Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tower in Trees

I warned of the potential for many pictures of the Eiffel Tower…Here is yet another of the forewarned views.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cadbury Castle

This is the path to the top of Cadbury Castle...aka...ancient hill fort from late bronze to early iron age of some historical importance (John Leland in 1542 contends that this castle was King Arthurs Camelot) but now it is simply a pretty place to hike and a pasture for farm animals. Just to be clear there is no castle here. Simply a hill with an incredible view with obvious modifications that would have provided a very good defense to anyone residing on top. Just a reminder that no matter how powerful you think you have made something it may eventually end up as nothing more than a pitstop for animals. How the mighty can fall.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Church and State

Here is another view of the Château de Pierrefonds just outside of Paris. We paddled a giant swan around this lake (Actually Rick and Mac paddled and me and Chelsie sat in the back taking pictures and cracking jokes) and then enjoyed eating some wonderful crepes as we sat on a patio at the edge of the water. All this with relatively few tourists (besides us) to destroy the experience. Sorry Paris, I think I enjoyed the ambience of Pierrefonds better.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Avebury Lawn Crew

Avebury is a large stone circle very close to its very famous neighbor Stonehenge. In many ways I preferred Avebury over Stonehenge. First, its huge. So big that there is actually a village that was built in the middle of the stone circle. Second, you can walk right up to the stones unlike at Stonehenge. Third, you can be there whenever you want and you don't have to worry about getting kicked out at closing. (though my rental car almost got locked in a parking lot over night but instead they left a nice note asking me to close the gate on my way out) Finally they hired this wonderful landscaping crew that mows all the grounds for free which helps keep entrance fees way down. Just watch your step as you explore. (Pictures of the actual stones forthcoming)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Parliamentary Gloom

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

River Tweed

One legend states that the magician Merlin was buried on the banks of the River Tweed close to the village of Drumelzier in Scotland under a thorn tree. (I never found out what a thorn tree was but I assume it was similar to those bushes across the river. They are brilliant orange and all over Scotland) One of Scotland's prophets, Thomas the Rhymer or Michael Scot (it's not known who exactly) even made a prophecy concerning the location of Merlin's grave. The prophecy claimed that when the River Tweed and the River Powsail met at Merlin's grave, Scotland and England would have one Monarch. This came true in 1603 when Scotland and England were first united under James VI of Scotland (James I of England) on the very same day that the river Tweed overflowed its banks and met the river Powsail at the site of Merlin's Grave. This is the River Tweed just as it enters the village of Drumelzier. Is this the legendary site? Not a clue. But I'll give it this, it was a wonderful place to spend the morning photographing and also reported to be a great place to go fishing as well.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Eildons

This is Scotts View of the Eildon Hills. The name Scotts View comes from this being the purported favorite viewpoint of Sir Walter Scott. So much so that legend has that as his funeral procession passed this spot on the way to Dryburgh Abbey for burial his horses stopped out of habit. In regards to the Eildons, Scott tells the tale of Thomas the Rhymer who is taken inside the hill only to meet a sleeping King Arthur and his nights. Thomas fails a test and is ejected from the mountain and dies from exhaustion after telling his story to some shepherds. I also met a cool old military guy here who sat and talked to me about military life and photography for about an hour.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Arthurs Seat

I loved Scotland. I want to get up into the highlands really bad which leaves the possibility of liking Scotland even more. The Edinburgh area alone is enough to justify my love for Scotland. I made two separate trips there while I was in Europe over a 5 week period. During the second trip I went and hiked around on Arthurs Seat. Arthurs Seat is the main peak of a grouping of hills within Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. It was a simple landscape but was also absolutely stunning. Even has some cool history relative to those of the LDS faith. If you are ever in Edinburgh go hike around Arthurs Seat. You won't regret it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tour Eiffel II

I hope the few people who follow this blog don't mind the Eiffel Tower because I fear I may end up posting several images of it. It is such a prominent landmark it was easy to keep letting myself be drawn to it visually. I still have more film to develop so I'm sure I will end up with with more. Funny that the Parisians initially were skeptical about it and wanted to tear it down only for it to be saved due to it use as a very effective radio antenna. Hitler even ordered it to be torn down when the Germans occupied Paris during World War II. (Luckily not all of his ordered were obeyed) Now it would be hard to imagine Paris without it. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kings Knot

This is the Kings Knot below Stirling Castle in Scotland. An earthwork that has taken on different forms and has been written about as far back as 1375 by the Scot poet John Barbour. Its present form is said to date to around 1620 when renovations were made for Charles I. Locals refer to it as the cup and saucer but legend refers to this as the sight of King Arthurs round table. Recent research concludes that the mound in the center is built over a circular wooden structure that is considerably older. Let round table speculation begin anew.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

King of the Who?

If you are a Monty Python fan you may recognize this castle. It is Doune Castle in Scotland and was used for many scenes in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This is where King Arthur and Patsy first met the French soldiers that hurled insults as well as the sight for the musical number Knights of the Round Table (A few of us may or may not have sung and danced to that number while in the great hall)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Camlet Moat

Camlet Moat lies in what was the Royal Hunting Forest of Enfield Chase within what is now Trent Park. Camlet Moat is basically a small square shaped island surrounded by water except for a small bridge. The purpose of the moat is unknown with proposed possibilities ranging from protection to sanitation to decoration. This particular moat gets its fame from either being haunted by the ghost of a twelfth century knight named Geoffrey de Mandeville or from having a name so similar to Camelot which in turn gave rise to Arthurian legend.

What I actually found really great about Camlet Moat is how protected and isolated I felt from the insanity of the huge city in which it was located. We took the tube from Hyde Park in London and ended up a few minutes walk from this spectacular forested area. It is the first time I felt that I had ever experienced what I would term nature within a large city. The serenity was almost palpable. It is moments and places like this that make me realize how important I truly find the unadulterated landscape. Even here where the hand of man is obvious it has since been reclaimed by nature and the peace has returned. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tower Bridge

Another beautiful sunset classroom setting whilst in London. (I use the term sunset loosely since actually seeing the sun was more of an anomaly) This class was held at the Tower Bridge. This is where some of my students decided that a collection cup should be put out whenever I pulled out my large format camera to photograph. I should have actually tried it. As much attention as that camera got this night I might have been able to buy the students dinner for the evening.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mitchell's Fold Stone Circle

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Merlins Stallion

Speaking of magic, welcome to the Château de Pierrefonds. This will be recognized by many as Camelot from the BBC TV series Merlin. This place was truly magical. My tip to all that travel: make time to visit areas that aren't on the must see lists for tourists. This place was far more magical than most places I visited in Paris. In Paris I didn't feel as free to soak in where I was because most sites have become mere spectacles overrun with throngs of other tourists trying to experience/share on social media pictures of themselves in front of/talk really loudly/etc. Here at Pierrefonds the few tourists we encountered were speaking french. We ate crepes on the edge of a lake with this large castle looming above. We then paddled a swan around the Lilly filled lake. Then we pulled out cameras and started to explore. The magic of Merlin was here.

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