The village of Bamburgh itself is always a great place to stop off, have a cuppa and do some exploring; this is a beautiful corner of England, best explored with a rangefinder camera and a waterproof coat (or a surf board and a wet suit)
A walk up the drive to Bamburgh Castle is the best place to stop and take stock; this is a fantastic castle and an important site. Not many places in the UK can match this, if you close your eyes and listen to the sea, you can hear history unfolding in your head.
The beach walk to Seahouses
These dunes go on forever and ever.
Some Wikipedia history on the castle itself
Built on a dolerite outcrop, the location was previously home to a fort of the native Britons known as Din Guarie and may have been the capital of the British kingdom of the region (see Gododdin, Bryneich and Hen Ogledd) from the realm’s foundation in c.420 until 547, the year of the first written reference to the castle. In that year the citadel was captured by the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia (Beornice) and became Ida’s seat. It was briefly retaken by the Britons from his son Hussa during the war of 590 before being relieved later the same year.
His grandson Æðelfriþ passed it on to his wife Bebba, from whom the early name Bebbanburgh was derived. The Vikings destroyed the original fortification in 993.
The Normans built a new castle on the site, which forms the core of the present one. William II unsuccessfully besieged it in 1095 during a revolt supported by its owner, Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria. After Robert was captured, his wife continued the defence until coerced to surrender by the king’s threat to blind her husband.
The Forster family of Northumberland provided the Crown with twelve successive governors of the castle for some 400 years until the Crown granted ownership to Sir John Forster. The family retained ownership until Sir William Forster (d. 1700) was posthumously declared bankrupt, and his estates, including the castle, were sold to Lord Crew, Bishop of Durham (husband of his sister Dorothy) under an Act of Parliament to settle the debts.
The castle deteriorated but was restored by various owners during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was finally bought by the VictorianindustrialistWilliam Armstrong, who completed the restoration.
The castle still belongs to the Armstrong family, and is opened to the public. It also hosts weddings and corporate events. It has been used as a film location since the 1920s, featuring in films such as Ivanhoe (1982), El Cid (1961), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Elizabeth (1998) and both the 1971 and 2015 adaptions of Macbeth.
In addition to below, back in January, we had another trip to Saltburn-by-the-sea with some old mates yesterday.
I didn’t have my Leica with me, but could not resist updating this blog post with some snaps images from my iPhone, because whichever way you look at it, Saltburn-by-the-sea is a crazy old North East seaside town, I just love it.
We had a trip out to the seaside today, to Saltburn-by-the-Sea. What a charming little spot in the middle of nowhere, just the sea, a pier, and the best fish and chips you could ever hope for.
Anywhere that has a train that stops in a tunnel so you can get out, take pictures of a waterfall and be serenaded by some character dressed as a mythical legend with piped music has got to have tourism nailed right…….
But before the tourists, there were the locals, and you have to have some sympathy for them, because if I lived here, I would not want massive cruise ships coming up my Fjord.
Flam is for tourists
I wouldn’t want to be living here with this load of invaders; certainly Flam is for tourists, and it shouldn’t be!
Let’s start by leaving Bergen on a train…..
Actually, you feel pretty relaxed after a lovely local train trundle from Bergen up through Voss and climbing over the mountains to the railway station and junction of the regional mainline at Myrdal; unaware of the tourism honeytrap you are about to encounter.
Opened in 1908 this little station is where it all happens (at 866 metres above sea level). Looking back at our visit to the amazing Jungfrau railway in August 2013, makes me realise that this is really nothing compared to that 3,454m station – Transfer from the regional red train to the tourist green one – and off you go!
From here, the famous Flåm Railway winds its way down to the tourism mecca of the fjord below.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the tourist shots; ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ seems to be designed for the sort of traveller who wants to see the entire country in 24 hours while in a sprawling queue behind an iPad waving umbrella holding tour guide, helping them from ship to shore, to train to hotel to plane. Not for me thanks.
Norway in a Nutshell…..No thanks!
You see; it could be a nice place without the tourists. But with a major travel interchange big enough to welcome the QE2 and load them on a big train, then sadly the only way to enjoy the area is to get on a boat and out of town, up the Fjord.
