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Since we were about to embark on a Canadian rail journey, a visit to the Drake Street Roundhouse, in Yaletown, Vancouver, was almost inevitable. Yaletown used to be a huge railway complex, and was where the trains to Vancouver used to terminate. But all that remains nowadays is the Roundhouse. This is a really ingenious arrangement, consisting…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on June 21, 2020 at 10:24am — No Comments
The poet William Wordsworth once said that the best way to view the hills of the English Lake District was from a boat on one of the lakes. I’d agree with that; when I was a kid, my holiday job was working on those boats on Lake Windermere.
A lot of time has passed since then, and I’ve amassed many more over the years.…
Added by Keith Kellett on April 13, 2020 at 1:07pm — No Comments
Cambodia claims to be the only country with a building on its flag. That building is, of course, the familiar profile of Angkor Wat. Claimed to be the largest religious structure of any kind in the world. it is, however, just part of a vast complex - indeed, the name means "temple city".
This complex was ordered built in the 12th…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on April 2, 2020 at 11:30pm — No Comments
There seems to be a waterfall around every corner in Iceland, but on our recent cruise port call we saw only a few of them. Even then, it could be argued that we didn’t see the best of them, but we probably saw the best known. Even as we sailed into Seydisfjordur, we were flanked on both sides by the steep banks of the fjord - and down…
Added by Keith Kellett on October 17, 2019 at 8:34am — No Comments
Argan oil is part of the Moroccan way of life - as well as prized by quite a few international chefs. Apart from a few isolated places in Mexico, the argan tree grows only in Morocco. It yields a lemony-yellow fruit, from the kernel of which argan oil is obtained. If oil is extracted from raw kernels, it’s used for making cosmetics; if…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on June 30, 2019 at 12:24pm — No Comments
In the Netherlands province of Holland in April and early May, almost every field in is covered in brightly coloured flowers. These are the bulb flowers most often associated with spring. There are deep blue hyacinths, white and golden yellow daffodils and narcissi, but mostly brash, bold and colourful tulips.
Tulips come in a…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on April 26, 2019 at 1:11am — No Comments
Whenever I’m away from home, I often take a view from our hotel room, for social media. At Agra, I opened the curtains to behold … the golden arches of McDonalds.
Not that I really have anything against McD’s; I sometimes eat there, but it’s certainly not my eatery of choice. It’s just that their golden arches seem to intrude on…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on December 5, 2018 at 12:04pm — No Comments
We’ve cruised on some of the world’s great rivers; the Nile, Australia’s Murray and China’s Yangtze - and, most recently, on the Danube and the Rhine. They’re as different to each other as river cruising is to ocean cruising; there’s just no comparison.
Even the ships are different. The Murray Princess was a stern-wheel paddle…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on June 5, 2018 at 12:37pm — No Comments
‘"Migaloo" was the name of a white humpback whale which was seen in Australian waters some time ago, and still appears from time to time … recently, I heard a white whale calf had also been seen. In the language of Australia’s indigenous people, it simply means "White One’" - and I have the greatest admiration for Australian conservationists…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on March 20, 2018 at 5:50am — No Comments
Known for its ornate, golden-sandstone architecture of the Renaissance era as well as one of the world's oldest universities, the Castilian city of Salamanca is a delightful fount of a million details and delights for the visitor, as I discovered on a recent visit.
On my first day, my local friend Carolina took me to the cathedral,…
Many words have been written about the ruined Inca city of Machu Picchu, and I can’t think of anything to say about it that hasn’t been said many times already. So I shall content myself with a few words on how to get there, to see for yourself.
There are several train services, from both Cuzco and Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, the nearest rail…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on January 23, 2018 at 9:12am — No Comments
Some folk describe glaciers as "rivers of ice", and in essence that’s just what they are. It starts with a snowfall, back in the Year Dot. If that snow doesn’t melt, there’s another snowfall next year, which just lies on top of it. Repeat this process for a few thousand years, and the snow is compressed into ice. Just the same as if…
Added by Keith Kellett on September 23, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments
I love a garden, and I especially like one that’s been rescued from near dereliction. Cornwall’s ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’ are probably the best-known example, Coincidentally, the Tremayne family, who owned the Heligan Gardens were related to the owners of Plas Cadnant , in Wales - another ‘recovered lost garden’.
The estate, and the gardens were…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on August 16, 2017 at 9:30am — No Comments
‘If you steal a sheep, they’ll hang you, but if you steal a mountain, they’ll make you a Lord’
- old Welsh saying.
There’s evidence of this stealing of mountains all over Snowdonia National…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on June 27, 2017 at 4:20am — No Comments
‘Portmeirion is a gorgeous visual poem that will melt the hardest heart’
- Rough Guide Wales
A lot of people remark that Portmeirion, a private village…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on May 12, 2017 at 12:57pm — No Comments
On New Year’s Day 1502, a Portuguese ship captained by one Gaspar de Lemos sailed into what is now Guanabera Bay. Thinking that this was the mouth of a river, they called it Rio de Janeiro, ‘January River’, and, although there wasn’t actually a river here, the name stuck. Nowadays, it’s usually just shortened to ‘Rio’ … and, although there are many other places…
Added by Keith Kellett on April 29, 2017 at 12:47pm — No Comments
We boarded our ship in Buenos Aires, and the cruise would take us right around South America around the famous … or infamous … Cape Horn to Valpariaso.
I thought of the old sea shanty ‘Paddy Lay Back’:
‘… for we’re bound for Valparaiso round the Horn’
Then I remembered more words of the same…
Added by Keith Kellett on March 21, 2017 at 11:42am — No Comments
If anyone tells me they’re ‘going to see the Northern Lights’, I always counsel them to plan on other activities too, so they aren’t too disappointed if they don’t show. They’re always there … although if the weather conditions are wrong, they can’t be seen. All of our time in Alta, Norway, there was almost complete cloud cover, and occasional flurries of snow,…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on February 24, 2017 at 7:30pm — No Comments
‘Have you come for the concert?’ asked our taxi driver, as he took to our hotel from the station. He explained that, every year in July, Maastricht was packed tight with people who had come to see the André Rieu Homecoming Concert.
‘The man’s a genius!’ he went on ‘If it wasn’t for him, this town would be…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on January 9, 2017 at 8:53am — No Comments
Originally, the Temple of Débod stood in Egypt, on the right bank of the River Nile, and was dedicated to the god Amun and the goddess Isis. At the beginning of the 20th Century, it was decided, for water conservation purposes, to dam the river at Aswan, downstream of the temple.
Unfortunately, some important ancient monuments would…Continue
Added by Keith Kellett on October 13, 2016 at 3:30am — No Comments