My nephew was getting married in Hokkaido Japan and I’d been invited. I thought …an opportunity to visit a country i had yet to experience, to spend some time with family, to see some new landscapes, hear another language, eat some different food. Yes lets do it!!
I left my house early in the morning (4am to be precise)….the airport was humming as i boarded my plane at 6:00am and headed from adelaide sa to brisbane queensland.There was a bit of a wait but luggage had been checked through, so a brief wander before again boarding this time to Tokyo….longhaul 9 hours ….movies, food, and journeys up and down the aisles to ease stiff muscles.
Arriving at Narita airport was a welcome relief….we trooped up the ramp and began the long walk towards the exit, hoping i was going to be able to find my hotel room quickly and easily.mmm
It wasn’t so easy in this alien landscape, though i did successfully reach my hotel room …promptly falling into a deep sleep, hoping i would hear my phone alarm to wake me again at 4am to make my way to Terminal 3 for the next leg of the journey.The plane was leaving at 6am.
A steep escalator carries me down
Narita airport Tokyo….my plane waiting to carry me further north than i had ever been.
In the air…a lone building sighted through the clouds.
The south coast of Hokkaido from the air.
A sucessful landing and more hours of waiting before catching a bus which would take me to my final destination.
On the bus….
Final destination Harafu and this is Mt Youtei.
An early morning view
Ryoshi onsen way up on the mountain …hot mineral spa…super relaxing . Definitely a unique experience.
Its always a bit of a shock to be back in school and this is a school i have been visiting and spending time at for some years. This time i have noticed a number of innovations and a few new garden sculptures.
An attractive handwashing basin set into the edge of the garden.
A colourful and useful waste disposal system.
Ganesh, a well respected hindu god has found a niche in one of the garden beds.
And on the wall a colourful reminder of how to be in the world.Translated its something like….smile, acknowledge others, be respectful, patient and kind.
I’ve just returned from a trip into central australia. Its a truly awesome place…..the space, the colour, the shape, the vibrancy, the constant changing of the landscape. Here are a few images….these were mostly taken at Yulara which is the resort/accomodation area for those visiting the national park within which are Uluru and the Kata Tjuta. Hopefully over the next little while i will be posting more images from this beautiful place
Early one morning we headed on foot across town to check out Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar…it was built during the Ming Dynasty in the 1500’s and suffered some damage during the Opium wars in 1842 and later during French reprisals over their disputed concessions.
These gardens are reputed to be a fine example of Ming Dynasty garden design.
We had some difficulty locating it, though eventually we did. Here is some of what we saw….
On our walk to the gardens.. early morning quiet streets.
Inside the gardens…..
it was already filling up with people …a multitude of tour groups all armed with earphones and the guides with microphones. This was the main lake area where people could have their photos taken or then again most seemed to make do with selfies!
After fortifying ourselves with a starbuck’s coffee….i know even here!
We headed off into the temple complex and gardens.
Dragons feature prominently and line the walls of this temple complex.
On the rooftops there were numerous small sculptures depicted warriors and battles fought.
We were halfway… having sucessfully negotiated the 28 Bends. We had heard so much about them and were somewhat relieved when we had reached the top without having totally exhausted ourselves. We were feeling very happy!!
Having reached this guesthouse we were right in the heart of the gorge and the views of the mountains across the river were mesmerizing…..
A welcoming symbol found on the outside of many of the houses .
bunches of chillies and maize drying….
wild flowers ..intense colours……
The Yangtze river far off and deep down…..
A steep side valley stretching up into the clouds…..
This bridge was at Bendiwan Village and spanned a huge gorge and side river which swept down into the Yangtze river……awesome!
It was early morning as we drove through the streets of Lijiang heading roughly north west up into the mountains. We travelled along a triple lane highway , long tunnels, smooth roads through a landscape that in parts was dotted with farms being intensively cultivated, past hills covered in pine forests in various stages of growth, there were small villages, the odd clump of highrise buildings mostly unfinished. We travelled 125 kms reaching Qiaotou in less than two hours. By the time we arrived it was steadily raining mmmm. Not a good start. We purchased our tickets, unearthed our rain gear from our packs donned both and headed up the road out of town. Even having read masses of info about this place i was unprepared for the reality of it.
it was an uphill slog getting to our first sign post…
view from the naxi family guesthouse…
the sun still shining on the tops of the mountains….
Views of the yangtze river….the colours of the wild flowers were intense….this pony followed us up up and up around the 28 bends.
our horseman and his pony who patiently followed us up through the 28 bends
And steep it was!!
Awesome landscapes wherever you looked!
more wild flowers….. more views and we are now about halfway through. To be continued : ))
Lijiang was definately atmospheric. In the old part of town just about everything was designed to catch the tourist eye. The Black Dragon Pool Park certainly did that. A mixture of old and new coupled with water – stilland expansive or flowing over small rapids. Flowers galore. The older generation was out in force dressed in traditional Naxi attire ..small groups doing local dances accompanied by small handheld drums. It is also know as the photo hotspot for views of Yulong mountain. Unfortunately for us only a beautiful mild sunny day with blue skies and decorative clouds….
Strolling along the side of the river early morning….
If you look closely in the background is a boat made of flowers.
Rapids and the soft sound of water flowing…..
Yours truly at a photo hotspot! For those of you with a creative imagination…. behind those clouds is a very large and grand mountain! Not to be seen today.
Water is the source of life…
This sign of course speaks for itself.
I had great time standing behind and trying to figure out the steps. They were good and kept going for ages!!
There were performances on this stage
Some locals waiting in the wings….
A very beautiful and very old restored temple
This is another photo hotspot…..yes there really are mountains there just shrouded in cloud!