Hello! I have finally got the last couple months work in Cyprus all edited and figured it would be best to share now rather than try to make a massive post at the end of my trip! If you don't see somewhere you hoped I would visit don't worry! I still have so much I want to see and will be making return trips to some spots when the vegetation comes in with the spring and summer months! I am going to be changing up my writing format for this post and sticking the focus all on the images, adding in blocks of text only where needed. As always feel free to click on an image to isolate it in full size!
Copenhagen was my cheapest trip yet. Not because Denmark is cheap however! Sadly it falls right in line with most of the Scandinavian countries as far as cost goes so unless you manage to snag a free flight, and book a cheap hostel do plan to be at odds with the exchange rate. That being said I did still really enjoy the city and I can really see why most people say it has the happiest people in the world. Everyone I bumped into was awesome in Copenhagen, even when walking the not so known to be friendly streets of Christiania!
I started with an early flight in and want to thank my friends the Anderson's for the hookup on the flight in right off the bat! From the airport I took a train in to the station and walked past the ever popular Tivoli Gardens. I was not really planning to spend anytime there due to only having two days in the city and its pretty lucky that I wasn't because the park was closed while they prepped for Halloween. After getting around the parks grounds I came across the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. It is an art museum in the city and had a wonderful dome inside that I made sure to snap some photos of. I loved the expansive halls and they had a killer Ancient Egypt exhibition on as well. It was fairly cheap and did suck up some time so depending on what else you have planned when making your own way around the city check it out!
After this, I still had a little time to burn before checking out the hostel so I walked around a bit and just took the city in. Copenhagen really has the "generic Europe" feel and that's not a bad thing honestly, it is something I find really interesting. However, If I had to list something that is a must do, please check out Strøget. It is one of the longest pedestrian only shopping streets in all of Europe! Grab some food, talk to some folks, maybe do a little shopping just spend some time taking everything in. I spent more than a few hours on both my days in the city just taking in the city as a whole instead of hoping from landmark to landmark like I usually do and Copenhagen is just very much one of those cities that rewards this sort of thing!
After walking around a bit and grabbing some grub I checked into my hostel. Honestly staying at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel was one of the best choices I made on the trip. I don't get paid to endorse anything or anyone so when I give something props it's because that is what I really think. The hostel was awesome, great atmosphere, amazing staff, and plenty of folks to chat with and meet! Plus they were doing an Octoberfest while I was there and the hostel bar stayed open nice and late into the night! If you are looking for a place to crash for the cheap while on your trip I can't recommend another hostel more.
After making a few new friends in the hostel lobby we all went out to see the cities canals and the Christiansborg Palace both being incredible. The Christiansborg Palace really has some incredible views of the city in all directions and the Canals are absolutely fantastic. Colors and culture filled the entire area. We even managed to make a pit stop over at this huge street food warehouse where we met some more folks and had some more killer food!
Day two for me was mostly spent in the really different area of Christiania but I did manage to check out a few more canals and so a bit more street walking before heading over there! I also stopped into the Kayak bar and they were kind enough to spot me a drink in exchange for a few photos! Pretty cool concept honestly, just sucks they kinda thrive off good weather!
This little commune was incredible. A really different view on life by a lot of the folks but very cool to walk through and experience. Tons of art and really cool people just living life in a much simpler way. Really loved the more wooded areas away from "Pusher St."
I have been to Edinburgh twice now while living in the United Kingdom. Every time I am in the city it is a wonderful experience and both times I have gotten lucky with some good weather! This city always feels so alive! Bagpipes play all over the city, street artists stand all up and down the royal mile, and there are tons of places like the castle to stop into and pick up some history or culture. Whiskey tastings are a must but really when you come make sure to put aside a little time to spend walking around. Take in all the amazing architecture, grab some breakfast or a pint, and talk with some of the locals!
