20 September 2013

Mid-Autumn Festival @ The Gardens 2013

Gardens by the Bay is celebrating the Mid-Autumn festival in fabulous style and if you aren't going to the Grand Prix here in Singapore this weekend this might just be the perfect alternative for you.

Until this Sunday, 22 September 2013 you can enjoy a wonderful display of flowers, Chinese lanterns and dragonfly lanterns in the Flower Dome and an array of spectacularly lit lanterns dotted around the gardens.  The flowers in the dome are a mix of Autumn blooms including chrysanthemums, astilbes and celosias.  In addition to this, in the outdoor gardens, there are displays of colourful hand-crafted lanterns as well stage performances, competitions and various activities to entertain all.

Display of mooncake boxes in the Flower Dome

I was invited down to view the displays both in the Flower Dome and outside in the gardens and it truly is lovely.  As evening draws on and the dragonflies and Chinese lanterns in the Flower Dome are discreetly lit up they look beautiful and a stroll around the gardens after dark is the perfect end to your visit.  The larger than life themed lantern displays in the gardens, including Jurassic Park (complete with moving dinosaurs) and the World of Fairy Tales are amazing and quite breathtaking. 

As I mentioned above as well as the lantern displays you can also enjoy a range or other things including the Asian Food Street with delicacies from Singapore, China and Taiwan and many Chinese handicraft stalls.  There is also a creative lantern-making exhibition to view and dance and music performances by the China Hainan Provincial Committee to watch. 

To add to your enjoyment of this latest display at the Gardens for the period up until this Sunday (22 September 2013) there will be an extension of operating hours and a 15% discount on admission tickets to the conservatories (T&C's apply - see below).  You can also have a go at winning a Gardens by the Bay memorabilia gift package worth $50 in their Snap & Win! Contest, when you upload your photos of the Mid-Autumn celebrations at the Gardens to your Instagram account.  Just simply add an interesting caption to your photo, upload it and tag the photo with the following hashtags to be in with a chance of winning, #midautumnatgb and #gardensbythebay.  Three winners of the gift package will be announced on the Gardens Facebook page

Mid-Autumn Ticketing Promotion

15% discount on admission tickets to Conservatories until 22 September 2013.

Terms and Conditions -
  • Discount is applicable on the prevailing Standard and Local Resident admission rates only.
  • Applies to tickets purchased at on-site Ticketing Counters only.
  • Limited to 4 discounted tickets (mixture of adult and child) per transaction.
  • Offer does not include OCBC Skyway and Garden Cruiser.
  • Child admission ticket is valid for children aged between 3 to 12 years old.
  • No claims will be entertained for any lost, torn, defaced or expired tickets.
  • Admission ticket purchased is not refundable or exchangeable for cash and is only valid for the day of entry.
  • Discount not valid with any other offers/promotions.
  • Discount is not valid for Friends of the Garden individual and Family Annual Pass.

Extended Admission Hours

Operation hours for the two conservatories and the OCBC Skyway will be extended until 11pm until 22 September 2013.  Operating hours for selected F&B outlets in the Gardens will also be extended up until this date.

  • Admission charge to the conservatories applies.
  • Last ticket sale at 10pm.
  • Last admission at 10.30pm.

Mid-Autumn Festival @ The Gardens 2013

Comprises a series of lantern displays, performances and activities including a talent search competition, photography competition, lantern-making exhibitions and various displays of Chinese art forms.

Several fundraising activities will also be held during the celebrations with proceeds going to the President's Challenge 2013.

On now until 22 September 2013
Time: 6pm - 11pm (Mon - Fri), 3pm - 11pm (Sat - Sun)
Location: Bay South Gardens
Programme Charge: Free admission

This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise.

18 September 2013

Cruising Lake Windermere

We've not long returned from a three week break in the UK to spend time with my stepsons whilst they were on their summer school holidays.  Our first week was spent in the Lake District in Cumbria, a place I haven't been to since I was a teenager.  It was great to visit again and see the beautiful countryside and we had a great week.  There will be a few more posts soon about other things we did during our first week in the Lake District.

Whilst we were staying there we rented a holiday home in Bowness (or Bowness-on-Windermere to be exact).  This was a great place to be based, a nice town with all the essential shops (when you are self catering) and easy access to a load of places in the Lake District.  The holiday home was also perfect for our needs and actually better equipped than our home here in Singapore!  For one thing we had the luxury of a dish washer for the week.  We were provided with off road parking and being in the holiday home of course meant we had the option to cook and eat at home rather than always having to go out to eat.  The weather was not perfect during our stay, typically British to be fair, so knowing we could do this was a great relief at times.  Our stay in this particular holiday home also gave us access to a nearby hotel's leisure facilities so that meant swimming pool access for the boys for the week and a fail safe if the weather had been really bad and we'd run out of other indoor activities. 

