26.9.10

Half Day in Tai Po - Hong Kong

I heard about a Sunday organic market in Tai Po and had a visit today.  It's next to the Tai Wo Fire Station, a short walk from Tai Wo Railway Station or from Tai Po Old Town. 

It is smaller than I expected.  But the warmth from people there impressed me.  The first stall came to my eyes was one selling organic food from Germany such as dry beans, sugar, juices, etc.  A neighbour store is Chun San Farm selling melon, bitter melon, pepper.  The organic farm was converted from a pig farm.  The plantation area is covered and fenced.  Production cost is higher and growth is slower.  Mrs She 佘 is very friendly.  One can visit her farm at Mai Po by appointment.

Another nice encounter is a Chinese woman who had been living in Germany (Düsseldorf) for twenty years.  She divorced from her husband and moved back to Hong Kong.  She always wears a smile on her face.  Despite all hardship and sadness she finds reasons to cheer herself up.  I like her positive attitude.

I bought mushroom and Roman lettace.  It was recommended to make scrumbled egg with the mushroom.  But I will try it for pasta. 


It's a short walk to the old town of Tai Po.  Some scenic shots were along the way, nice!   Like a Chinese bridge at Tai Po River, sampan, small boat with a crane on top.....


Man Mo Temple with coils of burning incense, worshipper..... Fu Shin Street, best place to experience market scenes.


Other sightseeing points include the Hong Kong Railway Museum, old Observatory, Earthgod Shrine, the town well, Wishes tree.  For sport activity, go for a cycling along the Tolo Harbour to Shatin. 

23.9.10

Novara

Novara is the second most important town in Piedmont.  We were there on a Saturday, September 2010.  The historical centre has a lay back atmosphere.  Old buildings, big and small beautiful squares, churches, ruin of the castle and a tranquil park.  It's nice to spend a day there.  Cafes were full of young people after mid-day.   The town is lively during Saturday afternoon.  A sip of Piedmont's thick hot chocolate is an excellent chill out.


Our first visit point is Basilica of San Gaudenzio, dedicated to the first Christian bishop, Gaudentius of Novara. It has a spectular cupola of a height of 121 metres (397 feet) completed in 1888. The designer is Alessandro Antonelli. His most famous building is Mole Antonelliana in Turin.

Inside the basilica shows precious paintings from Gaudenzio Ferreri.


Another sightseeing point is the cathedral.  It has a huge portal and beautiful courtyard.



Don't miss a very beautiful old house.  Unfortunately, a signage of selling is put upfront.  Hope that it will be preserved.   The park near the ruin of the castle is very green, shady, relaxed as a little haven.  Enjoy!


12.9.10

Varese

We drove from Milan to Varese on August 2010.  It was a lovely day.  The first programme was a visit to Villa Panza, a property of FAI.  Villa Panza is a noble house with an English garden of +30,000 square metres.  The Panza di Biumo family bought the villa in the 1930s.  It was restored and turned into a living house (also as a museum).  The owner donated the complex and 113 art pieces to FAI.  After immense restoration and conversion, it has been opened to the public.  It costs you €3 to take photos inside FAI properties after you have paid the rather expensive entrance fee, €8 for this one.

The first highlight of the day is an exhibition of art pieces from Christiane Löhr (click the link to appreciate her excellent works). She is a German artist.  The works we saw were made with horse hair and plants.  They are intricate, required a lot of detailed labour and superb techniques.

The garden has many different plantations.  Walking through is a pleasure.  The villa itself is a living quarter plus artworks of strong colours.  Huge colour paintings are hung in different rooms.  A room has four pieces of contrasting colours, some with black and yellow, peaceful blue of different shades.  A number of rooms are dedicated to the play of coloured fluorescent light.  The blending of early 20 century family apartment, colour shade paintings and fluorescent give another dimension of  art and life appreciation.

Then we went to the Sacro Monte di Varese (sacred hill of Varese) where 14 chapels dotted along 2.5 kilometres with a gradual climb of 300 metres.  You will be amazed by the beautiful chapels, art and fantastic views of a lake, plains and valley.  Art in each chapel is attributed to Jesus Christ's life.  Frescoes, murals and real sized painted terracotta figures compose theatrical scenes, from the Announciation to death of Jesus.  But the last chapel is dedicated to the rise of Mary given the place is very Catholic which Maria has a surpreme position.

Further steps upon the end of the chapel path is the Village of Santa Maria delle Monte.  You can have a wonderful panoramic view of the surroundings.   There is a sizeable terrace for your eyes to appreciate the beautiful scenery.  At time of our visit, a group of children was rehearsing a play, singing an italian song.  For a rest, you may opt to restaurants with first-class views of the nature.  Wanna go there?  Check it out here.