Travel Plans

UK – Realization of a Lifelong Dream

By on May 4, 2014
london, tower bridge, blue hour, uk city breaks
Tower Bridge – Blue hour

While the nearest I’ve been to Britain is through movies and pictures, I much prefer going there through another route, books – through short stories, poems and other forms of literature. Well, it could be the old English countryside but it is nonetheless vividly described with such romanticism and charm; they’ve become places where I always want getting lost to. My companion while I travel were Wuthering Heights on the Moorish marsh, The Other Boleyn Girl while admiring the rural landscape of medieval England, Tintern Abbey through the banks of the River Wye and of course, Sherlock Holmes through the streets of old London. All these and many other books depicting the British landscape had instilled in me the longing to walk on those cobblestones and see the beauty of patchwork quilt of green fields with my own eyes.

Imagine the hysteria I caused when hubby told me to browse for UK city breaks that we can book for on  a  semester break – I was like an attention-deprived toddler screaming my heart out for a lollipop!

stonehenge, uk city breaks
photo via pinterest

In my head I am already planning where to go, what to do – first, to be inspired by some of the world’s greatest works of art, we’d go visiting: David Hockney at the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, and Salts Mill in Yorkshire, William Tate at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, John Constable at the National Gallery in London, LS Lowry at the Lowry in Salford, Greater Manchester and most of all JMW Turner at the Petworth House in Petworth in West Sussex.

And what about installations and creations of Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko? We’ll visit Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, Tate Britain, London, and Tate Modern, London to see their works…for free!

But, with just a short stay it would be impossible to do everything in one go. I still have to convince hubby for at least 2 weeks of hopping here and there to have everything else done. There are a lot of other whyfors the UK is a top tourist destination, aside from the arts as cited.

Second, and needless to say, photography is one of the other reason why I love to travel in general. That I am able to take a chunk of reality in that particular moment that may never happen again through photos is my motivation. So where are the most picturesque places in the UK for perfect photos? Here’s my list:

Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Still an awe to this day, the prehistoric monument has baffled every visiting individual at how our ancestors were able to carry these humongous stones at where they stand now.

Tower Bridge at Night, London. This bascule and suspension bridge over the River Thames is most picturesque at dusk.

The Jurassic Coast, Dorset. One of Britain’s many World Heritage Site worth visiting in this lifetime. It is consisted of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous cliffs, spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting million years of geological history. How could one say no to this piece of creation?

Seven Sisters, Sussex. A series of chalk cliffs by the English Channel, occurring naturally as a result of erosion. This is living proof that yes, our Creator knows and has crafted his masterpieces well.

Isle of Harris, Scotland. Talk about an oxymoron of sorts in the most beautiful sense. White-sand beaches spectacularly laid out in front of views of snow-peaked mountains in the distance.

Wastwater Lake, Cumbria. England’s deepest lake and coincidentally the title of the play my daughter takes part in.

Castles? Here’s a list: Warwick Castle in Warwirckshire, Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, Leeds Castle in Kent, the Tower of London in London, Cardiff Castle in Wales and of course, Windsor Castle in Berkshire where the queen resides. I am sure there’s a lot more to list down, with 400 to be found only in Wales, even a whole month won’t be enough to see all.

Wheew! A short-stay will definitely not suffice to see the grandeur that is Britian, there’s still so many to see and there’s so little space in this humble blog to list all of them. But, you know what I really want to see the most? Jane Austen’s House in Hampshire. You can never just make a hopeless romantic forget her heroines.

london eye at night
London Eye at night.

photos courtesy of: http://travellers-stories.com/

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Travel Plans

Top 5 Things to See in Tangier

By on May 24, 2013
Hercules caves
Hercules’ caves by http://www.flickr.com/photos/divadhar/

Tangier is one of the most interesting holiday destinations in Morocco. The area is a cultural melting pot, offering a mix of African, French and Spanish flavour. Tangier is a thriving port, but it is far from commercialised. If you want to get an authentic taste of Morocco, stay away from the tourist traps and head to Tangier instead. Here is a quick look at a few of the most interesting activities in the area.

The Hercules Caves
Less than fifteen miles outside of Tangier you will find the Hercules Caves. According to ancient mythology, these caves were the place where Hercules would come when he needed to rest. When the tide is low, you can go inside the caves and enjoy a spectacular view of the sea. The caves are partly natural and partly man-made and are of huge archaeological importance.

Grand Socco
The Grand Socco is a large market square in the heart of Tangier. The square is full of cafes, restaurants, stalls and shops. There are musicians, snake charmers and entertainers at every corner. This is a good place to come if you want to get a flavour for the cultural history of the city.

The Museum of Moroccan Arts
The Museum of Moroccan Arts is a large museum full of traditional Moroccan textiles and handicrafts. The building itself is a beautifully designed Byzantine structure and the collection of textiles on display is huge. Unfortunately, most of the information signs in the museum are printed in French, which makes the displays difficult for non-French speakers to appreciate.

The Kasbah
The Kasbah is the highest point in Tangier and it is a must-visit location. From the Kasbah you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Gibraltar Straits and even see part of Spain. This is a rare opportunity to see two continents (Africa and Europe) at the same time.

TANJAzz
TANJAzz is Tangier’s annual international jazz festival. The festival’s dates differ each year, but if you are a music lover, it is worth trying to schedule your holiday around the event, which attracts some big-name jazz performers, as well as rising stars.

Before you book a trip to Tangier, it is a good idea to compare prices on cruises and also look at various land tour options as well. The port of Tangier is a great place to visit; it is an evocative place and will give you the chance to enjoy a different side of Morocco without having to deal with the high prices and crowded streets found at the more traditional tourist traps.

Each town in Morocco has its own unique flavour and culture. If you want to get a true taste of the country, why not explore several towns, perhaps heading from Tangier to Chefchaouen or taking the train to Meknes or Fez for a few days. Travel around Morocco is inexpensive, so you should be able to take in several towns and cities even if your budget is quite limited.

View of the Straits of Gibraltar from near the Kasbah, Tangier, Morocco
View of Straits of Gibraltar, photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/67999968@N00/

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