Sagada: Take Two

Sagada in the morning

Second time in Sagada, and I’m still struck with awe.

My first visit was with my brother and we joined a group tour for an overnighter in this beautiful, distant place nestled on the mountains up north from Manila. Back then, I was asleep throughout most of the journey. I remember highlights of that trip included having a taste of the famous lemon pie, a very delicious strawberry cake, trekking the Echo Valley to the hanging coffins, and walking the stream leading to an underground river. It was a whirlwind of fun packing everything that needed to be done in those 2 days (side trip to Baguio and Banaue included).

This time was different: D agreed to drive, so we had the car just to ourselves and managed to do quick photo stops along the way whenever we came upon something spectacular. Plus I was awake throughout the duration of the trip (well, except for the first four hours because we left at 2:30 in the morning). We took the route that Google Maps recommended. It said 9 hours’ total travel time, and we were to skip the roads to Baguio or Banaue, and take the Cervantes, Ilocos Sur route. I’ve never heard of Cervantes. We drove near the sea at La Union and took the road less traveled.HaystacksClear streams

I played navigator while D bravely drove through the long winding roads that connected Ilocos Sur to Mountain Province. It turned out to be a scenic route – breathtaking view of the mountains and valleys, clear streams, waterfalls, and rice terraces. The view kept getting better and better once we got to the Bessang Pass Natural Monument in Sigay, Ilocos Sur. It is a protected area and memorial commemorating the victory of Philippine soldiers over the Imperial Japanese army on 14 June 1945. The mountains were so beautiful, we saw birds of different kinds, the air was cool and fresh. It reminded us of Batanes and Switzerland. D was definitely impressed (yay!). Except when passing towns, we rarely saw other cars through that route. I wonder how the locals managed commuting…Mountain

So the route was very scenic, but it was also a bit scary. Several times I held my breath and asked D to speed up because we would pass signages that say ‘beware of falling rocks’. And those rocks that we saw on the road were boulders. We also passed by roads next to landslides. Some stretches were dirtroads as the lanes were being repaired from erosions from a recent typhoon (Ompong) that hit the province.Landslide

Landslide

The 9 hours estimate by Google Maps was short by 3 hours. We reached our hotel, Labanet Lodge, at 2:30 in the afternoon. Our room was facing the town, and the hotel was walking distance to the restaurants and market. When we checked in I saw some ‘Sagada Do’s and Don’ts’ posted on the frontdesk. I also saw this list when we registered for a tour at the Municipal Information Center. These rules are:

1. Register at the Municipal Information Center and present the receipt when going to tourist sites like the caves, falls, Echo Valley.

2. Engage the services of local guides. Not children.

3. Respect all sacred grounds and sites.

4. Do not take photos of local rituals. Ask permission first.

5. No scanty clothing. No necking in public.

6. Use only designated parking areas.

7. No littering.

8. Bring your own bag (preferably eco bag) when shopping.

9. Minimize use of plastic bottles. Refill at water stations.

10. Inform the hotel of whereabouts past 10 PM.

I am all for these rules. I don’t recall seeing these during my first trip. Kudos to the municipality of Sagada for reinforcing these basics to tourists.

After the twelve hour drive I rewarded D lemon pie and tea at the Lemon Pie House. I rekindled my relationship with Sagada’s mountain tea. During my first trip I bought a bag of the leaves thinking I could brew it at home – but my version did not turn out good at all. So this time, I asked the staff at the restaurants as to how they brew their mountain tea because it was so good I just have to make it work at this time.

Around 4 in the afternoon we walked less than a kilometer from the hotel to Gaia Arts and Crafts Cafe, a quaint little restaurant that was featured in a local hit film ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’. Along the way we met a cute, friendly labrador. (I made a mental note to say hi to her again on our way back to the hotel). We also saw a couple of hanging coffins – these were different from the ones I saw at the Echo Valley. Just as a background, people who die past the age of 100 are buried in the hanging coffins. We were told by a local that the hanging coffins could be seen at different places coming from the Echo Valley to the Sumaging Caves. Our destination, Gaia, was near the caves.Gaia

Gaia serves vegetarian food and offers a nice view of rice terraces and fields. This is where we had our early dinner. I got the vegetarian adobo and D had the fried breaded tofu. I was giddy with excitement because I was looking forward to the side salad and the red rice. You see, only in Sagada do I get to eat red rice. I have to learn how to cook it properly, so it won’t end up too dry.The Wayfarers

When we got back to the hotel it was almost dark. For the first time in a long time we went to bed very early – 6 o’clock in the evening. Boy, did we have a long good night sleep.

