Travelling in spring time

Friday, 10 February 2017

img-articolo-8-1The good season brings the awakening of nature and men. There is a painting showing perfectly the transformation triggered by spring: there is a tempera on canvas where you can see a grove of orange trees full of fruit, a pale blue sky, a dotted lawn with flowers and nine characters that animate the scene. It is the Botticelli’s Primavera.

Zephyr, the wind blowing from the west, kidnaps Chloris for love and gets her pregnant. Pregnancy turns the nymph into Flora, the personification of spring, a woman dressed in a flowered dress, who is intent on spreading on land the flowers in her lap. In the middle of the scene, you can see the driving force of events, which is Venus, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, dominated by her son Cupid, ready to shoot an arrow toward one of the three Graces who are dancing. Finally, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, which drives away the dark clouds.

Get ready for spring, for longer days, warmer weather and for desiring to travel even more.

Spring in Japan: hanami, and more

Let’s leave the Botticelli oranges to go at once to admire the great vision offered by the cherry trees blossoms in Japan. In the period between late March and early April, the hills, the fields and the gardens are covered with pink flowers, and the Japanese come together to celebrate the hanami.

img-articolo-8-2«There is no exact translation of the term, but it could be roughly defined as a picnic in early spring to admire the cherry trees blossoms (sakura)», says the National Japanese Tourism Office (Japan National Tourism Organization, JNTO).

Every city, area or district, have a walk under the cherry trees. The JNTO suggests the names of some very famous places.

In Tokyo, the parks are Ueno, Shinjuku, and Chidorigafuchi Sumida, and the Botanical Garden Koishikawa.

In Kyoto there are Maruyama Park, the Path of the Philosophers, Arashiyama, the Daigo-ji Temple and the Sanctuary of Hirano-jinja.

img-articolo-8-5Of course, Japan is not just cherry blossoms and shrines, temples and gardens. The Land of the Rising Sun, in fact, is also art and culture, tastes and flavors, nightlife, entertainment for children and beaches. About salty waters, those who practice diving and snorkeling should reach the village of Onna, in the prefecture of Okinawa, a sort of a tropical paradise of the Far East.

Japan also hosts sixteen places World Heritage Sites, including the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.

Spring in Russia: not only Maslenitsa in Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg

Also in Russia, people celebrate the spring coming during Maslenitsa, a festival that is strictly connected with the ancient pagan cult of the sun and is also associated with the Carnival, a typical Italian celebration. This festival was put on by the Russian Orthodox Church; Maslenitsa is also known as The Butter Week or The No-Meat Week because it’s observed before the Lent, a religious Christian observance when meat is forbidden and the only food allowed is dairy products, fish or made with butter.

img-articolo-8-6Other ceremonies together with Maslenitsa – as you can read on Russia Beyond The Headlines – are the banja, a tradition that consists in taking a bath in some typical sauna and it is rooted especially in the villages near the river Tavda in Yekaterinburg, the administrative center of the Ural Federal District.

In Yekaterinburg the last zar Nikolai II and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks. Simon Richmond, the author of Lonely Planet guidebooks, recommends the walk from the place of the Romanov execution, based in the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land, to Ganina Yama, where they were first buried.

Visiting Yekaterinburg means also seeing the coexistence of Europe and Asia in the same place. There is a gravestone that signs the demarcation line between the two continents, 17 km far from the city. Furthermore, Yekaterinburg is one of the Russian cities that will host the 2018 Fifa World Cup. The managers are also working hard for the business travel.

Let’s move to Yekaterinburg, the Russian door for Asia, to St. Petersburg, the Russian window for Europe, or also called “Venice in the North”. Even St. Petersburg welcomes spring with Maslenitsa, in the area of Peter and Paul Fortress. There is so much to see, even more in St. Petersburg. Between the highlights, you can see The State Hermitage Museum, the Winter Palace, Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and the Summer Garden.

For a 360-degree view of the city, do not miss the radio-TV center’s antenna (310 mt), with a panoramic terrace 200 meters high.

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Springtime in the United Kingdom, from South London to the Granite City

London is a fixed stopover for everyone who wants to know the United Kingdom. To discover what to do and what to enjoy in the capital city of England, you have only to visit the web pages provided by the British Tourist Office or the ones designed by London&Partners, in particular the pages dedicated to London in the months March, April and May.

To fully enjoy springtime and to take a break from the frenzy of the British metropolis, one of the place you cannot miss are the Valentines Mansion & Gardens in Ilford, administrative hub of the London hamlet Redbridge.

One hour far by train from the town center, you can find another London, the so-called South London, which is Brighton. This is situated on the southern coast of England and it forms the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, together with the neighbor hamlets Hove and Portslade.

Not to miss is the Brighton Pier, The Lanes quarter and the close National Park of South Downs, where you can admire the Seven Sister cliffs.

From South to North to reach Manchester, a city full of charm, proud of its history, of its music scene and famous for its football teams. Manchester is also the ideal place to trek on the Pennine Hills, the mountain chain known as the “backbone of England”.

Let’s change country, but not “reign” and let’s go to Scotland reaching Aberdeen, the so known Granite City, thanks to its outline composed by sparkling granite roofs.

«Are the strong contrasts that give to Aberdeen its personality: a city perfect for entertainment, relaxed, dynamic and modern, full of culture and history, rich in its simple charm, where breathtaking urban landscapes meet the sea», writes the Scottish Tourist Office. Aberdeen is full of parks, gardens and splendid flower compositions. Thanks to a quick excursion in the neighborhood of city, you can discover ruins on rock shores as well as luxurious royal residences along the Scotland’s Castle Trail.

Spring in the USA, stay away from the Spring Break

There is a tradition related to the spring season in the USA. An “academic” tradition. The Spring Break. College students go for a week in a resort town, usually on the seaside, and they paint the town red, often beyond the limits of decency and good taste.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, they have learned to stay away from this. Lonely Planet explains it well: «Only twenty years ago, the sand of Fort Lauderdale was wet with beer and the streets were invaded by wild hordes of young people who came here to party on the occasion of the spring break, the spring holidays of American college students. Locals watched horrified for years scenes like these, but then they decided to act in defense of the city. So Fort Lauderale was restored, embellished and plumed, turning it into a navigation center of international importance and leaving at least partially behind the turbulent past».

Now people get bored in Fort Lauderdale? Quite the contrary, «the fact is that today you party like there is no tomorrow in dozens of clubs, bars and nightclubs on the beach and only if you are dressed in a respectable way (with some type of suit) and behave civilly».

People never get bored even on the west coast of the USA, especially in California, whose typical atmospheres can be experienced at most in locations such as Santa Monica and San Diego. Moreover, if you love the islands, move farther west to reach Honolulu, Hawaii, including unconventional destinations for Valentine’s Day 2017.

Not only the ocean, not only beaches. Moreover, not only New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and other well-known cities. Explore and discover other places during the spring:

Austin, Texas, one of the reference destinations of musical tourism.

Baltimora, Maryland, for the lively district of Hinner Harbor and to enjoy a picnic in Fort McHenry.

Saint Louis, Missouri, to relax in Forest Park and to take your children to the Magic House.

Moab, Utah, for Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Atlanta, Georgia, for the Beltline and the Botanical Garden.

Good trip and enjoy every minute of spring!

One minute of the spring
often lasts longer
than one hour in December
a week of October
a year of July
a month of February.
Jacques Prévert

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