Now we are getting somewhere!
taking a regular ferry up the fjord with a cup of coffee and your camera is the way to really take in the scene for a few hours; so after we packed up and stored our bags away, it was time for the highlight of the week so far – the fjord tour and cheese making…
We start off with a little bus through amazing tunnels to Gudvangen; this was only built 20 years ago and until then this part of the world was cut off by road and only accessible by boat!
From Gudvangen we jumped on to the 10.30 ferry/boat out up the Fjord and were soon sailing past Styvi and Dyrdal, getting to Undredal after an hour and a half; a very pleasant cruise.
We hopped of in Undredal and were met by a guide; a super local chap.
He took us on a tour of village and the highlight was a look inside the amazing church.
Undredal Stave Church (Norwegian: Undredal stavkyrkje) is a stave church in Aurland Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, on the shore of the Aurlandsfjorden.
The church is part of the Undredal parish in the Indre Sogn deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.
The church is only 12 by 4 metres (39 by 13 ft) and has only 40 seats, making it the smallest stave church still in use in all of Scandinavia. The parish only includes one small, rather isolated valley, with only 116 parishioners, making it the second smallest parish in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.
Ostesmaking (cheese tasting and explanation) was all very good in the village, I can see why they were happy to be cut off until 1989 when the tunnel and road was built!
Soon it was time to be back on the bus to Flam. (Sadly) And after a look in the railway museum, pick up our bags, have a coffee and then get back on the Flam Express to connect for Oslo train later.
While waiting to board it was good to chat with some elderly American fellow travellers, on a three week Scandinavian mini tour they have also taken in St Petersburg (jealous now)!
The scenery on this late afternoon trip was superb from our reserved seats on the Myrdal-Oslo leg – a 4.5 hour spectacular over the mountains and down to our final destination.
Itmay not be Switzerland but i don’t think I have been on a more stunning (regular) train ride in such comfort at such altitude.
Even better, unlike Northern Rail, the hotel emailed a menu through and we ordered some snacks and beer for our 10.30pm Oslo arrival – now that is pretty cool!
All in all, a pretty good couple of days – despite the tourists!
Tip for next time – avoid at all costs and take to the hills!
Walking around this industrial landscape it’s easy to come to form that opinion.
Trondheim is so trendy. This is a great place to hang out…
Firstly there are the amazing junk shops, the beautiful cathedral, the famous coloured houses up and down the streets, and the fantastic bars and places to hang out.
And then if you feel the need to get on a boat; there is always Munkholmen.
Munkholmen is an island in the Trondheim Harbour area, approximately 2 kilometres from the town centre. The island was originally named Nidarholm. During the Viking Age, this was a place where public executions were held. Munkholmen is also where the founder of Trondheim, Olav Tryggvason, put Kark’s and Håkon Earl’s heads on poles, after battling for kingdom and Christianity in the year of 995.
A few years later, a Benedictine monastery was build on Nidarholm. The presence of monks lasted until the Protestant Reformation (in 1537), and this is why the island over time got it’s new name, Monk’s Island (Munkholmen).
In the following centuries, Norway was in union with Denmark, and were frequently at war with Sweden. After freeing Trøndelag from Swedish occupation in 1659, Munkholmen was reconstructed into the shape it has today, as a fort. This was done to build a better military defence of Trondheim and Trøndelag. Kristiansten Fort was built later in that same period. The architects behind these two forts in Trondheim were Willem Coucheron and Johan Caspar de Cicignon. They are also known for their involvement in other Norwegian forts and fortresses (Halden and Fredrikstad).
Munkholmen was later used as prison. Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld is the most famous prisoner held here. Griffenfeld came to Norway as chancellor, but had to serve life time imprisonment (18 years) after bringing himself in disgrace upon the king (Christian V).
During the second world war, Munkholmen once again was used as fort, this time by the Germans. There is still an anti-aircraft artillery gun at the island, left by the Germans.
Today, Munkholmen is a popular recreational attraction. The island has an open cafe and guide service in the summer season. There is also a small beach outside the fort. The fjord is relatively deep between Trondheim and Munkholmen, and you have to get there by boat. The boat service runs between Ravnkloa and Munkholmen at day time (between May and September), or when hired. For more information, follow link to the homepage of Tripps Boat Service.