Day 2 was a big day: we had a healthy, filling breakfast at the Strawberry Cafe. Afterwards, D and I registered for a tour and did a 3 hour trek to the Bomod-Ok Falls. It was a good cardio workout and a sight to behold. Our guide was also engaging and she provided a lot of educational information about the culture and traditions of the local community.Bomod-Ok

After the tiring trek we had lunch at the Sagada Brew. I’ve raved about this restaurant in TripAdvisor because I loved their breakfast. Lunch was good, but I didn’t enjoy their lava cake this time. It just looked good, but it was stale and dry.

In the afternoon we checked out the market and the Sagada Weaving store. Was able to get my stash of fresh greens for salad, and the award-winning Sagada Bana coffee from the market. At Sagada Weaving we got to watch the weavers in action. Got myself a belt bag as a souvenir.Sagada Weaving

That night there was a bit of a drizzle but the cold air was quite nice. We had dinner at the Yoghurt House. And then for the second night in a row we slept early.

On the third day we had an early breakfast at Bana Cafe. Their coffee was indeed a hit! It’s a good thing we were able to buy the coffee from the market because there we were able to negotiate for a discounted price.Bana Coffee

On our way back we were able to see the sea of clouds. We tried to deviate from Google’s recommended route because we planned to pass through Baguio. It was a mistake! Thirty minutes in to the new route we came upon a dead end because the roads were closed due to a landslide during Typhoon Ompong. Needless to say, we retraced our steps and heeded what Maps told us to take. So we passed by the long scenic road again. Come to think of it, it wasn’t so bad.Sagada in the morning

I asked D what he thought of Sagada and he loved it. It can now compete with Batanes, his favorite destination in the Philippines. I doubt he would want to drive back though. The way to and from Sagada was an adventure on its own. It was just too long – longer than a plane ride from the Philippines to another country. I’ll try to convince him again maybe in a couple of years.Scenic

Sagada – it was nice to be back! Hope to see you again soon. Maybe next time I will bring my folks and relatives so they can also get to appreciate you. It definitely is more fun in the Philippines!

Sunset and homeward bound

Bomod-Ok Falls, Sagada

Bomod-Ok

This is my second trip to Sagada – I like it so much that I hope to do it a regular trip. Thing is, it’s just so far away. I was so happy when D finally agreed to drive with me during the Thanksgiving weekend. We booked 2 nights to make the most of our time in Sagada.

During my first trip to Sagada with my brother, we were so pressed for time and we didn’t have the energy anymore to trek to the waterfalls. It was an overnighter anyway, and we covered a lot of things in 24 hours: the market, the highly rated restaurants by TripAdvisor, Echo Valley Hanging Coffins, Sagada Underground river entrance. We skipped the Sumaging Cave (short course caving) and swapped it with the market and the restos.

I’d skip Day 1 and will write about it more in detail in a separate blog. In this trip, Day 2 was the highlight.

After breakfast, D and I went to the Municipal Information Center to register and book a tour to the Bomod-Ok waterfalls. I was told it was the highest falls in Sagada, and it would be a 3-hour hike (back and forth) from Banga-an, which was 5 kilometers away from the Information Center.Wayfarers

We hopped on rented van and our driver, Jong, drove us from Aguid to Banga-an where we paid the guide fee. We were welcomed by Fritz who would be our guide for the trek. Fritz provided D and me each a wooden walking stick. She advised us to wear our caps as it might be hot. D and I left our caps at the hotel, and luckily it was a cloudy day so it was not scorching hot. Plus the air was cool and it was windy – I had my hoodie ready. Fritz gave reminders on bringing our trash with us (I assured her we won’t have any) and to have our water bottles ready. Guide

Off we went begin our downward trek. We were to walk downhill for 2 kilometers until we reach the falls.

