7 Super Shots

I am taking part in Hostelbookers 7 super shots thread, because they’ve started lots of travel bloggers scouring their digital photo archives on dark winter evenings (if you live in the northern hemisphere, that is) with this winning idea to inspire those with itchy feet.

Here’s my two penn’orth:

1) A photo that…takes my breath away
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Iceland. It was an October afternoon, a couple of degrees above zero and blowing in a force 4-5 gale off the sea. But still it’s so beautiful that a couple of friends and I spent nearly two hours here taking photos. Just as we though we’d captured the sunset, someone set the sky on fire…

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Iceland

 

2) A photo that…makes me laugh or smile
A baby Orangutan flicking a crafty ‘v’ sign on his cheek at me. This youngster and his parents oozed character, and make for some fabulous photos.

Baby organutan, Lok Kawi zoo, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

 

3) A photo that…makes me dream
Back to dear, lovely Iceland again. This time to Grundarfjörður, on the north side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. Out hiking in a rainstorm west of the Kirkjufell, a small glacier-carved mountain now forming a peninsula at the edge of the fjord, I stumbled upon some lovely wooden cottages. Maybe one day I will own my own cabin around here…

Wooden cabins, Kirkjufell, Grundarfjörður, Iceland

 

4) A photo that…makes me think
My trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau remains one of the most moving days of my life. I spent most of the day in tears at the awful things that humans can do to other humans, and the sheer scale of the loss of life. These small stones, lovingly inscribed with names and dates of those lost by their dependents and placed on the railway tracks at Birkenau, stun me every time I look back at the photo.

Memorial stones on the railway tracks at Auschwitz-Birkenau

 

5) A photo that…makes my mouth water
In stark contrast to the above, a very simple shot of my friend Jamie thinking just how much he would love a Pieminister pie at that moment in time. The added bonus is that this was taken at the legendary Glastonbury Festival, one of my favourite places in the world, at the stall next to the also-legendary Brothers Cider Bar in the West Holts.

Do you know what...? I love Pieminister!

 

6) A photo that…tells a story
These two young novice monks, at Wangdue Phodrang monastery, Bhutan, look all sweetness and light. But until about three seconds before I took this photo, they were having the most violent and un-monklike fight in the monastery’s courtyard!

Novice monks, Wangdue Phodrang monastery, Bhutan

A secondary story is that this was one of my Grandma’s favourite photos from my travels. I spent several hours at her house with the laptop talking her through my photos, but she was captivated by these monks above almost anything else (even the Great Wall Of China, which she had always wanted to visit but never did). I hear she told my Dad and many friends who visited her about “those two little lads who were growing up to be monks”.

 

7) A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)
This ‘accolade’ simply has to go to my photo of the stunning Yamdrok-tso lake, in Tibet. I often have this photo as my desktop background on my work computer, and people cannot believe it was taken with a compact camera, and has not been digitally enhanced (or even cropped) in any way. I was just lucky, and in a supremely beautiful place.

Yamdrok-tso, Tibet

 

This photo tag game has been going for a couple of weeks now, so I’m going to nominate 5 posts I’ve seen that I really like (and that inspired me to blog my own – thank you!):

  1. Cam & Nicole at Travelling Canucks and their 7 super shots
  2. Alex at Virtual Wayfarer and his 7 super shots
  3. Erin at De La Pura Vida and her 7 super shots (particularly love that baby sloth!)
  4. Cathy at Traveling With Sweeney and her 7 super shots
  5. Anja at Hitting The Road and her 7 super shots

My Christmas build-up in London

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I’m off traveling over Christmas and New Year, so everything is happening early in my world.

I cooked Christmas dinner for my parents last week (we’ve taken to doing a full un-Christmas celebration early so we can do what we want to without guilt or missing out…they’re in Egypt now).

I’ve been:
– ice-skating at one of the temporary outdoor rinks that pop up in London (Somerset House this year)
– to the German-style Christmas market on the South Bank (all bustle, pickpockets and buskers playing carols at at least double speed – avoid!)
– to see the giant LEGO Christmas tree at St Pancras station (pic)

I’m a little old for visiting Santa.

And…whilst everyone else is having last-minute shopping panic, I can be smug that mine was done weeks ago! (I’m onto the rucksack now).

Mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols next weekend…then I’m off to the airport 🙂

Ummm

Sooo… Today should see me heading towards Heathrow to catch a Qantas flight to Singapore, and from there to Borneo for jungle and monkey-based festive fun.

Unfortunately heavy snow in London has currently closed even Heathrow. They’re clearing snow off the runways til at least 16.00, and from there we shall just have to see.

Watch this blogspace.

…The outcome was VERY different to my plan. I couldn’t get to Singapore for over five days, and had missed various connections and tours. End result:
1. Cancel holiday
2. Make insurance claims
3. Find plan B (NB. not the rapper!)

I ended up working in the Crisis at Christmas homeless shelter for a few days, which was incredibly interesting, different, thought-provoking and rewarding.
Christmas Day was spent in the homeless shelter in the morning, then on my own in a Premier Inn at Gatwick Airport (bottle of red and Doctor Who? Don’t mind if I do!).

That was followed by a week’s incredibly cheap (=bogstandard package chalet trip) last-minute-booked snowboarding in La Plagne. Which is beautiful.

At the top of the Roche De Mio, La Plagne