Tag Archives: lake

A photo from my archives: Umeå

Umeå, Sweden, 2004.

This is another shot from my trip to Sweden several years ago. Umeå was my last stop before returning home. After 2 weeks in semi-remote areas in Lapland, I was invited to spend a couple of days in this city and I had the opportunity to visit the lake nearby at sunset. As you can see it looked so peaceful  and the colours were amazing!

The old capital: Kandy

Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka and the last capital of the ancient King’s era. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, this is where the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – one of the most sacred places in the Buddhist world – is. With a large lake in the centre of the city, and surrounded by beautiful hills with lush vegetation, Kandy is also quite different from the rest of Sri Lanka I visited.

"Sri Lanka" Kandy
Kandy

With a lot of time on my hands, I decided to explore the city at slow pace and savour what it had to offer. Starting from the central market. I am totally fascinated by markets and their energy, and spend hours just watching people selling food of any sorts. The market in Kandy was colourful, full of life and chaotic, as you would expect. I loved it.

Next was the lake, which is artificial and was created in 1807. I walked its whole perimeter, stopping every now and then to take photos. The nicest view is from its northern end, and one late afternoon I sat there for a long time waiting for sunset and hoping in an amazing one. It wasn’t amazing but the view over the lake was stunning anyway.

But the main draw in Kandy is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, or Sri Dalada Maligawa, which houses the relic tooth of the Buddha. Built in the 17th and 18th century, and partially reconstructed after the bombings in 1998, the entire temple complex includes the main temple and several other shrines, covering a large area – I spent over 2.5 hours exploring it all.

As you leave the temple area, do not miss the opportunity to discover more of this city: at the Kandy Cultural Centre you will have the opportunity to see artists in action, while walking the side streets in the city centre is an opportunity to see some nice local shops and observe street life!

A visit to Kandy is not complete without watching an evening performance of Kandyan Dance, characterised by elaborate costumes, amazing dance moves and show-stopping stunts. There are three venues for this, and I chose the Kandy Lake Club as it was supposed to have the best costumes. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed! Check the photos out.

Da Lat oddity

I look around and wonder if I am still in Vietnam.
Yes I am, but this city has nothing to do with the country I know.

Da Lat is clean, very clean. Almost a sanitised version of Vietnam. The layout, the lake with pedal-boats, the houses and the numerous European-style cafes remind me of cities in northern Italy or central Europe. If it wasn’t for the street food sellers and the fact that everything is written in Vietnamese, I would think I have been transported back home.

Da Lat view
Da Lat view

It is much colder than in any Vietnamese town/city I have been so far (after all we are at 1500m altitude). Being able to walk around in the middle of the day without turning into a pool of sweat is actually a relief. Wearing a fleece jumper in the evening is  a welcome surprise.

But despite the fact that I had read about Da Lat, I wasn’t ready for this and it all feels very strange.

We had dinner at a place called Art Cafe’, something that would not look out of place in Paris.

Table cloths are large sheets of white paper, crayons are available next to your cutlery. You can express yourself there. And I couldn’t resist leaving my mark too :-)

My art production at the Art Cafe'
My art production at the Art Cafe’

The next couple of days are going to be interesting…