A Lingering Look at Windows – February

Here’s a new one, from the folks at The Day After. Once a month they invite people to share photos of windows and as you all may remember, I love taking photos of doors and windows, from the inside or out. Here are some of my shots, mostly looking out through the windows. See more at this month’s A Lingering Look at Windows, here.

Window detail in the Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels

Through a window in the ruins of Riveaulx Abbey, Yorkshire

Looking through my friend Katherine’s window in her 150+ year old manse, old Quebec City

Ordsall Hall, some parts of the house dating to Tudor times, Salford UK

In a building in the Open Air Museum, Arnhem, The Netherlands

New York City Criminal Court building, with lovely Art Deco style windows.

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Posted in Architecture, Photography

Daily Post: Vibrant

This week’s challenge from Word Press’s Daily Post is Vibrant. Here are two from the archives, one of Montreal in summer and one of a little hidden corner of London near Covent Garden.
See more posts here.

Rue St. Paul, Montreal

Neil’s Yard, London

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Posted in Wordpress Challenge

Traveling through the movies: London (Burnt)

BurntLondon is my favourite city and I really love watching movies that are shot there. In many cases you get the usual shots of famous landmarks but often you also get scenes filmed on London streets and markets, too. I watched a 2015 movie over the weekened called Burnt starring Bradley Cooper and enjoyed watching the exterior shots quite a bit.

The movie is about a top chef, Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) who worked in Paris for a mentor, attaining two Michelin stars but ruined both his own career, the restaurant and a restaurant of one of his friends due to his addictions and diva-like temper. He cleaned up, shucked oysters in New Orleans and then came to London to get his career back. He persuades Tony (Daniel Brühl) who is running his father’s posh restaurant in a hotel to hire him back and gathers several other former coworkers as well to be on his kitchen team along with an up and coming female chef, Helene (Sienna Miller) who’s also a single mother. Emma Thompson has a small role as a psychiatrist that Adam must check in with on a weekly basis for drug tests as a requirement of his employment, due to mistrust and wariness Tony and his father hold for Adam.

In his quest for a third star, Adam proves to be as volatile as ever and since he still owes money to an old drug dealer, he’s kept on his toes trying to avoid a confrontation there as well. There is romance, sabotage and a lot of both arrogance and self pity and of course he learns a valuable lesson in the end. That’s not spoiling, that’s predictable. The movie isn’t bad and if you love food, it will really appeal.BurntLondon2I loved the exterior shots, and particularly a few of the night shots that really showed off London’s lights (though I couldn’t for certain say they were real or cgi, they did seem and feel real. I hate that about modern movies, you never really know at times if the background shots are the real thing).

London at night in the film Burnt

London at night in the film Burnt

There are some street shots that are typically London.  I try to identify streets and in this first one, the number 24 bus winds through Pimlico and Victoria station and up through Charing Cross Rd, Tottenham Court Rd and up through Camden. I think this section is probably Charing Cross/Tottenham Court area unless it’s north of Camden.

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London streets with the number 24 bus

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Emma Thompson and Bradley Cooper in Burnt, likely West End London

Then there are the typical shots of the landmarks. Billingsgate Market is integral to any story featuring a restaurant since buyers will go there at the crack of dawn to get the fresh fish for that day’s menu and we see exterior and interior shots.

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Billingsgate Market, London

This shot seems to be taken just under or near London Bridge, with the view of Tower Bridge and the HMS Belfast. Looking at the map and using Google Street view, it seems like it’s probably “Hanseatic Walk”.

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Tower Bridge

And two more shots, just for placement so you know where you are. The movie plays out a few minutes before the opening credits which happen when Adam arrives in London.

BurntLondon3 BurntLondon1

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Posted in London, Movies and Tv

It’s been quiet around here lately

cropped-cropped-kemblestreetrestaurant2.jpgYes, I know I haven’t really been writing or posting photos too much this month. I must get back on the bandwagon, at least when it comes to the photo challenges. I’ve been considering pulling out an old travelogue and posting bits here but not sure if anyone would be interested in trips from 10 to 15 years ago or more. A lot of things can change!

Possibilities for posts: Maybe the bus trip around “Bonny Scotland” (2000)?  What about the “Magical History Tour”, including various locations around the UK (2003)?

I am planning a trip to the UK for the end of March but it isn’t expected to be a sightseeing type trip. I’m going over and when I come back, my husband will be returning with me to move to Canada for good! The days I’m in Manchester will likely be doing all the last minute stuff that had to wait until then and we’re planning on a couple of days in Ipswich to see family before flying home. We might get a chance to see a bit of the city of Ipswich and maybe Bury St. Edmonds nearby. If we check into the hotel at the airport early enough, we may take the tube in to London for a few hours and a meal. I haven’t booked any rental cars or hotels yet because we need to confirm with the relatives for dates. I guess I can do the Heathrow hotel, mind you, we know what night we’ll be there and flying out on the morning after. It’s all very exciting!

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Posted in United Kingdom & Ireland

Edinburgh vs Glasgow

Edinburgh Castle from the Castle Gardens below

National Geographic Traveler, issue 32:8 (December 2015/January 2016) has a feature on top 20 “Must See” destinations. One of them is a short piece on Glasgow, the second city of Scotland. The author of the piece, Kimberly Lovato, opens with “If Edinburgh is the blue-blooded aunt at Scotland’s tea party, then Glasgow, just 45 miles to the west, is the T-shirt-clad cousin kicking over the kettle on the way out.

That made me chuckle but it’s pretty close to the truth when embodying the spirit and personality of the two cities. I’ve been to both, not for lengthy visits but several times each over the years though my last visit to Glasgow was in 2003 and Edinburgh in 2000. I’m overdue. That aside, though I like both cities, my overall feeling was that I preferred Glasgow.