The view from the top was breathtaking. We feasted our eyes on a lush of green. There were mountains, rice terraces, and some clusters of homes to see. We had to stop every once in a while to take photos. Topscene

Fritz was very engaging and she shared a lot of information about the lifestyle, culture and traditions in Sagada. She said that the main livelihood of the people (herself included) is agriculture. Some days she would be planting vegetables like chayote in the fields. While tourism is also a source of income, planting crops is still what she enjoys doing. The terraces used to be filled with rice, but now they have diverse plantations of vegetable crops. Arabica was also widely grown by the locals, and alongside the coffee shrubs they plant a certain type of tree (I failed to note it down, but it had small pines as non-edible fruit), which grows faster and provides the shade for the coffee trees, and the leaves that fall on the ground provide the nitrogen that will benefit the coffee trees. Fruit-bearing trees that are widely planted are the persimons, oranges, mulberries, and blueberries. Coffee

I asked Fritz why it was so quiet even as we passed through the Barangay Fidelisan where we paid the barangay fee. She said the children were at school, and most of the people were tending to the fields. Come lunch time the community will be livelier when the folks from the fields go home for a meal.

At the community, Fritz showed us a hut where the elders hold their meetings. This is called ‘dap-ay’. Adjacent to it is a house where teenage men reside in as they are trained to become future elders. In their community, the elders facilitate wedding ceremonies first before the newly-weds hold the church weddings.Dap-ay

As we passed through the rice terraces I was amazed by the irrigation system that the people built. The water comes from a natural spring (it does not dry out) and flows down to the bottom of the valley. From that spring people could also get water to drink. Near the terraces are rice granaries (wooden houses used to store grains) called ‘agamang’ by the locals. But these are now seldomly filled. That’s because rice is not as widely grown anymore and there are also field mice to look out for. Rice terraces

At last we were able to reach the Bomod-Ok falls. It was a spectacular sight to behold! D went close to it and took a lot of pictures. I dipped my feet in the cold water (and envied a couple of visitors swimming in the shallow pool). Fritz showed me where she replenished her water bottle with mineral water. We spent about 30 minutes walking through the rocks. Falls

Bridge

Going back we took a different route going to Pide where Jong would be waiting for us. I felt exhaustion kicking in halfway through and begged for several rest stops. D and I finished our big water bottle. Needless to say, going back was quieter as I opted to stay mum and catch my breath. Thoughts of where we would have our big lunch occupied my mind. I was so happy to see Jong’s van (Jong fell asleep waiting for us LOL).

I’m so glad I trekked to the falls with D. It was a good long walk (and climb) and we were fortunate to have a good guide. If you are in Sagada and up for a cardio adventure, the Bomod-Ok falls is highly recommended.

In total, we paid P1,170 (about US$23) plus tip for our trip to Bomod-Ok falls. Here’s a breakdown of the cost:

Guide Fee: P500 (approx. US$10) for 1-7 visitors

Barangay Fee: P10 (approx. US$2) per visitor

Transportation Fee: P650 (approx. US$13) two way vehicle hire from the Information Center

Day Walks at the Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria

Wilsons Prom

Recently I went with my sister and brother-in-law for an out of town weekend trip to Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, or as it is more commonly called Wilsons Prom. We drove 230 kilometers from Melbourne (around 3 and a half hours) to the southernmost tip of Australia’s main island.

Our first stop was at the Whisky Bay, where we walked up a trail of about 500 meters to get to the viewing deck. It was windy and cold at the time, but I was just astounded by the beautiful view of the beach and the gigantic waves. There was only a handful of people in the area which allowed me to contemplate more during that walk.

Whisky Bay
Whisky Bay at Wilson’s Prom

Next we went to the Visitor Centre to get a map of the different trails. I read through a lot of information about Wilsons Prom in the Visitor Centre. There is also a souvenir shop and a convenience store next to it. The highlight of that short stopover at the Visitor Centre was the flock of colorful birds lounging around, like the Crimson Rosellas and Laughing Kookaburras. There was this especially playful juvenile Crimson Rosella that instantly felt close to me – that he literally perched on my shoulder and my head! It was so funny, and at the moment I missed my doggies at home. Animals are so awesome (and charmingly cheeky at times)!

On our drive to the next trail, we had to slow down because of some animals crossing. In this photo there was a couple of emus crossing the road as we were about to park for our next trail: the Wildlife Walk.

Wilson1
Emu crossing

The Wildlife Walk was a trail that took about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Here, we saw several kangaroos eating their afternoon snack. We were really hoping to get a glimpse of wombats, but since they are nocturnal and shy animals, we didn’t see any (even when my sister and brother-in-law went back to the trail the next day). The closest that we could see to a wombat was the entrance to their burrows and their poop.

Although overnight camping can be done at Wilsons Prom (so as long as a permit is secured at the Visitor Centre), we opted to drive to the nearby town of Foster and stayed at the Prom Country Lodge. The owners of the lodge also run a cafe called Cafe Max, named after their lovable labrador retriever named Max. Being the good host that he was, Max the labrador greeted me when I asked the cafe owners what time dinner was to be served.

