A city walk in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
I visit Newcastle so often I no longer consider myself a tourist, though local Geordies may disagree! But I recently saw it anew through the eyes of tourists when I hosted a group of former Virtual Tourist members for a weekend meeting in the city.
Buildings three ways (three of a kind)
Every picture tells a story. But sometimes it’s useful to have more than one picture to expand on the narrative. If one picture can tell a story, what more can three tell us? Here I’ve chosen to focus on some impressive buildings I’ve visited around the world. I’ll show you the overall appearance, share a detail that caught my eye and introduce you to a person or people I saw there. Hopefully this will bring these buildings to life in a way a single image could never do.
The great fort of Bebbanburg
One of the grandest sights on the Northumbrian coastline is that of Bamburgh Castle. It is a view that I never tire of. The castle stands on a massive outcrop of rock and towers over the sands below. Unlike many castles on this coast, it is still a family home, and thus far more complete than the ruins elsewhere. It is truly an impressive sight.
Gallery: feathered friends in threes
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Gallery: one small thing
When our first lockdown was introduced in March 2020 I knew I was going to find the coming weeks (as I naively thought then!) rather tough. I would miss my social life, my cinema visits, my travels and little treats such as coffee or breakfast in our favourite local haunts. I also knew that I would be helped enormously by focusing on the smaller pleasures of life: a sunset, a pretty flower, birdsong, a message from a friend …
Wat Phou: walking in the footsteps of the king
Wat Phou is a pre-Angkorian Khmer Hindu temple at the foot of Mount Phou Khao. The Khmer chose this site because the unusual shape of the mountain peak seemed to them to resemble a Shiva linga. Today it was so hazy that the peak was hard to make out, but we had seen it yesterday in the late afternoon sunlight.
‘While you were watching TV’
On the slopes of Sandia Peak, above Albuquerque in New Mexico, we found a most unusual sight. As soon as I read about this quirky museum I knew that it was a ‘must see’. We both love those idiosyncratic places that seem to define a US road trip for us; and this is one of the best we have come across.
Gallery: in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala
There’s a clue in the name! The Cardamom Hills in Kerala are famous for the growing of their namesake spice and many others besides. Peppercorns, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and more are grown on the small farms here. But also coffee and different fruits such as banana, avocado and jack fruit.
Gallery: the Very Large Array
The massive radio telescopes of the Very Large Array, 27 of them, rise majestically out of New Mexico’s vast, otherwise almost empty, Plains of San Augustin like visitors from another world. But these are not visitors from another world, but searchers for such a world.
Gallery: some street art in London’s Brick Lane
Brick Lane, in London’s East End, was once among the poorest slums in the capital. It takes its name from the 15th century brick and tile production based in this area. Like all poor city districts it became a magnet for various groups of immigrants over the centuries. First Jews, then French Huguenots, then Irish established communities here over the centuries, and later Bangladeshi-Sylheti immigrants settled here and made the street famous for its restaurants.