I do have to single out a few select must see spots, one of them being Calton Hill. The very top Pano image has perhaps a better viewpoint, Arthur's Seat, but it can be time-consuming if you only have a day or two in the city. It is because of this that I usually recommend Calton Hill over Arthur's Seat. With maybe a ten minutes walk from the main station, you can make it up to see some great panoramic views of Edinburgh. The hilltop also features the National Monument of Scotland, the Dugald Stewart monument pictured below multiple times, and towering above the hill stands the Nelson monument as well!
I wanted to start recommending some spots to stay at due to folks usually asking how I am traveling so much while working full time or just wanting to know some good party spots for their nights out. I personally love the hostel experience, you get to meet tons of people, they usually have events or tours, and some even feature some really cool spaces like Budget Backpackers, pictured below. One other hostel in Edinburgh I can also recommend the Castle Rock Hostel, their staff is wonderful and it's a great spot with the Castle right out the front door, sadly I don't have any photos of it. Do be sure to book in advance at least for a couple days when staying in Edinburgh, it is always full of fellow travelers.
As far as bar or pub recommendations I am not a club guy so I have to recommend either picking up some cigars and stopping into a whiskey tasting or if you are looking for cocktails and staying out late give one of these places a try!
The Devil's Advocate - Near St. Giles - Cocktails and an all around great spot.
The Last Word Saloon - Not far from Queen St. Gardens - Dark atmosphere.
The Dome - Right near the hard rock - really classy, very nice spot even for lunch.
Cafe Royal - not far from the station. - Again really nice spot, maybe even a touch over the top.
Cumberland Bar - a bit far out like Last Word - Awesome Beer Garden
Bramble Bar - right next to Queen St. Gardens - Speakeasy feel, upscale.
One other is Port O'Leith if you like a more local feel this sailor style bar with good people and cheap beer should not disappoint!
Two other must hit spots if you love interior awesomeness or have the time to walk through some cathedrals are St. Giles on the royal mile, and Saint John's down near the Ross fountain! If you can only hit one go to St. Giles for sure but the glass is really something in Saint John's!
Easily the most touristy thing in town, Edinburgh Castle, does not disappoint. A fair few of the things to see inside the walls are not photo friendly but don't let that stop you! The Scottish National War Memorial was really breathtaking as well as the Honours of Scotland, both on the naughty list for photography. Expect to pay to get in but don't expect to be terribly disappointed.
The last on my list of must-sees but certainly not least is the Scott Monument. It stands 200 feet tall and is the tallest monument to a writer in the world! Even better it has steps offering multiple views of the city all the way to the top! Just to warn you it can get really tight on the spiral staircases and I am positive there are over 200 steps. The monument was built to commemorate one of Scotland's greatest novelists, Sir Walter Scott. After visiting, I did some research on him and came across this interesting quote.
"One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name." -Sir Walter Scott
This wraps up Edinburgh, I am sure I will be back again and with this finished, I need to start on the next post covering a road trip up to the incredibly beautiful Isle of Skye. Please let me know what you think and tell me about your time in this incredible place. I am always open to meet new people and hear others travel stories so send them over! If you have reccomendations for the next time I am here send those as well, and as always if you want any prints or have any questions shoot me an email!
So I have been living in Europe / England for three months now! With that I have noticed a fair few of the places I visit here really could never provide enough for a whole blog post. Given that I have come up with the idea of loading up a highlight reel of the travels and shoots I do in a given month. This will keep content on the blog steady with monthly posts as well as allow me to showcase some smaller day trips that I have been doing! Bigger trips will still warrant their own posts so if you like that don't worry I will still be doing those as well.
I think I have visited London the most in the past few months, either to link up with friends for drinks, pick up camera gear, or to shoot the city. Most of these shots were snapped down at the riverside near the Shard, probably one of the most photographed areas of London next to Big Ben. I however did get some great shots of Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace while walking the streets on my first trip.
