Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Farne Islands and Hitchcock fantasies...

Farne Islands are a group of uninhabited islands along the Northumberland shore, on the border between England and Scotland.
With "uninhabited" I mean that they are not inhabited by human beings; but yet they have quite a number of inhabitants.
They all are inhabitants with feathers, wings and a beak, and there are so many of them that the National Trust has made a protected oasis out of it, called the Birds Sanctuary.
You can reach it with a boat tour: there are many of them and they all depart from the harbour of Seahouses.
The approximated cost is about 30 £ (plus some other 4 £ for entering the island), and they consists of a circumnavigation of the archipelago with a landing of about one hour on the main island, the Inner Farne.
Both on Lonely Planet and at the ticket office is warmly recommended to wear a hat or a hood when you land on the island.
Sure, we think, no one enjoys a not-requested shampoo, expecially if it doesn't exactly smell of jojoba oil or silvestris pine.
"Oh no, it's not for that" - giggles misteriously a guy we've met on the bus.
"You are a couple of brave girls" - he adds, before getting off and leaving us.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bamburgh Castle: on the top with ghosts

We get in Bamburgh on a double-decker bus - which, as far as I am concerned, is one of the peculiarities about travelling in the UK which mostly enthralls me.
Ginger Cat & me have an almost childish taste about travelling on double-deckers - obviously upstairs, where it feels like flying.
Just like kids.
And in fact in the seat next to ours there are Batman & Superman - or, better, two young boys wearing the caps of their fave superheroes.
And we fly with them.
After all, as it's known, also Batman doesn't fly, if not with the aid of some technological Bat-gadget. Or with a double-decker bus, come to that.
Anyway the landscape we are crossing is amazing: fields are enlighted by the golden kiss of the sun, and everything is so beautiful that we are able to enjoy it, ignoring for once that tiny voice that keeps on complaining about how you cannot take pictures of this beauty, because of the army of kamikaze mosquitos committing their last sacrifice on the bus's windshield.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Staglieno Cemetery, an open air museum

There was a song we used to sing when we were kids, which was talking about a black cat king of a cemetery - that's because in Italian it rhymes ("nero" "cimitero"), and also because that's a good association between two icons from the gothic world, having a gloomy charme.
And so I cannot avoid thinking about its tune, whenever I start writing about cemeteries - and it kinda turns off the solemnity and concentration that I still have impressed from the atmospheare of the place I've just visited.
Anyway, it's an association that totally makes sense, because, also for what concerns myself, being a black cat inside, I've always been somehow bewitched by this kind of places and their maybe a bit creepy but undeniable charme.
Within the last few years, talking with some people, and browsing some sites and blogs, I've found out that, after all, I'm not the only one, and actually the so called "cemeterial tourism" is quite more popular than you may think.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Betws-y-Coed and Gwydyr Forest: the real soul of Wales

Wales is the land of the Red Dragon, it's the land of Merlin and King Arthur, it's a land of myths and legends, of wizard druids and heroes.
It's a land full of legendary stories, where you don't really know whether supernatural was used as a metaphor of what was actually happening, or if was what had actually happened to be then transformed in supernatural.
These stories have been handed down orally, from father to son, sliding through one generation after another, with no stopping even in front of the advent of Christianity, but simply changing face to the protagonists: no more druids but saints, with no more dragons to fight but with Satan as adversary.
Because they are not simply stories, they are connected with the identity of this Country.
They are connected with the green of its valleys, the mellowness of its hills, the shadow of its woods.
With the flowing of water and the blooming of the bluebells.
When you are surrounded by so much beauty it's not difficult to believe that magic actually exists...