Outside Edinburgh: Tantallon Castle (East Lothian, part 2)


Continuing from yesterday’s post: One of the most dramatic and beautiful sights Catriona and Stuart took us to on Sunday — in a day of fabulous sights — was the ruins of Tantallon Castle, a 14th-century fortress set on a headland. There’s not much left of the castle, really, but it’s an atmospheric structure, and the site is just breathtaking. (Well, probably it’s freezing cold and windy and wet much of the time, but not on the day we went!)

Signboard and castle


{as always, click to enlarge}

I’m quite tired so I’ll just put all the descriptions in mouseover. We went dancing tonight (at a ceilidh!) and we leave Edinburgh tomorrow on a train to the Highlands, so it’s been a busy day. But these photos follow the path we took, exploring the castle, so they should be a good walking tour!

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Last Day in Pennsylvania

Travels with Gunther and Kara

Today was our last day in Elverson, PA and Connie picked out a nice hike for us to go on. We stayed within the boundaries of French Creek State Park. First stop was the Hopewell Forge National Historic Site…this is a reconstructed iron forge from the late 1700’s. It produced pig iron all the way up through the Civil War and provided a good deal of war material for the Union side. Very similar in layout, construction, and purpose as the Catoctin Forge we visited last week but Hopewell has been rebuilt a lot more and has working charcoal kilns as well as a rehabilitated iron master’s house, cooling shed, and other forge buildings. Here are photos of the house, cooling shed, forge, and kiln areas.

Next stop was Hopewell Lake itself. Neil had ridden the bike by it a couple times this week and it was all downhill from…

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It’s August 3, 2012. We are back in Spokane, Washington after a relatively short drive from Butte, Montana. I’ll be honest…I am desperate to get home! All the driving and hotels are getting to me (and the rest of the family I suspect). But it’s nice to know that by tomorrow, we’ll be home.

On our way through Spokane three weeks ago, I wanted to stop in at Gonzaga University to have a look at the campus. I LOVE university campuses and try to at least drive through if I get the chance. It brings back memories of my own time in university – both Simon Fraser and Royal Roads –  which I recall fondly!

Well, today I did it. Pip and I explored the campus of Gonzaga University today. Being summer, it was quiet and beautiful. On our journey, I began to recall how I hadn’t even heard of…

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A fairy tale birthday

All I Need

Once upon a time in a land far away, a middle-aged woman celebrated her 43rd birthday…

She hopped on an air-conditioned bus in Munich with her “bestie” and off they traveled through verdant countryside.  Along the way, she saw bell wearing bovines, farmers in their fields, and flowers overflowing from window boxes.  She could not contain herself!

Her excitement grew more and more with each hairpin turn and as the hills began to grow and the Alpine background came into view she began to wonder if she were dreaming.  Tucked in the folds of the mountains was a castle, Neuschwanstein to be exact, and though the front side was covered in scaffolding (something that happens only once every 30 years for cleaning) she was awed nonetheless.  The adventure had begun!


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Going for the Gold

Pretty Purva

Hello! 您好!नमस्कार! Bonjour! ¡Hola! Γεια σας! Salue! Dia duit!

Hello in any language you speak! I have a ton to talk about. Such as..

Camp Words


Hit Songs

So lets get started!

Camp Words

The week I came back to camp, it was all drama. Drama,drama,drama. Not the best way to reunite with friends. I, being myself, will not talk about this over the internet. But Monday was horrible. Tuesday was much better, if I do say so. But honestly, I must say a couple things myself.

This whole thing happened, becuase we all want to grow up too quickly. And you all must admit it. Like the crazy saying, YOLO, you only live once. So why destroy it? I have found out that if you try to be an adult, you just complain to become a kid again.

And why in the world do you want to be…

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Travel: Benteng Pendem

Ahmad Alkadri

Mungkin beberapa dari teman-teman ada yang menyadari kalau Theme blog saya ini gonta-ganti melulu. Yah, secara pribadi, kalau saya boleh jujur ya, saya ngelakuinnya karena iseng. Kalau lagi gak ada kerjaan, lagi gak mood buat blogwalking, ya udah otak-atik Theme aja. Huhuhu.. sambil nyetel lagu sedih gitu deh di latar belakang #plak

Oke. Kalau beberapa hari lalu saya menghabiskan hari dengan berjalan-jalan ke Teluk Penyu, menikmati nostalgia di batas Pantai Selatan Jawa, kemarin saya menghabiskan siang dan sore hari saya dengan berjalan-jalan ke salah satu objek wisata yang tak kalah yahudnya di Cilacap: Benteng Pendem

