Travel Theme: Camaraderie

Where’s My Backpack’s weekly Travel challengs is Camaraderie. When I travel, I often meet up with friends and/or family wherever I go. I’ve met a good number of wonderful people via Coronation Street online groups and even met a man that I married through those connections. I’m lucky to have a family that all gets along and has good times when we get together. Camaraderie between friends and family is a wonderful thing. You can also see it among people that can be perfect strangers but who have something in common. Fellow travellers can meet and  strike up a camaraderie on a train, in a hostel, in a cafe or pub.  Fellow fans of the same sports team, for instance, gathered together to watch a game, cheer on and talk about their favourites. If you’ve ever gone to a fan convention of any kind, you will see strangers linked together by a common interest as well. But even non-humans can form a bond, as you will see below.

Watching the Parade of Sail (Tall Ships) together.

Friends. Regent Park, London

Do you see what I see? London Zoo

Camel chat. London Zoo

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Posted in Nature, People, Weekly Challenge

WordPress Challenge: Trio

Good things come in threes. Bad things happen in threes. Three times lucky;  three strikes, you’re out.  You can’t win! One of the “rules” of photography is to use the “rule of thirds”, to divide your viewpoint into a grid of 3×3 and compose the photo that way.  Three Musketeers. Huey, Dewy and Louie. Three coins in the fountain. The number three certainly seems prevalent in life. WordPress’s weekly challenge this week is Trio.

Three boats at low tide in Lindisfarne harbour.

Three stained glass windows in St. Mary’s, Lindisfarne

Trois portes rouges, Eglise St. Bernard, Church Point, Nova Scotia (Nouvelle Ecosse)

Seen at a garden shop in Richmond, UK

Me and my besties.

Me and my besties.

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Posted in Weekly Challenge, Wordpress Challenge

Travel Theme: Faces

This week at Where’s My Backpack, the travel theme is Faces. I’m not one to take too many portraits of strangers when I travel but sometimes manage from afar or don’t feel as self conscious if the person is performing in some way.  Faces are everywhere, and not just on your fellow humans. Art based on portraits is standard issue. Pretty much all animals, insects, birds and sealife has a face of some sort.

This first photo was taken through a shop window on Ile St. Louis in Paris. There is the shop worker, and little statues of angels, and look closely and you can see all sorts of items in the display with faces.  There are eyes, eyes everywhere!!!!

Shop in Paris

In the Tower of London there was a display of carved wooden heads of kings and queens.

Henry VIII and (I think) Charles I, Tower of London

Next, back to Paris again in the Dali museum in Montmartre. “Him indoors” loves Dali’s art!

Graham and Salvador, Paris

We discovered an exhibit in the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal about Napoleon, from a private collection, a few years ago.

Bust of Napoleon, Montreal

And finally, from a local celebration (“Mawio’mi”) held by the Mi’kmaq First Nations, a very fierce looking warrior

Elaborate and traditional dress, Mi’kmaq Mawio’mi

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Posted in People, Photography, Weekly Challenge

Traveling through the movies: Scottish Highlands

WWDOOH1This installment of “Traveling through the movies” takes us to the Highlands of Scotland, particularly the northwest coastal area. The movie is What We Did On Our Holiday, from 2014, staring Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Ben Miller and Billy Connolly.

The basic premise is that Tennant and Pike are Doug and Abi MacLeod, a married couple on the verge of divorce, which has been very hard on their three children, ages about 4, 6 and 10 or thereabouts. Doug’s father, Gordie is turning 75 and as he is very ill with terminal cancer, the family is going to drive up to Scotland for a large birthday party, likely Gordie’s last. Gordie lives with his older son and family, Margaret and Gavin and Kenneth. Gordie is a bit tightly wound and Margaret is struggling with depression. Kenneth is struggling with his father’s high expectations. Gavin and Doug seem to have a long time rivalry.

