Wandering Rome, The Eternal City, At Night

The Eternal City of Rome is stunning during the day. But in my opinion, it’s even more beautiful at night. And as long as you keep your wits about you, it’s a relatively safe place to walk around.

For a nighttime stroll, there are few places I’d Rather Be. Here are some of the things I encountered on my nocturnal wanderings…

The sun going down in Villa Doria Pamphili Park

Looking across the rooftops of Rome from the Janiculum Terrace (Terrazza del Gianicolo) just after sunset – the large marble structure in the distance is the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

Another view from the Janiculum Terrace, with the dome of the 2000-year-old Pantheon front and centre

Castel Sant’Angelo from the Janiculum Terrace

Roman ruins of Trajan’s Market

The Pantheon

Gravee found a friend outside the Pantheon

More columns, this time from the Temple of Hadrian

The Spanish Steps

Castel Sant’Angelo from Sant’Angelo Bridge

Sant’Angelo Bridge and Castle

The dome of St. Peter’s across the Tiber

Heading up Via della Conciliazione towards the Vatican

The colonnades of St. Peter’s Square – the building above them is the Apostolic Palace, where the Pope lives

St. Peter’s Basilica across St. Peter’s Square

Parking in Rome can be a problem… unless you have one of these

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Sunset to Sunrise from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, I’d Rather Be… from Krista of The Daily Post and Jo’s Monday Walk.

 

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Posted in Europe, History, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

Robin Hood’s Major Oak, Sherwood Forest

We’ve all heard stories of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Most historians believe Robin himself was probably based on a real person who lived during the 13th Century, but the facts have been lost in the mists of time.

Whatever the truth may be, the story of the outlaw who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor is forever linked with Sherwood Forest, north of Nottingham. And in the heart of Sherwood Forest (which is much smaller than it once was) is a massive tree called the Major Oak.

This mighty tree really is major in its own right. In fact, it’s the biggest oak tree in the UK. Its trunk is 33 feet around, its branches spread 92 feet, it weighs an estimated 23 (British) tons, and is somewhere between 800 and 1000 years old!

Yet it gets its name from a local historian, Major Hayman Rooke, who described it in 1790.

Legend has it that Robin and his Merry Men used to shelter beneath its branches. Yet if historians are correct, the Major Oak would have been a lot less ‘major’ when the ‘real life’ Robin Hood knew it.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Leaves or Trees from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, plus Story and Fact from The Daily Post.

 

Posted in Adventure, History, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

‘Step’ Back In Time At The Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracks, Utah

Utah is covered with dinosaur tracks. Who knew?

Well actually, I had a bit of an idea, since I’ve seen some of them myself!

Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracks are located north of Arches National Park, just east of Hwy 191. The landscape in this area looks Out of this World to begin with, more like Mars than Earth. But the fact you can go and see dinosaur tracks wandering across the desert makes Copper Ridge even more mind-blowing!

The otherworldly landscape of Copper Ridge, Utah

At around 150 million years old, the tracks at Copper Ridge date back to the Jurassic geological period. Now, I’ve seen dinosaur footprints in other places, but the ones at Copper Ridge are particularly clear.

The first set of tracks belong to a sauropod (a long-necked herbivore, such as a brontosaurus or diplodocus). Each footprint is deep and disc-shaped, like someone went along stamping the wet sand (as the surface would have been at the time the tracks were formed) with a thick tree trunk. A really think tree trunk. Apparently, this was the first dino trackway found in Utah.

Dinosaur footprints!

This was a BIG animal!

The sauropod climbed the sandbank, then turned right

Although not as deep as the sauropod footprints, the second set of tracks are even more dramatic. Not to mention even more recognisable as those of a dinosaur.

The second set of tracks

The three-clawed footprints were clearly made by a large, upright-standing, meat-eating dinosaur, and my thoughts immediately went to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. In fact, they probably belong to a slightly smaller allosaurus, but they’re still really impressive!

One of the allosaurus footprints

I wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with those claws

This rock at Copper Ridge reminded me of a dinosaur skull

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Wildlife from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Out Of This World from Ben of The Daily Post.

 

Posted in Adventure, Environment, History, Travel, USA, wildlife | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Isla de los Pájaros (Bird Island), Ushuaia, Argentina

I’ve had a break from blogging for the last couple of months, primarily because Rich (the fingertips behind everything related to Jaspa’s Journey) underwent heart surgery at the start of January! Thankfully, his recovery is progressing brilliantly and so… I’m back!

Anyway, on with this week’s post…

Located on the shores of the Beagle Channel in Patagonia’s Tierra del Fuego, the Argentine town of Ushuaia is about as remote as places come.