We got off the Hurtigruten boat in the port of Bergen and wheeled our bags around the city centre, through the shops, past the fish market, trundle up along Bryggen, landing at the Clarion Hotel Havnekontoret.
This is Bergen, beautiful Bergen.
There is a lot of activity around the port and fish market area – it’s a fun place
On a rainy day, the Sea Lions at the Aquarium are great fun, along with the penguins, they have seen it all before…
And once you have tun out of exploring Bryggen and the city centre…
Hop on that train to Flam (and eventually Oslo) at the station.
We stayed with some friends near Seahouses at the weekend – in North Sunderland, Northumberland.
The scenery around Beadnell Sands and Seahouses is beautiful; well worth a trip. I hope you enjoy these photographs of beadnell Sands and Seahouses.
Beadnell Village is set at the end of a glorious stretch of beach known as Beadnell Bay. The Village is well known as one of the best equipped places in the County for watersports, with the beach lending itself well to surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving…. the list goes on.
The Village’s harbour lies at the North end of the bay and from there the beach, backed by huge dunes of sand, stretches South for miles. The sheer volume of holiday accommodation in Beadnell means that it is one of the most popular destinations for visitors on the coast.
Walking along the bay from Seahouses to the Craster Arms in Beadnell opens up four miles of glorious Northumbrian countryside
The Village itself is split, between the area around the harbour and the Village nearer the main road. The harbour area is distinctive as it is the only West-facing harbour on the East coast and has beautiful lime kilns that were built in the 18th Century. Nice.
The images below include many taken at the Craster Arms Beadnell Beer festival – a fantastic venue and event that we enjoyed with family and friends, certainly the four mile walk back to North Sunderland was interesting after tasting a few local tipples.
Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out! Having not been here since I was a small child, I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to see and do here – and I am not even a Harry Potter fan.
The Castle is in fantastic condition and still lived in half of the year by the Duke of Northumberland and his family. You are not allowed to take photographs inside but there is plenty to see outside with activities and demonstrations ranging from archery to falconry.
Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out!
There are photo opportunities for young and old – even if you don’t need a lesson on flying your broomstick, you can’t help but be charmed by this magical place and the effort the staff obviously put into their work in entertaining visitors young and old.
Our train to Oslo from Flam is rammed with tourists – it is a busy Saturday in June I suppose, and we are tourists ourselves-just trying not to look like them.
Oslo is a huge city by comparison to where we have been; The 1000-year-old Norwegian capital sits at the head of Oslo Fjord.
Not being tourists, we would of course still be visiting the visual delights at Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Viking Ship Museum and the amazing Oslo Opera House, just across the road from our hotel.
So no apologies for these tourist snaps, the opera house is so amazing you can’t fail to make it look good – even on an overcast day with an iPhone, but on a sunny day with a new 28mm lens, it shines.
So let’s start this post with one of the busiest tourist hotspots in Oslo; namely Oslo Opera House; a fantastic building that is home of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway.
The building is situated in the Bjørvika neighborhood of central Oslo, at the head of the Oslofjord, there is a huge amount of redevelopment going on here with the building of a new National library next door, scheduled to be finished in 2018.
Oslo Opera House
After the Opera House we moved on to the Vigeland Sculpture Park
Vigeland Sculpture Park
This is a wonderful park with hundreds of sculptures – each one a work of art in it’s own right. It’s free to visit – quite remarkable for such an accessible location in an expensive place like Oslo.
You could spend hours here depending on your personal artistic bent. Nudity is the order of the day – some of the offerings are unusual to say the least. We certainly enjoyed the experience, I hope you like these snaps.
Gustav Vigeland (11 April 1869 – 12 March 1943), né Adolf Gustav Thorsen, was a Norwegiansculptor. Gustav Vigeland occupies a special position among Norwegian sculptors, both in the power of his creative imagination and in his productivity.
This was the last day of the trip, it was a great idea to get out of the centre on the tram and take in the super Vigeland Sculpture Park – this was a truly amazing place!
Finally there is no trip to Norway that is complete without paying homage to those Antarctic explorers who were busy beating Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole nearly 100 years ago.
Fram is the strongest wooden ship ever built and still holds the records for sailing farthest north and farthest south.
