Travel day: Oxford to Lyon (by three trains)
Oxford - London Marylebone by train (good connection, busy, but on time)
London underground to Kings Cross St. Pancras (yeah! Back in the city! Fast efficient fun)
Eurostar from St. Pancras to Paris gare du Nord (not too impressed. Only three hours ride but you have to be there at least 30mim before for security check etc plus the train developed a delay on his journey with only two stops. It's not as comfortable as ICE, TGV or AVE, very little space.)
Change from gare du Nord to gare de Lyon in Paris: the RER train takes 8min but you'll need 50min in total because the ticket machines are unintelligible and veeeery slow and you have to walk a whole lot on both sides.
TGV Paris Lyon (all smooth so far)
30 September 2017
Long weekend at a friend's place with excessively good cooking! And drinks and concerts, party, dancing, chatting, relaxing, and mostly simply feeling like home.
PS: If anybody guesses all the dishes on the pics right she or he will get a suprise present (of my choice haha) (((-:
29 September 2017
UK, Wales, Cardiff
Short stopover in Wales' capital.
Very pretty city though I realize that my cell phone catches the scenery and details not nearly half as good as my actual camera.
Was a try out of laziness. Promise to be back to camera mode for the future...
Pic 1: "snowdogs". All over the city in different disguises. As bad as the Berlin bear figures that got popular some ten years ago (or more?) in Berlin
Pic 2: one of the numerous lovely galleries/arcades
Pic 5: Welsh pride, massive flagging
Pic 7: church next to pub (or the other way round rather ;P)
Pic 8: Cardiff arena in the background
UK, Wales, Aberystwyth
Back after 25 years...
The Pier is still there (we weren't actually allowed to go in there back then), found the secret places in the castle back, very pleasant sea resort actually!
28 September 2017
UK, Wales - Mount Snowdon
Hiking up the Snowdon Ranger Path (bus S4 from Caernafon) to the top.
Down on the other side to Llanberis and back by bus (88) to Caernafon.
The top was very cloudy and stormy. Should have brought my gloves...
27 September 2017
UK, Northern Wales - Caernafon Castle
Great fun to climb the seven towers of the castle up and down and get lost in a numerous stairs and corridors.
- That Edward I was a clever man using the Welsh myths and legends to make them believe he was a good ruler for them. And besides built castle after castle in Northern Wales after having defeated the Welsh (or Welch as it apparently should be written)
- Edward I was married to the Spanish princess Eleonora at the age of 14 (she was 12 then) for political reasons. They had 16 children (first one when she was 14) out of which 6 survived and only one boy who happened to be born in Caernafon Castle!!
- the Welsh fusilier had a goat as a member of batallon (not as a mascot)
26 September 2017
UK, Manchester - Museum of Science and Industry
Pic 2: Kamikaze bomber
Pic 5: weaving pattern, inspiring the construction of the first computers
Pic 6: Replica of "Baby". The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), nicknamed Baby, was the world's first stored-program computer.
UK, Manchester - Imperial War Museum North
Building by Libeskind (clearly)
Exhibition with classic displays added by impressive video show (see pics 5-9) with sound, narratives also displayed as letters on several screens as well as as sign language.
UK, Manchester - Salford Quays/ Harbour City
pic 6: ManU Stadion
25 September 2017
UK, Manchester - street art
UK, Manchester - Town Hall & Rylands Library
(5 pics each)
UK, Manchester - City Center
Pic 1: Selfie with Alan Turing who created the basis of modern computing. And was gay (crime back then) and poisoned himself. Was found dead with an apple in his hand though the apple was never checked for poison.
Pic 3: Canal street & gay village
Pics 4-6: China Town
Pic 9: Football Museum
Pic 10: Printworks amusement mall
22 September 2017
Long weekend with strolls through Jesmond Dene (park), friend's birthday party, boat cruise, cake sessions, and other recovering activities.
21 September 2017
UK: Holyhead to Newcastle
Two trains, millions of stops but very scenic, right along the coast, past cute little towns and pleasant views of the landscape, and finally the most marvellous sunset
Ferry Dublin (Eire) to Holyhead (UK)
Pics from Dublin port outward.
