We have the wandering bug. When we are on vacation, and especially when we are traveling by ourselves, we tend to explore places that are not always in the mainstream, and we will sometimes do so during seasons and under conditions that might not even be considered favorable for visiting. We just do it! Experiencing the unexpected brings with it an additional element of surprise, and an excitement and a joy, that at the end of the day elevates the vacation experience to a different level. Witness our recent trip to Carson City in Nevada.
We have been quite fortunate to travel far and wide in recent years. For the purposes of this blog I will focus on some lesser-known places that the wanderlust took us to during our trip to Scotland in 2016. We visited at the tail end of the winter season, but the cold weather and the occasional rain did not stop us from enjoying our adventures.
Here we are on the bed of the River Garry at Killiecrankie. The bed of the river is, for good reasons, not an advertised tourist destination. These pictures were taken at a remote location on the Isle of Skye where we stayed overnight. It was getting towards sunset when we walked through open fields and the countryside to a stand of trees next to a mountain ridge.It was raining steadily when we got to Rodel at the southern tip of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.There was a storm underway by the time we got to Hushinish at the southwest corner of the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The kids had to climb the far hill in the wind and rain, with only the sheep keeping them company, to try to get a glimpse of the Atlantic.This is Dun Carloway Broch. It is thought to have been a fortification during roman times.I wandered the streets of Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides early one morning before the town came to life. There is a different perspective of a place that you get when you do something like this.We hit the northernmost tip of the Outer Herbrides where we wandered through the fields along the cliffs beside the ocean towards the Butt of Lewis lighthouse.Back on the mainland we hiked the hill behind the town of Ullapool, the place where we were staying at for the night.Towards the end of the trip we drove along the remote northern coastline of mainland Scotland from Durness to John O’Groats. There were many places where we were the only ones present!You can expect the unexpected when the wanderlust hits!
A visit to Death Valley reminds you of the complexity of the natural processes that form this Earth. This picture of Artist’s Palette, taken as the sun was setting, shows what is possible. You get a fusion of many different colors all in one place that is quite hard to imagine.
(According to the article in Wikipedia – These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (iron compounds produce red, pink and yellow, decomposition of tuff-derived mica produces green, and manganese produces purple).)
The outdoors and us!We made it to Sugarloaf Mountain once again this weekend and did roughly the same distance on the trails as last weekend. It was quite cold this time, and quite a change after the balmy weather that we experienced during the previous hike. Winter has returned!
See other interpretations of the theme here.
Gracefulness is in the eye of the beholder. It is a rather loose term that describes a feeling that is evoked, and people might have different opinions in this regard. From a visual perspective, I feel that gracefulness is usually associated with beauty that looks natural and blends with the surroundings. It could evoke a sense of effortless strength, a lightness of being, and perhaps even quiet dignity.We find gracefulness in both the still form or in movement. The nature of the motion looks graceful to me in the following picture. An object that is not necessarily graceful in its stillness can become graceful when it begins to move. While experiencing grace in movement requires you to actually see the movement, it is possible to imagine the gracefulness of the motion from the nature of a still picture. A think a pelican gliding over the water looks graceful.This somewhat awkward looking great blue heron looks graceful to me when it begins to fly. The motion of its wings is (relatively) slow and smooth, and the bird seems to be taking flight effortlessly. But sometimes, the still image can trick you. I think the baby in the picture below, although cute, is not very graceful in its movement in real life.I have observed that still objects can look graceful from a certain visual perspective and perhaps not so much so from other points-of-view. The nature of the picture and the circumstances of the picture can enhance the feeling of gracefulness. There was a lot of construction going on around the Gateway Arch in St. Louis when we visited. Even though the arch looks stunning regardless of the surroundings,it gracefulness was truly revealed to me only from this particular point-of-view. (Like I said, gracefulness is in the eye of the beholder!)Bridges can look graceful, especially those of the suspension type. To me both the Sydney harbor bridge (which is actually a through arch bridge) and Sydney Opera House look graceful in this picture against the skyline at this time of the evening. There is something in the outlines of these structures that makes them seem even more graceful before the evening lights are turned on.Seeing more details of the structures can have a different impact on you. I think the bridge still looks graceful from this perspective.Not sure if this is still true of the opera house in this picture taken from the bridge.
I am sure there are different opinions and thoughts on this topic. There is no way to be really objective about it.