At the Fram Museum you can get on board the ship and see how the crew and their dogs managed to survive in the coldest and most dangerous places on earth – the Arctic and the Antarctic.
The Fram Museum also has a polar simulator where you can experience both the cold and the dangers of polar expeditions over a hundred years ago. The museum’s Gjøa building has exhibitions on the Arctic and the Northwest Passage.
Of course Amundsen beat RFS to the prize.
I suppose being in Norway I had to admit that the plucky Brits were never realistically going to win that race; having now seen it from the Norwegian angle.
A great end to our own little polar expedition.
At least we made it back, which is more than can be said for so many of those amazing brave explorers from 100 years ago.
Clarion Hotel & Congress Trondheim is one of Scandinavia’s largest convention hotels, located close to the harbour in central Trondheim.
The hotel enjoys a perfect location on Brattorkaia, right at the harbour. Our neighbours are two of Trondheim’s main attractions: Pirbadet – Norway’s largest pool complex and Rockheim – Norway’s national pop and rock experience centre. At Brattørkaia by the Pirterminalen Pier Terminal and Tollboden, you’ll stay within walking distance of central Trondheim, with excellent views of the Trondheim Fjord.
Clarion Hotel & Congress Trondheim offers 400 rooms, 18 meeting rooms, a conference area of 3,000 m2, 300 parking spaces and exciting dining concepts. Ideal for meetings, conferences, seminars, events and functions in Trondheim. The hotel is a spectacular experience for you as a visitor, with its innovative architecture and exciting interior, built in energy class A.
A vibrant meeting point in Trondheim
Inspirational for overnight guests and city locals alike. Clarion Hotel & Congress is Trondheim’s new, vibrant meeting point and offers a varied programme of concerts, lectures and exhibitions. Not many bars compare to our Skybar on the top floor, with its magical view of Munkholmen.
Food and beverages
Our Skybar and Astrum restaurant with its exciting culinary concept are on the 9th floor, with a roof terrace covering a full 190 m2. Magical views of the fjord and city are yours to enjoy.
Confirmation, christening or wedding?
We offer a large range of meeting facilities for hire, for private events such as confirmations, christenings, weddings or birthday parties. Astrum Grill & Raw Bar has a fantastic view and is a unique place to celebrate anniversaries in Trondheim. We are flexible and can help organise delicious dinners and meeting facilities tailored to your requirements.
No apology for over 200 images here; because four days of hard walking around this amazing city we last visited ten years ago proves Ich bin ein Berliner.
And I can tell you with my longest blog post since I started, there really is no place like it.
Armed with a 4-day Berlin travel card purchased at the airport (the best 35 Euro you can spend), we arrived in Berlin centre on the train, trundling our bags down Friedrichstraße to the Westin Grand Berlin and then straight out on the tourist trail to Checkpoint Charlie.
This is where East meets West, or used to at least, more likely now tourist meets museum and gift shop.
The museum and remnants of the Berlin wall are a stark reminder of how hard it must have been to be a Berliner in decades not so long ago – a remarkable juxtaposition amid the commercial hustle and bustle of a modern capital city.
Having taken that in, turning off to the West, we walked past the amazing Trabi-World museum and shop, a good place to take a tour of Berlin driving your very own historical transport as part of a Trabi safari tour
Moving on from the fun, we re-visited a spectacle that was far from it’s present state ten years ago – an amazing complex now that was little more than a series of trenches next to an original portion of the Berlin wall;
The Topography of Terror.
More than one million people visited the “Topography of Terror” in 2015, making the documentation centre one of the most frequently visited places of remembrance in Berlin; there is a link to the site here.
Nothing prepares you for the horrors in this area, so I will let the pictures do the talking, an amazing part of the city that also includes an equally striking monument and historically significant building a little further away
The Berlin Jewish Museum
This is a superb museum and well worth a visit. located here, the museum takes you above and below ground. The Museum opened in September 2001. Two years earlier, the empty new building by architect Daniel Libeskind was an unexpected visitor attraction. In this section, we present the building complex in image and text: The Old Building – the baroque Collegienhaus, the postmodern Libeskind Building, the Glass Courtyard erected in 2007, and the new Academy opened in 2012. The circumstances of the museum’s foundation, thecollections it is based on, and the people who have directed its development can be found here as well as personalities of public life who are dedicated to intercultural understanding and have been honored with the Jewish Museum’s Prize for Understanding and Tolerance.