2 hours ferry for about 45€. Not cheap but possible to buy as sail and rail to some UK stations. Got mine for a total of 50€ up to Liverpool. Ticket for Liverpool to Newcastle separate again. Bit by bit (-;
19 September 2017
Pic 4: Molly Malone
Pic 6+7: typical facades
Pic 8: Gin tasting
Pic 9: Famine memorial (1845-1852). In that period the population in Ireland went down from 8.5M to 6.5M people. Half of them died, half of them went to the US for 3.5£ travel fee (which was a 6 months wage at that time)
Pic 10: replica of Jeanie Johnston, one of the ship's which brought the about 1 million refugees from the famine over to the US.
18 September 2017
Eire, Inishmore, Aran Islands - Dún Aonghasa ring fort (and dinner afterwards in Galway)
Eire, Inishmore, Aran Islands - bike ride to Worm Hole aka Serpents Lair
Eire - Connemara magic
17 September 2017
Eire, Derrigimlagh, Connemara area
The looped bog board walk...
5km loop walk along a big where two major technological achievements took place: the first non-stop transatlantic flight landed here and the first commercial transatlantic wireless transmission was established from here. Reminiscences, art, and information to be found on the walk. Very enjoyable landscape also! One of Europe's remaining biggest intact bogs.
Eire, Connemara National Park
16 September 2017
Eire, Doolin Cave
Crazy story about two lads in the early 1950s in their 20s who had nothing better to do than crawling on their bellies for several hundred metres through the limestone of Doolin and to find the giant stalactite squid (biggest in Europe, third biggest in the world (difference 10cm)) of more than 300,000 years of age.
Plus you find some interesting and millions of years old fossils (worms, corals etc)
Eire, Cliffs of Mother (on a rainy day, quite impressive all the same)
Rather unusually rough Irish city.
The food pic was a delicious salmon with salad on the road to Limerick #Neville'sCrossRoad
15 September 2017
Eire, Dingle Peninsula III
Connor Pass (plus cows and rainbow somewhere else on the road)
Eire, Dingle Peninsula II
Dunmore Head, most western point of the Irish mainland
Pic 10: rough Skellig islands in the distance...
Eire, Dingle Peninsula I
Inch beach, Dingle village, lovely café Na Trá with view over Coumeenoole Bay (that is to pics 9+10)
PS: Pic 9 in full sun shine and the café latte outside on the terrace. Pic 10 almost same picture but in the three minutes rain shower.
14 September 2017
Eire, Killarney National Park
Eire, Ring of Kerry
13 September 2017
Eire, Wild Atlantic Way
From Cork along the coast over Kinsale, Clonakilty, Owenahincha beach, Bantry, Glengarriff to Kenmare.
Pretty cool landscape, pretty cool driver, much luck with the weather! Only half a rain cloud on the whole way
One of the many but this particularly pitoresque seaside village in Cork county.
Please not ze boyzzzz!
11 September 2017
Eire, Dublin - city
I learned that the Irish flag means: green for Catholics, orange for Protestants and white in between for peace.
Eire, Dublin - Jameson Bow St.
10 September 2017
Eire, Dublin - Guinness!
9 September 2017
Northern Ireland, Belfast - city
Pic 1: City Hall
Pic 2: Belfast's "Pisa tower" (-;
Pic 3: St. Anne's/Belfast Church with "spire of hope" in place of the tower. In fact, same spire as in Dublin city centre
Pic 7: oldest pub of Belfast
Pic 10: Lovely St. George Market
Northern Ireland - Saturday in Belfast
Northern Ireland, Belfast - street art II
Northern Ireland, Belfast - street art I
Northern Ireland, Belfast - Black Cab Tour
I learned that the conflict is still very present.
Before the peace treaty there were 11 walls in the city and now there are 48. The gates of the wall are only open during the day from 7am to 6pm.
Both protestants and Catholics would still celebrate memorial days for their martyrs etc.
Obviously, in the city center it is all mixed but in the distinct neighbourhoods you'd not find a mix of people. Nowadays the population is almost half half Catholics and Protestants with Catholics producing more children so trend is clear.
8 September 2017
Northern Ireland, Giant's Causeway
Absolutely stunning. No more to say.
Northern Ireland - Tour to Giant's Causeway
Pic 1: castle
Pic 2: secret school. Caves where they taught the children in secret because they weren't allowed as it was feared the peasants would gain power when educated.
