Amsterdam Day 2

On the second day in Amsterdam we visited the Stedelijk Museum as covered by my previous post. After this we went and had lunch in Vondel Park. It is a beautiful open space with ornamental lakes, wild parrots and plenty of dog walkers.

Red light

Pigeon

Gravel

Flag

Neil

Red

Twig

Twig2

The Horniman Museum and Gardens

Sunday 8th December, Reiss and I ventured to a museum in London called The Horniman Museum and Gardens. We weren’t sure what we were expecting to see but I was delighted by the range and scope of this museum. The gardens include a small petting zoo and an allotment. The Museum itself houses a taxidermy wing, and assortment of curiosities, a music wing, a photography exhibition and an aquarium.

All of the grounds and exhibitions are free to enter except a small fee of £3 per person for the aquarium, for the upkeep of the tanks. We spent around 3/4 hours here and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Greenhouse and clocktower

Greenhouse

Bird

Rodent

My favourite thing in the museum was the jellyfish tank in the aquarium. They were beautiful and mesmerising.

Jellyfish 1

Jellyfish 2

Jellyfish 3

A Lonely Walk

At the moment I am signed off work and cannot go to public places. Im starting to get a little cabin fever so I decided to go for a walk around my local nature reserve. I know the walks where your not likely to see anyone. For my birthday I got a new lens the 55mm – 250mm and some of my shots were experimental with this new lens.

Firstly I walked to The Plotlands, the museum is called Little Haven and is a house that was used originally as holiday homes for wealthy Londoners and then as shelters for children during the air raids. Although it was closed you can still go into the gardens. I found a wheel barrow full of glass bottles.

Bottles

Bottles 2

Through the window I could see this medicine cabinet, I love the vintage advertising.

Medicine cabenet

soap copy

I walked from here through a pathway that is seldom used. I had forgotten why. It has the remains of other Plotland houses that have collapsed to the right of the path. There was a keep out sign, but I ignored that.

I only scratched the surface of this area as I didn’t have a respirator and the air quality was poor. I will be going back.

fallen house

Jacket

Bread

Next I walked over to the lake. The usual stuff here but I did pluck up the courage to venture through the cow field on my own. Reiss you should be proud!

Mallard 2

Cow

Cows 2

From the top of the lake and up the hill, there is an amazing view of the landscape between Langdon Hills and London. As the crow flies, The City Of London is about 30  miles.

view copy

Hedingham Castle & Gardens

On Bank Holiday Monday, Reiss and I decided that a trip was long over due. The weather looked rather good, so we decided to check out a Norman Keep called Hedingham Castle.

After an hour and a half drive, we pull in to find a confused boy holding a sign saying disabled parking but not really pointing it in any direction. So we went and parked in what we thought was the over flow carpark. Others followed so we thought hey ho, everythings fine. The Gardens look rather impressive and the keep was looming behind us. We realised rather quickly that there was some form of jousting day going on with archery, an artist carving wood with a chain saw and birds of prey. We go to walk in and are asked for tickets, obviously we have none and were asked to stand aside. A few more people came up who also didnt have tickets as there was clearly a mix up at the gate. So we were taken directly into the castle to pay. On the leaflets it stated that it was £7.50 each, the gentleman in front of me was charged £12.50 each. I was slightly shocked at this price. Whilst standing in the queue I noticed a second queue had formed the other side of the till as we were in the shop. Instead of serving me next the woman behind the counter went to them. Reiss pulled me to the side and we went straight into the castle free of charge. We were there for about 3 hours, we saw everything the castle and grounds had to offer and even had a picnic by the lake, no one was any the wiser. It certainly wouldnt have been worth £12.50 and im not entirely convinced it would have been worth £7.50. All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon out and I got a few photos that I was happy with.

Castle

Flag

By the lake there was so absolutely enormous doc leaves. The sun was shining through them. I didn’t realise that doc leaves have such big spikes on them!

Dock leaves

There was a small outbuilding that was open and looked neglected and abandoned. The inside looked very strange indeed. I would love to know the purpose of this building. It was a little gem for us, photography wise.

Window

Rubble

Holes

Rubble 2

On the floor was this perfectly preserved beautiful butterfly, very hard to photograph as the like was very dim.

Butterfly

I loved the handle to the outbuilding. Beautiful.

Handle

An enjoyable afternoon, made better by the fact that it was free!

Rome – Day 1

I haven’t posted in a very long time. However, I recently went on a trip to Rome and seized my chance at getting into my photography again. I was there for 4 days and will post 4 times to split it up, as there are a lot.

I went with my friend Becka and there was not an inch of Rome that we didn’t explore. On arrival we were given a map, similar to the one below and we decided to split our days accordingly.

Tuesday:

  • Spanish Steps
  • Piazza Del Popola
  • Roma Parco
  • Bioparco Di Roma

Wednesday:

  • The Vatican
  • St Peters Square and Basilica
  • The Vatican Museums
  • The Sistine Chapel

Thursday:

  • Colosseum
  • The Roman Forum
  • The Gladiator Training Ground

Friday:

  • Trevvi Fountain
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • Maria Margorie

rome-map

We were based just outside of Maria Maggorie, so was only a short walk from most things. However it was 34 degrees and we did get very hot and bothered. First we visited The Spanish Steps, they are called this as the Spanish Embassy is located here. It consists of a church, bell tower, steps and a fountain.

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps 2

When we were sitting at the fountain, a butterfly landed on Becka’s phone and my camera. It wasn’t bothered by us at all.

butterfly

Round the corner from the steps was another monument, not on the map but still very interesting. There are a lot of obelisks in Rome, Cleopatra must have had a lot of influence.

Praying man

scribe

From here we walked along towards the Piazza Del Popola. Along the way we were passing shops that we could only dream of going into. Tucked away in a recess I found this man and thought him fascinating.

fountain

We made it to the Piazza, this houses the famous statue of Romulus and Remus. Romulus being the founder of Rome.

Romulus

Romulus 2

Romulus 3

In the middle of the Piazza there is another obelisk and it is surrounded by 4 Lions, all of which are fountains.

Lion

Behind the Piazza are some steps into the park, this is the highest point in Rome apart from The Cupola of The Vatican. Even the steps are mounted with sphinxes.

Sphinx

The view from the top was quite spectacular, my first look at The Vatican.

The vatican

We then went and explored the largest park in Rome, there was Segways for hire as well as go carts, places to eat, a boating lake, a fountain to dip your feet in, a Roman theater as well as the Roman version of The Globe we chose to visit the Zoo. I am not usually one for Zoo’s but Becka loves them. This zoo was open air and the fences and enclosures were quite low and were not intrusive in anyway which put me at ease.

We were greeted by these little fellows, much to Becka’s delight.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pig

We made a discovery whilst in this zoo, the squawk of Kevin from Up is that of a peacock. This particular peacock loved his photo being taken and couldn’t get closer to me if he tried.

Peacock

I saw many animals, here are a few of my favourite photos.

Monkey 2

Monkey 1

Bears

Camel 1 Camel 2 Elephant

There was also a reptile house, I really enjoyed this part, minus the cockroaches.

Aligator

snake

An absolutely packed and amazing first day.

Stonehenge

For our journey back we decided to visit Stonehenge to break up the driving time. To be completely honest, both Reiss and I felt a little strange at visiting some stones. The draw is how and why they got there not necessarily the structure itself. I found it slightly underwhelming and was disappointed by how touristy it was. Especially coaches full of holiday goers. It also didn’t help that the day was overcast and just plain grey! I was also disappointed but resigned to the fact that you can no longer touch or stand in the stones. However, it did break up the drive and was interesting to find out that the stones came from Wales and were transported by sea and land.

Henge 1

Henge 2

Henge 3

Henge 4

Well because it was such a grey day, I decided on some moody shots.

Henge b+w 1

Henge b+w 2

Henge b+w 3

Just so all you readers out there can appreciate how hard it was to get a good clear shot I have decided to put this last picture in.

Tourists

Day 4 – Kynance Cove

We decided on a visit to the National Trust site of Kynance Cove on our last full day in Cornwall and then we would go further round to the more famous Lizard Point. Again, this wasn’t that far from our location and a quick car journey had us there in no time. We parked and walked passed the sign that said viewing area. We were greeted with the most stunning views I have ever witnessed in this country. The grins on both our faces must have been spectacular!

Kynance Cove 2

Cove 1

Cove 3

Cove 2

Kynance Cove 3

Cove 4

After literally dragging ourselves away from the cliff edge, we started to walk down to the cove itself. It has been left with natural walk ways rather than paths and very steep steps cut into the rocks, so it was quite precarious.

Kynance stream

Part way down into the cove we found this stream that fed into a lagoon which was also fed by the sea. It was quite strange but beautiful.

Stream

Stones

The beach was very pebbly and I came across this, which made me smile.

Waves 1

The current was very strong here and the waves were crashing loudly!

Waves 2

After Reiss had got himself very wet (by not anticipating a large wave) we decided to go back to the car and eat our sandwiches, then drive the 2 mins further round to Lizard point. We parked and paid in the appointed car park to walk 5 mins further and find a FREE car park! What we then found can only be described as a run down, disheveled dump! The pier itself has been covered by fallen cliff face. The old lifeboat buildings have been abandoned and weather eroded. There was a gift shop that stated it was ‘the most southern gift shop’. The Lighthouse was closed. The views were no where near as amazing as Kynance Cove. It was very disappointing, the only upside was seeing a Hawk perched on a crevice and watching it take flight!

Due to this disappointment we went back to Pentire and decided to climb the hill in front of where we were staying. We took a flask of tea and some cookies. This redeemed the afternoon as the views were much better than The Lizard.

View 1~

View 2~

Day 3 – Gweek Seal Sanctuary

For day 3 we had arranged tickets for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. It is based in a little village called Gweek, which was about 20 minutes away and after some more precariously narrow roads we arrived.

The seals that are kept here are either being nursed back to rehabilitation, or are long term residents due to injuries that have left them unable to fend for themselves. Some are retired seals from zoos across the country.

Seal 1

Seals

These two were both partially sighted and very old. Never the less they were still gorgeous and with a lot of personality.

Sealion 3

One of the enclosures allowed you to see into the water through a concave window. The sea lions in here were very energetic and loved showing off. This particular one kept deliberately swimming across the window.

Sealion 2

Reiss and Sealion

Sealion 1

Penguin 1

As well as the seals there were 4 resident penguins, they also had a window through the water but they were a lot less co operative!

Penguin 2

Otters 1

These two are Asian otters and are the smallest of their kind. Other breeds can grow to up to 150cm which is as tall as me! 😦 Their names are Starsky and Hutch and they were very playful and loving. One of them kept juggling and catching a stone in his mouth. Very clever animals.

Otters 2

After we had finished at the sanctuary we decided to have our lunch in Gweek. Only sandwiches, but it was a fairly warm day and it was a really pretty village.

Reiss found a rope swing. It really really hurt, but was still good fun 🙂

Gweek 1

Gweek 2

We wanted to go into the harbor but you needed to gain a permit. This was a shame because we both felt there would be some good photos to be had.

When we were on our way into Helston we noticed a lot of farmland had some unusual architecture, so on the way back from Gweek we stopped to take a look.

Chimney 1

Chimney 2

Back where we were staying along our unmade track were a lot of farmers fields. At least three of them were dedicated to the growing of daffodils. Absolutely stunning were the views of these vast fields of yellow.

Daffodils

When we got back to the cottage I decided that the sky was looking rather fabulous and took these two photos of our wonderful view.

View 1

View 2

Day 2 – Pentire Barn

Day 2 of our trip we decided to explore the picturesque surroundings of where we were staying. The night before we had precariously driven down an unmade single track in trepidation. As soon as we caught sight of where we would be staying it didn’t matter anymore. It was beautiful. The surroundings and the accommodation.

We stayed at The Lower Pentire Barn. This was situated on the Carminowe Creek which is joined to the river Loe and The Loe Bar. We rambled around this area for 4 hours walking a distance of about 14km there and back.

Cottage 3

This is the view of our cottage from across the creek.

Carminowe Creek

Cottage 2

Showing where the river joins the creek.

River Loe 2

Looking from the beach of Loe Bar back towards the river.

Loe Bar

We climbed to the cliff top to continue our walk round to the woods. Reiss looking out to sea…

Loe Bar 2

The woods on the other side of the river were very dense with some unusual trees.

Woods 2

Woods

River Loe

Our cottage was equipped with a log burner which we made use of every night. It is surprising at how efficient they are. Considering the cottage had stone floors and walls the fire kept us nice and toastie and replaced the t.v. Instead of watching a film we watched the fire and played cards or Monopoly.

Fire 5

Fire 4

Fire 3

Fire 1

I have fallen in love with The Lower Pentire Barn and cannot wait to return.

Day 1 – The Eden Project

Reiss and I have just recently taken a short trip to Cornwall. From where we live in Essex to Helston (where we stayed) was about a 6.5 hour drive. To try and break this up a bit we decided to go to the Eden Project on the way there.

Biomes2

Although both of us felt that Kew Gardens in London have a wider range and is on a larger scale, The Eden Project was still worth the visit. We began by clearly disregarding all queues and just walking in (we had pre paid, but even still no one stopped us or asked us for tickets) and then began our adventure into the Rainforest Biome.

Rainforest 2

Immediately the climate change hits you and your camera lens. It is extremely close and humid, it took about half an hour of constantly cleaning my lens before it acclimatised.  However, some of the effects on the pictures were quite interesting.

Rainforest 3

This platform was 50m up from the forest floor. It is suspended by wire from the top of the biome, this made it extremely wobbly. Only 24 people are allowed up at a time. You can see through the floor and the stairs on the way up but it was surprisingly not scary.

Rainforest 5

The biomes themselves were really interesting and made some amazing patterns. They really stand out next to all of the foliage.

Waterfall

This biome was complete with waterfall to add even more moisture into the mix.

Waterfall 2

From here we went to the Mediterranean Biome. Which we thought would be a hot climate for cacti etc. However it was just pleasant in temperature. There was a pasty competition going on all day in this biome with live music from The Wurzels.

Mediterranean

There was a lot of unusual characters in this biome.

Mediterranean 2

Mediterranean 5

Mediterranean 6

Mediterranean 7

I found this guy amongst some tulips!

Mediterranean 3

Tulip

These were the only plant life as such that I found of interest in this climate, although I loved the smell of the orange groves. Unfortunately I am unable to capture the smell. 😦

Mediterranean 8

I found this rather large character outside. Due to the time of year the outside was mainly in hibernation. During spring and summer I am sure it is a wonderful sight.

Bumble bee

The domes themselves are really interesting and made for some strange shapes.

Biomes1

Overall a good visit, it broke up our traveling and was a good first day for our trip.