The next morning, we drove to our next trail: Miller’s Landing. Kangaroos were having breakfast as we parked the car. Miller’s Landing trail was an easy 2 kilometers walk where we passed through lush greens and trees to get to the Corner Inlet Conservation Reserve. We ended at the beach to watch birds and look at the mangroves. It was a lovely morning walk for our healthy dose of sunshine. Again, no walk was complete without us attempting to see a wombat – which as usual ended with us only seeing the entrance to their burrows.

Going back to the city we had lunch at one of the towns at a quaint restaurant called The Rusty Windmill. I enjoyed a latte, scones, and my mixed vegetable curry with apple chutney and yogurt.

Some things that we kept in mind during our visit to Wilsons Prom: to do an overnight hiking a permit needed to be secured; no dogs, cats and other animals allowed; no feeding or interfering with the wild; respecting the surroundings and the creatures at all times. Wilsons Prom is also surrounded by marine protected areas.

Five Faves in Baguio

Camp John Hay

Back in the day, Baguio was considered a summer destination. Because it is located at a higher elevation, it is cooler there than in Metro Manila. But then, a trip to Baguio took a longer time of planning and preparation – because the drive was about 8 hours. Now, thanks to the new highways connecting Manila to the northern part of Luzon, driving to Baguio takes normally just about a little over 4 hours.

D was always hesitant to go because he had been hearing horror stories about the bad traffic and the pollution. After months of convincing he finally agreed to drive with me to Baguio provided we go on a Sunday (with the hopes that tourists coming up for a weekend getaway would be going home to Manila by then) and I have to book a hotel away from the city center. I reserved our rooms right away before he could even change his mind.

So very early Sunday morning we drove northbound, enjoyed the views of rice paddies, took a couple of stops for breakfast and took photos of Mt. Arayat and some bridges.

We checked in at Forest House Bed and Breakfast, which was a close drive to Camp John Hay. Our room was cozy with an overlooking view of their backyard garden.

Bencab Museum

This was our first stop, because I cannot get enough of museums. And pretty much because it was also the farthest from the city so we drove there first. Bencab Musuem exhibits the works and collections of Ben Cabrera, a National Artist, renowned for his Philippine contemporary art. If not for D, I would have spent a whole day admiring the different paintings and artwork. We also spent time appreciating the view of their garden and koi, and the adjacent hills.

The Bell House

Walking inside Camp John Hay was reminiscent of what I saw Baguio as when I was a child. Though there are new establishments, it was not crowded and I am glad the place is still filled with hundreds of pine trees.

Inside Camp John Hay is The Bell House. My understanding is that it used to be a residence when the Philippines was still a colony of the USA. Nowadays it stands as a museum. It has an amphitheater next to it, which was beautifully lined with flowering plants. I had fun taking photos of the amphitheater.

The Bell House is big and the atmosphere inside was light and airy. D and I began exploring the house going separate ways. I was amazed at how the furniture was maintained and preserved. As I walked out the patio I pretended I was living in the 50s and wondered how I could have made each day productive without my gadgets back then.

There was also a secret garden next to The Bell House. I can’t recall if it was called ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’. We were just told by the museum staff to check it out so we did. It felt almost magical as I walked through the garden, with trees and mist enveloping us.

Baguio Market

A visit to Baguio will not be complete without going to the market at the city center. Sure, it was crowded, but it wasn’t as crowded as, say, Mall of Asia or Megamall on a payday weekend sale. We could still walk comfortably around, though we had to be careful of our belongings because we had to, as signs around the market would say, Beware of Pickpockets.

We bought vegetables and fruit, which sell much cheaper in Baguio compared to Manila. I was able to get all my salad ingredients here. For fruit we got strawberries and native berries. We also bought jam and ube (purple yam). We took a Grabcar on our way from and back to the b&b because this is one part of the trip that D would not have the patience driving to. Traffic wasn’t bad but parking would have been.

Diplomat Hotel

Now going here entailed use of our car. Atop Dominican Hill is the old and abandoned Diplomat Hotel. The spooky facade and the mist surrounding the place makes it a popular go to by tourists seeking some ‘scary’ thrills. Its history is narrated next to the entrance. It was built by the Dominicans as a vacation house on 1913. It was then converted to a school and named Colegio Del Santissimo Rosario from 1915-1918. During WWII it served as a refuge for families and Dominican priests from 1942-1945. In 1945, the Japanese used it as their last stand until it was bombed by the Americans. After reconstruction, it became the Diplomat Hotel which operated from 1973-1987.