Pic 4: Rope Bridge (closed due to winds). Bridge that was established by fishers for easier access to the small islands
Pics 7+8: Giant's Causeway
Pics 9+10: Dark hedges, very old widow trees
6 September 2017
Scotland, Glasgow - city stroll
Pic 1: Science Center (unfortunately already closed)
Pic 2: one of the numerous bridges of the city
Pics 5-8: Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), very cool
Scotland, Glasgow - Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
Scotland, Glasgow - street art
5 September 2017
Scotland, Glasgow - People's Palace
People's Palace is a wonderful museum and winter garden, free entrance.
The terracotta fountain in front of it apparently is the last and biggest one in Europe.
Scotland, Glasgow - The Barras
Design and Art center. Unfortunately it was closed. But looks nice and hipsterish (-;
Scotland, Glasgow city
31 August 2017
Scotland, Edinburgh - Queen mom memorial
Queen mom memorial in the royal botanical gardens (pic 1-5) and stroll along the river (pic 6-10)
Scotland, Edinburgh - Botanical Garden
What a wonderful day: the botanical garden is really beautiful and peaceful. I met an old gentleman who was calling squirrels with a "cloc" sound and fed them with peanuts. He gave me one so I could feed one. Warms your heart to feel the tiny paws on your fingers and watch them nibble away the nuts.
Also I found a novel in an open bookshelf right inside the gardens. Just in time as I had finished my latest book a day ago.
And finally somebody had deposited a day ticket for the bus from today at one of the explanatory plates for the plants.
So quite a harvesting in the gardens (-;
I made a donation. Entrance is free.
I had a lovely stroll along the river afterwards.
And I saw a rainbow on the way back in the bus.
Who could ask for more.
30 August 2017
Scotland, Edinburgh - Portobello beach II
(Shot with camera, not cell phone)
29 August 2017
Scotland, Edinburgh/Portobello beach I
(Shot with cell phone)
Scotland, Edinburgh - Arthur's Seat
Just outside Edinburgh you have these remarkable cliffs you can climb up.
On top you get views over Edinburgh and the sea.
Even on a cloudy windy day like today it was quite busy with people.
28 August 2017
Fringe Festival grand finale: last day's fireworks
(pics taken from North Bridge)
Scotland, Edinburgh - Fringe Festival
Got into town for the last two days of the festival and saw:
Topical Storm - comedy - so so
Medea on media - Korean contemporary version of Medea - most hilarious!!!
Wild bore - US/UK/AUS coproduction by three female performers on absurdities of theater critiques - just brilliant
Good in maps - Australian piece on a woman traveling the amazon and selfreflections about life - reflects back in yourself
And lots of street performers...
All in all good experience though I got a bit stressed with the myriads of people crawling through the streets.
Scotland, Edinburgh city
Facts I learned about Edinburgh:
- 1820 wealthiest city in the world
- today hosts biggest incubator in Europe
- Unicorn was chosen as Scottish national animal to beat the English lion
Pic 1: former irregular step in city house to catch thieves because they would miss the unusual step
Pics 2+3: Harry Potter alarm!!
26 August 2017
My relaxing day.
Reading through a whole novel reiterating my lazing spot between kitchen, bed, terrace (for the few sunny moments today), and couch with view to the mountains.
Couldn't be more relaxing.
25 August 2017
Scotland, Cairngorm Mountain
Today I took the bus up to the Cairngorm base station, hiked up to the top and back down again. I had thought of taking the little train (pic 9) down but it's 10£ which I found a little exaggerated for a three minutes ride.
Close to the base station there is a kind of educational path and garden with explanations about the area, flora, fauna, geology etc. Very nicely done. AND a camera obscura (-: (pic 10)
24 August 2017
Scotland, Glenmore forest / Cairngorm mountains
Base at Glenmore hostel. Every time you think you've seen it all and the last one can't possibly be topped you are met with new wonderful things.
Cairngorm mountains have beautiful heather ISH slopes, old pine forest, turquoise lakes, millions of different mushrooms and a sweet scent in the air.
Paths are two meters wide (mostly) which after having hiked in Norway and Sweden where any trail was a struggle to find the actual trail seems like walking on a highway.
