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Roman Holiday – Swiss Guard

The Swiss Guard has existed since the late 15th century. As guardians of the gates to Vatican City, the Papal Swiss Guard, founded in 1506, is the only remaining Swiss Guard in the world.

Swiss Guard

More information at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/swiss_guard/swissguard/storia_en.htm

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St Mary and St Finnan’s Church – Glenfinnan

This beautiful church is built on  the banks of Loch Shiel. It is a memorial to the Macdonalds of Glenaladale. It is believed that Charles Edward Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” stayed with the Macdonalds before raising the Jacobite standard in 1745.

St Mary’s and St Finnon’s Church – Glenfinnan


Oban View

We visited Oban during a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands. Oban, located on the mainland, at the northern end of The Firth of Lorn near the entrance to Loch Linnhe, is known as the “Gateway to the Isles”. It is also recognised as the “Seafood capital of Scotland”.

And while I love fresh seafood, for the chocoholics like me, I recommend a visit to the Oban Chocolate Company, who offer a range of delicious hand made chocolates manufactured in their factory in Oban.

More information at http://www.oban.org.uk/

Oban


Mallaig Harbour – “The Jacobite’s” Destination

The fishing port of Mallaig is the destination of the “The Jacobite” the vintage steam train, featured in last week’s post.

This peaceful view over Mallaig Harbour, shows the islands of Rum and Eigg on the horizon. In the foreground is the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry to Skye

Mallaig Harbour


“The Jacobite”

“The Jacobite” is the vintage steam train which runs from Fort William, through some of the most beautiful countryside in Scotland, to the picturesque fishing port of Mallaig.

While this trip has always been a popular attraction with tourists visiting the Scottish highlands, the “Harry Potter” movies where the ” Hogwarts Express” crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct has helped boost the popularity of this nostalgic journey. On its journey the “Jacobite” does cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct just like in the movies.

The image of the train below, was captured last week, during a short visit to the Scottish Highlands, as it travelled along the shoreline of Loch Eil, 4 – 5 miles from Fort William, on its way to Mallaig

More details at http://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/Jacobite_Details.html and for a journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct on “The Jacobite” click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_GjT9nlAeM&feature=related

The Jacobite


Sir Walter Scott Monument; Edinburgh

This image of Sir Walter Scott’s Monument, erected for his contribution to Scottish Literature is captured, just before sunset, from “The Mound” (the old Bank of Scotland Headquarters; Edinburgh)

The monument, inaugurated in 1846, is 200ft high. A sculpture in marble, of the man himself, can be seen through the centre arch.

Sir Walter Scott Monument; Edinburgh

More information can be found at http://www.edinburgharchitecture.co.uk/scott_monument.htm


Blackrock Cottage “Close-up” (Monochrome) Version – Glencoe

Just thought I’d also post the monochrome “close-up” version. What do you think?

Blackrock Cottage_mono


Blackrock Cottage – Glencoe

One of the most beautiful and most photographed scenes in the Scottish Highlands.

Because of the wide variation in weather conditions,  in this region, the “character” of this peaceful tranquil scene can quickly be transformed,  into one of the bleakest, stormy, landscapes in Scotland.

Blackrock Cottage


Memories of Venice

San Marco

I fell in love with Venice, when I first visited some 10 years ago.  At that time, I worked for a company that had a manufacturing site in Bologna and I was attending a factory tour along with some UK clients. Venice is only a 60 minute train journey from Bologna, so we took the opportunity to visit that weekend. I was “hooked”

This amazing visit to Venice, a few years ago, was a birthday celebration for Doreen, my better half.

We spent 4 nights at the Dona Palace Hotel, in the centre of Venice. A great hotel with lovely large room, fabulous breakfasts and only 2 minutes walk from St Mark’s Square.

This famous Italian city, built originally on a mosquito infested lagoon has it all; ambience, history, and an “olde world” feel to it that is totally unique.

When dining out, if you can eat in a restaurant away from the main tourist areas, the food and service is usually superb. Although it tends to be expensive to eat in the San Marco and Rialto areas, to enjoy the romantic atmosphere, that “is” Venice, I recommend that you eat in a restaurant on the Grand Canal, near the Rialto Bridge and take a gondola ride, at least once during your visit.

We visited early October, when the temperature was around 24C (~75F) which was very comfortable for sightseeing and for “chilling out” with a nice bottle of wine in the cafes at the front in San Marco or on the Grand Canal.

Entertainment at night was provided at different hotels and restaurants throughout the city. We found that the small orchestras, playing in outdoor cafes and at hotel entrances in St Mark’s Square, were excellent and created a superb “classical” fun atmosphere in this most famous historical square.

We purchased 24 hour water bus (Vaporetto) passes and jumped on and off on a regular basis.  A great way to see round this “magical” place. On several occasions we stayed on the water bus and had a tour of the whole lagoon. A good few of my images were shot from the rear of the water bus which was completely uncovered.

I can’t wait to go back, maybe later this year or early 2013.

I hope you enjoy the images which were shot with my smaller EOS 30D – 8MP camera. (I didn’t have my EOS 5DMK2 at that time)

For larger images, please “click” on the photos below.

Ciao


Rueppells Griffon Vulture

Classified as a “near threatened” species,  this vulture, named after the German explorer and Zoologist, Eduard Ruppell. is believed to be the worlds highest flying bird and has been found at altitudes around 36,000 ft (~ 11,000 metres), although they are found more often ~20,000 ft (~6,000 metres)

As inhabitants of North Africa, America, India, Australia and Nepal, they tend to nest in large flocks in the dry mountainous regions.

Additional information can be found at http://www.phoenixzoo.org/visit/animal_news.aspx?ARTICLE_ID=100566

Rueppell's Griffon Vulture (Gyps Rueppelli)