Jadi, Benteng Pendem adalah sebuah benteng peninggalan Belanda. Dibangun secara bertahap dari akhir abad ke-19, benteng ini difungsikan sebagai penahan serangan yang datang dari arah laut Selatan. Sejarah benteng ini sangat panjang – banyak penduduk pribumi yang dahulu ditahan, kerja paksa, dan disiksa hingga dieksekusi di sini. Pada abad ke-20, tepatnya pada PD II…

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Travel-Work to Kutai Barat – Part 1

Pray, Love and Traveling

Pak Bos: “Sepertinya ini harus langsung diselesaikan di Site Project, bagaimana hakim? kamu siap?
Saya: “Kapan pun waktunya, saya siap pak” (dalam hati: cihuii.. kerja sambilan jalan-jalan”

Edisi kali ini sangat spesial, karena saya tidak pyiur hanya ngetrip. tetepi ada misi khusus dibalik ngtrip saya kali ini. yaitu “Kerjaan Top Urgent” :cool

Kebetulan saat ini saya sedang bekerja di sebuah perusahaan mining contractor yang projectnya sebagian besar di wilayah Kalimantan. Saat saya diminta untuk ke site project untuk mengurusi suatu pekerjaan itu adalah sebuah hal yang saya nanti-nantikan yang akhirnya bisa tercapai. Setelah melewati persiapan yang cukup lama, mulai dari mempersiapakan akomodasi perjalanan sampai data yang dibawa untuk pekerjaan disana. Tibalah waktunya untuk saya berangkat ke site project yaitu menuju Kutai Barat, Kalimantan Timur.

Jam 3 pagi waktu Jakarta, saya sudah siap untuk menuju Soekarno Hatta Airport. Dengan membawa gembolan dan perlengkapan perang saya siap untuk perjalanan kali ini walaupun…

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I AMSTERDAM: That’s Beautiful


One photo blog of the beautiful city of Amsterdam is not enough, this is the second installment of the photos I took.  The city, the people and everything about this places is just wonderful.  Amsterdam is a great mix of the old and new Europe; it is both cultural and historical.  Walking along the cobbled-stoned streets of Amsterdam is breath-taking.  The city is awe-inspiring, it was beautifully made and throughout the centuries, Amsterdam maintained its splendor.

There are over 300 canals in Amsterdam, it is the city’s bloodline.  Traversing through the canals is one way to see this splendid city.  Just get on and off in the ferries that sail in the canals and enjoy the view, it’s a must.

My next photo blog about Amsterdam would be about nature.  Yes, surprisingly the Dutch live in great cohabitation with nature here in Amsterdam.  The clean surroundings amidst modernity and amazing…

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Thailand Travelogue: ChungKai War Cemetery, Buddha Statue Hidden in a Cave, Train to the Bridge on the River Kwai

Confessions of a Boy Toy

Earlier this year the Tourism Authority of Thailand invited me to come visit the country and create our first ever Asian guide for GayCities. The phenomenal travel connoisseur Carlos Melia took me, YouTuber Davey Wavey and colleagues from Pink Triangle Press, Passport magazine and dot429 around Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle region showing us the shiniest gems Thailand has to offer. The following travelogue retraces highlights from my third day there.

ChungKai War Cemetary

The following day we took a fieldtrip outside Bangkok to go explore the River Kwai. Our first stop, however, was the immaculate cemetery for the western prisoners of the Second World War, who died while living in work camps and being subjected to constructing the labor-intensive Burma-Siam railway. The ChungKai cemetery itself was actually built by the surviving POW’s.

Containing the graves of over 1,700 prisoners, the cemetery is a point of pilmigrage for many western…

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M u s i n g s

Most of us equate architecture with the idea of permanence; after all, it’s one of the three precepts espoused by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius – durability, utility, and beauty – that have propelled builders since antiquity. But a new phenomenon, “pop-up” architecture (also known as “temporary” architecture, or even “urban interventions”), has shaken that idea to its very — excuse the pun — foundations.

The scale of the concept ranges from huge to small, from boutiques and grocery stores to entire neighborhoods. The current London Olympics fall full-force in the supersized category, where the imposingly impermanent includes the Basketball Arena (detail shown above), which was intended as a temporary site since inception, with almost two-thirds of its building materials destined for reuse or recycling. The facility’s textured shell and portal frame will eventually travel to Brazil for the 2016 Games.

The realities of difficult economic times have played a…

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Yesterday I was feeling antsy so I decided to drive to the Painted Hills, a small park in the deserts of central Oregon that features some beautiful geology. It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from Portland, depending on traffic, but well worth the trip, especially if you’re a fan of deserts and history. My GPS showed me two routes: the main route down 26, and the back way up the Gorge and down through the desert.

