The World’s Ten Most Famous Streets

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An interesting article from m Readers Digest.  I have done 3 of 10 listed, Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the Champs Elysees in Paris and Abbey Road in London.  How many have you done?

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

Today I try the newest challenge from WordPress.  The Weekly Photo Challenge : From Lines To Pattern.  I took this photo at St Pancras Station in London, UK.  This is where the Eurostar arrives and departs in London.  A great mixture of old and new.  It is also the station that Harry Potter uses to go to Hogwarts.

St Pancras Station in London, UK
St Pancras Station in London, UK

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

This weeks photo challenge is simply titled, Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea.  Those who follow me know that I have an affinity for the ocean, and may expect a shot of us sailing the Caribbean or something.  Not happening.  The shot I have chosen was taken in Eastbourne, UK in 2008.  Eastbourne is on the English Channel.  We were along the beach, when I noticed Lori’s young cousin standing on a pylon staring off into the sea.  I always liked this picture and am happy to have had this opportunity to post it here.  She captures almost exactly what I feel like when I am on or beside the sea.  The sheer power of the ocean, and the peace it usually has is awe-inspiring and  at the same time, contemplative.

The Nature of the Sea
The Nature of the Sea

Wandering Post Day – Warwick Castle, England

We all love castles.  Waaaay back in 2008, we did a road trip through a bit of southwest England with Lori’s cousins from the UK.  As we tend to move through places based on the book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, and it has yet to steer us wrong, we decided to squeeze in a side trip to Warwick Castle.  We had spent the night in Stratford-On-Avon and were heading to Milton Keynes to meet some friends of Lori’s mother.  Warwick was a bit off path and we did not have a lot of time.

Now I have to make a bit of an admission.  By the time we got there and knowing how much time we needed, we figured out that we could not tour the castle.  We barely had time to get there.  So time to come clean.  We did a drive-by.  Hanging out the window of the car, straining for a glimpse between buildings and trees, we managed to take a couple of quick pictures.  We then decided, good enough, had a major laugh and stroked it off the list.  Not really, as we will be back there someday, but we can at least pretend.  Crazy Canuck tourists.

Nice picture for a drive-by
Nice picture for a drive-by
Note the blurred people
Note the blurred people

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

I see color is the Weekly Photo Challenge, which is not as easy as it sounds.  Do you go subtle, or bold or obvious or even dark.  Many choices to make.  Caribbean blue, tropical green, Canada white, doors, windows, food, flowers.  One of them will work.  Let’s go with a shot of the garden at Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford-On-Avon in England.  We spent the better part of a day there in August 2008.

Anne Hahaways's Garden Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Garden Cottage


Taking A Bath

Way back in 2008, Lori and were on a road-trip through parts of Southwestern England.  We spent a day and a night in this beautiful city on the Avon. Bath, UK is best known for its Roman Baths, from which the city took its name.


This is a shot from poolside.  The water is a mineral hot spring.  Not bad shape for 2000 years old.


This a view from a bit higher up.


Like most cities in Europe, it has a fine cathedral.


Not to mention some distinctly English architecture.  We had an enjoyable day and evening here, with family and friends.  Look forward to passing through again someday.

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Wandering Wednesday – Avebury and Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK


What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it’s all about?

 Avebury and Stonehenge

I am on an English kick, reliving a road trip we took in 2008.  If you are keeping score, I am also on an alpha kick as I trek down the bucket list trail.  Avebury is a UNESCO World Heritage site, not far from Stonehenge.  The main difference between the two is accessibility, and the requirement at Stonehenge to wade through protestors and pseudo Druids, then pay 20 pounds  to walk in a tightly restricted circle around the monument.  In order to get there from Portsmouth, we had to drive right by Stonehenge, so I guess I should post some photos of this icon.  We stopped, BUT, you could pretty much call it a drive by.  The pictures! (note the use of the exclamation point)

This is a picture of the fore-mentioned protestors and Druids.

We think that the Druids changed some anti-protestors into these.  They seemed to want something and were used to humans.

We crossed over the motorway (how English of me) and took a few shots, which saved us 20 quid.

You’d think they would put up a picture barrier of some sort.  It is almost like we were there.  You can see the people in the background bemoaning the fact it cost them 4 beer to get in there.  Yes, beer is pretty expensive in the UK.

Our work is done here, so off to Avebury.  This is different but the same.  There are giant stones scattered about in a seemingly random pattern, the big difference, you can walk among them and truly appreciate the size of the project undertaken by these people.  One also learns to appreciate that sheep poop is pretty much just as sticky on your shoes as most any kind of poop.

This next shot will give you an appreciation on how big these stones are.  Also, note the wild animals.

On a serious note, both are worthy to see, and close enough together to make it a must for both.  I did find Stonehenge interesting, although the crowds and protests and price were turn offs.  Avebury was far more natural, but not as structured.  Wandering through a farmer’s field and dancing around sheep poop was different was more than offset by the proximity of the stones, but it was free and there was a nice restaurant with very cold beer, a major plus for me.