Emerging from the museum, night had fallen and it was time for a beer and some homely german food at Potsdamer Platz, the new centre of Berlin.
Renzo Piano and Helmut Jahn proposed the winning master plans. Investors Daimler-Benz (today Daimler) and Sony backed the two visions. The Piano/Daimler-Benz project envisioned a more diverse European style area with narrower streets while Helmut Jahn’s Sony vision presented the more uniform ultra-modern glass-steel plaza which became the Sony Centre.
The vast covered public space with its striking glass roof was the result of a remarkable engineering feat – an outstretched tent roof with material fastened to a steel ring attached to the adjacent buildings.
The Panorama Punkt with an observation deck 93 meters high is reached by elevator for the best all-round view of the area in the brown-brick Kollhoff building.
This is a great spot for a beer and pickled herrings…
Another day of sightseeing comes to an end, soon it would be time for the undisputed best breakfast in Berlin – Eggs Benedict at Cafe Einstein.
Look no further than this cafe, 2 mins walk from the Brandenburg Gate at
Another place I had never visited. Unlike Skegness, this is somewhere we will come back to! Our house was right in the centre of things, rented via Lincoln Town Houses, link here.
The traditional valentines weekend away with friends, their turn to choose location, and a pleasant surprise in the form of Lincoln; historic, beautiful, accessible, not too up-itself, but there is a bloody huge hill to walk up and down!
I hope you enjoy my monochrome shots, grouped into for key areas around this great historic city;
Wherever you are in or around, approaching or driving away, you can always see this amazing gothic monstrosity towering over the landscape- the largest gothic building in Europe, an amazing statement that dominates the city and whole of Lincolnshire.
I know I took a lot of pictures of it, but it is truly remarkable and deserves them!
Castle and walk around the wall
This is a fantastic castle; it’s well worth getting up onto the castle wall with a 21-point audio guide, guaranteed history lesson and a fantastic value couple of hours all for £5 in the castle shop!
Up and down that hill
Lincoln has a famous hill that leads from the (rather boring, just like any other town) city at the bottom, with it’s formulaic shops, railway station and civic buildings, to the old city at the top of the hill; with the Cathedral, castle and historical centre. The mile long walk connecting the two has a fantastic array of independent shops, bars and café’s, if you need an altimeter from an RAF Nimrod, or some retro denim shorts, this is the place to be.
Out and about in Lincoln
Drinking beer is a good thing to do in Lincoln. The Cask bar is a lovely spot, and handy for a beer and pizza before trudging around the Cathedral. Another winner is the Wig & Mitre, food looked nice but didn’t have time to stay! But the best spot was the Lincoln Tap House, where a super selection of Friday night beers and food awaited us; well worth a visit.
That’s another year of standing on one leg all Valentine’s weekend. Leyburn in Wensleydale, Ambleside in cumbria and now Lincoln in beautiful Lincolnshire; where to in 2017?
I had never been to Skegness before; when I got there I realised why.
Skegness, Oh yes! It’s horrible.
Situated 42 miles east of beautiful Lincoln on the East Lincolnshire coastline, battered by the relentless brown mass of the North Sea, looking out the icy wind at a sea of wind farms, generating enough energy to light up every amusement arcade along the strip, this really is the last place on earth.
Skegness, Oh yes!
I was looking forward to this trip out to the seaside. As every mile of A road twisted and turned towards our destination, I became less and less enthusiastic, the 42 miles took 90 precious minutes, in the face of a steady stream of vehicles escaping back to normality in the other direction, why are so many people coming away from this resort on a pleasant Saturday morning I thought; I can see why now.
Finally arrived, having driven out to a desolate car park at the Sea View Pullover on the edge of town next to a derelict Sun City Amusement Park, where a giant digger was noisily smashing up a huge fibreglass tyrannosaurus.
Windswept, everything closed, desolate; a long time since any fun was had here.
It’s time to don five layers of windproof clothing plus hat scarf and gloves, to climb down from the Discovery into a world that forty years ago was a thriving family holiday destination, the jewel in the crown of the Lincolnshire Riviera.
