Autumn by the Lake in Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido in Japan has so many beautiful lakes that offer breathtaking views.

One early morning in October, we woke up early, have our early breakfast, sneaked out of the hotel  and wandered along the edge of the lake not far from our hotel.

It was early Autumn. The trees were covered in multi-coloured leaves.  The early Autumn burst of color was glorious as the leaves change from green to vivid yellow, orange, purple, red, and russet.

The lake was like a mirror reflecting the sky and the coloured foliage. The water was lapping at the edge of the lake. The sound was very soothing that made me yearn for more.

Sitting by the edge of the lake I was staring out across the magical surface of the lake. The whole lake was calm and not even a breeze ruffled the grass.

The lake offered a serene and tranquil feeling that I have never felt before.

In the foreshore, the water had a deep blue hue which sent viewers into a reflective mood. The whole place was so peaceful and exhibited a certain sense of  sadness if not for the vivid colors on the trees. The tonality and colors of  the whole place just intoxicated me.

If not for the existence of a couple of  lonely yachts, the place appeared too surreal.

The scene was timeless, not wanting to leave, we sat there for hours before we finally made our move to our next destination. . . . . . . . .

The Challenge of Travelling

Have been travelling for the past couple of weeks, covering Switzerland (Geneva), Hungary (Budapest, Szentendre), Croatia (Plitvice National Park, Split, Hvar Island and Dubrovnik) and France (Annecy).

This journey is different in that we also have my Father-in-Law (FIL) of age 80+ travelling with us. While the planning of the trip has tried to be as less strenuous as possible, the trip did require quite a bit of walking up and down. We intended to cover all 16 lakes of great beauty in Plitivice National Park (below) and the 2 km (730 steps) walk on top of the Dubrovnik Castle walls in Dubronik, not to mention the daily walking of several hours when we were not travelling by car, catamaran or Ro-Ro ferry.

It was a test of will and strength for my FIL, as before the journey, he has developed a reluctance of climbing up or down even one flight of staircase between two stories in a building. While in our assessment, he should have the physical strength to complete all the walks in the journey, nevertheless, we were worried that he may not be able to overcome the psychological hurdle of tackling those climbs.

The trip did not have a good start. While loitering in the quiet streets of Budapest my FIL was approached by two men in the street, one pretending to be a tourist with a map in his hand, trying to snatch his backpack. Only when I shouted out loudly from afar did the men hastily turn away.

With the help of two walking sticks, my FIL was able to climb up to the very top of one section of the Plitvice lakes and should have been able to complete the other section if not for the very heavy rain which came pouring down like cats and dogs. When we reached Dubrovnik (above), he was also able to complete the picturesque 2 km up and down walk on the high castle walls of the Dubrovnik Castle on a hot day. All in all, he has reconquered the fears of climbing and was proud of that!

One of the things I pondered after the trip was – what lifestyle and exercise  should I adopt  now so that I would also be able to travel with confidence and strength as I approach 80 ? While life expectancy is increasing, this does not necessarily imply that we will still be sufficiently mobile in our later stages of life.

We have experienced immense beauty in our trip. . . . . . the unforgettable blue sea of the Adriatic, the scenic beauty of the Plitvice Lakes, the festival and cosy town at Hvar, the magnificent Dubronik castle, the quaint little medieval town of Annecy (above) and finally the tranquility of Geneva. This post is a preview and I will write in more detail about each of the places in this journey.