Scotland photos

Decided to stop worrying about how to post my travel pictures and splurged for a FlickrPro account – so you can see all 71photos I took during the week in Scotland here.

Scotland 2005 Scotland 2005 Scotland 2005

Quick run-down of what we did:

Travel to Glasgow. Exploration of the lively West End/university quarter (where our hostel was), including a very nice meal at a cute Italian restaurant and drinks at a renovated church.

Glasgow all the way – seeing the sights (cathedral, university, The Lighthouse museum, Mackintosh House), enjoying the city. Tea with . At night out with Regina's friend Alex and some of his mates.

Trip by train and ferry to Alex' home Inellan, near Dunoon at the Firth of Clyde. Absolutely fantastic weather, perfect for savouring in the sea. Spending the night enjoying the hospitality of Alex' parents.

Trip to Edinburgh by bus. Climbing Arthur's Seat for a fantastic view (and freezing wind). In the evening exploring the New Town, having Fish n'Chips and seeing In Good Company in the cinema.

First snow, then pouring rain as we continue to enjoy Edinburgh. Regina goes to explore the castle (which I've already been to last summer), while I go check out a bookstore. Then we walk down the Royal Mile, since the sun was out again, and have a look at the fantastic modern Scottish Parliament. In the evening we play Snooker, a strange version of Pool, at the hostel. I even win once. 🙂

Quick trip to Leith, which would have been nice if it hadn't been cold and raining. Then catching a bus back to Glasgow, where we unsuccesfully try to find a tearoom still open for scones. But I do find the 'Forbidden Planet' fantasy and science-fiction bookstore.

A loong day, as I spend much time waiting around for planes to catch back home, while Regina takes the train to Brighton to see a friend.

Once again I discover I really love Scotland. And I finally come to the decision that, as a place to live, Glasgow is absolutely fantastic, much better than Edinburgh, beautiful as it is.

Feasgair math duibh, dhaoin uaisle.

Guess who's back from Scotland again (although she'd have liked to stayed longer – maybe forever)? 😀

Regina and I had an absolutely fantastic time, in Glasgow, Edinburgh and a small village on the Firth of Clyde called Inellan. More about all of this some time later, as it's been a looong day, considering that we left the hostel this morning around 9am. Although luckily, the hours spent waiting at airports by myself (since Regina took a train down to a friend in Brighton) were made much more bearable by the good books I bought… We all knew that I wouldn't be able to resist, didn't we? *g*

But all of this are stories for another day… When I've caught up with everything. G'night!

Crossposted to the blog and travel log.

Scotland here I come again!

Just got off the phone with Regina – we’re leaving for a week in Scotland (mostly Glasgow, but also a bit of traveling) on Friday. Yay, I’m slowly getting all excited! I can’t really afford it, but I just love Scotland and couldn’t say no when Regina asked me…

Glasgow is great (I finally want to see the Charles Rennie Mackintosh museum), and I hope we’ll get the chance to catch a bit of the nightlife, since she’s got a friend there who plays in a band and is therefore bound to know the good places for live music. We’ll also visit Edinburgh, because that’s just a must for any Scotland trip, and might go see a bit of the countryside, too. It’s all very much not planned – we’ve got a twin room at a hostel for the first two nights, after that it’s all open… The weather will probably be even a bit warmer than it is here – we had some lovely snow again today.

Scotland wallpaper

Märrie made an awesome wallpaper from some of our Scotland pics – thought I'd share it, because I still haven't gotten around to sharing any photos. Bad Eva! *g*

This is also a test of the upload image feature here – click the pic for the full-size version…

Scotland wallpaper

Almost over…

Sadly enough, today we'll be leaving Scotland behind. Our plane leaves from Liverpool tomorrow morning and we'll spend the night there already, to make sure that we'll be on time.

Scotland really has been a wonderful experience and I'd have loved to stay on and see more things. I think my favorite part was the trip up North, to Carbisdale Castle, but basically it was all an awesome journey. Yesterday, we even managed to meet here in Glasgow, which was a lot of fun.