Something else I have spent a lot of time doing is sitting on trains and driving across the country. Typically this can leave me pretty bored playing with the camera on the train or at the station. Luckily with these shots I managed to capture something nice! The image on the top left was snapped on my way into london, and the ones to the right and bottom left were captured traveling to Scotland out of Kings Cross.
I have noticed that London and european cities in general have a wild amount of street performance compared to most US cities. It really helps bring the cities to life and can make walking around them so much more enjoyable so if you see them out there be sure to throw some change their way, some do it for fun and others rely on that small amount of income. The top pano image is of a sand dog and its mastermind. The man standing created a super realistic sculpture from sand right there on the street! I almost didn't even realize it was not a real dog! The bottom two images were snapped with the 135 but both are in the same band playing some really nice tunes in Piccadilly Circus. So happy I was able to catch their gaze for a shot.
Another day trip to London for some Chipotle landed me this image. It really is nothing special but I loved the messege the guy was trying to send, spending his day out standing next to a subway entrance holding this sign "you are beautiful". A little bit can go a long way and in a world filled with negativity it was really nice to see someone spending their time reminding people to be a little more positive. A lot of people coming into the station took notice of him and every time it instantly brought a smile to their faces..
Both the images below were captured near Carnaby. Massive shopping area for sure and I really loved the big plaza that I managed to stumble into. However some really good food and souvenirs can be had by staying out of the storefronts and having a chat with some of the local stands or trucks like the one pictured below.
Swapping locations to something a little more local to me, Oxford is one of the other places I keep going back to. With the english weather it can be a bit hard to get stunning images in the city but I have managed a few pictured below. The first image is of the Radcliffe Camera building. Probably one of if not the most photographed buildings in Oxford but still a really cool building to check out while in the city. Be sure to hit the Turf Tavern nearby if you can find it as well, it has quite a lot of history and is a great place for a pint. Speaking of pints if you are looking to check out another old pub give The Bear Inn a go, and bring a tie.
If street photography Is your thing then I must say Oxford is a perfect place to spend a day. Tons of beer gardens, alleys and people walking about to fill up a portfolio. Grab your camera, some money and go out for a day shooting and drinking! Most of the images were captured just wondering the streets however the top image was a planned stop, the dungeon / castle in Oxford is worth stopping by and does offer a nearby hilltop view of the town. Also if you are looking to see some of oxfords many spires, take a walk over the The Varsity Club and grab a pint or cocktail on the roof!
Staying local and not far at all from Oxford is Blenheim Palace. This 18th century palace built to celebrate the victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession has a lot to offer on its grounds. You can also tour the inside of the palace but I have yet to take the time to do so even after two trips walking the large estate. Something else to note is that the palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the estate has more than a few monthly events always scheduled. If you have not been down yet and live locally I really recommend it!
The images below are all of just the palace its self. The palace has more than a few courtyards, fountains, and small private gardens and is kept in wonderful condition. The rear fountain area facing the pond is the best part of it all however. With 5 massive fountains on the higher portion and even more on the lower end leading to the pond it really is amazing to take in. Now as grand and beautiful as it is my favorite part of the area are the grounds themselves.
The grounds are massive and would be a wonderful place for a morning or afternoon jog. Also rain or shine you can almost always find folks enjoying a nice picnic on the grass here. The bridge from the palace to the victory pillar from across the pond is one of the better views in the area as well as the small waterfall and pump room at the very back. I have yet to take my lee filters out for the waterfall or go inside the palace to do some interior work so this will for sure not be the last you see of this location from me.
Another amazing city I managed to visit in the past few months was Manchester! The city has a lot going on and the cathedral was a real highlight as it was my first one ever stepping in. It was shocking to see how well all the stained glass was kept and the ceilings have been an always impressive work of art.
Not to far off as the more modern shopping areas where I gave taco bell outside the US a try for the first time and picked up a pint glass at the hard rock for my growing collection. I did manage to snag a few cool shots of the escalators, skylights and a popular intersection near the entrance to The Printworks. I will say that the football museum was a pretty big let down though!
