Singapore is a city-state with a population of about 5.6 million people. It’s all of 719.1 square kilometers (277.6 square miles) with plenty of parks. We’re not the “Garden City” for nothing!) and that’s one of the reasons I love it here.
However, much of the time, Singapore is just a city with the noise, congestion, and crowds that characterize cities everywhere. If for no other reason than a change of scenery, it’s important to take a break from the city every now and then and enjoy time in nature where you can’t always hear the cars and see the skyscrapers.
I’ve done the TreeTop Walk in MacRitichie Reservoir before and it was fun to return with my real camera this time!
As usual, there were plenty of monkeys out and about at MacRitchie. Monkeys have an undeserved reputation for being cute and cuddly. Outside of storybooks, they’re pests and they’re hard to photograph because they move so quickly (and sometimes throw things or try to bite).
I also enjoyed seeing different colors, especially living somewhere without seasons. I love all the seasons and I miss them here. Time doesn’t pass as quickly and it’s hard to remember what you did when because activities and clothing don’t change. The landscape doesn’t change, either, but there are bits of diversity if you look hard enough.
Planning to visit? Take water (I did), remember bug spray (I did not), and bring a camera (if that’s your thing). Definitely go early in the day before it gets too hot. We were done around 11:45am and did not at all envy the people just getting started.
Take a walk. Take a break. You’ll be glad you did.
I’ve always wanted to raise a family near wherever my parents are living because I grew up far away from my grandparents. My mum’s parents live in Montreal, QC where I was born and my dad’s parents have moved from Montreal to Toronto, ON where most of my cousins live. Seeing my grandparents was always a scheduled event involving a car trip, overnight bags, passports, and green cards (which we forgot once). I was always envious of friends whose grandparents picked them up from school and friends who saw their grandparents whenever anyone wanted. Spending time with grandparents has really always been something that I’ve treasured, which was exactly the case during our week in the Adirondack Mountains in good ole upstate New York.
In order to bring all of us together, though we missed my brother who couldn’t take off work, my parents rented a cabin on the lake just outside the adorable little town of Old Forge, NY. We went into town for ice cream, Mum’s daily latte, and to visit Old Forge Hardware, which sells everything and is a delight to explore.We didn’t have cell service and wifi only worked in certain corners of the cabin, so I read a lot and was very happy to disconnect for a while.
In true holiday fashion, we quite enjoyed our view of the world from the cabin porch:
We had a pontoon boat and a kayak to play with and were out on the water every day. My dad and grandfathers went out fishing a few times and I went with them for the sake of the scenery. In six days, the three men managed to catch two fish. That, according to my dad, is why they call it fishing and not catching.
I love being out on the water.
I also love hiking! One morning, my parents and I hiked Black Bear Mountain and we decided to bring Puck along just to see how he would do. Turns out, the dog is part mountain goat and it’s a good thing, too, because the trail was fairly steep and very muddy.
The view from the summit was beautiful, too:
Later in the week, my dad and I hiked Bald Mountain, so named because it’s very rocky (as opposed to leafy, I guess). It’s a much shorter hike and therefore was also more crowded. I’ve never spent time in the Jurassic Age, but I think it looked like Bald Mountain.
We climbed this tower at the summit . . .
. . . from which my dad pointed out all of the seven lakes that make up the central region of the Adirondacks:
And of course, because that’s what you do up in the mountains when it gets cold after sundown, we made a fire every night. My trusty Syracuse University sweatshirt reeked of smoke (and so did my hair) but I had packed it just for that reason. I’m a bit of a pyromaniac when I’m allowed to be; I love watching the flames dance and hearing the crackle of the wood and the whistling of the fire. Had some good fun with my zoom lens, too:
In sum, that was the week. Time outside to hike in the mountains, boat and kayak in the lake, and run along the trails. Quiet time to read. Singing, telling stories, and laughing over the fire. Being together with family. Very relaxing and very simple. Can’t ask for more than that.
Hike the First: Urban
At around 3:40pm every weekday afternoon, one of my colleagues crosses off a day on the chart pinned above her desk. A few others join in for a song that might remind discerning listeners of a ditty involving bottles of a certain beverage. There’s one fewer bottle at the end of each verse. (Following? Good.)
For me, this countdown also means that there are fewer and fewer days to complete my exploration of New York City. I’ve been wanting to walk the Brooklyn Bridge for a while and mentioned it to a friend a couple weeks ago. The forecast promised (and delivered!) a dry weekend, so off on an adventure we went!
We took the 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge City Hall and followed the crowds. For whatever reason, I didn’t expect to be as high up as we were or to literally walk over traffic. It was very crowded, very loud, and a really neat sensory experience to be walking on concrete over the East River. There were skyscrapers behind and in front of us, and miles of river on either side.
Looking towards Brooklyn:
Looking towards Manhattan (the far more spectacular view):
Architecturally, the bridge is also just really beautiful:
Once back on the ground in Dumbo, we decided it was time to find something to eat. We ended up at Untamed Sandwiches, which was absolutely delicious. And they compost! So that was exciting, too. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is right along the water and it was a warm enough day for that, so we stopped there before walking through Brooklyn Bridge Park. It reminded me of the microcreamery where I worked over the summers during high school and college. Lines out the door, ice cream machines in the back, smells of milk and sugar, cash only. Delicious.
Brooklyn Bridge Park leads through a garden right up along the river, providing more views of Manhattan:
I’ve spent very little time in Brooklyn and I have no excuse for that since I live one stop from Brooklyn on the L. It really does feel like a completely different city and that’s enjoyable on its own. The streets have real names, the elevation of the land actually changes, the buildings are lower, and there seems to be more space in the sky. Brooklyn’s neighborhoods are as distinct from one another as Manhattan’s and I don’t know them nearly as well as I’d like to. Now that the weather is nice enough to do some real exploring, it’s time to change that.
Hike the Second: Nature
After wandering through an art show on University Place on Sunday and seeing beautiful photographs of nature, I wanted to find some. I sent a message to my urban hiking buddy and headed to Cranberry Lake Preserve in Westchester for a change of scenery.
The first thing I noticed, much like when we explored Silver Lake Preserve, was the air. It smelled fresh and earthy, clean and new. That I even noticed tells me that I’ve spent far too much time in the city.
We followed a couple different trails to see where they’d lead and I climbed some logs because it’s fun to be tall, but I’d really classify this as an easy walk rather than a hike. Hiking involves mountains and sweating and legs that are satisfyingly achy when you’re done. This was just pretty, which was perfectly fine with me.
There were a lot of fallen trees that looked as though they’d been there for decades . . .
. . . some really great trail markers . . .
. . . and, of course, water!
I love all forms of exploring and being outside. I don’t have that much time left here to do it and there’s a lot to do!
Happy trails, wherever they are!
Photos, travels, musings, and ideas on education by a twenty-something teacher trying to make the world a better and more peaceful place