Varenna & Villa Monastero

I arrived in Milan on 29 April 2017.  Friends had a plan of visiting Varenna after my long flight from Hong Kong as the day was blessed with sunshine but the weather would be bad on Monday. It is a bit more than one hour drive from Milan.  I could take naps and was delighted with the little beautiful town along Lake Como.

We were lucky to park our car close to Villa Monastero which we aimed to visit. It was owned by a German and becomes a place for conferences.  Its location is between the street and the lake which means the area of the villa is rather long and narrow.  Nevertheless, the architect managed to scatter the villa, different sections of a garden and many spots for magnificent views of the lake.

The villa has some grand and strange decors.  For example, a sunken bath, intricate patterned toilet and portraits with funny scenes. Click here to have a better understanding of the different rooms inside the villa.

We had a short visit of Saint George (outside) and Saint Giovanni Battista and then headed to the charming lake front.  Tourists were enjoying their meal and the sun on the way to its home. Colourful houses along the shore, the lake and the snow mountains - simply beautiful and romantic.


Lin An Tai Homestead 林安泰古厝

I had been to Taipei a few times but was not aware of Lin On Tai Homestead.  The Homestead is one of the oldest house in Taiwan. It was built by Lin Hui-Kung between 1783 and 1785 (48th to 50th year of Qianlong Period in Qing Dynasty).  It was named On Tai to memorise their homeland in Anxi County and Rong Tai Company which was established by his father and turned the family rich.  In 1978, the homestead faced the challenge of being taking apart due to expansion of the Dunhua S. Road. After hard lobbying, it can stay and has been opened to the public since 2000.

We took the red metro line to arrive at Yuanshan. After we have crossed the main streets, we saw a lot of temporary stalls on the two sides of the street which is like a big event or carnival. Passing through a big park, we first spent a little time at the Fine Arts Museum on a free exhibition of innovative design and products. It was nice to see art and facilities for the public, even a solar bridge for a cozy walk.

Gradually came the main entrance and the crescent point to our sight. A traditional red brick Chinese house stands under the sun with reflections from the pond.  The exterior is constructed with bricks but the interior is mostly constructed with wood. The rich people's living conditions in the old days was not luxury as today.  Comfort might not be a word to describe the life at the old time.  Nevertheless, the nostalgia attracts visitors, photographers with their models.

The courtyard is beautiful, dotted with ponds, partition walls, stone garden, pavilions, artificial hill, Chinese bridge.   All compose together as a beautiful and picturesque picture.


On the way back, we passed by Taipei Expo Park.  It was the season for roses.  Beautiful!