Well, time's almost up, so I'll say bye for now and will talk to you on Monday, when I'm home.

Hello from Scotland!

Maerrie and I are enjoying ourselves enormously – we rented a very nice car in Liverpool and drove up North through the Lake Country. On our journey so far we've seen castles, ruins, vast landscapes, impressive coastlines – and even men in kilts. 🙂

Stopping points have been Kendal (at the entrance of beautiful Cumbria), Stirling, from where we visited Edinburgh, Inverness, from where we went to see Culloden Moor (site of a famous battle), Loch Ness (with the impressive ruins of Urqhart Castle), and the breathtaking loneliness of the Highlands here up North, including the fairy tale castle of Dunrobin. So many impressions in so few days – it's hard to believe…

Right now we're in Carbisdale Castle, which, believe it or not, is a Youth Hostel. It's quite high in the North, as from today on we'll be travelling southwards again. Having a car really gives us enormous freedom, and we've travelled some pretty remote roads. Luckily Maerrie is an excellent driver, but I've also been behind the wheels a couple of times, without any accidents! *g*

Scotland is really all I'd hoped for – so beautiful! We're also quite lucky with the weather – we camped last night near Loch Ness (without seeing Nessie, though *g*) and didn't get rained on at all. And now the sun is shining, with the promise of beautiful weather for the next few days. We intend to fully enjoy those!

Hopefully all of you are doing fine – I'm not online much but will probably check in at least once more before flying back to Germany to celebrate Maerrie's birthday with her family. *hugs*

Visit to Märrie

I know that it's high time I finally post some photos from New Zealand and Australia – and I promise I'll get to it one of these days! But there are so many of them, it's kind of intimidating… 🙂

Therefore I thought I'd share some of the pics from my last visit with my German friend Märrie this November. We had, as always, a wonderful time, with lots of talk and laughter – and a couple of special highlights.

We went over the border to the Netherlands one day and spend a day sight-seeing in beautiful Maastricht.

Me in front of one of the buildings of the university there, and Märrie on the old city walls.

The church of St. Servaas was very impressive – I have never seen so many holy relics in one place! On the other hand there was this one church that had been converted into bike parking – and some really cute houses.

So I really liked Maastricht – but the climax of this visit was the day we spent at RingCon in Bonn. My very first convention and a day full of cool experiences and cool meetings with fellow Lord of the Rings fans.

We even dressed up (as Eowyn of Rohan and an unidentified dark Elf) – but ours were by far not the most original costumes, as you can see.

The con was also an opportunity to get to see and meet some people involved in the making of the movies.

Bruce Hopkins plays Gamling (King Theoden's right hand) in 'The Two Towers', and I had a nice chat with him. I also had the special task to give some of the guests tiny braids for the Fellowship of the Wee Scarvies, as a way of showing them our appreciation – so that's what Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad from the 'Fellowship of the Ring' prologue) and Roger and Carola from Weta Workshop (while turning a harmless girl into a really evil-looking Orc) are holding in their hands. 🙂

In the evening there we got to see the star guests. John Rhys-Davies (Gimli the dwarf) was amazing, and Craig Parker (Haldir – the Elf who dies at Helm's Deep) managed to crack us up in his show with Mark Ferguson. I filmed a couple of short .avi clips from their panels: Two clips of John Rhys-Davies, about a boating accident with a certain Elf, and one of Craig Parker trying (and failing) to get out of saying Haldir's line “The dwarf was breathing so loud, I could have shot him in the dark!”

There were many more experiences, of course, but I think that's more than enough. Except that I still want to post the pic from the birth house of Beethoven, which stands in Bonn:

Now that that's done, I promise to post pictures from down under soon! But first – a wonderful holiday season to all of you! *hugs*

June 2003: Germany

Thought it was time to update you on where I've been in the meantime… I still haven't gotten all pics from Egypt from Sibylle, so that will have to wait a bit longer – but just this month I took two short trips to Germany.