Immediately switched the Leica to Black and White; monochrome is the best method here I thought, everything is grey anyhow, 50 shades no doubt behind some of those closed doors.
The North beach itself is a beautiful if baron place, but it would be in February. Stretching for miles towards the distant Butlins encampment to the North, where thousands of caravans line up in Google maps to resemble a military encampment. We turned south and into the bracing wind, towards the pier; that’s the pier that mysteriously stops 300 yards before it meets the sea, seemingly not fancying its chances against the swirling waves battering the beach beyond it.
After a couple of miles taking in the lifeboat station and the South beach area it was time to turn inland and find a well-earned coffee; beautiful coffee aromas, Starbucks for a cinnamon swirl? Costa for a chocolate muffin? or Nero for a crisp biscotti?
Decisions decisions; time to consult the map…
Fat Chance! You are in Skegness, Oh yes!
It’s Greggs, or Greggs. A tomato soup and three sausage rolls for £2 take it or leave it.
In fact, finding any ‘mainstream’ shopping experiences in town were a challenge; Harrogate on sea? I think not. It’s not everywhere that you can find a strip joint above an amusement arcade.
There are certainly many parallels with Bridlington, another favourite monochrome East coast town that time forgot. See my 2014 blog post here.
There is a charm to these places, if you can avoid being mugged, and have the luxury of escaping to normality; it is a true experience to savour their delights on a windy cold February Saturday.
But of course for their residents, there is a fierce pride and loyalty, get off our patch, leave us alone; we don’t want you here. The glare from the teenagers in Gregg’s, the growl from the pit-bulls on the beach, the police van in the car park; the steamed-up cafe you didn’t dare to go in.
We were lucky to get in and see the last day of the the New Light Prize Exhibition, which had opened in October 2015 at the Bowes Museum and now I think moves on to the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate and then onto London in June.
I only took a couple of snaps but found a link to this year’s Exhibition where all the work can be viewed on the What’s New page.
The Robert Mapplethorpe Exhibition on level two was an added bonus –
The magic in the muse is an interesting display that is on until April 2016; for any lover of Mapplethorpe, or great portrait photography, then this is a must also visit!
You can see what’s on here Bowes Museum I can’t praise it highly enough, we bought a six month pass and will be back again very soon.
I hope you like my pictures and I am pleased the Bowes museum also have shared some of them, indeed feel free to spread the word!
Yesterday I went to the National Portrait Gallery in London; it was fabulous!
My main objective was to get into the ground floor Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition – a very reasonable £4 charge was levied and I was in.
The blurb says this is the leading competition to celebrate and promote the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.
Certainly the many images were spread across both traditional and contemporary approaches to photographic portraits, I don’t even know who Taylor Wessing are, but well done on them, because this was a great show.
Having moved on upstairs, I was allowed to get my camera out; I only took a couple of pictures, I hope you like them.
I don’t think they like you taking pictures in here….of course there was one addition that was rather poignant; Mr Bowie.
And that’s all I have to say about that. Except that afterwards I had to get some fresh air and walk around Trafalgar Square, and say hello to some old friends my wife and I had both been perched upon for pictures as young children.
Its’ my 53rd birthday today and no better place to be than a snowy Wensleydale. Castle Bolton to be precise.
Castle Bolton is one of my favourite spots and the prospect of parking up here for a five mile walk along the tops on a snowy Wensleydale Monday is about as good as it gets on your birthday!
We have done this walk before, Castle Bolton walk (March 2015) but not with the snow and the cold that we experienced today – and the conditions made it so much nicer, crunching through the snow rather than sloshing through the mud!
Castle Bolton opens to the public from Valentines weekend – we are making a vow to get there this year, it certainly looks like a place we should be visiting, although not being part of the National Trust, it has eluded us for many a year.
As one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles; originally built as one of the finest and most luxurious homes in the land, the castle bears the scars of over 600 years of fascinating history. The castle is still in the private ownership of Lord Bolton, the direct descendant of the castle’s original owner Sir Richard le Scrope.
The countryside above Lower Wensleydale is beautiful; set off walking in a westerly direction from the castle and you can’t go wrong, today the views were beautiful, even with low heavy cloud, as we looked towards Askrigg and Aysgarth.