Edinburgh is beautiful, with a newer section of tidy Georgian architecture nestled at the feet of the volcanic ridge that housed the older city, crested with a jaw dropping castle on the top of the cliffs. The old part of the city is now mainly hotels and tourist attractions, with the university and student population thrown in. The Royal Mile stretches from the castle at one end to Holyrood Palace and the remains of the abbey at the other and it is quite interesting to explore with mysterious narrow “wynds” or lanes, small museums, a cathedral and lots of places to have a drink or a meal.The new Georgian section has great shopping, parks, bigger museums and galleries and also lots of edibles and potables.  It’s also the seat of the government both historically when it was the seat of Kings and in modern days, the home of the new Scottish Parliament. You’d find a lot to hold your interest within the inner city of Edinburgh.

A Mausoleum in the Glasgow Necropolis

A Mausoleum in the Glasgow Necropolis

Glasgow was the largest sea port in Britain and was a huge transatlantic trade hub.  The Industrial Revolution expanded the wealth in the area and it was a more important city than Edinburgh as far as finance goes.  There are two universities and a cathedral and a reknowned art college.  An industrial city means there’s a lot of working class folk in addition to the student population. All of this booming industry generally ends up faltering and that’s what happened to Glasgow in the 1960s but by the end of the 1980s, things were looking up again and today, Glasgow is a vibrant city again, with a thriving arts scene. It’s not really lost that working class atmosphere, I think.

For me, Glasgow feels more “down to earth” and everyday, where the city as a whole is striving to put their best foot forward and bloody proud of their achievements, something that it feels like Edinburgh takes as it’s due. Edinburgh feels more “touristy” in the city centre than Glasgow, maybe because Glasgow’s tourist attractions are a bit more spread out between the city centre and the newer west end. Glasgow certainly has great museums,  theatres,  shopping, eateries, pubs and clubs, and a cathedral of it’s own.

In fact, on that last point, the old cathedral in Glasgow is one of my all time favourites of the ones I’ve seen and even nicer than the one in Edinburgh, it’s far more atmospheric though it’s not very large. Rising on a hill behind it is a Victorian  Necropolis Cemetery with wonderfully interesting memorials. Also very atmospheric to trod around on a foggy, overcast afternoon like I did.

The Garage, Sauchihall Street, Glasgow

The main thrust of the National Geographic Traveler piece spoke about 2016 being a Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design so there will be a lot going on there this year and the writer also enthused about the music scene in Glasgow. From the street performers to the club scene to the concert halls, it seems there’s something for everyone. One of my favourite memories of Glasgow was a gig in a club on Sauchiehall Street, The Garage. It was an impromptu night out and the band was 3 Colours Red, a punk band from the late 90s and early 00s and they were fantastic!

Some do say that the local Scottish accent is nearly untranslateable and it’s true that a strong accent here is tough for our North American ears but for the most part, we didn’t have a problem. We found the people working in the shops and cafes to be very friendly, with a great, albeit cheeky, sense of humour. Anyone that I deal with in a shop, hotel, pub or anywhere else who greets me with a smile and a little joke has my vote. I haven’t encountered that in Edinburgh where I’ve found the people polite, perhaps a bit more business-like but by no means rude. They don’t seem as glad to see you as Glaswegians do, however. Perhaps that’s due to the higher tourist count in Edinburgh, I don’t know. They get on with things because there’s usually someone waiting in the queue behind you or at the next table.

Glasgow has it’s share of tourists, too but Edinburgh seems to get more of the glory. It’s not that it isn’t a nice city to visit. I think everyone should enjoy what Edinburgh has to offer which is a lot. Edinburgh Castle really is interesting and worth the money you’ll pay to see it, plus the views over the city from the ramparts are boggling. The majesty of the Edinburgh Tattoo is something you’ll never forget (along with the heaving crowds of the Edinburgh Festival! But there *will* be great theatre, too!) Edinburgh perhaps has the more glamourous history to show off but Glasgow has lots of that, too.

I really want to see both cities one more time and I think if we manage to get there, we’ll probably have our base in Glasgow. You can take the train between the city centres in under an hour making for a great day trip.

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Posted in Scotland, Sightseeing

DP Challenge: Weight

This week’s WordPress challenge is weight, or weightless, anything that might invoke the feeling of either. These photos make me and probably most people wonder how anything this size can get off the ground and fly. The first one is a plane I flew to London in a couple of years ago, quite a bit larger than the usual 767 that normally traverses the route from Toronto to Halifax to Heathrow. Lots of people, once they got off the plane, had a look through the windows of the terminal to see the overall size of it.

Air Canada's 777-300, Not as big as the double decker planes but pretty frigging big all the same

Air Canada’s 777-300, Not as big as the double decker planes but pretty frigging big all the same

This is the flight deck of the USS Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier that is now a museum in New York City, it’s deck lined with various types of planes and helicopters, including a wicked looking SR71 Blackbird “stealth” plane and some very cool fighter jets, all of which can zip through the air and defy gravity effortlessly.

Intrepid flight deck

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Posted in Wordpress Challenge

DP Challenge: Circle

The first WordPress Daily Post challenge of the year is “Circle”. For a sample of things round, I take you to Paris, November 2007.

The centre of Paris is marked by this in the plaza in front of Notre Dame Cathedral.

French cakes!

One of the rose windows in Notre Dame

Lots of circles in this photo, in front of Galleries Lafayettes

Le Grande Roule. I love observation wheels! This was in Place de la Concorde but I believe it’s been removed now. The pods you ride in were round as well.

The Montmartre carousel goes round and round.

And finally, most of the sidewalk cafes feature little round tables.

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Posted in Paris, Wordpress Challenge
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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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