The grounds were nearly empty, and we strolled along one of the paths in silence for a few minutes, clinging to the shadows of the trees to one side, avoiding the monotonous, leaden heat of the sun, the only sounds those of our feet crunching the gravel and the raucous cries of crows in the trees. Today, the garden is surrounded almost entirely by modern high-rises and has something of a fishbowl feel, but back then it was an unsullied oasis of green knolls and clusters of trees dense as broccoli stalks and ponds graced by gently sloping wooden bridges, with no hint of the metropolis around it beyond the occasional distant rumble of a train.