I, of course, took the back way. I’ve never been one to do things the easy way, and when you stick to the road more traveled you miss all manner of wonders and adventures. Admittedly, during the last half of the journey I was beginning to wonder if my GPS had finally had enough and decided to just do away with me, send me plummeting down some mountain in a whirling ball of fire…

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The Shore Theatre opened as the Loew’s Coney Island Theatre on June 17, 1925. The 2,387 seat theater was built by the Chanin Construction Company, which was also known for the construction of the now demolished Roxy Theatre in Manhattan. Before opening, the theater was leased to the Loew’s theater chain. The Shore was designed in a Renaissance revival style by the Reilly & Hall architecture firm, who were proteges of famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb.

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Don’t overlook what’s in your own backyard.

Splash Photography ~ as it happens


Too often I hear people who have a love of photography complain that they just haven’t had time to get out and take photos. It’s an easy excuse to make about many aspects of our life however, I always struggle to understand how people can use this excuse in relation to their photography.

The great thing about photography is that once you have that most essential piece of equipment – a camera – the possibilities are endless. First things first…PICK IT UP, there that wasn’t so hard was it? Now the next most important thing is to turn it on and start clicking! From here you can either just walk around the house clicking away randomly until something catches your eye or you can step outside. Inhale……exhale…… ahhhhh how good is that fresh air?

When we live in the same house every day, drive to work the same way…

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pish posh

the dream being

Today was quite the day. I started @ Chelsea Market, celebrated a friend’s birthday @ Grey Dog (amazing sandwiches) then wandered the streets of Chelsea hitting up the galleries that braved the summer crowds and are actually open. (There aren’t many). It was an adventurous day full of laughter, art &  blazing heat, trust me there’s no buildings out there in Chelsea to block that relentless sun. Here is what I found.

Julius Popp, Bit Fall 2006 @ eyebeam on 23rd st.
Kiki Smith, Milky Way 2011 at Anton Kern Gallery on 20th street.

Rodney Graham, Welsh Oaks #2 1998 David Zwirner Gallery on 19th st.

Nobuo Sekine, Phase of Nothingness, Water 2012 at Gladstone Gallery on 21st st.

Nobuo Sekine, Phase of Nothingness, Water 2012 at Gladstone Gallery on 21st st.

Mason Williams, Bus 1967, at David Zwirner Gallery on 19th st.

Arne Quinze, Chaos Life 2012…

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Desperately awaiting Spring


I should understand by now that the long-awaited arrival of Spring in Minnesota is a temperamental thing. Last year at this time, it was unseasonably warm and we were basking in the sun wearing shorts and t-shirts. This year, we are buried under snow and below zero wind chills. Minnesotans are getting frustrated and stir crazy. After five long months of winter, we just want to be outside listening to the birds sing and watching in awe as color and life comes back to our land.

The world continues to remain colorless. But just every so often you need to spice things up….


Hope you enjoyed my black and white pictures from Nepal along with a splash of color from the fresh markets of Guatemala. Now let’s hope it warms up here soon!

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“Xenia” in a mountain village

Cretan Chronicles

“More, please…”  Something you’ll never hear around a  Greek table.  Before you can even think it, the food appears and keeps on appearing even after your stomach is pleading for mercy.  Our Greek “daughter” Katerina and her new husband Sifis (see “Katerina’s Wedding” blogpost July 2012) invited us to his family’s village of Vrisses where a group of us were served up a plentiful supply of Greek hospitality (Xenia) and delicious food.    Sifis’ family welcomed us into their charming traditional home that had all the warmth of a well lived in family house complete with their own Cretan history tastefully displayed from floor to ceiling.

The old structure, originally a storage room/stable dating back to the late 1800’s, was lovingly renovated and decorated by Sifis’ parents.  The attention to detail inside and out was evident everywhere you looked.   As Katerina says, “Given how important family is in Greece…

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Joining the dark side

. . .

That’s right, we speak of the Face Book, which we generally can’t stand, yet have nevertheless now joined. After establishing presences on both Flickr groups and Google groups, it seemed silly to continue holding the biggest online evil juggernaut this side of Google at arm’s length solely on account of our personal revulsion. So we have succumbed. Above all else, it is for you, dear reader, as you all are on it, and this seemed like the easiest way to share cool stuff outside of this website. After all, Motoring Con Brio – which we’ve always treated more as a collective than as a personal blog – couldn’t exist without its numerous contributors, and what better way to encourage such contributions than through the single platform that just about every man, woman, and child (besides us, apparently) uses?

Motoringconbrio.com will continue to serve as the centerpiece of the…

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