge (which was shown in my earlier post as being similar to Monet’s). Otherwise, they are just like the Monet paintings.CIMG5547

As can be seen from the photos, the pines, the rocks, the water and the lilies are essential ingredients in the make up of Japanese gardens.CIMG5543

There are many differences between lotus and lilies but I am not going into the details as they can be easily found in the public domain.CIMG5541

One major and notable difference is that lotus grows and shoots up above water whereas water lilies have flowers and leaves floating in the water.

If you ask me which one is my favorite, I would say both!




Hvar – A Stroll by the Sea

We said goodbye to the lovely Split; cruised on a catamaran for two hours and found ourselves on the island of Hvar, fondly referred to as the “Croatian Madeira”.  The island of Hvar is extraordinarily green and lush, filled with lavender, heather and pines and the coastline is  indented with an abundance of rocky coves. The town is a gorgeous cosy place that is quaint and breathtaking.

We have always found that the places we enjoyed most are not necessarily places with a lot of interesting features but places where we have time to feel the true character of the place, watch how people enjoy their lives and the nature. This may only happen if we don’t jam pack our trips with tight itineraries: Hvar is teaching us to take things more slowly and, because the high tourist season hasn’t started yet, it feels that we have this cosy town largely to ourselves. As usual, my mood is driven by the sea which I was eager to see on arrival.

This island paradise is a unique fusion of luxury, history, culture, scenery, lavender, fun, food and atmosphere. Facing south onto the sea just gives it that touch of perfection.

For our several days there the sun was always shining. Coming from a place with over 1800 hours sunshine per year, we thought it is already one of the sunniest places. However, the island of Hvar, with the oft-quoted statistics of 2724 hours of sunshine every year makes it the sunniest place in Europe. Basking in the sun is one of the gifts we had on the island. By the side of the St Franciscan Monastery, we found these bathers enjoying their time.

The town is centered around the harbor. We took a long stroll from one side of the harbor to the other; strolling as far as we could. Here is a  marina for the smaller boats and along the seaside promenade sways a row of  larger boats.

Hvar is a gorgeous little place that is quaint and breathtaking. The coast is mostly rocky but there are also many small coves with shingle/sandy beaches.

It is similar to Split, but no matter where you turn in Hvar you can always see a view of the Adriatic sea.  The water is the bluest in the world. Quoting George Bradley’s poem :

In the southern Adriatic, in the wind-blown spray.
In the bluest water, just where it begins,
We came to play awhile, came to rest
On rocky shores of barren coves,
As the swells arrived and water splashed
And reflected sunlight jumped and shimmered

The vegetation is subtropical and very luxuriant. As we strolled we noted that the coastline was dotted by pine trees, palm trees, and agaves. We also saw myrtle, laurel and rosemary.

Our long stroll took us to this place where we can gaze out to the sea with the church as a backdrop. The sun was setting and we found these benches inviting. We knew we can sit there forever, just watching the blue Adriatic sea and dreamily thinking of the poem. . . . . . . . . . .