A Very Scottish Holiday – My 3rd touch on Scotland

My UK experience started in Edinburgh. Its land, people, and the mysterious power in between, impressed me deeply. But at that time, I was first-time abroad, new to everything, full of curiosity, and open to every possibility. Basically nothing would fail to surprise me. Now three years have vanished away, and I have travelled to various countries, capital cities and towns since leaving this place, something I would sincerely hope but never imagined at the beginning. Anyway, I think I’m here safe to say, Edinburgh is a unique place.

 

Highlights:

The Little Sparta – the Garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay  

‘The present order is the disorder of the future. – Saint Just’

‘Thesis-fence; Antithesis-gate; Synthesis-stile’ – Ian Hamilton Finlay

 

(to be continued, or not)

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The Motto Returns

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Note: If ever anything summed up that British ‘stiff upper lip’, this World War II poster is it. It’s just as pertinent to the stresses and strains of modern life as it was when originally introduced by the Ministry of Information in 1939.

A Very English Holiday -2

Stourhead Garden

If you are a fan of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, like me, you must remember this scene in the Keira Knightley’s version when Mr Darcy first and futilely proposed to Elisabeth. It was here at the Temple of Apollo.

Afterwards the offended Lizzy made her exit across the Palladian Bridge.

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Frome

You may have never heard of Frome, I hadn’t, but it’s actually not very small. It has a lovely vehicle-free promenade in the town centre, dotted with crafts shops, snack bars and cafes. I generally realized how a well-designed pedestrian lane would make a difference to a place. It adds so much value to the atmosphere of everyday life.

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Eden Project, St Austell

Before visiting the Eden Project, I wouldn’t connect this Grimshaw’s slightly lousy megaform with happy children. It showed itself to me as a children’s wonderland. The two groups of bubbles are two different worlds, one covers a Rainforest Biome that almost takes your breath away and the other a Mediterranean Biome which is so comfortable that you don’t want to get out back to England.

 

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Plymouth

Like my gesture, Plymouth is a slightly horrible city, I have to say. We arrived in the evening with a first sight of a huge and dark car park. Then we spent the following one hour crossing roads and looking for a safe restaurant, yes safe, as there’re a mass of drunken people and a policeman at the entrance of each one we passed.

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Truro

Another I-have-never-heard-of-it city. Yes, it is a ‘city’, the most southerly city in the Britain, situated at the mouth of River Truro. We took a ferry from here down to the south coast, one-hour’s journey to Falmouth.

  

Falmouth

Falmouth is a hilly coastal town, where sits the interesting Maritime Museum. Here I see how amazingly boats are made, knots are tied and paddles are carved.

 

Glendurgan Garden

A garden opens up in a maze and concludes in the sea.

 

Trebah Garden

A garden on a slope, with a thoughtful linkage of waters and a variety of species.

 

Penzance

We came across a cute family-run coffee shop on our way to the art gallery ‘Exchange’. Green Bean Coffee Shop, its name, is converted from an old cottage all DIY-ed by the family members and decorated with handmade cushions. I love the pattern of the fabric! The gallery is another surprise with a mellow white lighting effect and an inspirational exhibition.

 

Hiking along the west coastal line from St Ives to Land’s End is a remarkable experience, especially when it was very wet and windy. But the scenery you get compensates that all. Tin mines once flourished here, now left their sand-stone walls embellishing the grass.

 

St Michael’s Mount, Marazion

What am I going to say about St Michael’s Mount? It is a miracle basically, with its stunning location and an incredible history. It is a lofty pyramidal island, united with the town of Marazion by a man-made granite causeway, passable only at low tide.

 

 

A very English holiday – 1

We had a trip down to the southwest tip of this island. It was very English, in terms of the landscape which forms and serves the most beautiful gardens in the world, the local culture that still remains almost untouched against the international tourism, and of course the weather which means a mixture of sunshine, breeze, clouds and raindrops in every single day!

Southwest Trip

8 reasons that I would recommend you to visit St Ives —

Our last stop was at St Ives. It’s so lovely a town that I would like to talk about it first. I don’t mind spending a whole year of uncivilised life there, waken up by the talks of seagulls and fallen asleep in the sound of the waves. Here are the eight reasons that I would recommend you to visit St Ives:

1. It is one of the nearest points to the Heaven;

2. It is ultimately beautiful, and the beauty is almost untouched, unpolished and unspoiled;

3. It is a place you will slow down yourself and embrace the true sense of life;

 

4. It was once and still is occupied by many artists, including the big names like J.M.W. Turner, Barbara Hepworth (she opened up her studio and garden for exhibition of her works) and Ben Nicholson… It inspired the artists so much and made them so productive that TATE needed to open up one of its four galleries here (two others are in London and one in Liverpool);

  

5. It is where you observe the colour of turquoise so sensibly;

 

6. It is a place you won’t find Starbucks, Haggen-Dazs, Pizza Hut …all those eyesore-like chain shops, or exotic restaurants, but only traditional Cornish coffee shops, pasties, ice-cream vans and pubs;

 

7. It is a place you will find yourselves the only group of Asian faces (believe me or not, the chance of this is so rare these days that almost like a lottery);

 

8. It is the only place you can survive if you are not a big fan of the English weather (Who is?!). You can see Mediterranean flowers smiling on every windowsill, at every step, or simply every little corner of land.

 

(see more photos here: http://picasaweb.google.com/pinnydou/SouthwestEngland)