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Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff

Wales photo album

Wales! That little country tacked onto the side of England… we were only there a short time, and didn’t really get to explore much. However, what we saw was interesting. Most of these pictures were taken at a pretty little park, where we walked around a bit. Our other destinations in Cardiff were a souvenir gift shop, a book store, a thrift store, and a fast food chicken place.

At the thrift store I was tempted to buy a bunch of interesting books on the Welsh language, but I maintained my self-control, reasoning that it would be very unlikely for me to return to Wales anytime soon in the future. As for the chicken place, well… we were hungry, and our options were limited. My memories from the chicken place were that if you wanted ketchup, you had to pay extra, and we were practically the only white people in the restaurant, everyone else looking middle-eastern! So much for traditional Welsh food.

Maybe one of these days I will make it back to Wales. I’m sure there’s much more to see than I was able to breeze through on my short visit!

Hiking Sweat Mountain

Sweat Mountain

You may not consider Atlanta to be a particularly mountainous place, but there are actually several large prominences in the area that are termed “mountains.” Stone Mountain is most well known, and I’ve also hiked up Kennesaw Mountain, Sawnee Mountain, and Arabia Mountain, all in the area surrounding Atlanta. Today I drove over to Cobb County for the next chapter of my Atlanta mountain climbing adventures: Sweat Mountain! (515 metres above sea level)

I made a virtual visit with Google Street View beforehand, and it looked promising. The mountain is in a residential area, with a lot of radio and cell phone towers on the top. I parked on Wigley Road just past the place where Summitop Road begins.

No TrespassingI only hiked about 0.7 km one way up Summitop Road, but it was quite strenuous (and yes, I did sweat!). I marched past lots of fancy houses, finally reaching a turnaround with another road leading off from it. Unfortunately, once I reached that point, I was greeted by a sign stating unequivocally “No Trespassing,” “Private Property,” “Private Road.” According to the satellite photos, this private road is the only road that leads to the top of the mountain, but being a law-abiding citizen, I decided not to proceed.

Mystery MountainEven though I couldn’t go all the way to the top, there was a decent view as I went back down, and I even spotted a little conical mountain that seemed to be located to the southwest. Looking at the map now, it looks like it may have been one end of Kennesaw Mountain that I was seeing, or maybe it was Blackjack Mountain, a peak hitherto unknown to me! That may be my next mountain climbing destination.

So if you are contemplating a trip to Sweat Mountain, I would recommend it if you live nearby. It is a nice little hike with good views. Just keep in mind that you cannot go all the way to the top, unless you want to face prosecution for criminal trespassing!

Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Church of the Holy Trinity

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Along the River Avon in eastern England lies a peaceful town called Stratford-upon-Avon, presumably given that name to distinguish is from other, less interesting Stratfords, such as Stratford, Texas. (I am joking, of course!) I got to visit this town when I was in England four years ago, and took some pictures, which I you can see in the linked photo album. Stratford-upon-Avon is best known as the hometown of William Shakespeare, and we got to visit his birthplace, as well as another house he lived in, if I remember right (I hesitate to make any definitive statements about Shakespeare since I have forgotten most of what I learned that day). We also visited the “Church of the Holy Trinity” which houses Shakespeare’s tomb, over which this interesting rhyme is placed:

Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear
To dig the dust enclos├Ęd here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

I don’t know that Shakespeare himself wrote the rhyme, but so far it has worked! Some less prestigious souls were buried outside in the churchyard, making for a very interesting place to explore indeed.

One thing I noticed in these old buildings was that the doorways were often quite low. Apparently people back then were shorter (or at least shorter than me) and they’ve even had to put a warning sign on a lintel in one house that says “Mind your head.” All this and more you can see in the photos. Enjoy!

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Return from the Rainforest

sunsubiro

As a child, many things fascinated me, and one of these things was the rainforest. For one thing, rainforests teem with exotic wildlife, a feature which attracted the attention of this boy who kept a zoo in his bedroom. That fact, combined with the lush green foliage and the potentially hazardous insects and crawling things, made the rainforest an amazing topic for research and discovery. The rug covering most of my bedroom floor was brown, so I decided that would be the dirt floor of the forest. I had a poster showing the green leafiness of the rainforest, so that went on the wall, with hopes of more such posters to complete the effect. And then I worked my creativity to fashion multicoloured rainforest animals out of construction paper, to place around my room. It may not have been quite realistic or convincing, but it was the product of inspiration and creativity! Read More

Oxford, England

oxford

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Once upon a time, in faraway England, there was a spot in the River Thames that was shallow and convenient for oxen and carts to ford. A settlement grew around this ford, and thus Oxford was born. In the following years, a university was established there, which grew to be a quite prestigious institution. And many years after that, a travelling Texan visited its ancient halls, and took some pictures there.

I quite enjoyed my stay in Oxford. We slept in the dormitories of Keble College, and broke our fast in Keble Hall, feasting on eggs and bacon (although I must say that the British do not know what true bacon is). A kind guide showed us around town, and I had fun trying to decipher Latin inscriptions over doorways. Our guide said only the brightest and best scholars are accepted at Oxford, and even though I was only there a short time, I can truthfully say “I went to Oxford!”

Our next destination was C. S. Lewis’s house in Risinghurst, just outside of Oxford. Unfortunately Mr. Lewis was not at home, but we were shown around the house, and marveled at the history it contained. Apparently Mr. Lewis likes the Eragon series (I noticed the first book on his shelf), and my sister and I sampled some plums in his garden outside, and found them very tasty.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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