Wandering Wednesday – Arundel Castle, UK

Question Of The Day

Can you get cavities in your dentures if you use too much artificial sweetener?

Arundel Castle

Overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex is Arundel Castle.  In our adventure in England in 2008, we visited this historic castle.  A very imposing place and home to the Duke of Norfolk.  Before we hit the castle, I have to show you what is in the round about on the way into the town of Arundel.  Check out the faces.

Once left the spider people behind, we approached the castle.  As I said, it is a very imposing structure, especially with a thunderstorm approaching.

The grounds were spectacular as well.  The Duke lives here and it is well-tended.  Certain parts of the castle are not viewable.  This is understandable as I know that I have no interest in seeing the Duke’s underwear lying on his bathroom floor or worse.

We left the confines of the living quarters and headed for the ramparts to check out the views.  We got some magnificent scenery both inside and outside the walls.

The English countryside never ceases to amaze me.  We left the castle to explore the grounds.  We found much of interest including the royal lawnmowers.

We also discovered some strange statuary.  Not quite sure what they were, other than big and metallic.

Farther along, I found a perfect photo opportunity.  Unfortunately, I lost that shot in cyberspace somewhere, so I’ll have to substitute this one.

That was enough for the day, time for a cool refreshing beverage, and well deserved.

Wandering Wednesday – Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK


If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?  –  Steven Wright

Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK

Today’s wander involves a trip we took to the UK in 2008.  One of the places we visited was Salisbury.  The town is well-known for its’ cathedral, but there was a certain beauty to it that made us want more.  It is definitely on our places we would like to go back to list.  The place is so very story book English, yet has everything.  Take this picture as an example. Our hotel room had French doors,which I immediately opened and walked out of.  This is what I saw.

A view right of a Thomas Hardy novel, including the swans.  Not much to say, so I’ll just post pictures and give a quick description.

The Rose and Crown is where we stayed.  This picture is the outdoor section of the hotel restaurant.  Pretty nice place to have breakfast.

This is the entrance to the hotel.  This part of the building dates to the 13th century, and the toilets still work.  They don’t build them like they used to.

We headed out for supper and ended up here.  This is the outdoor terrace at the Red Lion in the Hilton Hotel in Salisbury.  A spectacular venue.  It was here that I introduced our English friends to Mexican beer.  They served Corona, which surprised me enough that I had to have a couple, bending my local beer rules for the occasion.

This is the Salisbury Cathedral.  It has several interesting points.  First, the cathedral was built prior to the town, using the “Build it and they will come” theory.  It worked in this case.  The spire is the tallest in the country at 404 feet.  It has the world’s oldest working clock (1386) and contains one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta.  It was also built in only 38 years, meaning the building is one of the few churches in the world of only one consistent architectural style.  Buildings of this size could take generations to complete, which incorporated the architecture of several eras.  It opened in 1258.

A last view of the River Avon looking towards our hotel.  All in all, this was a terrific place to visit, not anything like I expected.  I feel that the one day and night we spent here was not enough and hope to return here at some point in our travels.

Wandering Wednesday – Hever Castle, UK

On our first major excursion, we spent 2 weeks in the UK, visiting family in the southeast area of England.  Being complete noobs, we spent the whole trip in complete awe of everything we saw.  The people we were visiting took us to Hever Castle one day as a quiet day.  We had a pretty hectic schedule, but that in itself is another tale.

Hever Castle

The castle itself is more of a living quarters.  Historically speaking, it has major significance.  It was home to the Boleyn family, notably that of Anne Boleyn.  She was living here when she became Henry the VIII‘s mistress, then wife.

Portrait of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second queen;...
Anne Boleyn

She was one of the wives who literally lost her head over Henry.  The castle is a major museum, with exhibits throughout the structure.  Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside the building.  The picture below is of the entrance to the building.

Going In

Once we were done, we moved onto the grounds, which are beautiful.  This picture is the landing area where a boat from Henry’s navy would land to either pick up Anne and take her to Hampton, or would bring Henry here for a visit.

The grounds are dotted with gardens and mazes. There are also fountains everywhere.  The entire complex is very well kept.

Yew Tree Chess Pieces

These trees date back centuries and have been sculpted to be the pieces of a chess set.  Yew trees are very slow-growing and lend themselves well to such projects.

One of the Garden Areas

This is an example of one of the garden areas.  There is a main area and many smaller ones dotting the grounds.

We left this area and headed off to the Tournament.  For the benefit of tourists, there are regular mock battles conducted on the grounds.  It was quite entertaining to see some jousting and mock hand to hand combat.

My overall impression of Hever Castle is quite positive.  If you are in the SE of England, it is well worth the time to spend a relaxing day at this attraction.

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