Lake Windermere from Bowness

Bowness sits right on Lake Windermere (it is apparently the only town to do that) and from here you can catch a boat which takes you to the town of Ambleside a bit further along the lake and will bring you back to Bowness when you are ready.  We decided to do that and took the boat ride on our first full day in the Lake District.

There are several different boat trips you can choose from on the lake taking you to various spots.  You can buy your tickets on the day and then just simply wait for the next boat for your particular choice to arrive.  All the boats I saw whilst in Bowness had an upper and lower deck, the upper deck usually being open.  The day we went was a little damp and drizzly so we opted for the lower deck.

You can, if you want to, do the trip we did as a round trip without getting off and return to Bowness.  We decided though that we would get off at Ambleside to see what was there before travelling back to Bowness.  Lake Windermere is England's largest natural lake and even if you haven't visited yourself hopefully my photos will give you some idea of just how big it is.  In fact if you do the round trip, i.e. from Bowness to Ambleside and back to Bowness without getting off it takes approximately seventy-five minutes.  The lake was formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of the ice at the end of the last Ice Age.  There are also eighteen islands in the lake, the largest of which, Belle Island, is privately owned and inhabited.  The romantic dreamer in me can't help but think it would be a great place to live, though perhaps a bit lonely, especially in the winter.

As you travel the lake there is a little bit of commentary given by the boat's captain.  However I think the amount you get depends on what boat you take.  The scenery though is enough to keep you entertained.  The water offers up a variety of sailing boats to watch and there are a host of other water sports around the banks of the lake too.  Beyond the lake you are treated to views of the spectacular Cumbrian countryside, of hills and mountains, a wealth of different shades of green and wide open spaces as far as the eye can see.  If you keep a good look out you'll also spot some beautiful houses on the river banks.  Some now turned into hotels etc. but I guess also a few that are still privately owned (like the house on Belle Island I mentioned before).  You can also catch a glimpse of their private moorings and boat houses too.

Picturesque house on the edge of Lake Windermere (now a hotel)

When we arrived in Ambleside we got off our boat and walked a little further along the bank.  Unfortunately by this point the weather had got a little more gloomy and heavier rain looked a distinct possibility.  Fortunately there was a restaurant/pub close by so we played it safe and opted for a warm drink there.  Our suspicions were correct and as we sat enjoying our drinks (indoors) the heavens did open for a while.  Luckily it was only a passing shower so didn't spoil our visit.  After a pleasant afternoon in Ambleside we wandered back to the moorings and caught a boat back to Bowness.

04 September 2013

Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein

Currently on display at the National museum are ninety pieces of art from the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein.  I'm no art expert but I enjoy visiting galleries, looking at and admiring pieces of art so when I heard about this exhibition I knew I wanted to try and see it.  The artwork on display includes pieces by Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Raphael and Lukas Cranach the Elder and showcases in particular the High Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Biedermeier art styles spanning from the late 15th century to the mid -19th century.

I don't think there were any pieces that I didn't enjoy looking at, but a few that really caught my eye were the following.

Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game, Vegetables, a Live Monkey, Squirrel and Cat - Frans Snyders

There's so much to observe in this painting with all the different animals and so on, I was fascinated and spent a long time studying it.  Similarly the painting below caught my eye as I've visited many of the sites myself so felt drawn to study this piece a little closer.

Capriccio with the Most Important Architectural Monuments and Sculptures of Ancient Rome - Giovanni Paolo Pannini

I Consiglia alla Vendetta (Vengeance is Sworn) - Francesco Hayez

I loved this purely from the perspective of imagining the distress that the woman on the left (as you look at it) has suffered which also left me wondering what the other woman might be saying to her.  As I looked at it in the museum I wondered if this second woman was the cause of the upset or whether she was trying to help her.  I now know that this painting is part of a series which were inspired by an unpublished novel by Andrea Maffei.  The two women are called Maria and Rachel and in this painting Rachel has just told Maria of the deceit of her lover.  Knowing the story behind the painting helps to bring it even more to life for me.

St Eustace - Lukas Cranach the Elder

The red of the saint's tunic initially drew me to this painting as I was wandering around.  It really stood out for me, probably much more in reality than my photo does it justice.  I then later read that his feast day is the same day as my birthday, 20 September which, just because of the connection, made me like the painting even more.

There are many beautiful pieces to see, many by famous artists, well worth a visit if you enjoy art.

'Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein' is on now at the National Museum of Singapore until 29 September 2013.

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