Upon arriving in Ushuaia by ship, naturally the first thing we did was jump on a boat, this one operated by Canoero Catamaran Tours. We were off to see some of the nearby islands, which included the appropriately named Isla de los Pájaros… or Bird Island in English.

Isla de los Pájaros is little more than a rock sticking out of the Beagle Channel, two or three miles offshore from Ushuaia. It gets its name because it’s home to hundreds (if not thousands) of black and white sea birds.

But to our brief frustration, there wasn’t a penguin to be seen. Instead the islet was absolutely covered with cormorants, which actually were just as impressive, once we’d overcome our initial disappointment.

The rock outcrop and the skies above it was crowded with their black and white bodies, so that it was almost impossible to keep one separate from the next.

Not that we didn’t try!…

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Birds from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and A Face In The Crowd from Erica of The Daily Post.

Posted in Adventure, Environment, South America, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lanyon Quoit Neolithic Tomb In The Mist At Dusk

I LOVE prehistoric piles of rocks. Standing stones, hill forts, stone circles… love them! Unsurprisingly then, when we were in Cornwall this time two years ago, we visited as many as we could fit in.

One evening around dusk we ascended onto the moors about seven miles from Land’s End, the most western point in mainland England. Our destination was Lanyon Quoit, a Neolithic tomb built about 6000 years ago, which means it’s older than the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt.

Originally, the 13-tonne capstone stood on four upright stones, not three as it now does. It is said that a man on a horse could ride underneath it without ducking. But millennia of treasure hunters digging around the dolmen (as these types of prehistoric monuments are called), weakened the structure, and it dramatically collapsed during a thunderstorm in 1815, breaking one of the uprights. It was re-erected using the three surviving uprights, but is now shorter than it was originally (although still mightily impressive!).

Me at Lanyon Quoit (look closely)

To this day, archaeologists can’t agree about Lanyon Quoit. Was it tomb covered in a mound of earth? Were the stones left uncovered, meant to be seen and impress? Were bodies placed on top of the exposed capstone to be dismembered by wildlife and the elements?

One legend even claims it was where King Arthur had his final meal before heading off into his last battle, and where he and his knights will meet again before the End of the World.

Yet one thing is for sure… Lanyon Quoit would be an atmospheric place even in bright summer sunshine. But a misty, darkening December evening, raised this to a whole new level.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Words including the letter ‘Q’ (in this case ‘Quoit’) from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Ascend from Krista of The Daily Post, and Love from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

Posted in Adventure, Environment, History, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

‘Lost’ on Oahu’s North Shore

I was a big fan of the TV show Lost. So when I found myself on the North Shore of Oahu, I couldn’t help stopping to see a couple of the locations used in the show.

The first location was Mokule’ia Beach, which was transformed during filming into the Crash Site, the central setting for all six seasons. With the set now long gone, it’s barely recognisable. For those of you who didn’t watch Lost, just enjoy the beauty of this isolated beach framed by thickly vegetated mountains, Pacific rollers and a perfect blue sky.

Unlike Mokule’ia Beach, the second location we visited was instantly recognisable from Lost, as the village where ‘the Others’ lived. In real life it’s actually Camp Erdman, owned and operated by the YMCA.

As a bonus, we found a geocache at both sites!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is being released any day now! Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Words starting with the letter ‘N’ (in this case ‘North Shore’) from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Transformation from Jen of The Daily Post, and Traces of the Past from Paula of Lost In Translation.

Posted in Geocaching, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Lollapalooza Music Festival, Chicago

Today’s post is a little different from my usual blogs, since it’s not directly about travel. Not unless you count going to Chicago to attend a rock music festival travel!

Stitched photo of the Chicago skyline behind one of the two main stages at Lollapalooza (during Lou Reed’s set)

Lollapalooza began as an annual touring festival back in 1991, and is today held each year in up to six different cities, spanning three continents. But since 2005, the festival’s undisputed home has been Chicago.

The north main stage during The Kaiser Chiefs’ set

For one weekend a year, Grant Park in downtown Chicago temporarily becomes one of the biggest music venues in the World. The event lasts three or four days, with a diverse range of performers taking part on multiple stages.

Nighttime Chicago from the south end of Grant Park during Lollapalooza

We attended for just one day (the Sunday) back in 2009, and got to see a bunch of artists including The Killers, Lou Reed and The Kaiser Chiefs, as these photos show.

The Killers perform on the south main stage

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is being released any day now! Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of At least two syllable words starting with the letter ‘L’ (in this case ‘Lollapalooza’) from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Temporary and Dancing from The Daily Post.

Posted in Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments