Posts Tagged ‘Tweets’

From High To Low

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

A cool Scottish breeze causes the dry spring grass to wave to and fro on the knoll that we have climbed.  We look north toward the historic city of Stirling, gazing out over rich farming land and the Forth and Clyde canal below us.

Union Spotting

Our “perch”, right alongside the Union canal, is some 115 feet above the Forth and Clyde canal and we feel like a couple of engineers surveying the scene laid out before us and asking the questions: “How do you get a canal boat from the Union canal down the 115′ to the Forth and Clyde canal – without building the equivalent of a theme park log flume ride?”  ”Is it Wheelie possible?” This very question was posed back in 1994 and the “Ferris Wheel” design for the Falkirk Wheel came into the minds of engineers.

The stunning steel structure was completed 2001 and “launched” by the Her Majesty The Queen in May 2002.  Problem solved.  Fantastic tourist attraction created.

From above the Falkirk Wheel the seven arches frame the Union canal and surrounding landscape perfectly.  The arches are reflected beautifully in the still water of the canal and, at different times of the day, the colour of the sky changes that colour of the water – an every changing artist’s palette.

Reflected Arches

Standing at the basin below and looking up at the Wheel’s 35 metre structure you are immediately impressed by the sheer size of this 12oo tonne marvel.  The wheel is not just a practical way of getting canal boats from one canal to another, it is a work of art whose regularly moving, flowing lines cause visitors to stand and stare.  Beauty and functionality all held together by 14000 bolts.

It's Wheelie Big

Visitors can take a boat ride on the wheel.  Boats depart from beside the impressive visitor’s centre up to and along the Union canal.  The boats are driven into the wheel’s gondola (each gondola holds over 500,000 litres of water) and then “locked” in before the wheel rotates and transports the boats and passengers up to the canal above.  The whole process takes around 15 minutes and uses the equivalent energy that it takes to boil eight kettles of water.  Very efficient!

In addition to watching and photographing the beautiful wheel we walked around the surrounding area and take in some of the sights and activities on offer.  Local fisherman trying their luck on the canals were happy to answer questions about the type and size of fish they caught and the men that operate the locks spent time answering questions about the lock system and canal boat activity.

A resident swan followed us along the Forth and Clyde canal and accompanied us as we looked over some of the canal boats that were available for hire.  We didn’t have any food for him (or was it a her?) but that didn’t stop him keeping an eye on our every move.

Forth and Clyde Resident

We also had a lot of fun playing in the “big kids” water park that has been set up for visitors.  You get to learn all about how the flow of water can be used to operate a variety of things.  It’s very interactive and a perfect playground for all ages.

There is a great variety of food and beverage options available or you can bring you own “grub” and set up a picnic alongside the basin or one of the canals.  The wheel and canals are a perfect backdrop for a picnic on a sunny Scottish day.  And, after your full of black pudding and whiskey you can work it off in the water park.

Pumping Water

If you are visiting Scotland make sure you put the Falkirk Wheel on your itinerary.  Falkirk is a short, easy drive from Edinburgh and Stirling.  Get into the flow and take a drive to Falkirk and check out this impressive attraction.

For those with a bit of time on their hands, consider hiring a canal boat for a week.  Touring the intricate network of canals that are being reopened in Scotland would be a relaxing way to soak up the southern part of this beautiful country – slowly.

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Batman Seen Driving An Audi In Siem Reap

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Fading sunlight struggles to drown out the streetlights that start to appear one by one in the Pub Street district of Siem Reap.

The tired haggling enterprenuers in the Old Market wind down from another day of trying to tempt tourists to buy another must have trinket.  Horse hagglers needing some vocal reconditioning before setting up stall to do it all again tomorrow.

Our vantage point, a sidewalk table at Café Le Grande, is a perfect place to sit back, relax and soak up the sights and sounds in the French quarter of town.

It's Batman

“Hey, how you doin?. Good to see you again”.  A truth is being spoken this time.  It’s Batman – and he’s driving a freakin’ Audi!

Batman’s pearly white teeth almost blind us when his strolls up to greet us at our table.  “Good to see you again!” we reply.  We met Batman, a proud young Tuk Tuk driver, last night on our way back to the hotel.  Impressed by his dazzling Tuk Tuk, logoed with Batman icons, we couldn’t help but strike up a conversation with him.

Despite his polite offers to take us anywhere for a dollar we order another glass of very good red.  We might need a Tuk Tuk at this rate!

Euro Style

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Shania Twain and Dire Straits Perform at Ta Prohm

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

“So you think you’re a temple?… That don’t impress me much” “Do, do, do do, do, do, do” The beat and words to Shania’s catchy song play out in my head as I stare, open mouthed at the sheer size of the trees (and their root systems) that envelope parts of the Ta Prohm temple.

It is like Mother Nature is singing this song to the long passed builders of the city of Angkor Thom, letting them know that she is the one and only ruler of this land.
“You may have created this monument, this gift, this sanctuary but it is only I that you need to worship, for it is I that has the last word” Did I hear that come from the shadows over there? Is there someone hiding in that inner sanctum? Mmmmm. Maybe it’s the wind rustling through the tops of the enormous trees.
Standing, watching, listening, feeling. Trying to gain a sense of Ta Prohm is not something that can be had in one visit. This is a place you need to return to again, and again. If it took decades to build it will take more than a couple of hours to appreciate.
“That’s OK, I’m not going anywhere”. Who said that? Maybe it was that tiny statue of Buddha set in the wall. And he’s right – he’s not going anywhere. And nor are the trees. Centuries have past since Ta Prohm was built and many more will pass before it is consumed. We have time to come back.
Exiting the ruins and looking back at them I think I hear the dulcet tones of Mark Knopfler emanating from the passageways. That famous Dire Straits song Dire Straits is being performed:
“There are so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones”

Ah…. I get it. Whilst Mother Nature rules she is actually teaching us that when we understand this symbiotic relationship we get our place and purpose.

Hmmmmm. Who would have thought I would have heard Buddha, Mother Nature, Shania Twain and Dire Straits perform “live” together in Cambodia

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Staring. Wondering.

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

My safe haven’s here

Held by Daddy’s arms

I’m keeping an eye on you

Mum’s listening to psalms

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I’d like to know a little more

About why you’re looking at me

But don’t you come too close

I’ll peer at you – I can see

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Safety – it’s right here

Here in this skin

I know him and her

Their my real blood kin

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Staring. Wondering.

Not sure about you

You over there

Why do you keep looking

Why do you stare

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Connected by sight

That’s enough, show some respect

I’m shy don’t you know

What do you expect

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Ah, that’s better

Your walking away

Have fun in Phnom Penh

Enjoy your stay

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I love little kids

They inquisitive little things

But don’t get too close

Some are unsure what it brings

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A small collection the Terraco…

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

A small collection the Terracotta Warrior photos from our recent Xian trip. An amazing place to visit. http://t.co/OdKDNWYT

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Soaking Up Some Culture http:/…

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Soaking Up Some Culture http://t.co/YSQqwynP

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