Category Archives: Travel

Craggy Gardens, Spring and Fall

During the last week of October, I once again took a trip out to the Blue Ridge Mountains, to see the fall foliage. Below are two photos taken at the same location, Craggy Gardens, elevation above 5000 feet, on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. I love the bright pink rhododendrons and the green foliage in the spring. But I also love the red berries in the fall.

What do you think? Do you prefer the spring or fall (or maybe you like summer or winter) best? Where is your favorite place to see the seasons change?

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Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway, October 2016

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Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway, June 2016

Edinbrugh Castle

I’ve been meaning to post the rest of my photos from Scotland, but I’ve been having trouble accessing my website admin. After way to long on the phone, it turned out to be an easy fix, I started using Chrome as a web browser, instead of Safari.

I got to visit a castle, a real one! I’d never been in a castle before. It was really interesting to walk around, no hidden torture chambers though (or they are still hidden, at least from the public). It is actually still an active military base though.

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The castle sits on top of a hill that towers over the city.img_3743

I loved all the thistles decorating the castle, like this one carved into the stonework.img_3757

I was surprised that the castle was mainly a military installation. I guess I expected more of a luxurious home for royalty. And while there were some very grand parts of the castle, such as a massive dining hall, for the most part it was clearly built for strategic purposes.img_3768

From the castle, the view of the city, and the Firth of Forth was amazing.

Hiking in Edinburgh, Arthurs Seat

I’ve been to several cities that have nice parks to walk in, but never actually hiking, like Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. We had fine scottish weather for our hike, meaning it was foggy and drizzly, but not raining hard enough to ruin the day. And the rocks looked pretty in the fog anyways. Also, since the fog obscured our view, we didn’t feel any guilt about not getting to the top. I think we did enough walking up and down hills just around the city anyways.

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Thistle! Because you can’t go to Scotland and not take a picture of thistle.

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It was a really pretty park, and we got to see some of the natural environment without leaving the city. And when were were done, the pub was pretty close.

Liverpool and Glasgow

In between Yorkshire and Edinburgh, I had some time in Liverpool and Glasgow, while Jon had business meetings. I can’t say I would have chosen to go to Liverpool, but I did enjoy my afternoon there. The area around the river has been refurbished and is an interesting place to walk, and the warehouses surrounding the docks have been updated to include many restaurants, bars, shops, and museums.

I really liked Glasgow, although it was definitely more industrial than Edinburgh. Like Liverpool, I only had a short time here. From our hotel I took a walk through Kelvingrove park to see the Charles Rennie Mackintosh house, which is part of the Huntarian Museum at Glasgow University. Obviously, I wasn’t allowed to take photos in there, but it was amazing to see such an  immersive experience of the artists’ vision. And these was also some artwork created by his wife, that I was previously unaware of, that I really loved.

Top Row:
A beautiful, brightly colored chandelier, by Cerith Wyn Evans,  in the Tate Modern, Liverpool
Along the Mersey River, Liverpool.

Ferry, painted by Sir Peter Blake, also part to the Tate Modern. Although I was short on time, I was able to enjoy a few hours at the Tate Modern in Liverpool. Also, I love it when art is free to the public. I am quite sure the love of art I and all my cousins share comes from visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with our grandparents. But the price of some museum admissions is pretty high these days, and I think its great when I see art being made accessible to everyone (the Huntarian was also free). And of couse watching the fun colorful boat float across the river made me smile.

A rainbow along the highway as we were driving North to Scotland.

Bottom Row:

Kelvingrove Park

The River Clyde

Squiggly Bridge, part of the river walk along the River Clyde

Yorkshire Moors

The Yorkshire Moors were beautiful! There were sheep everywhere, even some little black ones with four horns, instead of two. My friend calls them demonic sheep, but I thought they were adorable! They wouldn’t let me pat them though.

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Seriously, how cute are all these sheep?

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Purple heather in bloom. The wide open spaces and rolling hills were so pretty. It was windy though. I definitely want to come back here when I have time to do some hiking.

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York

This is pretty amazing for me, but I actually managed to get all of my vacation photos edited in less than a week, usually I’m way behind on my photo editing. I guess I just had such a great trip I was excited to see how all my pictures came out.

First, I landed in Yorkshire, in the North, to visit with some friends of ours. Even after almost a full day of travel, just the view of this pretty patchwork of farmland was definitely worth it. We spent the weekend in York, “the walled city.” I’d like to tell you all that I was immersing myself in the history and amazing architecture. But, truthfully, we went on a pub crawl. Speaking of which, I have never in my life seen so many people, so drunk, so early in the day. And I don’t mean a little buzzed, I mean completely shitfaced, at three in the afternoon. It was hilarious, and a great, fun atmosphere. I just love all these little narrow, winding streets which are now an outdoor mall. Of course we did walk past the Minster, which is beautiful, on our way from the oldest pub in the city, to have another drink at the birthplace of Guy Fawkes (see got some more history in). And then I was very excited to go out for some good Indian food, because we definitely don’t get much of that in Eastern North Carolina.

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Jon and I woke up hours before our friends the next morning, miraculously not hung over, and took a walk around the city. We started along the River Ouse, walking through a pretty park and walking trail along the river bank, as we watched boats going by.
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Next, we came to Cliffords Tower, a thirteenth century castle sitting atop a mound which would have given views of the nearby rivers.

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Finally, we made our way back to York Minster, built in the fourteenth century. This is probably one of the most amazing churches I’ve seen, even compared to the churches in Italy. Not only is it huge, but the gothic decoration is incredibly detailed and dramatic. Even today, it dwarfs any nearby buildings.

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