Highland Reflections – Weekly Travel Photo

Scottish Reflections

Located along Scotland’s A82 a few miles before the world famous Glen Coe are a series of small lakes.  These lakes rest in the open, surrounded by a few hearty trees that stand as silent sentinels braving the area’s brutal winters, unpredictable weather and near-constant winds.  These pools rest as beautiful oases in the midst of highland grasslands ringed by the imposing figure of the nearby glens.

As I made my way towards Glen Coe a few hours before sunset I found myself chasing small patches of blue sky glimpsed amidst movie-perfect cotton-ball clouds.  The road slowly wound between hills before spilling out into the near-treeless flat lands and as I crested a final hill, I found myself greeted by vivid reflections in the still waters of the highland lochs.  Enthralled by the sight, I quickly pulled my sky blue Volkswagen Beetle Coup to the side of the road and strolled across the squishy peat, careful to step around small clumps of blooming heather. I found a small path which led me to the water’s edge, where I snapped this shot of the cloud’s reflection visible in the still waters of Lochan na h-Achlaise. The mountains in the background are the little siblings of the mighty brutes which famously make up Glen Coe and have been featured in movies and songs for generations.

It was a magical moment, one that embodied the ethereal spirit of the Scottish Highlands – a place where nature’s raw and primitive beauty is pervasive.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

A Cat In Kos Castle’s Court – Weekly Travel Photo

Cat Guarding Kos Fortress

While the sound of men at arms, craftsmen  local officials, and traders has long since vanished from the stone walkways and carefully fitted walls that shape Kos Fortress one small army still remains.  The fortress of Kos is manned by a small band of warrior-hunters. Predators that seek out vermin, set upon them, and then plop down in the grass to carefully lick themselves clean, paws stretched high into the air.  Some might argue that they’re the purrrfect guardians for a castle that served its purpose in times of peace and war for generations but which has now retired from service. These guardians casually tolerate visitors – the occasional tourist who makes his way across the site of the old draw-bridge, pays his three lira and gains access to the castle grounds.  Grounds that, at the time of my visit, looked more like a garden for wild flowers than former military instillation. The scent of pollen was thick in the air, mingling with the fresh aroma of ocean salt to add a wonderful sweet perfume to the air. The low rumble of purring cats was accompanied by the audible buzz of the fortress’ airforce – thousands of bees hard at work darting from flower to flower while being equally careful to avoid the casual swat of bored cats relaxing in the late-afternoon sun.

The old crusader castle at Kos, built in part by the Knights of St. John in 1315, was one of my favorite parts of my day-long visit to Kos. The mixture of wild grass-filled moats, and wildflowers so thick they covered the ground with bands of color reminiscent of a rainbow, was deeply relaxing and soothing. It led to an hour of pure relaxation and bliss, made that much better by the nearly complete absence of other tourists.  As far as the guardians?  Well, the cats kept a close watch on me – suspicious but hospitable – as only cats can be.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Oslo Culture Clash – Weekly Travel Photo

Oslo Fjord - Norway

Today’s feature highlights an interesting cross-section of history. Snapped in the Oslo Fjord, it is of a small fisherman’s church (or shrine, I’m not sure which) *Scratch that, I’ve been told it is a converted lighthouse that is now a restaurant – see the comments for more!* situated on a tiny piece of rock.   I took the photograph as our ferry passed it, steaming within a few meters of it and apparently quite confident that the rock didn’t reflect a submerged outcropping. I can only hope the model-sized church reflected a prayer and general tribute, and not a memorial to another vessel that wasn’t so careful, well informed, or lucky.

The ferry (more like a small cruise ship) was out of Copenhagen and proudly flying the old Danish colors.  Something that no doubt annoys the Norwegians as much as accomplishes any regulatory requirements that may go with it.

If you find yourself on a boat navigating the Oslo Fjord in Norway, make sure to keep an eye open for this great little landmark.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it oozed its own special charm.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Startled Lions – Weekly Travel Photo

Lions Started by Elephants - Chobe

While watching a small pride of young lion and lionesses relax in Chobe National Park, Botswana we were treated to an entertaining sight.  The ordinarily confident lions were brought to their feet and startled out of their lazy late afternoon naps when an ambling group of Elephants accidentally wandered into their midst.  While the elephants were somewhat alarmed and surprised it was the lions which found themselves giving way.  After a short, undignified sprint, the lions seemed to notice that we were all watching, slowed to a controlled amble and then plopped back down into the grass.  But, not before changing direction so that they could keep a close, if casual, eye on the elephants.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a  Canon T3i (600D) Camera.