Hair and prassad
Shaving of heads is a symbolic gesture for a Hindu either done as gratitude for fulfilling a wish/prayer, or after the death of an elder member of the family hair is offered to the gods, representing a real sacrifice of beauty, hence shaving your head shows your grief for the departed soul. Prassad is normally sweet rice or semolina and is given by the brahmins to devotees.
I forget exactly where this was taken but it doesn't matter, somewhere in Rajasthan, we and he were waiting for the first bus to take us to our next destination. We bought him tea and a samosa, and of course for ourselves also. Nothing beats a good fresh samosa for breakfast, well; maybe a aloo paratha...……………………..
The West Pier in Brighton which was designed by Eugenius Birch, opening in 1866 and closing in 1975. The pier was the first to be Grade I listed in Britain but has become increasingly derelict since closure. The pier was constructed during a boom in pleasure pier building in the 1860s, and was designed to attract tourists to Brighton. It was the town's second pier, joining the Royal Suspension Chain Pier of 1823. It was extended in 1893, and a concert hall was added in 1916. The pier reached its peak attendance during this time, with 2 million visitors between 1918 and 1919. Its popularity began to decline after World War II, and concerts were replaced by a funfair and tearoom. A local company took ownership in 1965, but could not meet the increased maintenance cost, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. They could not find a suitable buyer, so the pier closed in 1975 and subsequently fell into disrepair. The West Pier Trust now owns the pier and has proposed various plans to renovate it. Some schemes have been opposed by local residents and the owners of the nearby Palace Pier, who have claimed unfair competition. The pier gradually collapsed during the early 21st century. Major sections collapsed in late 2002, and two fires in March and May 2003 left little of the original structure. Subsequently, English Heritage declared it to be beyond repair.
Let's stay with the sadhus for a while. They are mostly interesting to share a few words with and more often then not photogenic. While I am posting this I remember the sadhu that we spent two nights with in Khirganga high in the Himalayas. I was six months pregnant and had made the trek up to his cave for a blessing before returning back to the UK. We had been living in Himachal Pradesh for two years and had decided to return home to have the baby. That baby is 40 years old this year and this memory seems like another life-time.
Le Colorado Provencal
You could be forgiven for thinking this was Arizona but no we are in the Provence, France. Le Colorado Provencal was once the site of a former ochre mining quarry and boasts of the picturesque desert landscape, scarce yet stunning flora and the unique yellow and red rock formations. Le Colorado Provencal is sometimes called the Hill of a thousand colours for its magnificent colour formations and rock structures that are outcomes of the natural and human work.
Save a life- save a..
De West Pier in Brighton, gebouwd in 1866, in 1875 kwam er een podium voor muzikanten, en in 1880 kwamen er over de hele lengte schermen tegen de wind. In 1886 werd een aanlegsteiger gebouwd, zodat excursies de pier ook over zee konden bereiken. In 1916 was de concertzaal klaar. De pier werd in 1975 gesloten, maar niet afgebroken. Het West Pier Trust was van plan de pier te herstellen maar in 2002 werd de West Pier beschadigd door een zware storm, en in 2003 brak er twee keer brand uit. Een storm in 2004 vernielde de overblijfselen, zodat er nu alleen nog een ruïne staat.
The village of Plockton in the Highlands enjoys a micro-climate. It is in the middle of a balmy pocket, protected from the prevailing winds, and the warm air of the North Atlantic Drift keeps it warm enough to grow cabbage trees, which are from New Zealand and look like palm trees.
Just 20 mins drive from the Isle of Skye bridge back on the mainland sits Plockton on a sheltered bay with stunning views overlooking Loch Carron. Often referred to as the “Jewel of the Highlands”, it offers: breathtaking scenery and landscapes, secluded bays, coral beaches, islands, panoramic views, the possibility of seeing seals at close quarters and of course a good pub with a garden on the loch.