Pics to be uploaded later. WiFi connection is not the strongest here....
Cloudfaces over Cairngorm mountains in Scotland
23 August 2017
Loch Ness with Urquhart castle & Inverness with Inverness castle.
Do you see Nessie?
22 August 2017
Scotland, west coast
This deserved an extra moment. Bagpipe player playing for a couple who is getting married. The tradition wants that he accompanies them over the bridge to the castle with his tunes.
Scotland, Isle of Skye
It was hard to select 10 pics for this moment.
The island is so impressive. Huge greenish purple dark bright brisk smooth rocks and hills all over. Fairy grounds, water falls, narrow winded roads, old dwellings, castles, ports, sheep, dinosaur imprints, historic graves and lots and lots of tales. Go see for yourself!
I went with Skye Tours on a day trip for 65£. Pick up at your hostel on Skye. Dropoff in Inverness. Stopover for lunch at a small place with cheap and good food. Definitely worth the money! And besides spares you the hassle of driving yourself.
21 August 2017
Scotland, west coast, Oban - boat cruise
Visiting the seal colony just off the coast of Oban. Who would not fall in love with these little (big) fellas.
Also: salmon farms
20 August 2017
Scotland, west coast, Oban - sunset
Scotland, west coast, Oban
Scotland, west coast, Oban
Viewing point Mc Craig's Tower & some garden inspirations (-;
19 August 2017
Scotland, Oban, B&B with sea view
Lovely little city at the sea. And most lovely B&B Thornloe Guesthouse (pic 10) with spacious and quiet rooms and a marvelous view to the sea (pics 1, 2, and 7) <3
PS: Skye Gold holds its promise
Finally I get to use the adapter plug!
Scotland, Annan, Annandale Distillery
The distillery was closed down for about 90 year until a private local investor began to restore it in 2007. Now they are producing single malt again but the first tasting will only be available on a few year.
In the meanwhile they produce and sell the freshly distilled alcohol which tastes more of vodka but they also have a peated version of it, very bizarre. It's like whiskey without whiskey.
Now trying to make my way over to the Scottish west coast. Unbelievably I'm faster with the 14:13 train which goes BACK to Carlisle and then on to Glasgow than with a direct train from here to Glasgow. Luckily I'm not thaaat much in a rush...
17 August 2017
UK, Lake District - hike
Bus from Keswick to Rosthwaite (20min), 1.5hs climb up to the crest, passing an old slate mine (exhausted me in pic 4), no shelter, sun burning down like crazy though I thought it was only 15 degrees.
Once up there extremely strong wind, luckily from the back but still I was happy to have my wind proof jacket.
Also very happy about my newly bought walking sticks!!!
Lovely scenery with hay and heather, sheep, lots of small birds. First half no people at all, second half trail buzzing with families.
5 Hours in total, ending at Nichol End and taking the ferry boat back to Keswick from there.
UK, Lake District, between Keswick and Rosthwaite - animals
Spot the mistake!!
16 August 2017
UK, Lake District, Keswick
Lake in the mist (no people, no ducks) versus lake in the sun (the ferry boat had to come back to fetch another 20 people who didn't fit in in two rounds... extremely busy day)
And some pics are taken from the bus which (ironically for rainy UK) is half open air in the upper deck ("beware of overhanging trees" as the sign reads. Today rather a problem as the branches worked like a shower, still full of water from the past days)
Second stopover on the way from Newcastle to Keswick (pronounce: Kessick)
Stopover due to change of trains. Took the chance to have a look around.
Quite pretty! Impressive Cathedral and castle and lovely cafes and pubs.
The bookcase shop has a café with garden (-:
Riding into Newcastle upon Tyne / Tynemouth
15 August 2017
Ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle
Definitely cabin with view to the sea!
Beer tasting unfortunately was not a massive group event but just four glasses of a local brewery of North Moor poured for me, quite delicious though.
Funniest thing: taking a shower on a boat. Being a sailor I learned to save every drop of fresh water on board so taking a hot shower somehow feels wrong even if I know these huge ferries are more like a big hotel or tiny village than a boat....
Short stopover in rainy Amsterdam after a week in Germany. Now heading towards UK - night ferry here I come!
PS: Trying out the camera of the new cell phone