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Randomly: Spring

It’s late April. Bar the blooming magnolias, cherry blossoms and daffodils, there hasn’t been quite as much splashes of colour as I’d come to expect at this time of the year. Even many trees are still fairly bare despite the relatively mild weather. It seems the longer I live in Europe, the harder time I have in deciphering the changing season. Or is my memory too kind to the past?

Spring in Paris

Spring in Paris

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Springtime in Paris

Paris, at its heart, is a walking city. It is not very big, approximately 105km² in size (for comparison, London is about 1500km²), and there are many lovely small streets and hidden gardens to explore by foot.

Promenade plantée

Now that the weather has been rather pleasant again after a very long winter, the amounts of time I’ve been spending walking across parks have also increased significantly. I’m also very lucky that Jardin du Luxembourg sits between home and work, so it’s not as if I’m taking massive detours!

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Spring blooms

Spring has finally decided to make its appearance, and as I type this post, it is sunny outside, with streaks of blue sky among some diffused clouds (go away clouds!). However, I’m going to be holed up indoor for most of today, trying to get some work done before a presentation on Monday. The aim is to cram as much work as possible so I’ll have at least tomorrow free to be out and about. Allegedly, the temperature is going to hit mid-20s tomorrow!

Spring blooms

In the mean time, to keep myself happy, I compiled this series of photos from springs in the past 2-3 years. Some little thing to remind me of the reward I’ll get when I go out for a walk or a cycle tomorrow. More the incentive to get focused (after I finish this post :p) and knuckled down to hard task at hand.

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Day 101: Petal drops

I have been trying to photograph the city from different places but today, I decided this courtyard in Cité U is just too pretty to not show it off ;)

While we had had very sunny few days in the last week, it started to get a bit chilly again, and a tad windy, with the forecast for the remainder of the week to be somewhat grey and wet. Still, all thanks to the wind, we also now have this blanket of cherry blossom on the ground, almost like snowfall in winter at a glance. I just love it. It makes me want to pull a blanket out and sit amidst the petals. Now, wouldn’t that be nice?

Day 95: A room with a view

I like looking out my windows.

Sure, on account of work and socials and random walkabouts, I am not here too much but when I am, I often take a little time to stand by the windows and watch the world passing by. Regardless of time, each time that I look out, there’s always someone jogging, walking their dogs, strolling in leisure, etc. At times, matches of ball games are played out, to the cheerings of supporters and passerby alike.

This evening, around sunset, whichever way the light fell, it gave a golden glow to the top of trees just outside. The tall branch of the pink blossoms served to add another layer of colour to the scene. It was so beautiful and tranquil. Take it from me – this photo hardly does it any justice.

Day 67: Magnolia

More signs of springtime! Blooming magnolia down the road from our house, at Pembroke Park, and crisp clear day of blue sky and light breeze. Perfect for a walk, but not to be stuck indoor with work (still plenty to do) and the looming urgency to pack (I admit, I have been putting off packing forever but with flight only some 25 hours away, I’m running out of time).

I retrieved my passport back from the French embassy yesterday, complete with my temporary visa affixed within and therefore I am finally good to go. Right now, the key is for me not to forget any important original documentations and accidentally put them away in one of the many boxes I’m leaving in storage here. Wish me luck!

Day 56: Hawthorne blossom

The weather has cleared up when I went out for a walk around Clyde Road and Herbert Park in the morning. When I spotted a cluster of hawthorne blossom, I naturally stopped and try to work some magic with my digital toy. I initially tested the macro lens, but let’s face it, given this camera is compact yet equipped with a 14x optical zoom, we all know that clear macro images would be a pretty tough one to pull off.

I switched to give the fisheye lens another go after the museum shot a few days ago. I quite like the outcome and I am also pleased to get a reasonably sharp close-up photo of the blossom. Of course, I was also squatting by the fence for a while to get this right. When I stood up, a bunch of kids at football practice nearby were staring at me, as if I’ve grown a pair of horns and a tail. Oops. Best be off so.

Day 51: Florists of Grafton St

There are a couple of spots where florists ply their colourful goods on Grafton Street. The first, at the junction to Harry Street (that’s the very short laneway leading towards Bruxelles and Westbury Hotel for most of Dubliners) and the second, at the junction to Duke Street, right besides Marks and Spencer.

I love flowers and blooms but oddly, I am not usually one to buy cut flowers. It feels wrong somehow, that they’re not growing out from soil in accordance to the season. Isn’t it much nicer to sit out in a garden somewhere and watch them all spruced up in rows with concerted adoration of the sun? Admittedly, sometimes, we do need something to cheer up the interiors, like a small bundle of daffodils in the lab. Nothing says spring better than these golden beauties!

Spring travelling

Spring is my favourite season to travel. More concisely, late spring spilling into early summer, although given an opportunity to travel, it doesn’t really matter when, does it? ;)

New bloom in spring

Here are but some of the reasons why it’s great to travel in spring:

  • Cost: traditionally a shoulder travelling period, prices from flights to accommodation to certain activities are cheaper than the summer (peak season) and winter (to escape either to seek the sun or to hit the slope) months.
  • Attractions: in a lot of places, come winter, certain attractions are difficult to access and/or may be closed. Spring is the time they reopen and luckily, the throng of visitors doesn’t usually flock in high numbers during this period.
  • Transportations: winter travel sees potential cancellation due to adverse weather conditions, summer travel within close quarters can be too stuffy and uncomfortable. Additionally, for winter travel, public transportations to get around may also be limited.
  • Weather: not too warm, not too cold. The possible downside is the arrival of spring shower, but more often than not, it is sunny and cheerful with temperature in high tens.
  • Colours: after the grey winter spring brings forth a burst of colour as flower blooms and trees begin to spot fresh foliages. The “awakenings” may seem like a poet’s cliché but it is all very true.
  • Day and night: the times for sunrise and for sunset are within reasonable time frame, and I take this to heart because I love going out in the morning when it’s quiet outside with little people around, not to mention the colour of the sky at this time of the day is simply wonderful.
  • Packing: oh how nice it is not have to bring thick jumpers and coats, and with less to carry, the lighter I can travel. Perfect for this day and age of travelling where best flight prices are with low cost carriers, and when negating the need to check in luggages, additional charges can be avoided.

Of course, most of the above are mainly applicable where seasons of the year transform the way we live.

What is your favourite season to travel, and any particular reason why it is so?

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