Posts Tagged ‘orchids’

I left you wandering in the beautiful orchid gardens of the sleeping giant just off the road between Nadi and Lautoka. But there is much more to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant than just orchids – much more. It’s a tranquil place to walk on a hot day. Unfortunately we did not see it all, partly because of time constraints – we had to get back to the ship for our next island hopping adventure – and partly because cyclone Evan had badly damaged the forest. Much of it was closed to the public for the time being. I’m sure it will be open again soon for those who wish to walk through the forest to the top of the hill for the fine views that I am promised are there.


P1130932  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

The path we were able to walk was a board walk that led us down into a shady gully

where part of the jungle-like undergrowth had been cleared

to make a welcoming grassy patch.



P1050232  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

Small gardens of  tropical ground cover plants edge some of the ‘lawn’ area.

This part of the gardens is sometimes used for weddings.

A wedding ‘chapel’ is on the hill above here.



P1050242  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

In the forest, some of the older trees were just magnificent,

held into the ground with formidable roots.



P1130927  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

At the base of the gully is a lush lily pond.



P1130929  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

And where there’s a lily pond, there are usually lilies!


P1130929 - Version 2

P1130929   ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

I love the structure of a lily.  One of nature’s beautiful sculptures.



P1050228  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

Several beautiful red dragonflies made use of the lily leaf water pools.

Their gauzy wings are another delight of nature.



P1130939  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Water iris are another delight found beside this pool.



P1130936  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Nearby, there were tropical gingers in abundance.

I’ll leave you to enjoy them as we did.



P1130925  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels



P1050235  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels



P1130931  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels



Thunbergia battiscombia  P1050223  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels



Thunbergia grandiflora  P1050245  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels



P1130946  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels



P1130943  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Too soon it was time to wend our way back up the board walk towards the entrance.



P1130942  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels

On the way there was time to look back at the hills – and enjoy more orchids.



P1130960  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels



P1130955  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels



P1130979  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Close to the entrance to the gardens is a delightful shaded ‘fern house’.



P1050249  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

Palms.  Again, one of nature’s masterpieces of sculpture.



P1130968  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

A small water ‘rill’ had been diverted through the fern house.

The sound of gently running water gave authenticity to the fern forest feeling.



P1130971  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

In this area, dashes of red and gold lifted the predominant greens.



P1130969  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Shape and texture were also there to be enjoyed –

 if you took more than a cursory look.



P1130866  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Just outside the fern house, a few bananas were in flower.

Aren’t they superb?  Well worth a close look.


P1130975  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

The entrance area is furnished with inviting, comfortable cane lounges.

Welcomed back with a cool drink, this is the place to rest awhile.



P1130858  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

Taxis arrived, and it was time to leave this delightful garden.



P1130982  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

It was time to drive back to Lautoka.

We were about to embark on another island hopping adventure.



P1140049  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

With some new passengers on board , we set sail for the Mamanuca Islands.

Arriving at a small coral cay,  we stopped to enjoy the late afternoon.

An hour of snorkelling was a great way to end  the day.



P1140056  ©  JT of jtdytravels

On the horizon, though, clouds began to gather.

This is the tropics and afternoon storms are very frequent – and to be expected.


Now join us as we sail through the warm tropical waters.

Ahead of us, an interesting three days as we explore the small archipelago of the Mamanuca Islands.



P1140049  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

With the Fijian flag flying in the breeze,

we are on board Captain Cook Fiji’s exploration ship, the MV ‘Reef Endeavour’.

Why not join her sometime for your own Fiji adventure!

Jennie and David

All photography ©  JT and DY of jtdytravels


Read Full Post »

Today we are in ‘The Burren’, just south of Galway in western Eire.


The Burren is one of the most fascinating parts of Ireland. It’s a huge limestone plateau of shattered rocks where many rare plants and flowers grow. It may look like a barren and stony wasteland in places, but if you take the time to stop and explore like we have been able to do, it’s a place of  fascinating geology, a paradise for looking for wildflowers like the ones below. I haven’t named them all properly yet but will do so when I get home again.



A meadow orchid




Road through the Burren

It’s amazing how quickly you move between areas of the burren plateau to farm land that has been wrested from the rocks. The roads are narrow, windy and very uneven – to meet a bus on this road is a bit of an adventure !

A Burren platform of rocks

There are several areas of burren rock to explore – carefully – as it is very uneven.

A tiny rock garden

And tiny bit of soil between the rocks is likely to become a small natural rock garden.

Fissure – or grykes – in the rocks.

These platforms of rocks are split in many ways into grykes, making walking across them a little tricky.

A tiny garden like this in a fissure makes the exploring worthwhile.

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb on the Burren

This tomb was built 150 meters above sea level over 5,00o years ago !

The remains of more than 30 people have been found on and around this site on the Burren.

Fences in this area are made of the most available product – rocks!.


A wide view across the Burren Plateau.


Rock Garden


Early Purple Orchid


Herb Robert growing in a crevice in the rocks.




Moss in a damper crevice


Growing by the side of the car park.


Bright face of a buttercup




This section of the plateau shows how the rocks split over time.


As the rocks recede into the distance they take on a purple hue.


We are thoroughly enjoying exploring this fascinating part of Ireland.

J and A

Read Full Post »

The Lobby of Novotel Hotel at Bangkok Hotel    ©  AN of ‘jtdytravels’

Leg one of our journey is complete and we’ve had a very restful day in our Bangkok airport hotel. Finally, after six months of learning how to use my new knee, I’m en route to Ireland – with my sister A.  We had a lovely sendoff by some family in CBR and met up with sister D in Melbourne before we had to book in for our flight to Bangkok. Then, while sitting there waiting – as you do at airports –  I had a phone call from D to say he’s safely back in Cairns after a really good day on his North Queensland train trip (sitting up with the driver – videoing out of the driver’s window etc etc etc) – all of which he will describe on his own web site: www.dymusings.com.