Between the mainland mountain masses and the Island of Skye lies the Applecross Peninsula. Home to around 238 people, and accessed by only two roads, one of which is the highest in the UK, this is a haven from the noise and clutter of modern life. The Gaelic name for the area, ‘a Chomraich’, means ‘The Sanctuary’. It's not the easiest place to get to you cross the 2053 ft road called the Bealach na Ba, if the clouds have lifted, you’ll see the kind of views normally reserved only for sweaty mountaineers. Panoramas to the Outer Hebrides and South to the Kintail mountains will keep you gazing until you descend to the village. Applecross itself was one of earliest seats of Christianity in Scotland.
The truly spectacular Quiraing is an icon of Scotland, a paradise for walkers on the Isle of Skye. Many people leave the car park to visit only the first short section of path, but this complete hill circuit goes further, passing the Prison, Needle and other features before climbing back to return above the escarpment; its a tough walk but the views are simply sensational throughout. So grab your walking shoes and tread the green velvet hills.
Brothers' Point II
We stay on the Isle of Skye for another view of Brothers' Point, this time from just above Staffin Beach. The curious lump part way along the peninsula is Dun Hasan which has a long history, from its origins as an ancient settlement to more recently being the site of a medieval fortress, but there are few visible remains today.The name Brother's Point is thought to originate with a monastic community who lived in single cells.
Rubha nam Brathairean (Brothers' Point) - a dramatic headland marking the easternmost point of Trotternish on the Isle of Skye, was just a short walk away from our B&B at Staffin. The couple that you see on top of the point were dancing whilst filming themselves with a drone.
Just watching on Pho.
Currently there are just under 5 million motorbikes and scooters on Hanoi’s roads. The use of bicycles, once the dominant transport mode in the city, decreased dramatically as motorbikes and cars became more popular. Hanoi desperately needs a metro system but the project has the project has faced numerous delays and setbacks. In recent years, studies have named Hanoi among the worst cities in Asia for air pollution. Believe me, after a day in Hanoi you can feel the pollution in your throat and eyes and there she sat just sitting by the side of the road watching the traffic, day after day after day.
Walking with Dinosaur
The Isle of Skye is mostly fossil free, as it is mainly composed of basalt rock. However, there are a couple of areas that have fossilised dinosaur footprints exposed. The main places you can see these are Staffin and Duntulm. (As Sierd mentioned) The best time to see them is after a winter storm, when they are fully exposed, however if you’re in the area it’s worth a try to see them though (as long as it is not high tide). The footprints were only discovered in 2002 by Catherine Booth. She was out walking her dog one day when she came across a rock with what looked like a huge claw mark. She took this rock back to her husband, Paul, at the hotel which they run together. As soon as Paul saw the rock, he suggested that they go back to the beach and look for more. After some time searching, they suddenly found what they had been looking for, and found 15 footprints in total! We found five and that was thrilling enough, to stand with your bare foot next to a dinosaur footprint and imagine...………………..
Early morning sea mist at Staffin on the Isle of Skye. Staffin beach is known for its dinosaur footpints which were found in the 1950's after a storm. I am sure Sierd can tell much more, and I will show you one next. But in the meantime, enjoy the stillness of the morning.
A word that we used everyday whilst travelling and walking through the Highlands and Isles of Scotland. You turn the corner and WOW there it is another spectacular view. I have already mentioned the weather so wont say it again:), but how must it be to live here in in this isolated house nestled under the mountains, in the rain, and mist and snow and wind 365 days of he year. I would like to try for a while and you...............?
The Bonnie Banks o'..
The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond, a song my grandmother used to sing to me when I was 3 or 4 years old, I still remember singing the chorus lines with her, and having no idea where Loch Lomond was or in fact what the song was about. So many, many, many moons later sitting on the banks of Loch Lomond you can imagine it was sweet memories of time shared with my grandmother that sprung to mind.
A smile for the...wee
In Hue we stayed in a home-stay just outside the city, a good idea in more ways than one. It meant we could leave Hue and the hundreds of toursits behind, the peace of the countryside -beign woken up frogs and birdsong was much more welcoming and it gave us the opportunity to visit a local morning market.
We stayed overnight in the busy little seaport town of Mallaig before catching the early morning ferry to Skye. The town is a fascinating mix of a working fishing port but at the same time its remote location makes is a great place to relax.