Posts Tagged With: landscapes

A Look Back at London

Tower Bridge (built between 1886 and 1894) spans the River Thames and is one of London’s most recognized landmarks.

Climate change activists were out in force in Trafalgar Square, blocking the streets, but otherwise demonstrating peacefully.

Chinatown offered us colorful streets to wander and a welcome break from the more traditional English pub meals we’ve enjoyed.
An evening of entertainment and laughter at The Savoy Theatre.

We topped off our stay with a visit to Kew Gardens. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 326 acres and features the largest and most diverse collection of plants in the world. We were smart to wear our hiking boots – from Kew Palace (top left) to the spectacular greenhouses, there’s a lot to see…regardless of the season.

Tomorrow morning we’ll pack up our memories and head to Heathrow to catch our flight home. It’s been quite a trip.
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Prior Park Landscape Garden

The Palladian Bridge represents historic elegance.

Wandering beyond the city walls of Bath we discovered the beautiful Prior Park Landscape Garden. Originally designed in the 1700s, the garden spills down a hillside below the Prior Park Mansion (now a private school). Meandering paths lead through woodlands and around lakes.

On a clear day one can take in stunning views of Bath far below. Weather was not so kind to us.

Restoration work is ongoing in an effort to return the garden to it’s original glory.
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South West Coast Path: A Walk Through History

The morning after our arrival at Land’s End presented a sunnier picture of this iconic landmark.

Our soggy, arrival at Land’s End will forever be imprinted on our memories, a goal we worked extremely hard for some days. However, our last day of walking was filled with visions of the historic remains of the region’s tin mining industry. Fortunately, the rain caused me to pack my good camera deep inside my pack, or I’d probably still be out on the bluffs snapping photos.

The BBC series Poldark films on location along this stretch of coast.

Much like the Doc Martin series put the little village of Port Issac on the map, the BBC series Poldark brings the world to the Pendeen Coast, where the Geevor Tin Mine (closed in 1990) remains open as a tourist attraction.

As we walked out of Pendeen, we were surprised by the number of crumbling remains of a once thriving mining industry. While it all seems very romantic now, history tells a different story of the dangers that lurked underground.

The coast path meandered past a number of remains. We couldn’t help but take a closer look.
Other scenes were best viewed from afar.
Eventually, the path required our full attention.
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South West Coast Path: The Checkered Flag is in Sight

We arrived in the touristy town of St. Ives Saturday afternoon.

As pleasant as the above scene looks, Sunday morning brought horrendously strong winds to the area, foiling the plans of any walker in his or her right mind. Our host was kind enough to keep our packs for us until we could catch the afternoon bus to Pendeen, our stop for the night.

The photos really don’t do the wind justice, but trust me, it was howling. Fortunately, St. Ives is home to the Tate, where we wandered through 10 galleries of modern art, pretending to understand what we saw.

St. Ives has a rich history as an artist colony, and in addition to London, is home to one of two Tate museums.
We discovered Geevor Tin Mine, a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in Pendeen.

The mine closed in 1990, but a museum and underground tour (complete with hard hats), are both available to the public. We skipped past the big ticket items and wandered down to check out the ruins of the original North Levant mine.

Tomorrow we will arrive at Land’s End, our stopping point and the end of our South West Coast Path adventure. We really hope to walk the last section…rain or shine. We’ll see what the morning brings.

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South West Coast Path: Old Friends and New Friends

We enjoyed a spectacular afternoon today with our friend Ian, who just happened to be on holiday, visiting with longtime friend Julie and her family in the big white house pictured above. The photo on the right is the view from the front room. A gorgeous setting that is situated right along the South West Coast Path.

We took a short walk to Polzeath Beach, a popular surfing beach. Then, Julie treated us to a delicious home cooked mid-day meal, a wonderful treat after 2 weeks on the trail. We felt terribly spoiled as Ian later drove us (through the pouring rain) to our B&B in Padstow. A great big thank you to Ian, Julie and her family for sharing the afternoon with us!

The Padstow Harbor.
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South West Coast Path: Hillside Reunion

We had a bit of beach walking this morning.

Another beautiful day greeted us as we set off to our next stop – Crackington Haven. With a short 10 mile walk, we hoped for an early arrival, allowing us to do some much needed laundry. We zipped along at a pretty fair clip for most of the morning until the rolling green fields gave way to the all too familiar ups and downs.

Reg reaches the midway point on his climb up from the steep, rocky descent snaking down the opposite hillside.
There are times when it’s impossible to see where the trail goes.

What we did know about today’s trail was that, at the end of the day, it would lead us to a reunion with our dear friend Ian, whom we met several years ago while walking the Camino de Santiago. He’d booked a room in our Crackington Haven hotel, driven from his Oxford home and met us on the trail, lifting our spirits and escorting us down to where a cold drink and a hot shower awaited.

Our reunion with Ian took place when he intercepted us on a hillside not far from Crackington Haven.
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South West Coast Path: A Ten-Hour Workout

Because we wanted an early start this morning, we ordered a breakfast tray that was delivered to our room last night.

We hit the trail at 7:30 this morning in anticipation of what our guidebook described as “one of the hardest days of the path.” We left Hartland Quay just as the sun was rising, and set our sights on Bude, 15 miles away.

This was one of our first descents.

We continued on, racking up a total of 10 major descents, crossing creeks that flowed into the ocean. For every drop in elevation, the path climbed right back up the other side of the ravine, leaving us huffing and puffing most of the day.

At the end of the day, according to our guidebook, we had conquered 4,500 feet of ascent… and as everyone knows, what goes up, must come down! The math makes my feet hurt. We have never, on any of our treks, experienced such elevation gain and loss in any one day. But we did it today, and now that this day is nearly behind us, we will sleep well, hoping that this was the hardest day for us.

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South West Coast Path: Westward Ho!

No, we’re not heading home just yet. Westward Ho!, our stop for the night, was named for Charles Kingsley, the 19th century author of the novel Westward Ho!. The exclamation point is always included, punctuating the seaside resort town with an expectation of excitement.

Golfers at the Royal North Devon Golf Club must share the course with flocks of sheep and a herd of horses.
This is a GPS screenshot of of our route today. We walked from the bed icon on the right, up the River Torridge, then back down the other side, wrapping our way around to Westward Ho!, where we are now relaxing (literally) at the bed on the left.

We’ve passed many harbors and rivers at low tide, so we were excited to finally see the effects of the high tide. As the tide came in, the River Torridge water levels rose, floating all the boats and creating an idyllic scene…at least until the tide raced out again, leaving boats grounded, waiting for the cycle to begin again.

Today was the last of our easy, flat days for near future. Tomorrow we will again follow the contours of the coastal cliffs. The guidebook warns of steep ups and down. Can’t wait!

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#6 – Favorite Photo Countdown 2018

The colors splashed across Oregon’s Painted Hills in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument took our breath away.

Runner-up

A contrasting landscape of color and vegetation greeted us from an Italian mountaintop.
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