Friday, June 6, 2014

seagulls in anna maria island, fl

jay and i decided to feed some seagulls while we were on vacation in florida. i think we both went into it thinking it would be a quiet crowd of a few birds gathered on the sand. much to our surprise/awe/slight horror, it turns out they're super aggressive and would rather catch food mid-air, five inches from your face.

at least it made for a memorable experience and some interesting photos!







Wednesday, June 4, 2014

riding glass bottom boats at silver springs state park in ocala, fl

one of the coolest things in my hometown is an old attraction from the 1870's that the state acquired last year and converted to a state park. silver springs is home to hundreds of small springs as well as the main spring, which is 30 ft deep. many of these springs, including the main one, can be seen from aboard glass bottom boats which are currently run by a concession within the park. we took a ride on one of the boats when we visited a few weeks ago -- something i used to do all the time as a kid, but haven't in many years.



a lot of the river bottom has been overrun by eel-grass in recent years, but the army corps of engineers has pledged to clean up the river within a few years to restore it to its original state.


many of the areas directly over springs are free of eel-grass due to the current from the vents.


this submerged boat is a spot we'd always stop at to check out in my parent's private boat. when i was little, the area was always full of gar fish, but nowadays you're lucky if you see even one :(

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

st. andrew's cathedral, st. andrews, scotland

As I posted all last week, Jay and I were able to take a "quick" long weekend trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. We spent the first day wandering around our home base of Edinburgh, rented a car the second day to travel to some ruins south of the city, spent the third day taking a train north to St.Andrews, and then spent our last day lazing around Edinburgh again and indulging in a swanky traditional Scottish meal.

These photos were from our day trip to St. Andrews, at St. Andrews Cathedral.


The Cathedral was built in 1158 and measured over 391 ft long. Roughly only half of the outside structure remains, above is pictured one end with half of the main entrance standing in the center, and below, is pictured the other end.





Close-up of the half of the main entrance that remains erect.


Jay in the ruins of one of the naves.


View from the cemetery behind the cathedral.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

hadrian's wall, near hexham, england

As I posted all last week, Jay and I were able to take a "quick" long weekend trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. We spent the first day wandering around our home base of Edinburgh, rented a car the second day to travel to some ruins south of the city, spent the third day taking a train north to St.Andrews, and then spent our last day lazing around Edinburgh again and indulging in a swanky traditional Scottish meal.

These photos were from our last stop on our day-long road trip, at a portion of Hadrian's Wall near Hexham, England.



Hadrian's wall was erected sometime around AD122 by emperor Hadrian as a fortification, supposedly to protect Roman Britain from attack from the north.




The wall is almost 118 miles long, and varies in width from 10 to 20 ft wide, and in height from 11 to 20 ft tall. The portion we visited sits atop a large crag. That's Jay at the top for size reference.



And the view from the top!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

jedburgh abbey, jedburgh scotland

As I've been blogging in my recent posts, Jay and I were able to take a "quick" long weekend trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. We spent the first day wandering around our home base of Edinburgh, rented a car the second day to travel to some ruins south of the city, spent the third day taking a train north to St.Andrews, and then spent our last day lazing around Edinburgh again and indulging in a swanky traditional Scottish meal.

These photos were from one of our last stops on our one-day roadtrip, the abbey in Jedburgh, Scotland.


The main abbey built in the late 13th century, with ruins of its surrounding buildings which once housed a kitchen, dining hall, meeting rooms, and cloisters.














Tomb of Lord Jedburgh


Friday, May 9, 2014

scott's view, scottish borders, scotland

While driving between abbeys, we saw signs for a scenic view called "Scott's view" (apparently named because it was one of Sir Walter Scott's favorite views) and decided to make another unplanned stop.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

leaderfoot viaduct over the river tweed in southern scotland

we saw this beautiful viaduct from the road while driving between abbeys and decided to make an unplanned stop. to give you an idea of the scale, the taller dot just in front of two of the columns in the middle of the river is a fisherman. (you can click the image for a larger version)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

seen somewhere in southern scotland


there were tons of wild pheasants scurrying around wherever we drove. this one was sitting calmly in the middle of a field, but took off running when i got my camera out to snap his photo

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

dryburgh abbey, dryburgh scotland

As I mentioned in my previous couple of posts, Jay and I were able to take a "quick" long weekend trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. We spent the first day wandering around our home base of Edinburgh, rented a car the second day to travel to some ruins south of the city, spent the third day taking a train north to St.Andrews, and then spent our last day lazing around Edinburgh again and indulging in a swanky traditional Scottish meal.

These photos and video are from Dryburgh Abbey in Dryburgh, Scotland.






















Monday, May 5, 2014

st. mary's abbey, melrose scotland

As I mentioned in my previous posts, Jay and I were able to take a "quick" long weekend trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. We spent the first day wandering around our home base of Edinburgh, rented a car the second day to travel to some ruins south of the city, spent the third day taking a train north to St.Andrews, and then spent our last day lazing around Edinburgh again and indulging in a swanky traditional Scottish meal.

These photos are from the second stop on our one-day road trip at St. Mary's Abbey in Melrose, Scotland.


Main portion of the abbey, completed in 1146 ad.


Jay, listening to his audio guide near one of the abbey's wings






Jay in the main choir area listening to his audio guide



Where the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce is supposedly burried



The choir area and rear portion of the abbey from the outside



The cemetery behind the church where Alexander II and other historical Scottish figures are buried



Scotland's most famous gargoyle -- a pig playing bagpipes (click the image for a larger version)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

crichton castle, crichton scotland

As I mentioned in my last post, Jay and I were able to take a "quick" long weekend trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. We spent the first day wandering around our home base of Edinburgh, rented a car the second day to travel to some ruins south of the city, spent the third day taking a train north to St.Andrews, and then spent our last day lazing around Edinburgh again and indulging in a swanky traditional Scottish meal.

These photos are from one of our stops on our one-day road trip, at Crichton Castle in Crichton, Scotland.



Crichton Castle was our first stop on the day we did our mini road trip. We drove through this beautiful area of rolling fields filled with sheep. We happened to be there during peak lambing season and the baah of the mamas and babies calling to eachother drifted across the valley.



We accidentally arrived super early, before the castle was officially open. As we parked the car, wild rabbits, deer, birds and squirrels scattered, and we sat there for a minute eating a breakfast we bought before leaving Edinburgh and enjoying the quiet stillness. Fortunately, despite the castle being closed, the grounds were open and we had this gorgeous setting all to ourselves.



A closer view of the castle which was built in the late 14th century.



Next to the castle is a building which may have been used as a stable, slaughter house or chapel. This building is said to be haunted by the ghost of William Crichton, the patriarch of the family that resided in the castle.