From The Printworks we headed off to the city council plaza where I managed one ok shot. The plaza is rather large and expansive so it was pretty hard to capture. We also tried to check out the library before heading through chinatown and hitting a park for golden hour. I really love how well used the parks in Europe are, people actually go out and lay in the grass like it is a beach. Reading, talking with friends, having a picnic or even napping you will always find folks using a cities parks in Europe. The images pretty much go in order of how we traveled with the large circular building being the library.
The last stop in Manchester was to a more modern area of town down by the river called Media City and it is one area I can't wait to return to for sunset. Media City and the Lowry Hotel are both on my list for my next trip up to the town as I didn't get enough of the area with these shots before time and light ran out!
My final places are Anyhoe, West Illsey, Dover, and Bath. With Anyhoe and the shots of the country near West Illsey being small but very rewarding trips I am going to start with them before going on to the final two larger locations! Anyhoe is a small english countryside town not even a 15 minute drive from my home. But it does have Anyhoe park and some wonderful picturesque english countryside.
I started this trip on the way to Banbury for some food but after driving through and spotting Anyhoe Park I decided to stop and ended up spending a few hours of my day there. The large jacobean home is usually closed or gated up but do to a Ford event the grounds were open for exploration. The home is absolutely breathtaking an absolute symbol of wealth and power without question. The front features a large roundabout with the rear facing a large open yard. I would happily spend a day capturing all of the crazy interior so if anyone wants to grant me a press pass reading this feel free! After walking around the home for a few hours it was near sunset and I ended up running through town to get to a field full of sheep I had spotted on the drive in to capture the wonderful sunset you see at the very bottom.
Another day spent out capturing the english countryside lead me down to a small town called West Ilsley. Besides grabbing a pint of cider at the pub the town didn't offer much but the rolling hills all around it were fantastic.
Next up is Dover! Obviously the trip was planned to go capture the famous white cliffs. However the city did have a bit more to offer and I will have to make a return trip to see the castle up close due to my arrival being a bit on the late side. Although I did get to check out the Western Heights and capture a nice little landscape of the town from there before driving home. Back to the cliffs though, they do not disappoint. I was really worried that they would be full of people due to the fame they have acquired but that was not the case. Walking the cliffs was one of the more calming trips I have taken around the UK and is extremely enjoyable. I also managed to get really lucky with an amazing clear golden hour for my time there.
Last but certainly not least for this post is Bath! I spent the entire day in this city and still could have found more things to love. The river that runs right through it is absolutely stunning in some places. The roman baths although crowded are still a very worth while experience to check out and will not disappoint. I also recommend making the trek up to Alexandra Park for the amazing views of the city. I really do wish I had not went hiking through the hills and had just stayed there for sunset as I ended up being in the wrong angle and to far from the city later.
Although the sunset shot did not turn out to be what I really wanted I did manage to capture these nice images of the countryside around Bath because I was scouting for a location to shoot the sunset from!
Well I apologize for the lengthy post and if you were hoping it would keep going on forever then I will see you back next month for The August images! Travel will be a hair light this coming month due to the stolen camera scenario that lead to me swapping to the Fuji X system. So far I am really happy with it and some of these images were captured with the Fuji if you can tell the difference I would be impressed! If you do enjoy my work then do your part to help me keep traveling and give this post a share, like, retweet, review, offer up some comments or critisisms, tell your families, buy a print, donate some spare change do whatever you can! Thank you again for stopping in, come back next month for more!
As some of you know I have moved across the world from Japan to Oxfordshire in England. I am only two months into the three years I have to use and have already seen so much. I can not wait to start sharing more of my travels with everyone but I did not want to start the new series with a smaller english town, I needed something big. A week or two ago I took a two day trip from England and flew into Pisa.
