Oct 25, 2014

Scotland- Edinburgh, the ancient modern city

Edinburgh- the capital city of Scotland is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. Skyline here is full of medieval buildings and the city gets a unusual unique look because of the hills formed by the ancient volcano in the middle of the city and the castles, the important buildings and the monuments built on them. Taking a stroll on the streets lined with medieval buildings was like Time Travel :) I visited most of the attractions, but most of them are either museums, war memorials and castles.

Edinburgh Castle as seen from Princess Street
Edinburgh Castle as seen from Princess Street

Edinburgh Castle- The magnificent castle stands atop a volcanic rock towering over the city skyline. Scotland trip is incomplete without visiting this massive medieval castle which is 'the best' attraction of Edinburgh :) And so is crowded all along the open hours. From the castle the visitors have spectacular panoramic views of the Edinburgh city in every direction. Situated at the beginning of the Royal Mile, the castle displays the 'Honors' (royal jewels). From Princes Street one can have the spectacular view of the castle on top of the castle rock. The guide told much elaborated stories about each tower, room, window, and guns in here. I will have a separate post on this castle later ...

The Holyroodhouse Palace Edinburgh
The Holyroodhouse Palace

The Holyroodhouse Palace- The Queen's official residence in Scotland. Situated at the other end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse was residence of Mary, the Queen of Scots. Successive kings and queens have made the Palace of Holyroodhouse the premier royal residence in Scotland. Today, the Palace is the setting for State ceremonies and official entertaining. When I was there the palace was not accessible for visitors. So, I ended up visiting the gallery which is a part of the palace.

Queen’s Gallery, part of the palace, it displays changing exhibitions of royal collection. But, it is only one floor with few paintings on display and entrance fee is 5GBP, very pricy. The one floor gallery displayed few beautiful portraits of royal folks and Michelangelo’s sketches.

Giles Cathedral on Royal Mile Edinburgh
Giles' Cathedral on Royal Mile
Royal Mile- As the name suggests, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scottish mile long, and connects the Edinburgh castle atop the castle rock with Palace of Holyroodhouse. Probably the oldest street in Edinburgh, visitors find historic and interesting buildings here all along the way.

Being most dominant building on the Royal mile, Giles' Cathedral is a beautiful structure and is an important religious place of Edinburgh. Its beautiful crown stands high and is an important feature of the Edinburgh skyline. When I went around Royal Mile on first day, there was a big wan belonged to a press was parked here. So, I went on another day to get this picture.

Scott Monument on Princess Street Edinburgh
Scott Monument on Princess Street
Princes Street- one of the major streets in central Edinburgh, and a main shopping street. The view of Edinburgh Castle from here is great. In fact, there used to be a loch called Nor in the valley here along the street, which was drained and then converted into a garden and now is called as Princes Street Gardens. I strolled around this street many times over two days. Entered few shopping malls, tried different clothes too. I was looking for a cashmere sweater as Scotland cashmere is world famous. But, they seemed very expensive. Or may be I was looking in most expensive shops. :) I bought one for me and one foe my Dad, the cost was so much over the budget.

Scott Monument on Princes street stands high as you see in the picture. The monument was erected in the honor of a writer Sir Walter Scott. It is 200ft tall and is largest monument in the world dedicated to a writer. There are around 250+ steps to reach up to the tip of the tower!

Arthur’s Seat- the 820ft peak that rises above the center of the city providing beautiful sweeping views of the city. Reached from the Holyroodhouse park, it is a nice easy short hike in the very touristy place!

National Gallery of Scotland- Known to be one of the finest galleries in Britain. I am not making this statement because I have not seen any other galleries in Britain. But, it was very good indeed. Displays collection of Scottish and international art. Masterpieces from legendary artists including Monet are displayed in depth. There was a painting of Tipu Sultan (popularly known as Tiger of Mysore, India) taking his last breath defending his capital in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war. Again reminding me of Indian history in Edinburgh!

Monuments on Calton Hill Edinburgh

Calton Hill- in central Edinburgh, just to the east of the New town. It is seen from most part of the city. From the top of it the cityscape is spectacular. On the top of the hill there are several iconic monuments. The national Monument, Nelson's Monument and Dugald Stewart Monument. It is an historic and picturesque part of the city.