One day I would like to turn north and head up over the top to drop down into Muker and Swaledale; not today, but perhaps armed with a better map and some sunshine, that is something to aim for in the spring!
Anyhow, enjoy the view, there’s nothing better than a bit of snowy Yorkshire on a Monday; especially a Monday where you are a year older and wiser.
Or that’s what we thought – we know this place, returning here for our third time will be such a rewarding experience, especially as we will be here in the summer months with sunshine, a new experience – not the previous winter blasts of snow and ice.
And we were right, this is an amazing place to visit, such a beautiful region and city, and the people are fantastic – but did we know it as well as we thought, probably because there was so much more to see and do; things that are just covered in snow and ice in the winter!
So let’s get our bearings and get to know a sunny Aughust Stockholm, who knows after a few days it may all comes back to us just like a classic ABBA song!
A good way to start is always a boat trip under the ridges and around the many islands that make up Stockholm – as it is a tricky place to navigate around, being spread over so many connecting masses.
After that, it’s time for a hot dog, some local beer and a glass of mini sausages in Gamla Stan, old town, just up from the underground station and looking out to the Hilton in Slussen where we have stayed before.
This whole area is to change with a major upgrading of the complicated road, rail and boat canal lock that intertwines with the connecting islands and bridges between Gamla Stan and Sodermalm.
Another feature of Sweden for the weary traveller, is how hard it can be to buy alcohol from a shop – I don’t want to sound like we have a drink problem, but it is very different to the UK in terms of purchasing.
The search for alcohol became an important part of the trip, with only two bottles of wine purchased in 7 days, certainly the state run hidden store strategy is working!
OK, time for one of my highlights for the week – a cycle sightseeing tour with bike Sweden
Then it’s the Photografika museum for me
And the Royal Palace and City Hall for Kay
Then meet up and over to Moderna Museet, one of our favourites!
This is a very special museum with a great collection – many pieces I had seen before, especially good to be reunted with Robert Rauschenberg’s sheep – last seen at the Louvre in Paris…
Time to move on…Gothenburg beckons, and I am reliably informed that anything goes in Gothenburg.
Anything goes in Gothenburg
let’s find out…
Seemingly my hypothesis is true – this ‘Little London’ cosmopolitan metropolis (compared to sleepy Malmo), would appear to be a veritable den of vibrant celebration, an explosion of cultures and differneces; a celebration of every shape, size and shade of humanity – or is that just the about vodka and bag of nuts that I have had……?
Anything goes in Gothenburg
No it was not just the nuts – this is a crazy place; at least it is so in August, a couple of days here and you will be ready for a rest….
Sweden’s second largest city is a busy bustling one, the harbour and the ocean from the backdrop for a multitude of nautical activity, and there is plenty going on on land as well!
Let’s start with a boat tour – all the guidebooks suggest this is the best way to find your sea-legs, however they don’t tell you go out in a tee-shirt, just as a major weather front is moving in; here is to the first soaking of the trip.
That rain certainly caught us out!
Time to move on – August is the month of a major cultural festival seemingly all over Sweden
So it’s time to dress up as a giant crayfish again Gothenburg is not going to miss out!
In August every year there are over 1,200 activities with free admission for all tastes and ages. Streets and squares turning into party places where you can indulge in a rich variety of culture – opera, art, music, carnival, street theater, crafts, theater, literature and film.
The Culture Festival intermingled various cuisines along with international artists and local bands – we got caught up in two events that will stay in the mind for a while….
Gothenburg Culture Festival will sacrifice an annual party That Contribute to a warmer, more human and fun community. The event’s force attention and strengthens the rich cultural offerings and Helps to Gothenburg and the Västra Götaland region Becomes even more attractive to live and work in and to business. It is the City of Gothenburg and the Västra Götaland behind Gothenburg Culture Festival, along with a range of partners in the municipal, business and other organizations. Project Göteborg & Co.
Firstly we stopped by at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, or to give it the correct title; the Konsthall.
Johan Zetterquist, was in residence – cue some crazy modern art.
Zetterquist creates among other projects to public works, often in the form of gigantic monuments. The visions are both utopian and dystopian but also irony and humor. Proposals portrayed with great concreteness and precision in a variety of techniques, not least as sculptures and installations. He appears in the joint between the design and installation. [ 3 ]
This was an interesting exhibition – Kill the Poor Eat the Rich cerainly hits a cord with me!