The first thing I noticed was the pleasant weather but after that it was absolutely the change in architecture and style. The whole city has a feel to it and sticks to a theme fairly well. Bright colors, thin alleys hiding wonderful surprises, and shops tucked into every nook they can. Italy felt very alive, everyone is out doing something or enjoying a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes.
After pulling some euros and stopping in a few places on the main roads we opted to dip down some smaller streets and catch a glimpse behind the scenes. The tight roads had a really cool look to them and offered some interesting perspectives on the way to the leaning tower.
Now to talk about something else. Pisa was a very cool city however the tower is a large tourist attraction. Along with the crowds it doesn't help that the tower is all the city really has to offer, We spent about 3-4hrs taking itin before feeling like we had seen enough and got on the train to La Spezia. It's also good to note that the food here didn't blow me away, it was good but with all the talk I did expect to be a bit more impressed. It was sad to see that recent events have prompted some added security in the area as well even if it is warranted.
I will say the people always seemed willing to help and were pleasant. We met some awesome girls while waiting for the train to La Spezia who helped us make the right train, bumped into some cool taxi drivers near the tower, and plenty of the shop owners were open to conversation and knew enough english to get by.
The train took only about an hour and sadly with our timing we were on it for most of golden hour but it did offer some fantastic views of some distant mountains. I never pictured Italy as hilly or mountainous before visiting but after the hikes between villages in Cinque Terre I won't be making that mistake again.
Once arriving in La Spezia we ran into some confusions. With most of the trains done running and none of the cabs wanting to take us we opted to just walk to the first town in Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore. This turned out to be a horrid idea and after an hours walk up the hills we found a restaurant who helped us out with a cab the rest of the way to town. I did manage to get a little view of La Spezia at night before we loaded up however so the hike wasn't for nothing.
Once arriving in Riomaggiore the trip got a little wild. Due to missing sunset we wanted to see sunrise and to avoid sleeping through it we told ourselves it would be a good idea to just see the towns at night and stay up till sunrise and get our sleep in on the flight back. We stayed in Riomaggiore until about midnight walking around seeing the town and even at night it was something to take in.
The towns pack down into these small little valleys right on the ocean. While walking around we kept hearing some music and laughing coming from somewhere in the center of town and after some investigation figured out that the town has one or two bars that were basically the only things open. Perfect! We stopped in of course and got some light bakery snacks along with one of the strongest long island iced teas ever made. We stuck around for about an hour, used the wifi to make some calls to folks back home and tell them what we were up to, and then headed out. We decided if we were staying up we should hike over to the next town, however the usual coastal path was down so we would need to take an older route over the hills the bar tender had mentioned.
The hike was brutal but the views were incredible. I would say it took us about two hours and most of that was spent sweating up the slope of the hill under the moonlight. The moon was crystal clear over the ocean and at some point we stopped to take it all in for 10-20 minutes. I will be returning to hike all the way up to the last town for sure. After coming off the hill and snapping a few shots of the town from above we headed down to the port to get a nice image of that and set up for sunrise.
At this point in the night it was a good hour or two until the sun was going to come up and we were exhausted from a long day and the brutal hike into this new town of Manarola. Some benches near where we were set up made for awesome nap spots and I am pretty sure both of us got in a little bit of shut eye before waking back up to see the sun come up. Sunrise was sadly not amazing as the mountains block a lot of the light but we did catch some good colors behind us looking to the next town.
After sunrise we ran into a man from Colorado on his honeymoon and opted to go grab some coffee and much needed breakfast in town with him. However it would be almost two more hours before a single shop opened in the town. Apparently the folks in this little village don't like to wake up to early. Eventually we found some food and took to exploring the town and all its glory in the sunshine before heading back to pisa for our flight out. I honestly can not wait to head back and see the other towns and do the full hike. Cinque Terre is a place I don't think I will ever forget even with how rough we made the two days there.