The first one was to my good friend Märrie, who lives in a village near Bonn. We had a wonderful time again – her family is lovely (and loving) and we drove all over the place, did some serious sightseeing and had generally a lot of fun together. She'll be coming to visit me again in October (when I'm back from my two months trip to New Zealand and Australia) and I can't wait!

We went to Aachen, where Charlemagne was crowned – a city full of interesting fountains, like the Puppenbrunnen (dolls' fountain).

On the way to Aachen, we stopped in Kornelimünster, a very picturesque little town.

Another trip led us to the imposing Marksburg, a still intact medieval fortress above the Rhine.

I felt very much at home with Märrie's family – they even invited me to a festive Whitsun lunch!

In Bonn there was a fascinating exhibition with replica of the famous clay army of the first Qin emporer. In fitting with that day's theme we went to see the movie 'Hero' that evening, which plays just during that time of Chinese history, before the kingdoms were united by the Qin.

That day in Bonn was an exception weatherwise – it was pouring as we walked through the gigantic park along the Rhine (the Rheinauen), and amused ourselves on a very funny playground… 🙂

Märrie also went to visit my grandparents' grave with me and helped me plant a rosetree there – it was a hot day, and afterwards we had icecream in the café at the village square. Childhood memories…

The second trip, following right after I returned from Märrie, was a trip to Dresden with my family, to a family reunion. My dad was born in Dresden in 1936 and lived there until after World War II, so it's a lot of family history on top of being a very interesting city in itself.

We were about 25 people this time around (it's the third reunion of that kind that my dad has organized) and were staying on a hotel ship, anchored on the river Elbe. We had a good 2 1/2 days together, and afterwards my family stayed for another 2 1/2 days. I had been in Dresden before, on the way to Prague in 2001, but my brother hadn't, and it was an interesting week, all in all.

Our complete family group on board of our swimming homestead, a YMCA ship on the Elbe.

An evening spent playing cards in the common room. Starting with myself clockwise around the table are my cousin Otfried, my uncle Gerhard, my brother's legs, my fourth (or something like that) cousins Maximilian and Arvid, and my second cousin Paul-Philip. You can't see my aunt Monika and Maxi's and Arvid's sister Franziska, who were also playing – other than myself. I amused myself by watching and peeking into other people's cards. *g*

But my favorite pastime however was looking after my youngest second cousin, Leander, the most content and happy baby on this planet (even if he doesn't look it in this pic).

After the reunion my parents took us to see the Elbsandsteingebirge, the famous 'Saxon Switzerland' – it was a lovely walk up a mountain, through a wonderfully shady forest.

Once we had reached the top (where we met up with uncle Gerhart and aunt Monika), we had a lovely view over cliffs and the Elbe. The yellow sandstone is typical for this area – most historical buildings in Dresden were built with it (as was the royal castle in Copenhagen). Unfortunately it turns grey, as you can see clearly in this picture .

At the moment I'm slowly growing more and more excited about my trip down under.

The first month I'll spend in New Zealand with friends that I met in California after graduation, doing what is called a 'field trip exercise' for my university major Cultural Anthropology. That means that I'll have the chance to learn about Maori culture, especially about the means and importance of transmitting identity-forming knowledge. Will be very interesting, I'm sure, and I am very lucky and grateful to have found in my friend Denise someone who knows a lot about these things and has great connections, enabling me to go to a camp for young Maori and talk to older Maori women.

After that I'll head over to Australia and will travel around the east coast there – and hopefully I'll see Adam and Willa again, who I met in Washington D.C. last fall. So yeah – this will be my big trip of this year. Can't wait and am enjoying the planning immensely (as usual)!

Hope everyone who reads this is fine and enjoying summer – and if you're interested in reading about my day-to-day life, you can check out my weblog on my new domain, chocolate dream. *hugs*

Edited with two more pics from Bonn that Märrie just sent me – plus I made an entry about her last visit in Basel.