Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity (at the Baltic’s Waterways)

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Serenity is everywhere. Basically, you will find it when your heart is prepared for it.

Here are a couple of pictures taken earlier in the Baltic.

Don’t ask where exactly those pictures are taken, as I have mixed up in my mind (and also in my archive as they are all scrambled together) as to their whereabouts.DSC_0142

Serenity is rowing on a calm waterway with your friend beside you.DSC_0253

On the other picture, it was taken in a waterway within a garden.

The composition looks simple but it looks so peaceful.

Please enjoy ūüôā

Okayama Waterway, Japan

Have been fascinated with waterways – like those in Suzhou, China or Annecy, France ( and many others throughout the world).

We came across this waterway while travelling in Okayama, Japan.

At this time of the year, the trees and plants on both sides of the bank of the waterway are covered in green, jutting out to the waterway.DSCF0382

What attracted my eyes was this beautiful swan,  swimming towards me.

The shadows in the water was also hauntingly attractive.

The setting was so ordinary but the resulting image can be so peaceful, so my take home lesson was – look for the extraordinary within the ordinary!

XiXi, Hangzhou in the Winter

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.

On the boat, we passed through many beautiful sights. We first passed by this footbridge with three spans of different levels.

Travelling further along the waterway,  there was this other footbridge spanning across the lonely waterway.

The boat brought us to various locations where we could jump off and walked the trails.

We landed on one of the islands and passed by some deserted sampans.

We lazily strolled along a dyke by the side of this ancient pagoda.

The trail brought us to many lakes and more and more houses of ancient designs.

When it was time for lunch, we have a simple lunch in this restaurant with red lanterns. Not surprisingly, we were the only guests in the restaurant.

After lunch, we wandered further along the trail, visiting more houses.

The weather was not forgiving. Like what we had the previous day at West Lake, it started raining again.  We saw  this lonely boatman rowing his sampan hurrying home.

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.

The rain kept pouring down, hitting hard at the reeds by the side of the waterway. Although it is a known bird paradise, no birds were in sight.

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 . . . . . . . . . .