The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm, which lies in the middle of the strait. The crossing of the strait is completed by a 4 km (2.5-mile) underwater tunnel, called the Drogden Tunnel, from Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager. From Copenhagen airport, the train takes around 25 minutes to Malmo and costs around 1 Danish Krona (DKK) – around £7; amazing value given that the crossing cost over 31 Billion DKK to build, being completed in the year 2000.
OK, so the first thing to do is get your bearings at Malmo C station – so we had a bit of lunch inside the station at Smörrebröd by Freda, a tasty snack indeed and recommended by trip advisor.
walking to our hotel was a nice 10 minute stroll, trundling our bags along the busy cobbled streets.
After checking in we set off for 3 hours of walking around and sightssing – starting with an ice cream on the front!
Malmö was one of the earliest and most industrialized towns of Scandinavia, but it struggled with the adaptation topost-industrialism. Since the construction of the Øresund Bridge, Malmö has undergone a major transformation with architectural developments, and it has attracted new biotech and IT companies, and particularly students throughMalmö University, founded in 1998. The city contains many historic buildings and parks, and is also a commercial centre for the western part of Scania. Malmö was ranked #4 in Grist Magazine‘s “15 Green Cities” list in 2007.
The administrative entity for most of the city is Malmö Municipality which, as of 31 March 2013, has 309,105 inhabitants in eight different localities. Malmö is also a bimunicipal locality, as part of it is formally situated in Burlöv Municipality. The total population of the urban area was 280,415 in December 2010.
Greater Malmö is one of Sweden’s three officially recognized Metropolitan areas (storstadsområden) and since 2005 is defined as the municipality of Malmö and 11 other municipalities in the southwestern corner of Scania. On 31 March 2012, its population was recorded to be 664,428. The region covers an area of 2,522 square kilometres (974 sq mi). The municipalities included, apart from Malmö, are Burlöv, Eslöv, Höör, Kävlinge, Lomma, Lund,Skurup, Staffanstorp, Svedala, Trelleborg and Vellinge. Together with Lund, Malmö is the region’s economic and education hub.
One of the best areas to walk around is the newly developed small harbour and appartment blocks in the North, around the Turning Torso; a residential skyscraper iand the tallest building in the Nordic countries, built and owned by HSB Sweden.
The project was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and officially opened on 27 August 2005; it’s great to photograph!
The tower reaches a height of 190 metres (623 feet) with 54 stories and 147 apartments.
Out and about in Malmo
The old town central areas of Malmo are nice for eating and drinking, even with a crazy festival going on, it was always a pleasant atmosphere for the visitor at night.
Another sunny day in Malmo
Being a bit hooked on Strava and not wanting to spend half the day in a museum, I hired a bike and took off to visit the outer edges of Malmo – this was the right thing to do!
A 15km ride up and around the beach area proved to be 75 Swedish Krona’s well spent!
The beach is fantastic, lots of cool shallow water and on a Friday the who family are out to make the most of the sunshine and the numerous jetties that take the bathers out to see.
Riding around here was certainly more fun than this…….
A tour of Malmo must include a cycle in the park!
After such a busy morning it is always good to be sat in park, read books and having some quiet time…..
It was with some saddness I dopped off my bike back at the hotel ( I may be ditching carbon for a basket and a comfy saddle soon); and then walked up through town to the Sankt Petri Church (Swedish: Sankt Petri kyrka) .
This is a large gothic style church, construction started in 1319 – beautifully plain inside, there were some interesting rehersals going on – part of the festival no doubt.
As a major bonus, this weekend sees the start of Malmo Festival -a week of music, dance and partying for the whole region, little did we know the festival starts with the crayfish party in the main square
– where everyone eats crayfish, drinks and sings, wearing a silly hat of course (or a crayfish claw on their nose)!
A combination of fast food from around the world, mad crayfish people and two days hard sightseeing had a detremental effect on my feet and it was clearly time to sit down and have a been and reflect on this strange but friendly city.
So that was Malmo – a town full of mad people, which I found rather comforting…
Ttomorrow is Saturday, its time to go to Gothenburg and leave on the train; as for Malmo, I will certainly come back another day!