National Museum of Scotland- Displays geology, artifacts from Ice age (only pictures and model sculptures), early people in Scotland and their religious beliefs, Scotland as a Kingdom, Roman invasion, English Invasion, Transformation of medieval Scotland to modern Scotland, battles of independence, the church, the trade, textiles, industrial evolution and so on ...

So was my visit to Edinburgh ... city of beautiful ancient buildings...

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Oct 17, 2014

Pap of Glen Coe!

When we were driving near Glen Coe our tour guide/driver pointed at this hill and said "see on your right ... Pap of Glen Coe". At first I thought it was one of his numerous cheap jokes. Then checking on internet proved that there is one mountain with this name which is a very popular trekking destination but, not sure this is the one! Or I might have seen from a different angle! Whatever ... here is the Pap of Glen Coe which I saw :)

Took this picture from the van as a record shot and so there is some reflection. Blue sky, clouds look nice and interesting hill huh?

Oct 13, 2014

My trip to Scotland

Typical scene of Highlands Scotland
Typical scene- Highlands, Scotland

I had been to Scotland few years ago and happened to visit again recently which refreshed my memories all over again. But, never got a chance to blog about my experiences in the country abundant in history, castles and ruins. The history and legends make the wild beauty of the highlands and the islands of Scotland more special.

Oct 10, 2014

Modern Architecture- Mary Avenue Foot Bridge

I have a fascination to shoot bridges at night! I have taken too much of risk to be all alone in pitch dark near the water getting bit by millions of mosquitoes. But, still I do take pictures of these modern architecture masterpieces. 

This is Mary Avenue footbridge  with a span of 325ft across 10-lanes of interstate 280 connecting Cupertino and Sunnyvale in California. It is the first cable-stayed foot-bicycle bridge across a highway in California. At night the bridge is lit up and is a beautiful sight!

Oct 8, 2014

Flying home ...

Heron at Salton Sea California

One pic from archives ... My trip to American SouthWest last October. I was at Salton Sea, California, the last pit stop of the trip. Very interesting place starting from its creation, formations and birds. Beautiful bird huh?

Oct 6, 2014

Moaning Cavrens- An amazing vertical cave!

Moaning Caverns Calaveras County California
When I lived in California I had been to many hidden gems of this golden state. California is much more than amusement parks around Los Angeles, Golden Gate bridge, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite national park. It extends to badlands, high Sierras, wonderful waterfalls, forests studded with brown bears, sky kissing coastal redwoods, beautiful shorelines, caves, lakes and great cities! One such small hidden gem is Moaning Cavern in Calaveras County. ! It is a vertical cave chamber where one can go rappelling 165 ft down! 

I visited this place and few other very interesting nearby places sometime last year which I am posting now! I have been to many caverns but Moaning cavern is amazing because of the rappelling experience.  Those rock-mushrooms on the walls as you descend! To add to that in this trip, I camped at Calaveras Big Trees State Park and visited Natural Bridges where I swam across the cave, Columbia State Historic Park and drove all those 61 miles on Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway where the elvation ranges between 4,000 to 8,7000ft! This area is surrounded by the Gold Rush towns, mountains and alpine valleys!

Oct 3, 2014

Lake Powell and the sky ...

Lake Powell and sky Page, Arizona

This picture is from archives ... an year ago ... late October in Page, Arizona. I took a boat ride to Rainbow Bridge National Monument ... the bridge is accessible only by a boat. For around 9hrs I was surrounded by this scenery ...Cool huh?

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Sep 29, 2014

Street food from Gujarat

Khaman dhokla Street food from Gujarat
Khamman dhokla

Gujarat is one of the vibrant states of India and gujarati food is unique! Here street food is dominantly popular and mostly vegetarian. I am fond of Gujarati food because I visit Gujarat frequently, at least twice or thrice a year! I love to go out in the evening, because afternoons are extremely hot, to eat pani-poori roadside! Well, I am talking about snacks not the thali (full meal) here.

Sep 26, 2014

Stormy evening- Tornado or smoke?

Arizona Page Tornado or smoke

Well, very gloomy picture huh? But, it is interesting too ... at least for me for the adventure associated with it :) I was driving past Monument Valley towards Page, Arizona in late October last year. It was stormy. First I passed through light sand winds which might have caused millions of microscopic scratches on the windshield of rented car!

Sep 24, 2014

Pigeons, nest and pigeon mites!

