Travel Treasures ~ Acts of Kindness #27

My recent travels opened my eyes to a great deal of beauty, both natural and manmade over centuries past.

But beauty was also right there in the acts of kindness, courtesy and graciousness I witnessed every day.

Such as the cheery “Good morning” and warm “Have a good day”.

Such as the door patiently held open and the simple “After you”.

Such as the orderly queuing and waiting for a turn in crowded loos, fitting rooms, and packed food courts.

Such as the lady who reached the front of a London store fitting room queue after 20 minutes, and told the sales clerk to let a pregnant young woman right at the back take her place, and that she was prepared to trade places.

Or the elderly man in Bath who was ushered into a coffee shop and given a cool drink to escape the 31-degree heat.

Or the endless rows of dog dishes of fresh water in Looe, regularly replenished by shopkeepers, so our canine friends would be happier trotting about in the heat.

Or the Cardiff Castle guides who stayed on to tell their stories past the closing hour.

Or the men and women who offered food and drink to the homeless and hapless in the sudden evening chill.

Or this little lad who toddled forward to drop some money. Then proceeded to join in the performance – his way. The singer was delightful and talented, and won more hearts by singing with him.

Thank you, Britain.

THANKS

I Wander, I Wonder … #8

One of the nicest things about travelling is the unexpected and often endearingly unforgettable little things that you come across.

Here are some of my favourite things. (I’ve always wanted to say that!)

This is Shakespeare’s Wallbook in Stratford-upon-Avon. Every one of his plays is represented in chronological order. You can read more about it here.

Then there’s this gorgeous carousel in Cardiff, Wales.

Here are some of the most amusing traffic signs in London. They are done by Clet Abraham, who is regarded as a menace by some councils, and as an artistic genius by others. He uses vinyl stickers for his art.

And a poignant poem on a train:

And, perhaps the most unexpected of all, two 30-metre tall Kelpie heads seemingly rising out of nowhere, in Falkirk, Scotland. Kelpies are said to be supernatural water horses, each with the strength of 10 horses.

Have a wonderful day!

I Wander, I Wonder … #6

Cardiff Castle, in Wales, may not be as famous as the castles and palaces in Scotland and England but it boasts some spectacular architectural surprises.

The brainchild of architect William Bruges, the almost 200 year old castle has an Arab Room with an ornate gold leaf ceiling, a nursery with fairytale murals and lamps, and exotic animal statues. And these are just a tiny sample of its treasures.

goldleaf ceiling
stained glass windows
part of the mural covering all the walls in the nursery, and a lamp. Can you identify the characters?
mosaic artistry
one of the castle doors
part of the ceiling in the banquet hall. This hall is available for rent.

Believe me, these pictures don’t do any justice to the real thing.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I Wander, I Wonder … #5

Edinburgh, Scotland, may not be as populated as Glasgow, but it does boast some famous historical sites.

This is the faΓ§ade of the Scottish National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle. Doesn’t it look like a winged, horned creature out of a fantasy book?

Lovely stained glass as seen from within the museum.

A cemetery for dogs of soldiers.

Lunch at the Edinburgh Castle Tea Rooms.

The washrooms at Doune Castle are tucked away in this cottage at a corner of the castle grounds.

Have a wonderful day!

I Wander, I Wonder … #4

There really is nothing like a garden of flowers to brighten up a day.

Many flock to William Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to view his home. What struck me more were the gorgeous blooms in the garden.

I am particularly amused by the strategically growing rose by the signboard.

At lunch, it was this unexpected boatload of blooms in the backyard of the pub that made the day!

Have a wonderful day!

I Wander, I Wonder … #3

Check out the fearless feline atop the roof of the Duke of York pub in York, UK. This cat is one of the city’s whimsical sculptures.

http://www.willfieldcameraclub.co.uk/2014/03/photographing-fabulous-york-cat-trail

Here’s a link to a website that provides more information on these cats (there are about 20) and walking tours you can go on to spot them!

http://www.willfieldcameraclub.co.uk/2014/03/photographing-fabulous-york-cat-trail/

The photo below shows part of York Minster. This cathedral is a wonderful representation of the English Gothic period (1230 – 1472).

Or you could, quite literally, end up in the Dog House, which is really a hotdog stand in the market place.

Have a wonderful day!

I Wander, I Wonder … #2

Does anyone recognise this location? Think of young men and women learning to fly on broomsticks in the first of a magical movie series.

Yep! This is part of the quadrangle in Durham Cathedral, UK, one of the locations used in the early Harry Potter movies. Apparently, a portion of the upcoming The Avengers: Infinity Wars movie, due in 2019 (I think), was filmed here in May.

This is a beautiful cathedral with a deep but quiet sense of history. Dating back to 1093, the architecture and stonework have stood the test of time, as has the incredible stained glass Rose Window. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited within the cathedral, so here’s a link if you’d like to know more.

https://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/visit-us

And do keep an eye out for this little guy in the Undercroft Restaurant and CafΓ©!

Have a wonderful day!

Train Ride ~ Act of Kindness #12

WP4 040318
photo credit: jack catterall

This recent weather calls to mind a trip years ago, when the family and I were scheduled on a flight out of Newark to Washington, DC.

That day, it rained. And rained. And rained some more. Some might say the rain was mild compared to what’s happening now, but the impact was no less dramatic.

The Airport was chaos; all flights were cancelled, passengers were frazzled and staff were overwhelmed. We were presented with the option of staying somewhere – no guarantees of a room anywhere – overnight and hopefully get a flight out the next morning, or taking the train.

We chose the train. There was a mad dash to get to the station where, by some miracle, there were five seats left on the train leaving in 17 minutes.

The train arrived and we boarded, after some fumbling with the luggage, with no idea where these miraculous five seats were. We eventually found two seats in one carriage, with one seat in another. The problem was, the two seats were single ones.

Ordinarily, The Man and I would have had no problems sitting separately. But a three-hour journey with a six-year-old? Separated from either parent? With one parent in another carriage? Not an ideal situation.

I plonked The Munchkin into the nearest vacant seat, and prepared to ask if anyone minded swapping seats, beginning with the occupant of The Munchkin’s companion seat. Then the train started moving. And I heard a voice.

“Need a seat together, do you?”

Well, yes please, but who spoke? Several rows down, a gloved hand waved. And a tall man heaved himself out of his seat.

“Well, come on, then. Come sit here so I can go sit over there.”

So the seat swap took place and The Munchkin and I sat together all the way to Union Station.

I will forever be thankful to this complete stranger who made all the difference on this journey. I thanked him then, and I’ll say “thank you” again now.

 

THANKS