Sunday, 25 September 2011

Story behind the photo - Peterborough

Peterborough is not somewhere that would be on most tourists' 'must-visit' lists when they come to the UK. And, if I'm honest, it wasn't  really on mine either. Since I moved over here however, I've been trying to explore as much of the country as I can - both the well known and not so well known places.

This photo is a closeup of part of the exterior of Peterborough Cathedral. One of Henry VIII's wives (Katharine of Aragon) is buried here. As with all the cathedrals that I've visited, I was fascinated by the architecture - both on a grand scale, and on a more detailed level, such as what is in this photo.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Story behind the photo - London Zoo

Another photo for which there's not too much to say - this is a photo of some of the penguins at London Zoo. Nothing particularly special. Maybe I've been spoilt by having visited Taronga Zoo, but I wasn't overly impressed by London Zoo. I can't put my finger on it, but I just felt like there was something missing. Despite that, it was still a good place to spend the day exploring...and taking lots of photos!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Story behind the photo - London at Night.....and a thought on today

Nothing special to say really about this photo - its the London Eye, at night, taken from Westminster Bridge. That's it.

To speak of current events for a moment, today I remember. It seems like only yesterday, and is hard to believe that ten years has passed. May we always remember.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A really good idea

One of the hardest things when travelling, for me, is finding somewhere to refill my water bottle (or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places). When I was in Basel earlier this year, I loved the fountains around the city where you can refill your water bottle for free - and I definitely made use of them.

While at the Thames Festival today, I came across a stall for GiveMeTap. The basic idea behind it is this: you buy a reuseable bottle, then you can refill it for free at various places that have agreed to become 'water providers.' Most of the profits (70%) from sales of bottles and other items goes towards funding projects to provide water where it is more needed.

I don't know about anyone else, but I think its a great idea, and I hope it does well. For more information about GiveMeTap, you can visit their website here

Monday, 5 September 2011

Achieved - ride the Jacobite Steam Train

Its a few weeks ago now, but I recently achieved a couple more things from my travel wish list during my week in Scotland. Today I thought I would talk about riding the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig.

I've been to Scotland a few times now, and the scenery still takes my breath away. There's no denying that it's a beautiful part of the world. Having said all that, I think the Highlands are particularly beautiful. And, for me, there's no better way to appreciate it than taking a train ride - the normal ScotRail service passes through some amazing scenery.

You can take the normal ScotRail service from Glasgow all the way to Mallaig all year round. During the summer months (from May to October), West Coast Railways runs a steam train along the same route. The trip takes roughly 2 hours in each direction, and you get approximately 1.5 hours in Mallaig for lunch. West Coast Railways provided the steam trains that were used in the Harry Potter films, and the train passes over the Glenfinnan viaduct - a stunning piece of engineering (in my opinion), and a very recognisable landmark from the movies.

Some photos from the day:

The Jacobite at Fort William train station

one of the lochs we passed on the way to Mallaig

crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct

more beautiful scenery on the way to Mallaig


crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct on the way back to Fort Willam

view from the Glenfinnan viaduct
The weather was pretty rubbish the day I took the train (wet, cold and rainy), but the views were still amazing. For anybody thinking of taking this trip, a few hints:

  • Book early. The train is often full. You might be able to get a ticket on the day before the train leaves, but no guarantees.
  • Try and get a window seat if you can. The views are stunning regardless, but the window seat would have made it a bit easier to take photos.
  • The best viewpoint/vantage point for photos when the train is crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct is on the left side (direction of travel) of the train going to Mallaig, and on the right side of the train coming back to Fort William. If you aren't sitting on that side, get up early to get a spot by one of the doors to take photos.
  • If you are travelling to Fort William by train, you'll have to (generally) arrive the night before you want to ride the Jacobite. There's a variety of things to do in and around Fort Willam, a couple I would recommend: visit the West Highland Museum in the main square and, if you are there on a Tuesday or Thursday night, go and listen to the local high school pipe band in the main square - they're really good.
For more information about the Jacobite steam train, visit this website

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Story behind the photo - Bath

Bath. A city probably best known for a couple of things: the Roman Baths, and the Georgian architecture throughout much of the town (and definitely worth a visit, in my opinion). So why, then, have I picked a picture of leaves to be today's photo? Because that's what came up when I used this site to pick which photo I was going to feature.

I'd gone to Bath as a day trip with London Walks, a company who I talked about a bit in my last post . We were taken around some of the Georgian streets Bath in the morning and afternoon, and visited the Roman Baths in the afternoon. It was autumn when I visited, with the leaves changing colour and falling from trees. I spotted these fallen leaves as we were walking around, and took the photo. What can I say? The leaves on trees back home don't change colour and fall from the trees in autumn....and they were pretty.