Pigeon nest and mites
Mommy pigeon feeding

Couple of months ago when I returned to my apartment in Bangalore with my Mother, I saw a pigeon nesting in an orange bucket which I had left in the kitchen balcony. I saw two little eggs. The pigeon had made a mess in the whole area with its poo. I wanted to get the balcony cleaned but, decided against it thinking it may disturb the hatching process! Was that my mistake?!

Sep 22, 2014

Have you seen this Ice-cream machine?!

ice cream machine in Vadodara fest

As I have mentioned many times ... I visit Gujarat frequently, just because my dear sister lives there nothing else :) And I have seen, experienced and have enjoyed very many small interesting things. One such interesting thing is this ice-cream machine!

Sep 19, 2014

Vadodar's Sur Sagar Lake at night ...

Sur Sagar Lake Vadodara illuminated

Nyaya Mandir (which means Court) is an area in Vadodara that people visit for cheap stuff. The market beside the court has everything here! And there is a lake which goes almost unnoticed during the day. As night falls the Shiva idol gets illuminated attracting almost everyone's attention. Doesn't it look beautiful in the backdrop of dark night sky?!

Sep 17, 2014

Tourism Unites ...

Gujarat Tourism

I travel to Gujarat quite often! And also go around during the winter. On one such trip to Pavagadh I saw this old rusting board ... though old it conveys a great message ...

Sep 15, 2014

Jand Hanuman, monkeys and makai ki roti in the jungles of Gujarat!

Jambughoda WLS Jand Hanumaan Vadodara Gujarat

Deep jungle, temples, millions of monkeys and a woman cooking food! Well, Yes! I was visiting a temple dedicated to Hanumaan in the deep jungles of Gujarat. Just within 80KM from the city of Vadodara this temple sits in the middle of Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary. The fun is neither in visiting the temple nor the wildlife which is always elusive, but in driving a Mahindra Bolero on the riverbed! Well, there is no particular road to the temple other than a dirt rocky road which is sometimes the riverbed too!

Aug 15, 2014

Colorful Skies- Sunset at Hampi

I was at Hampi few months ago. Me, my sister and my niece were sitting on the very popular Mahanavami Dibba, a huge and high platform used by the royals of Vijayanagara Empire to watch the festive processions in the medieval years. We watched this colorful sunset. The sun looked like a burning cannonball sinking behind the horizon while the silhouette of the watching trees said good night!

Aug 13, 2014

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

On the last day in Italy I went to Trevi fountain in Rome. Just before that We had a dinner with opera singers entertaining us. Lots of pasta, wine and tiramisu. A ride in Rome during the night was fantastic. The basilica in Vatican city was decorated with lights. It was breathtakingly beautiful! I wished my visa was valid for few more days that I could wander around on my own.

Aug 11, 2014

Music box from Sorrento

Music Box from Sorrento Italy

You must have heard the song Torna a Surriento which means Come Back to Sorrento ... is a popular song that made the comune of Sorrento popular! Well, I was there in Sorrento ... for few hours. Just to wander around the market. Our guide had arranged a touristy visit to a furniture shop. Initially, I was annoyed but then I liked the furniture there! I just got to know how expensive were those furniture in my sister's house which I was abusing for almost a decade! I really didn't have any idea about the price!

Aug 8, 2014

Capri at night!

Night in Capri Italy

In my earlier post I did mention that Capri is a resort island. The nightlife is quite interesting here. From a restaurant I got the view of the marina and it was beautiful! And it is here for you to enjoy ...

Aug 4, 2014

Grotta Azzurra or Blue Grotto in Capri- Amazing sea cave!

Grotta Azzurra or Blue Grotto Capri Italy
That small opening is the entrance of Blue Grotto

Do you see that blue?! The picture is not edited for color saturation! It is real! In the earlier post I mentioned that I had taken a boat ride around the Island of Capri, it included a peek into the popular Blue Grotto for few extra euros. And it was worth all the money! Sea caves are not new to me, I had rowed into few sea caves earlier in my life, but this one was wonderful! The blue color is due to the underwater light source, essentially an underwater sea cave!

Aug 1, 2014

Capri, the resort island

Capri view Italy
View from Monte Solaro

After getting fried under the hot sun and surrounded by the volcanic devastation I was at Capri, the resort island! Capri- plenty of natural beauty, history, pleasant climate and posh restaurants makes Capri a favorite destination for the tourists! Normally the islands are volcanic in origin but, interestingly Capri is formed of sedimentary rock. Well, it was a very relaxing long stay (2-nights) at Capri compared to other places.