Friday Photo: The Atlantic Ocean

It’s #FriFotos time over on Twitter and the theme this week is Oceans… So I decided to indulge myself and share another photo of the simply beautiful Cornish coast and the silken blue of the Atlantic Ocean. I love being by the sea; there is something about that taste of salty air, the sea breeze, the knowledge that there is a vast expanse of water stretching from this point, where I am standing, to America. It’s almost primal, and full of possibility. Where’s your favourite place by the sea?...

Tintagel: A Photo Essay

A recent trip to Cornwall led me to the birthplace of Arthurian legend: the castle of Tintagel… Tintagel. The very name sounds magical, doesn’t it? This ancient fortress, high on a cliff of Cornwall’s rugged coast, is the birthplace of the greatest legend of them all: King Arthur. Historical truth and fantastical fiction have been blurred across the centuries, storytellers blending what they have heard with their own imaginings. However, there is no escaping that a certain enchantment lies over this place – it is a place where fact could indeed be stranger than fiction and where fantasy could become reality. Scaling the many steps to the heights of the castle is an effort worth making. Here, against the impossible blue of the Atlantic ocean and the lush green of the hills, the ruins of the once-great castle stand proudly, if a little precariously, on their island. The distinctive slate of the castle creates jagged frames for the natural surroundings of cliff, sea and stone. It is not so hard to imagine a great and noble King standing triumphantly at one of these windows, taking in the view of his unspoilt kingdom, halfway between land and sea. A lone bird perches for a moment on the stone wall of a forgotten room, waiting and watching as tourists pass by. Then, without a sound, it soars back into the sky – as if taking a message to someone far away. Modern-day visitors cannot resist walking to the edges of the cliffs surrounding the castle, looking back at the village and down towards the sea below. Even on this tranquil day,...

New Year Travel Plans, Pirate-Style

As we bring in the New Year, I will be more than ready to set sail once more on voyages across the seas, so perhaps it is quite apt that I will be dressed as a pirate, a costume I have to get sorted this week! However, I will be land-bound for much of this year as I train to be a teacher, so I’m going to have to plan my travel pretty carefully indeed. Now, planning ahead is not exactly my strong suit, so this is going to be a bit of a challenge. So I’m starting early, whittling down my wishlist to a few realistic destinations and thinking about short trips close to home that will nevertheless provide some unforgettable experiences. 1. Whale Watching, Scotland I have long wanted to explore the rugged Northern coast of Scotland and its even more northerly isles and I am desperate to make 2012 the year I finally get out on a boat to try and spot some whales. I have never seen any of these incredible creatures and I am hoping to change that. What could be more wonderful than windswept beaches, solitary lighthouses and time spent out at sea? I need to make this happen. 2. Culture and Wilderness, Ireland Though it is on the doorstep, as it were, I have never travelled across the Irish sea to this ancient, mystical land, beloved by so many travellers. I have scant excuse for this state of affairs and need to rectify it at the earliest opportunity. There are so many parts of Ireland I would like to see, but even...

Photo of the Week

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our Photo of the Week! If you haven’t played before, here’s how it works: 1) The photo will have no title or description. It is up to you to interpret it how you like. 2) You come up with a 1-word title for the photo. You can also add any other comments you like, but make sure your title is clearly stated. 3) The most creative, fitting or inspiring title will be announced on Monday. This becomes the theme for the following week’s photo. 4) Submissions are open from Monday for your photo on that ‘theme’. One will be chosen, featured in the Friday ‘Photo of the Week’ slot and the process starts again! You’ll find full Photo of the Week submission details here. Craig Zabransky (On Twitter @StayAdventurous) submitted the winning photo this week on the theme of Reflection, but now it needs a title of its own. Submit your 1-word title in the comments box below!  ...

My Best-Kept Travel Secrets

Sitting here on this glorious spring day, watching my cat lying happily in the sun, I am for once contented not to be elsewhere! However, now that blue skies and warm weather are tempting me out-of-doors, I can’t help thinking of beaches and glittering oceans and the little seaside towns and villages which dot the coastlines of Europe. There is something about being by the sea which fills me with a sense of calm and at the same time a rush of the possibility of adventure – when I’m not on a popular beach surrounded by hordes of tourists, that is. So I thought I’d share with you my three favourite coastal escapes, on the assumption that you won’t go and shout them from the rooftops! 1. Collioure, Languedoc-Roussillon, France The first treat Collioure has in store is the winding drive down the mountains to reach it, past the odd house, with a tantalizing glimpse of the sea as you zig-zag your way down. Once you reach the village itself, the most striking thing is the church in the harbour. Something in its composition against the backdrop of mountains, the stone tower and the mediterranean terracotta of the roof just makes it breathtaking. Across the water is the Chateau Royal, a stone fortification with an air of permanence and wisdom about it. It has that distinctive style, a brusque beauty which is the trademark of the Kings of Majorca who once ruled this Catalan region. It is not hard to see why Matisse fell in love with this place, but when you can tear yourself away from the picture-perfect...
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