WWDOOH2The day of the party dawns and Gordie and the three younger grandchildren head to his favourite beach for the afternoon to get out of the way of the party preparations. While watching the children, Gordie dies on the beach and the children decide to give him the Viking funeral he told them he wanted, rather than have a lot of fuss and warring family members. They build a raft, and, using a spare can of gasoline from Gordie’s truck, set him aflame and push him out to sea. The repercussions are many but the movie ends with Gordie’s friends and family celebrating his life under a spectacular sunset on the beach.


Red Point Beach, Wester Ross

The scenery is the real winner, here. There are shots of the car driving down roads with the mountains rising bleakly on either side. The beach is surrounded by hazy purple mountains but the water is blue and the sand white. It’s easy to see why this is Gordie’s “God’s country”. I’ve been to the Scottish Highlands a couple of times, and this movie certainly makes me want to go again, hop in a car and drive wherever the notion takes us. It’s a beautiful country, much of it remote and with single track roads the further north you go.


Billy Connolly as Gordie MacLeod

There are pleny of movies that are set in the Scottish Highlands but many of those are actually filmed elsewhere, Ireland being one of the favourite replacements. Many of the castles in Scotland are seen in films, including Eileen Donan (Highlander, The World is Not Enough), Duart on the Isle of Mull (Entrapment) and Doune (Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the tv series Outlander which has lots of other scenes filmed in the Highlands as well). A few examples that have scenes filmed in rural Scotland include Braveheart (Glen Nevis and Loch Leven), Prometheus (Isle of Skye), Skyfall (Glencoe),  and a new upcoming version of MacBeth.


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Posted in Movies and Tv, Scotland

Travel theme: Luminous

The weekly travel theme at Where’s My Backpack this week is “Luminous”. Most of what I’ve chosen are photos of various locations at night but there are a few others mixed in. It’s not always easy taking photos in low light without a tripod so most of the ones I take dn’t often come out very well. . I do have one of those little tripods with bendy legs, called a Gorillapod that I’ve used on occasion and try to balance the camera on something steady.

The first photo was taken in the Roman Baths in the city of Bath, in the plunge pool. You can see that the minerals in the water glow with the light.

Plunge pool, Roman Baths, Bath, UK

Plunge pool, Roman Baths, Bath, UK

Stadhuis tower, Brussels

Eiffel Tower at Night. Paris

Here’s we’re in London, with the setting sun illuminating the buildings and the street lighting coming on.

The Strand at dusk, London, UK

The Victoria Apollo theatre was showing Wicked and of course you can’t take pictures during the performance but I took a quick shot of the stage decor which was lit up prior to the show.

The Victoria Apollo theatre, London, waiting for Wicked

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Posted in Europe, London, Paris, Photography, United Kingdom & Ireland, Weekly Challenge

Daily Post challenge: Ornate

This week’s Daily Post challenge is “Ornate”. Castles and stately homes are particularly good places to find ornate items or decor. These photos were taken in Rosenborg Castle, in Copenhagen, most from the treasures in the

Emerald Crown, Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

Emerald Crown, from the Emerald Set. Emeralds from the 18th century, jewelry created in 1840. Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

Prayer book. Rosenborg Castle "treasures", Copenhagen

Prayer book. Rosenborg Castle “treasures”, Copenhagen

Clock in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

Clock in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

Christian IV crown, dates from 1595, Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

King’s Chamber, Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

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Posted in Denmark, Museums and Galleries, Weekly Challenge, Wordpress Challenge

Road Trip: The Snake Pass

Derwent Dam

Derwent Dam

While in the UK in September, we took the car out on the road for a few day trips. Blackpool was one, you can read about that here. Another was to the Peak District National Park, which covers the north-central part of the midlands of England. It is one of my favourite parts of England (of the areas that I’ve been to so far!) with rolling hills, the Pennine mountains, and plenty of interesting places to visit. There are, as in most areas, some nice country pubs, too! I’ve visited a few different places in the area before, including Chatsworth House, Eyam, Glossop, Buxton, just to name a few. The Peak District mostly contained in the county of Derbyshire, with the edges bleeding over the north, east and west borders. The Pennines dip down into the northern part of the area. There are lots of very scenic drives with excellent views from the higher roads.