Laperal White House

Since we were in the mood for scares we also went to the Laperal Guest House. We passed this anyway as we headed to the Pink Sisters’ Convent and Chapel. One wouldn’t miss this mysterious-looking old white house. I heard ghost stories about this place, even saw some documentaries about it many Halloweens ago. Unfortunately they were closed at that time so we weren’t able to get in. Pink Sisters’ Convent

So those are my five favorite spots in Baguio. I’d say it was worth driving to, and though it wasn’t as secluded and pristine it was decades ago, I was still able to enjoy the sights, the food and the cool temperature with my D.

My First Ever Paint Party

friends and family

I was ecstatic when my cousin Juvy hosted what would be my first ever paint and wine party with the family during my recent trip to Chicago. Any chance for me to paint on a canvas is gold. More importantly, I suppose there’s something about doing art together that makes a gathering more intimate.

That Friday night, we headed to the Bottle & Bottega studio in Park Ridge, IL.  The venue was nice and spacious, and I loved the different paintings displayed. It was BYOB and BYOF so my relatives brought wine and assorted platters of delicious finger food which we enjoyed while our work space was being set up.

Our project for the night was a landscape showing a river running through a valley, and the medium that we used was acrylic. Our instructor Sonny demonstrated each step. At first I thought the landscape was going to be complicated and I surprised myself for being able to finish it within the three hours. I’m quite impressed by my cousins’ finished work. They said they were beginners, but their paintings were so good!

My cousin said she noticed I got pretty quiet when we all started painting. I think I always do, when I start holding on to a paint brush. I tend to be too focused in the moment; it’s like a form of meditation for me.

I am so happy we did this, and I’m thankful to Juvy because it’s one of the most enjoyable things I did during my US trip. I would love to do this again; perhaps I’d arrange one in Manila when my sister and brother-in-law come over to visit. It’ll be fun!

img_2454
Sonny, our art teacher

 

Five Faves in Hahndorf, South Australia

Hahndorf

In my last blog I wrote about my favorite places from a weekend in Adelaide. Within those 2 days, me and my sister’s family were able to include a visit to the lovely town of Hahndorf.img_1112

Hahndorf is a German town in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It is 30 kilometers away from Adelaide, and it took us about 30 minutes’ drive. I didn’t know what to expect – all I know is that my parents raved about it, and when I told friends in Melbourne that I was going to Adelaide for the weekend, all of them recommended having a visit to Hahndorf.

Boy, were they right! The main street was lined with quaint little shops and the pubs reminded me of an unforgettable Oktorberfest trip to Munich years ago.

Beerenberg Family Farmimg_1079

Our first stop was at Beerenberg, a family-owned farm and shop. They make their products from home-grown crops, and they offer strawberry-picking from November to April.  I was able to sample their different jams, and we got a few jars of slow cooker sauces. Beerenberg

img_1085
We also got some handcrafted popsicles – my sister got the dairy-free Raspberry Basil and I got the Choc Banana.

I was also able to buy some postcards which they mail for free.

Seasonal Garden Café

We had brunch here, which I believe is a family favorite of my sister and brother-in-law. Their menu says that they serve “simple, peasant food that is guided by what is available from [their] garden and from the gardens of local growers.”

On that sunny morning we asked for outside seating – this was in their garden at the back of the restaurant. They are vegetarian and vegan friendly, and their pastry display looked tempting.  Our brunch was yummy and filling, giving us the energy boost we needed for that day as we headed off to walk through Hanhdorf’s streets.img_1096

Rummaging Through an Op Shop

I’m supportive of op shops because they promote the reuse of items, which is my way of helping save the environment. I was glad I found the Christian Care & Share shop. My sister was able to get some clothes, and I had a good deal getting my duvet cover from this store for just $12!

Hahndorf Op Shop

Grass Roots

This shop sells vintage items, from garden tools to furniture. Though I did not buy anything, it was quite fun walking around and seeing these items being reused and recycled. I imagine if I lived nearby I would definitely get some of their items for my yard.

Vintage
Vintage finds at Grass Roots

Hahn and Hamlin

Now, Hanhdorf is lined up with several cafes. What made Hahn and Hamlin stand out for me was its red door and its interior’s cozy ambience (the fireplace was awesome!). They sell organic coffee and local cakes, and they have gluten-free and dairy-free pastries. After a couple of hours of walking, we wrapped it up with vegan pastries, and a hot cup of chai and soy latte for me and my sister.