It’s amazing how free I felt walking into Melbourne airport with my back pack once more on my back – camera prepared and shutter fingers primed and ready to share whatever we encounter along the way.

So what can I say about our flight? Things were a little chaotic before we began our flight with Thai Airways. To begin with, they did not have us sitting together – apparently you need to be Mr and Mrs ….. before someone at an airline twigs that you just might be travelling together. D and I often have the same trouble. We were diverted to a young man who explained – or at least tried to explain – how things were and promised to do what he could to seat us together. He would send someone to find us before the plane left, he said.
 With those encouraging words we began our sojourn through the airport – customs and security.  I might as well get used to it – shoes off, jacket off and a full pat down is the order of the day for those of us with ‘fake’ knees. It takes so much longer to get through the preliminaries before the real adventure begins. It’s just another one of those things one must grin and bear for the sake of travel!
Before boarding, a young man did find us and duly gave us new tickets – sitting together. Thank you Thai. Once on board we discovered that a young family with two little ones – a boy of about three and a baby – were to be our travelling companions. Now be honest – what is your first reaction to such a scenario? Oh dear!  But no. We were in for a treat. The parents and children ( who knew that a quiet ‘no’ meant no) were a delight and captured not only our hearts but also the hearts of our crew.
Once settled in we turned on the entertainment system and to our utter amazement discovered that a DVD by our very favourite singer, Beverley Sills, was on the play bill. Oh what a feeling!  To take to the skies with Beverley’s superb voice in our ears was a treat indeed. That is, of course, until the Captain interrupted her in mid phrase to make an announcement so loud that our eardrums nearly burst asunder. Then back to Beverley and bliss once more. As the plane bounced its way across the centre of Australia, Beverley’s voice bounced up and down in some most amazingly complicated passages of music.
Our Thai airways crew were, as usual, very attentive and thoughtful. And apart from a few very bumpy sections, we made it to Bangkok on time…. ready for the LONG, LONG walk to customs, to find a LONG, LONG, LONG queue at customs … and then the shock of the heat and humidity when we emerged into the real world.

Floral centrepiece in Reception at the Novotel © AN of ‘jtdytravels’

We’re staying for the day at the Novotel at the airport. It’s a great place to hole up for a rest day. A good sleep was in order as it had been a long first day. But after that we now feel as though we were ready to take on the world of adventure once more.

Our first foray out of the room was to discover if there was a way to get to the airport from the hotel – it is surrounded by a spaghetti of roads and when here before, I have been told there is no way to get to the airport that I can see only a feww hundred yards away except by car or hotel courtesy bus. BUT now there is a tunnel. And it will soon be full of ever more of the shops that Bangkok airport is famous for. The tunnel leads to the railway station and from there you can take an express train into the centre of the city in 17 minutes. And just beyond that is the airport. So like a mole you can go underground and emerge in the airport proper.

Restaurant at Novotel, Bankok Airport © AN of ‘jtdutravels’

We felt good for having had a walk – but to make that feeling even better, we ventured to the hotel restaurant. One thing we did not need was the vast array of food on display for the buffet. So A La Carte it was – and what a memorable meal of delicious Thai food we enjoyed. I had prawn Pad Thai ( my very first, ever) and A. had red curry with prawns – YUM!

A wander round the premises and a chat to few of the people working here left me with the impression that I have always had that the Thai are a friendly, gracious group of people by and large. We found the inviting looking pool and have promised ourselves a swim and relax there on our return journey.

By the Pool

We found the inviting looking pool and have promised ourselves a swim and relax there on our return journey.

Orchid growing on tree by the pool

As is usual in these Asian hotels, orchids are used to great effect to decorate areas of hotels and airports.

This time we just relaxed in the cool in the coffee lounge, where we immersed ourselves in the local English language paper – well written for the most part and full of interesting articles. Last time I was here, Bangkok was suffering from terrible floods. I was interested to read ( in a full page article) that they have been encouraging people to come up ideas that will improve things if – and when – another deluge happens to the city.  The winning entries are to be put into production. One of my favourite winners was a design for ‘floating furniture for schools’. These chairs and tables are so designed that they will be used as colourful furniture in classrooms. But, according to the article, they can also float, are mildew resistant, made of lightweight PE plastic, and are vvid in colour so that they can be spotted easily if someone happens to be floating on one. They can even be piled up to form a flood barrier should sandbags be unavailable. They looked a winner!

Other winners included an emergency ‘gardening kit’ in which to grow nutritious food such as bean shoots in quick time; a floating toilet system, a fold up emergency boat and a system of gps recording where you can mark your spot on e maps on social networks should you require help, food or fresh water in the event of a flood. I was very taken with this program of a community helping itself.

Another community helping itself is on a small island with 10,000 inhabitants but little in the way of medical help. A young doctor has set out, with the help of the community, to build a clinic that is partly based on computer technology so that he can provide advice to people via the web at offsite places where he has trained a local in basic health practices. If he deems it necessary, more serious cases will come to him – or he to them.  A real vision.

And now we must ready ourselves for the second leg of this journey. I’m sure there will be plenty to share. Our journey will take us now from Bangkok to Zurich and then on to Dublin. From there we’ll drive north first but we’ll visit both parts of the island – north and south – taking in a variety of gardens, the coastal scenery, wildflowers and birds, art and architecture, both modern and historical, and visit with people in their homes to get a feel for the Irish and their ways.  It should be fun.

We hope you enjoy the trip from a comfortable armchair

More anon J and A

Read Full Post »