Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheer: Indulge

Happy New Years!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cheer: O Come

Every so often, I'll take a photograph that I am not only in love with, but that I think is an amazing work of art...and that sentiment is felt as humbly as is possible. The photo below (which has nothing to do with Christmas) that I snapped today while wondering the arts district in Dallas is one of these photos, and I couldn't help but share it.

Thank you for indulging me. And be sure to check out my last post below from our Scotland trip last year.

Our final day in Scotland

We didn't have any set plans for our last full day in Scotland except to end up in Glasgow at the end of the night. Our fake-Scotsman host in Dumfries mentioned a castle just outside of the city that was worth a visit, so we headed there in the morning.

Unfortunately, our lack-of-castle-seeing luck was in full sway.

The countryside surrounded the entrance was gorgeous, however.

We then headed back into Glasgow and decided to see the main cathedral that was closed on our first day.

It was in the process of being renovated, but it was still beautiful to explore.

This huge cemetery was just outside the cathedral on a hill. Unfortunately, we didn't climb the hill to explore it. I think I was feeling sick or something?

With one more night to spend in Scotland, we decided to drive back up to Stirling, which ended up being our favorite place we visited. Again, since it was getting dark, this photo of Stirling Castle from below was the only picture we managed while we were there.

The next morning we left Glasgow on a super early flight leaving Scotland behind us wanting to come back another time to visit during the summer months to see it in its green form. Perhaps one day...

And lastly, I leave you with the last photo I snapped in Scotland: Matt eating a Kinder Bueno in our B&B in Glasgow. Glorious.

I think it's become tradition to photograph Matt while eating Kinder Buenos when we travel. I like it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheer: Lit

More Scotland photos below!

In Ruins: Melrose & Dumfries

We left Edinburgh heading south to the border region of Scotland and stopped at Melrose Abbey, which sadly lies in ruins.

We paid for an audio tour, which took us all around the Abbey and had tons of information about the Cistercian monks who inhabited it for almost 500 years.

I want to leave this post light on descriptions and let all of our photos do the talking. I'll simply say that Melrose Abbey was my favorite site in Scotland we visited. The ruins were exceptionally beautiful, especially covered in snow, and even though it made me incredibly sad to see it in ruins, this lifeless abbey still left a deep imprint inside of me.

One last note on the photo below: Supposedly, the heart of Robert the Bruce was found buried at Melrose Abbey and was then reburied in this spot with a placard.

We left Melrose and drove through a mountainous region to reach Dumfries.

And we encountered sheep along the way, including the guy below who I quickly stepped out of the car to photograph.

We stopped briefly in Dumfries and headed out to Sweetheart Abbey, which is also in ruins. Unfortunately, it was getting dark and photographs were impossible to take. This one I took of Matt was the only one that turned out.

We went back into Dumfries for the night, ate dinner at a warm, inviting pub, and slept in a B&B that was run by what we're pretty sure is an American dude who seemed to regularly wear a kilt (note: this is not normal), sounded like he got his accent from repeated viewings of Braveheart, and said "Aye!" at the end of every sentence. We imagined that he might have been the guy all the true Scotsmen down at the local pub laughed at.

Tomorrow, I will be posting the last of our photos from our final day in Scotland!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheer: "Spirit! Remove me from this place."

Wonderful Edinburgh

The city of Edinburgh was bustling and charming that day despite the unseasonably cold temperatures.

We walked up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle first thing in the morning and passed Adam Smith along the way.

Edinburgh Castle, while impressive, wasn't as amazing as we expected. Because it's still a working castle, it didn't feel as ancient and culturally rich as most of the other castles we visited.

What we loved about the castle was its location. Up on a hill, it provided a fantastic view of Edinburgh.

Matt particularly loved the smoke coming out of the chimneys and the steeples that dotted the city.

We joined a group at the castle and received a comprehensive tour, saw the crown jewels, and then continued wandering Edinburgh. The castle was also an impressive site from below.

We wandered into St. Giles' Cathedral for a bit.

Unfortunately, point and shoot cameras are not on your side when shooting indoors with poor lighting. However, we both managed to get a few workable shoots of the cathedral from the inside.

We found more churches

and beautiful monuments along side carnival rides set up for the Scottish Hogmanay celebration on New Year's Eve.

We climbed Calton Hill near the end of the "day" for different view of Edinburgh. In the picture below is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official monarch residence in Scotland.

On Calton hill sat many monuments, including this one named the National Monument.

This monument was modeled after the Parthenon but, obviously, never finished. It actually looked rather strange and out of place.

More views of Edinburgh from Calton Hill:

Tomorrow, I will be posting about our drive down to the border town of Dumfries, including the most beautiful set of ruins we saw in Scotland. Stay tuned!