We decided to go down into the heart of the Peaks into the Derwent Valley, heading in a southwest direction from Manchester. One route I had never been over is the Snake Pass which starts just outside Glossop and the views were supposed to be pretty great. The road trip started and ended in heavy traffic and it took us ages to get through Glossop but once out of that, we were straight onto the Snake Pass and climbed up into the hills on the narrow, winding road that had amazing views across the valleys surrounded by hills covered in purple heather. I believe they do close it at times in the winter. They’d get snow up this high sometimes even if it’s raining in Manchester. The weather today is perfect.

View from the Snake Pass, Peak District National Park

View from the Snake Pass, Peak District National Park

The road traverses the hills and eventually you descend into the Derwent River valley, where there are some large reservoirs. The biggest one is the Lady Bower reservoir which you can see from the main road and it’s joined to the Derwent and Howden reservoirs in a T shape. The Derwent and Howden dams bracket a reservoir that occupies a spot where there used to be a village. The residents were relocated and the village flooded.

By the time we got there, we were ready for lunch and found a really nice pub on the shore of the Lady Bower reservoir, called the Yorkshire Bridge Inn. It’s quite large inside with various rooms and an outside beer garden by the water. We had a really nice meal in there with a very helpful barmaid who drew us a little map to the other dams in the area.

We drove through that area after lunch, stopping in a parking space so I could take photos and then at the visitor center for some more pictures and an ice cream break. This area is also known for being a training area for the Lancaster bombers in World War II and there are information posters and boards up at the visitor centre. We walked a little through the trails to the back of the first damn but it wasn’t letting out an overflow like I’d seen in a photo. I know nothing about dams and thought we’d see the water being passed through it. I suppose that only happens if the water is particularly high which it wasn’t today.

We drove down the very narrow road along the reservoirs, stopping by the dams for more photos. It was quiet, with trees along the road and the sun shining on the water. There were hikers and people on bikes occasionally, along with a car passing now and then. You had to pull over carefully, there’s only barely just enough room for two cars to pass. The road doesn’t come out so we had to turn around and come back out the same way. It really was a pretty drive along the water. Water always makes the scenery that much nicer, don’t you think?

We didn’t want to come back to Manchester through the Snake Pass so we pulled up a map on the GPS and decided on a route, plotted it and took off, wondering where the GPS was going to take us to get to the other road, a bit further north, the A628 I think, which would cross back over the Pennines and the lower Yorkshire moors. It’s always a bit interesting and a bit disconcerting when the GPS (or “Satnav” they call it here) leads you down some narrow roads and lanes to get where you want to go. It’s taken us in circles in the past so we never know for sure if it’s right! Usually it is, mind you and we’ve seen some nice scenery following its lead.

The road back across had a lot more traffic and several times through small towns we were slowed down to a crawl. I think we also passed some more reservoirs as well. Closer to Manchester the roads got wider and busier. We had a really nice day out, driving and enjoying the scenery. There are some really nice rural areas in the north of England, the Peak District, the Lake District and the Yorkshire moors and dales. Some of it is a bit bleak looking but even that has its own beauty.

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Posted in Road Trips, Travelogues, United Kingdom & Ireland
November 2015
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Travel and Me

I am unapologetically a tourist. I love to take photos and I enjoy writing about my travels. I love to sightsee, and to wander in museums and galleries. I love cathedrals and churches - the architecture and usually, the art, can astonish me. History fascinates me and architecture draws my camera out time and again.

I'm not an intrepid or adventurous traveler like some, nor does a sunny, sandy resort or luxurious cruise ship attract me.

I envision this blog as a place for my travel memories, my travels as they occur (Yay for laptops and free wifi!), or for chat about travel related things like books, movies, tv shows, websites, magazines, and anything else I think of that might suit! I hope you enjoy it!

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