Today, wandering Syracuse, I have seen so much, almost overload !! The architecture, the harbour, the food....it's hard to take it all in, hard to appreciate it all and process such endless history and beauty. I always have to remind myself when I travel to look up and down so as not to miss a single thing !!!
Allover Sicily I have been spotting big brightly coloured ceramic pinecones. They are on fence lines, on every shelf and table in cafes, inside, outside, on balconies, just everywhere !! The fruit of the pine tree seems to carry a lot of historical spiritual meaning and is a symbol for the Third Eye in many cultures . La Pigna symbolises warmth and hospitality in Sicilian culture. What a wonderful thing... a bit like mint tea in Morocco !!
Riad Kniza, astonishingly beautiful, was today's surprise. Less than 30 seconds from the bustling meat and produce market in BabDoukala is this garden haven emanating only quietitude and serenity. I came for a light lunch and left with a light heart. The peaceful rooftop combined wonderful food and service is like a balm to any frenzied soul. Don't miss this little piece of Marrakech magic.
This enormous lion statue reminds me of the Narnia lion. It is in Ifrane, a resort type of hill town in Morocco. The architecture is all chalet style which gives the reason for this towns other name , Little Switzerland. Various stories abound about this lion but it possibly was carved by an Italian prisoner of war as there was an internment camp here during WW2. Others say the statue is much older than this. So this lovely Leo holds some secrets just like Aslan.
Yesterday I enjoyed an al fresco spring lunch at Dar Caravane. It spoke to me of the wonderful summer to come . Soon all those banana lounges will be full and splashing will come from that delicious blue swimming pool. The lunch was with friends and we shared platters of snacks with a Thai influence. We were in no rush and enjoyed the sunshine, the garden and the company for a couple of hours before heading back to the city in tremendous storms that had luckily held off during our sojourn.
There are high rise apartments shooting up in every spare square meter in the city of Melbourne. Too many and too high. Whether they will all be lived in remains to be seen but on the whole property developers know what they are doing will make them money so...... This metropolitan cheek by jowl living is not necessarily for everyone. Anyway I do have a friend who lives in a high rise block in the city and is very happy. She is close to all the happening events and public transport is on her doorstep. She has very little maintenance to worry about and can shut the door behind her and go travelling without a care in the world. A big plus is the floor to ceiling windows many city apartments have enabling incredible urban views....or a downside is you only see the cement and mortar of the building next door. My friend from a lower floor looks out on an interesting cityscape mix of office buildings and hotels interspersed with lovely green leafiness but higher up in her block (40th floor) I am sure you could almost see Morocco.
An amazing sight in the lower part of the Bengalore flower market is the enormous group of garland making ladies, threading flowers nearly round the clock. Garlands play a huge part in Indian culture and are used to show respect to both individuals and statues. Hindu deities are decorated with garlands and each one has its own unique flower. As you can imagine a temple is full of fragrant garlands !! A traditional rite in an Indian wedding is when the bride and groom give each other a garland to wear, symbolizing the sharing of spiritual energy. Flower garlands are also frequently used to honour guests (especially dignitaries) on their arrival. To me, India is a floral heaven !!!
The main rites of Hindu worship called Puja, means the flower act. Hindus offer flowers to the deities as a sign of respect and ask to be blessed with good fortune. White jasmine is used to decorate doorways and statues. Marigold garlands are placed around the necks of Hindu gods and goddesses but also used in the house as the almost bitter smell deters insects. Rose petals are used both in worship and for medical ailments. I could list so, so many more flowers used importantly in day to day Hinduism . In weddings flowers represent love, affection, modesty, sensuality and fertility and they surround the bride and groom. Flowers are widely used too in perfume making and for incense sticks. Burning of fragrant floral incense is also part of Hindu worshipping practises as it is seen to purify the air and to clear the brain to facilitate meditation. I was overcome by the beautiful flowers in the Indian markets, by the endless mountains of buds, garlands and blooms and by the lovely open smiling people selling them.