The Chinese Garden of Serenity is a tranquil haven in which you can contemplate life, the universe and everything as you walk past bubbling fountains and ornate buildings.
Every account of this place features the word ‘tranquil’ somewhere, so I figured I should go with the crowd in my intro. And generally speaking I would agree with this description, although the presence of a large and boisterous primary school group while we were there detracted somewhat from the spiritual aspects of the garden.
It’s a nice place to stroll around though, and you can’t argue with the entry price (Free) although it’s not the easiest place to get to by public transport*.
The center-piece of the gardens is a lake surrounded by artfully placed boulders. There are Chinese styled buildings suitable for taking tea (if they were open) and statues featuring Chinese characters at work are dotted throughout. I wanted to call those buildings ‘pagodas’, that word stuck in my head. But when I looked up ‘pagoda’ in wikipedia, it seems that it’s probably too grand a word to describe the structures here in the Chinese garden. If you look up ‘Chinese Garden of Serenity’ in wikipedia you get all sorts of guff about yin and yang and ‘childhood is represented by the space between the fountain and the garden door’. You can’t always trust wikipedia.
But I don’t want to take anything away from the place or the people who composed the gardens. They are nicely arranged, and it’s split into smaller spaces so you move from one area to another and get a different vibe from each.
Unfortunately, not everything is serene in these Chinese gardens. Sadly I need to draw your attention to what can only be described as outright discrimination regarding entry policy to what is supposedly a public place.
And this is not a secretive policy, this is official policy and endorsed in black and white right on the entrance to the gardens, as you can see below:
So I have just one question for whoever is in charge of operating these gardens: What‘s your beef with the turtles?
This is the 21st century, and if we as a society have not outgrown a policy of discrimination based upon the wearing of a bony carapace, then I fear for how we will be regarded by future generations.
I hope that you will stand with our half-shelled reptilian distant half-sort-of-cousins and say: ‘No More’.
I say: “Yes, Turtles. Please.”
*Note: it is incredibly awkward to get here by public transport. Especially if you are like us and miss the stop at Paola, necessitating a trip to the airport and another bus back from there. See below for more…
BUS INFO: X7 from Valletta or 226 from Mater Dei: get off at the Xintill stop in Paola and walk for 5 mins (X7) or stay on the 226 and get off in Santa Lucija. Or else you can take the 204, 206 and 210 which also go quite near, again you need to get off in Paola.