Archive for the ‘Photo ops’ Category

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

October 17, 2016

These natural wonders are just my cup of tea, or hexagon of stone. Once you are in the parking lot at the Visitor Centre, you can either walk or take the bus down to the water’s edge. As you can see from the pictures, these aren’t just stepping stones but huge pillars of basalt! There are folks in red jackets to help should you need information or just a suggestion of the best way to get down once you climb up a ways further than you intended! If you are ever in this area, it is a sight not to be missed! As is the way, there are legends about these seemingly mystical stones. That’s part of the fun, hearing about two giants giving each other a hard time. We enjoyed the day, the wonders of God and fun stories told by the guides! You can even buy cute earrings in the gift shop! Not that I would do that of course!


Ballygally Castle Hotel, Ballygally, Northern Ireland

October 17, 2016

This hotel provided one of the most beautiful settings of the hotels we stayed in on our CIE tour in the British Isles. The rooms were very nice, the castle itself was fascinating. The gardens were absolutely incredible! Located on the north of Belfast along the coastline, this hotel would make a great place for a wedding. In fact, there was a wedding going on in the hotel the night we were there! Friendly staff and a wonderful breakfast–including some oatmeal with honey and Bushmills whiskey! It’s good to try new foods–or old foods presented in a new way!

Alnwick Castle, County of Northumberland, England

September 14, 2016

Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England and seat of the Duke of Northumberland. It was also used in the first two Harry Potter movies for Hogwarts Castle. The powers that be make use of that notoriety, and you can’t blame them. It looks mystical from a distance, but it is huge and the upkeep expense must be immense. The day we were there, it appeared that there was an event that included learning to the proper way to ride a broom! The State Rooms are amazing but, of course, photos were not allowed. I just had to take a photo of a child on one of the toy tractors provided for visiting children! It would be a great place to spend an afternoon with your family, even if the young ones probably wouldn’t be interested in a lavish ballroom or where the Duke ate his dinner.

The water cascade leading up to the gardens was impressive and the gardens beautifully kept. I highly recommend it if you are in the area!

York, England–Beautiful and Historically Significant!

September 14, 2016

Our time in the city of York was short, but it did whet my appetite to return. I love old cities that work to retain their history and heritage while still moving into the future with energy! Obviously from the photos, you can see that the Cathedral in York, known as York Minster, was a focus for us. It opened in 637 AD. That just boggles my mind! Put simply, the building is beautiful Gothic architecture. It is massive. My church would fit into one small corner. Yet when you see the hymnal open to music you recognize, there is a connection that is undeniable.

We walked the narrow cobblestone streets that were built for wooden wheeled vehicles. The Shambles Market street, though changed from times past, is still a market. Roman ruins are in evidence. I had to include the picture of a window with the picture of the Queen waving. It shows someone’s sense of humor and understanding that this will bring a smile to the tourists at least, if not most people!

Bladon, England, Resting place of Winston Churchill

September 6, 2016

Of the places we visited in England, this will remain a favorite of mine. There isn’t much going on here in Bladon, located about 6 ½ miles northwest of Oxford, England. The road to this village of less than 900 people is quite narrow. I was glad we didn’t meet any other buses on the way there! Our goal was to visit the graveyard where Winston Churchill is buried, along with his wife, Clementine and others from his family. The church is St. Martin’s. It felt good to know that someone like Winston Churchill, a great man to be sure, wanted to be buried here with his family rather than in some huge cathedral in London. I loved the fact that individuals had crafted their own “kneelers” for the pew they used for services. No souvenir shop, no postcards for sale. I’m glad we stopped.

Then we went to have coffee at the White House. What a nice little place to have coffee, tea or lunch while in Bladon!

Tower of London

September 6, 2016

We have seen the Tower of London, but it’s been many years (I’m not saying how many years because I can’t remember!) This visit was made memorable mainly due to the Warden, Robbie Loughlin, who was our guide for the grounds outside the Tower. He was brash. He was LOUD! He told tales of bloody beheading. He was funny! He lives within the walls. The medals he wore were not just a costume, but told the story of his life defending his country. He gave a great tour! We also went in to see the Crown Jewels.

Visiting the Redwoods in California

April 4, 2014

Have you ever stood at the base of a 600 year old redwood tree and just looked up and up and up?  It is overwhelming!  It has been decades since I have spent time in the California redwoods, and probably never as much time as I did last week at the Redwoods National Park and Avenue of the Giants (2 miles south of Weott, California).

I loved the tree that had been laid on its side so you could clearly see the rings showing its age!  It is just difficult to actually get your mind around that number a years as the lifetime of a living thing.  It’s no wonder so many of the trees have partially burned out trunks.  Fires must have swept through the forest more than once during their long lifetime, but were not able to kill these giant trees.

Normally people are not allowed to touch things that old, but do you know the bark isn’t all hard, but in places soft and spongy?  When I think back on it, I can still feel the “fur” of those great trees under my fingers.  Lots of trails are just off the road and are easily walked by nearly everyone. There was even one (the Revelation Trail) specifically created for ADA access with a ramp and decking around a redwood so someone in a wheelchair could touch the tree and feel what I felt that day.

I have a tendency to take pictures of wild flowers (I love that there are flowers that did not require a human to plant or tend!) so you will see a few of those as well among my pictures.