I am glad I was able to see Hahndorf up close. I think in my next visit I should spend at least a full weekend there so I can check out more shops. I saw a couple of cafes claiming they had the best coffee – they’re the first in the list so I could see for myself. Then there’s the gelato place, soap shop, and then the vintage book shop….so many places I have yet to check out!

Five Faves from My Weekend in Adelaide

museum

I quite enjoyed my recent vacation in Australia. All my prior trips were business-related, and with this one I got to spend more quality time with my sister. Also, for the first time, I got to go to South Australia to visit my brother-in-law’s family.

We drove Friday night all the way from Melbourne and arrived on the wee hours of Saturday morning.  The drive was comfortable as we had several stops along the way. Because we were only staying for two days, we rested for just a couple of hours before heading out to explore the beautiful city of Adelaide.

First Stop: Glenelg Beach

Glenelg has a nice beach. It is only a few minutes’ drive from the city centre and is accessible via tram. My brother-in-law said that when he was a teenager, he and his friends would always hang out at the Glenelg Beach.

Glenelg Beach
Glenelg Beach

There are several cafes and restaurants, and we had brunch at the PURE Boutique Coffee Bar which was near the Glenelg Town Hall.

Overall I liked the chill, relaxed vibe of this place, and I liked watching people run with their dogs on the beach.

Shopping at Adelaide Central Market

With our eco-bags in tow, we headed off to do a bit of grocery shopping at the Adelaide Central Market. Though it was quite busy on that Saturday morning, I enjoyed exploring the place.

We first went to one of my sister’s go-to shops: Little Tokyo, which sells Japanese groceries and homeware. This is where she regularly gets her Japanese spices, snacks, hibachi and nattou from.  She was so pleased when she found the rice crackers she loved in Tokyo here.

Next, she brought me to a popup bookshop which sells vintage books. It was a delight browsing through their shelves – lots of interesting books of different genres. I could spend hours there.

Lastly we went to the Goodies and Grains shop. I liked how they stacked their different products in jars and bottles and customers could refill their own-brought containers (lesser plastic use, yay!). They have a wide variety of items from honey, oil, coffee, nuts and so much more. This is where I found my new favorite flavored kombucha drink.

Free Exhibits at The Art Gallery of South Australia

After lunch we had time to check out the free exhibitions at The Art Gallery of South Australia. The museum has a beautiful building, and I was amazed by The Life of Stars – a stainless steel sculpture which is a permanent display at the main entrance. I like how it reflected the city.

At the time the Diane Arbus – American Portraits, and Tracey Moffatt: Body Remembers, were both on exhibit (from 14 July – 1 October 2018).Museum

The museum’s facade

Photography

My favorite display

A Relaxing Stroll at Himeji Gardens

My sister has researched about the Himeji Gardens and insisted from the start that it should be included in our weekend agenda. We had to use Google Maps to locate the place. It turned out to be worth looking for because it was a picturesque garden – felt like being in a Zen oasis in the middle of the city. The Himeji Gardens celebrates the Sister City relationship between the Japanese ancient city of Himeji and Adelaide.

As per the sign at the entrance of the garden, two classic Japanese styles are combined here – the ‘senzui ‘ (a lake and mountain garden), and the ‘kare senzui’ (a dry garden).

Entrance was free, and we spent about thirty minutes walking through the garden, listening to the sound of the birds and the water.  I imagine if could spend a longer time there, it would be a good place to meditate, or sit and read a book.

Skyline View at Mt Lofty Summit

On Sunday, before heading out to Hahndorf, we stopped by the Mt Lofty Summit. Initially we planned on doing the trail, but it was closed at the time due to restoration work.

At the summit, we were able to see the panoramic view of the Adelaide skyline. There was a Visitor Information Centre and a gift shop, and I was able to purchase some souvenirs there.  There was also a restaurant with a view at the summit.

Mt Adelaide
Mt Lofty Summit panoramic skyline view

So that was the highlight of my short visit to Adelaide. I’m so happy my sister and brother-in-law brought me there. I would like to get to know the city more, and perhaps spend a longer time there when I go back to Australia. Overall, I think the city was very charming, and I liked being able to go to different places like the beach, museum, market, parks which are all just within a few kilometers’ driving distance from each other.