Sunday, May 30, 2010

Travels Closer to Home

Sometimes you don't have to travel far from home to have a trip worth remembering. The photos in this post were taken yesterday as part of my visit to Madison, Wisconsin, a city where I used to live and one that is two hours from my present home. Unlike my usual fare, these images focus on nature in a park setting. The early evening in the park was perfect-people escaping the heat of the city in the shade of the park and enjoying a dramatic sunset. I'd like to share both river and sunset views with you,they reflect the peacefulness and quietness of the time and place.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoyed this side-trip in urban natural beauty. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable, be they near or far.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

London Meanderings

I enjoy wandering around London. The parts that I am familiar with are friendly, interesting and diverse. The photos on this post reflect part of a day's wandering through some parts known to me and others which I hadn't explored before.

We were at a hotel near Heathrow airport and decided to take the Tube into London and spend a few hours revisiting some of the places we had seen before and try a few new places as well. It was the Saturday before Easter, a weekend with a Bank Holiday-parts of London were absolutely packed with people wandering around exploring like we were. Holiday crowds can either be overwhelming or a lot of fun. As the day was sunny (for a change, after a couple wet weeks)people were in good moods and the crowds were not a problem at all. It was one of those times where you were surrounded by tourists and it didn't matter (a rare occasion), so just take those photos and enjoy the scene as you do it.

Trafalgar Square was crowded and people were enjoying themselves. I couldn't resist taking a shot of the guy with his head near the lion's mouth. Wandering towards the Eye, we had times of few people, at least until we came to the bridge near Big Ben and felt like we were sardines in a can. Still, it was a festive time and people weren't acting impatient. After walking back to Trafalgar Square, we veered to the ares of Chinatown and the theater district, both are relatively close to one another. Eventually we found our way back to the Tube station and headed towards Heathrow and our hotel. It was a very enjoyable day...London can be a great city to spend time in.

Thank you for visiting, please come again. I hope that you liked your virtual visit to London. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Britain-Stone Images of War and Peace

Aspects of war and peace are not something I go looking for when I travel. I would rather spend time exploring the various cultures and the land that has shaped them. In all honesty, there are times that you can not avoid topics that make you feel uncomfortable. As I traveled through Wales, Scotland, and England I came across reminders of war-related events that helped shape British culture. It is a set of select images related to this that I have chosen to include here. Because of their nature, the stone images are presented in black, white, and gray. My intent is not to make a political statement regarding war, British military use, the British people, or those who attacked Britain at various times in history. Rather, I am acknowledging the fact that these events were realities that, in part, shaped the present lands that I visited.

The photos that you see represent a variety of eras. The sentinel king looking from Stirling Castle. A London remembrance of the women of World War II. The statue of a lone Gurkha soldier who served the British faithfully and then had to fight for recognition to become a British citizen. The kilted Scots soldier ready to defend his country. The dove of peace in a Welsh cathedral that was bombed by accident during World War II (the intended target were the docks of Cardiff).

I hope that you had a good visit and will come again. Please feel free to leave a comment behind; comment are always appreciated. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Glimpses of Welsh Countryside

The way that we travel has a strong impact on what we see and experience. The trip to Wales was different than others I have taken. On one hand, because I was part of a university tour group traveling by bus on a set schedule, I had less control of the "where" and the "when" of it all. On the other hand, I had a chance to see parts of Wales away from the cities and off the beaten path of major train lines and highways. Many of the photos in this blog were taken through a bus window, something I had not really tried before. I learned two basic lessons. One was that traveling speed was a key factor. You never knew what you would come upon, so you had to be constantly ready. The other part of that factor was how quickly you passed something that caught your eye. Fortunately, many Welsh roads were winding and very narrow and bus speed was slower than you might expect. The other lesson that I learned is that bus window shots were next to useless when windows became rain-covered. Hint-there is a lot of rainfall in the British Spring. :-} In spite of these learning experiences, I had an excellent trip and actually came away with some good images of the Welsh countryside.

Thank you for visiting, I hope that you enjoyed your stay and will come back again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking a Gamble on Bath Revisited

Revisiting a place is always a gamble. If you went once and had good memories of the place, you might replace them with memories with which you are less fond. On the other hand, if you had a bad experience there, another one would confirm your first impression and make you mentally kick yourself for foolishly wasting one of your limited number of travel days. Of course if your are a traveling optimist, there's always the chance that you can come away from the experience with better memories.

If you read my earlier post on our rainy walking tour of Bath in a mental state of more than a day without sleep as we traveled from Chicago to Wales, you might question our decision to spend our last day in Britain traveling to and from Bath to spend a few hours there. Remember though, in spite our our state of mind and the weather, there had been some good impressions of the city. Also, it was Lori's birthday and it was what she really wanted to do. So, being the perennial optimists, we became Bathward bound once more.

I have to admit, the trip there was a bit of a hassle. It was a Bank Holiday, so we couldn't get seats on the pre-booked 8AM bus from near Heathrow. With the help of a National Express employee, we were able to catch the 10AM bus from the central terminal, a cross-cultural experience itself. In fact the whole concept of pre-booked bus coach seats was a learning experience. It was, however a good way to travel.

Our day in Bath was excellent. The streets were crowded because of the Bank Holiday, but it created a festive air. It was sunny! (Much of our three weeks in Britain was spent in drizzle, fog, or rain.) We revisited some of the places we had seen the first time, only this time we were rested and had full mental facilities. There were also new places visited, one of them being the Jane Austen Museum. The day was a gamble that paid off. BTW-I tried to have the photos in this post complement those from my earlier Bath post, I hope I was successful.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed your time here and will come again. In any case, may your own travels be both interesting and enjoyable.