Friday, March 2, 2012

Wednesday 22nd February - Young, Cowra

We had another drive today, this time to Cowra to see the Japanese Gardens.  First we had a look at the Visitor Information Centre, then we made our way to the garden.  It was beautiful.  The web site calls it tranquil - there really is no other word for it.  You immediately felt at peace with the world when you were walking through the garden.  We had bought a bag of fish food to feed the huge koi in the ponds.  They practically jumped out of the water at me.  Even a duck got in on the act at one point, floating directly on top of the koi and beating them to the food pellets!
Koi at Cowra Japanese Gardens

There was also a Cultural Centre which included a traditional rock garden.  This appeared to be a fairly simple example of rock gardens.  When I was in Japan many years ago I was privileged to spend some time at one of the most famous rock gardens, Ryoan-ji in Kyoto.  This a link to another interesting site regarding the Ryoan-ji garden. The intriguing thing about this garden was that no matter from where you viewed the garden it was impossible to see all 15 rocks at the same time.  The rock garden at Cowra possibly contained 15 rocks, but they were all placed individually, not in the classic groupings of one group of five, two groups of three and two groups of two rocks.
Rock garden at Cowra
Ryoan-ji Rock Garden in Kyoto
It was certainly a wonderful place to visit (actually both Cowra and the Ryoan-ji!) and a visit to Cowra wouldn't be complete without a visit to the garden.  In the Cultural Centre there were also some painting, wooden models, Japanese dolls and pottery.  All exquisite.  The whole experience made me remember my one and only overseas foray with fondness.  We bought a small and a tiny mykino dolls to add to my apparently growing collection, a lipstick container which I am going to use as my pill box, a spray 'cooler' to help combat the heat, and a 'grow your own crystal garden' set.  I also bought the short DVD of the garden, which was taken during springtime when the trees were in blossom, and also includes a section on the building of the gardens.  A very special place.
Train in Roundhouse at Cowra
We had a bite to eat in the cafe before we headed for the Roundhouse at Cowra.  This is technically only half a Roundhouse.  They ask for donations, but it is all on an honesty system because there is not necessarily anyone there to talk to.  And even when someone is there they just say have a look around.  the man we saw did give us a brochure which we hadn't noticd on our way in.  Bill still seemed pretty impressed, but I thought the whole place just looked like a junk heap.  You couldn't go into any of the carriages or engines like you could at Junee.  However, Bill enjoyed looking around.
We made our way back to Young, where we went looking for the Chinese Tribute Gardens.  These were quite some way out of town, but well worth the visit.  There was obviously some construction going on, because we couldn't access the gardens from one side.  From other photos I have seen of the gardens I suspect they have either pulled down the lovely pagoda that was there, or it isn't visible from where we accessed the gardens.
For tea we went back to the RSL.
Chinese Tribute Gardens at Young

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