Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers as you wander through life
01.03.2016 - 31.03.2016 16 °C
Travelling in spring has consistently been one of the more visually appealing experience for myself. Though I am more a late autumn/winter lover, seeing flowers blooming and new blades of grass growing again after a long harsh winter makes me happy. Generally, people's mood are better in spring so you'd get to see more smiles on the streets as well.
I enjoyed walking randomly in smaller cities just to enjoy an occasional moments of serendipity. For these moments, I allowed myself to get lost and then tried to navigate myself again. Locals in small towns will sometimes be very helpful and tried to offer to walk me home or just asked me to join them for a meal if I am in a more rural area.
I stopped and admire many of this little flowers by side of the road in Nagasaki.
Walking up on staircases like these always made my day
In spring, one of the best places to go in Nagasaki is the Glover garden. This estate is the only surviving western style mansion in Japan and has been designated as an important cultural asset. The owner of the house is a Scottish merchant who has literally helped the modernization in shipbuilding, coal mining and other industrial improvements. He grew to be so influential that he treats with rebel samurai and play a strong part in local development. Sounds like an epic 7th sea story where a merchant grew to become someone so much more than just a merchant. Today, we get to see the evidence of an exceptional life well lived etched in the very stones and gardens of this area.
Looking out from the veranda of the mansion, you will see a nice koi pond and another good vantage point of the city.
Here's a shot of the main house while standing near the pond
As one can see from the designs, western influence is indeed strong
There is also a statue of a famous opera singer Miura Tamaki in the garden. She was famous for her role as Cio-cio san in Puccini's Madame Butterfly. This shows that other than being an engine in economic development, Glover was also a strong patron of the arts.
Glover Garden is beautiful in spring, full of well placed blooming flowers. One can see them in carts, or planted in well curated gardens. Can you spot Puccini's statue?
If you really enjoy flowers and have the budget for such a visit, I recommend the Keukenhof in Lisse, Netherlands. This garden is normally open in late March and close by Mid May.
Back to Glover garden, besides the main exhibit, there are also a few others building scattered in the area for you to explore. Each room is rather unique and has a plaque to explain the content of the room and the artifacts found within. On top of the opportunity to admire nature, one also gets the chance to learn a bit more about history which is excellent I think.
The coffee and tea offered here is surprisingly better than most offered in your regular tourist traps around the world.
I will end this week's entry with one more picture that resonates with me.
Notice that the flowers grow out from seemingly dead and dry branches. This is a reminder that regardless of how harsh the present reality is, perseverance through the winter, clinging on to hope will allow me to one day see beauty restored to a desolate scene. This hope might just be the lifeline, the light at the end of the tunnel in this increasingly chaotic world.
In the next entry, this blog will move out of Nagasaki and focus on another city in East Asia. See you next time.