A lei is basically any series of objects strung together with the intent to be worn. This explains why I received not only the more typical flower leis but also some non-flower leis on my last visit. However, the most popular concept of a lei in Hawaiian culture is a wreath of flowers draped around the neck presented upon arriving or leaving as a symbol of affection.
Head to the Lei shop in Honolulu's Chinatown district and watch the experts at work at M. P. Lei Shop, 1145 Maunakea Street.
Just outside of Amsterdam near the airport quietly sits the largest flower market in the world. Aalsmeer Flower Auction (otherwise known as FloraHolland) is the Wall Street of Flowers where everyday 20 million flowers and plants follow a carefully choreographed dance through a gigantic distribution center and auction halls.
And the best part - they allow visitors to come watch these flowers arrive from Kenya, speed through the facility, and end up in New York City the same day.
For a small entry fee of 5 - you can walk the catwalk of this enormous facility and be swept up in the movement below you. Make sure you go early in the morning to get the full effect. As I watched from above I realized everything was moving…even the catwalk vibrated. The place was in a constant state of motion everywhere you looked. And then you can't help but notice the smell wafting up to greet your nose....
I visited the colorful Flower Market in Kolkata, India early one morning. The market, near the famous Howrah Bridge, is the oldest in Eastern India, and attracts many flower growers from surrounding areas. This flower seller appeared to lose himself in thought for a moment......a brief break from the hectic pace of another busy market morning.
A few years back, when Lima's Central Restaurante was closed because of zoning issues, Peru's celebrity chef, Gastón Acurio, was one of many who petitioned for it to be reopened. I knew that meant the young chef at Central, Virgilio Martinez, must be doing something truly special. Virgilio's restaurant is located in Lima's hip Barranco neighborhood. I stopped in solo one afternoon for lunch and was dazzled by the dishes his servers put in front of me: charred purple corn with scented octopus, lentils, yuzu, and bok choy; "mask of the suckling pig" (or pig face) with tart green apple, baby tomatoes, and galangal; and suckling goat with chickpeas, goat cheese, and lemon verbena. Each course was plated like a work of art and was a beautiful riddle on the palette.
My enthusiasm for my food earned me a tour of the open kitchen and the rooftop garden, where servers pluck flowers or clip...
Out of the myriad eye-catching details that make up Sin City, the striking rainbow of blown glass flowers that adorn the ceiling of the Bellagio lobby was one of my favorites.
Long stemmed lotus flowers that are held by Theravada Buddhist devotees as they recite Pali scripture and mantras.
The freshest blooms along muddiest streets - Kolkata's wholesale 'phoolbajaar' or flower market is right next to river Hooghly. In the beginning, the sellers sat on the Mallick Ghat. Nowadays, they have taken over several back-alleys and set up small shops. Mornings are the best and the craziest time to walk through the area. Most, vanish by noon, leaving behind a heady scent of seasonal specialties.
Colorful orchids have found a home at the Four Seasons Ko'ele Lodge. You can walk around the grounds and decide to pop in and visit the orchid house - a sensory overload.
A small table, chairs, and bench are placed in the house and guests can sit and enjoy the botanical beauties.
If you are going to see the flowers at Keukenhof Gardens then be sure to wander across the street to see the lesser known Kasteel Keukenhof. This historic chateau was held by barons and wealthy merchants alike since the 15th century. It has now been refurbished and transformed into a unique space to house contemporary art during the flower season.
The old and the new mix together in a unique way thanks to curator Gijs Stork. Inside the castle you will find fashion, video, photography, and sculpture all intermixed with the old chateau grandeur - all in the theme of flowers. Everywhere you look there is intrigue - even down to the secret doors. Flower based art is located in each room of the castle. The special exhibition is temporary though - so be sure to check the website for further details of when you can visit - Tour Schedule 2013 - ...
7 million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths all in bloom create a spectacular pallet of color not to mention aroma. This spring garden outside of Amsterdam is only open for a couple of months during the blooming season and each year it is redesigned based on a new theme. This is landscaping and gardening at it’s very best.
Wander around the gardens and view the various green houses, inspiration gardens, and commissioned works of sculpture. Take a canal boat trip to see the never-ending fields in bloom.
How to get there:
By public transport, you can take the train to Leiden Centraal (about 30 minutes travel from Amsterdam Centraal) and the bus 54 from the nearby station (Keukenhof Express – it leaves two times every hour)
Cost – 15 Euro
Hours – 2013 – Mar 21 – May 20 from 8am to 7:30pm
2014 – Mar 20 – May 18
The Gozo hills were bursting with yellow flowers contrasting with the green fields providing you the perfect feel of spring. I looked at the scene and thought, what lovely photo opportunities. Hermine looked at the scene and thought - materials.
She picked a bright yellow flower and took a piece of paper and had me watch as she rubbed the flower petal on the paper turning the paper a brilliant gold as if it were paint. Hermine integrates the land and these flowers into her painting – literally. She uses flower pigments, clay, and mud all found around Gozo as her painting materials.
A marriage and family might have brought artist Hermine Sammut to Gozo, but it was the simple, creative atmosphere and beautiful landscapes that made her stay. Gozo is only a short 30 minute ferry ride from Malta and is the vacation destination for many Maltese in the summer. It is also the home to many...