My top 5 destinations to return to

After leaving a comment on a similar post at On The Luce, I was asked to take part in the Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There promotion. The idea is to write a post about my top 5 destinations that I would return to, complete with pictures and then nominate five bloggers to do the same. Once 100 entries have been written, all the posts will be entered in a competition to win an iPhone 6.

I have a huge list of places I want to visit, and it’s growing all the time! But who doesn’t dream of going back to a place they’ve been before? Whether it’s an old, familiar place that you visit often and where returning is almost like coming home, or somewhere you’ve only been to once but that left such an impression that you long to return and do more exploring? Here are my top 5, not really in chronological order because that would be too difficult!

Edinburgh, Scotland

As a child, I used to go to Edinburgh specifically to visit the zoo (Newcastle doesn’t have one). As an adult, I’ve been three times, and still there is more to explore. I haven’t even climbed Arthur’s Seat yet! The beautiful architecture, the pubs, the friendliness of Scots, its proximity to the sea (which I miss so much in landlocked Karlsruhe!) all combine to make Edinburgh one of my favourite places on Earth! And the castle is pretty impressive too 😉

Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh castle

Austria

It’s probably cheating to choose an entire country rather than a city, but Austria is only a small country after all 😉 I lived in Vorarlberg for almost a year, so obviously that area has a special place in my heart, but I will always get excited about a trip to Austria, no matter what the specific destination. Innsbruck is gorgeous, Vienna has so much to offer and I adore Salzburg with its narrow, winding streets and views of mountains!

How could I not want to see this view again?
How could I not want to see this view again?

Stockholm, Sweden

I went to Stockholm in the summer of 2012 and instantly fell in love with the place! Despite having a population of 905,184, it felt so open and spacious… probably because of all the water. Admittedly some areas were crowded, but finding a quite place to sit down or have a nice walk was simply a matter of switching islands. With so many museums, palaces, parks and other attractions, I imagine it would take me a very long time to get bored! And the temperature in summer is perfect for me, with my pale skin and tendency to wilt like a flower as soon as it gets above 28 °C!

So beautiful and peaceful
So beautiful and peaceful

Berlin, Germany

Despite living in Germany since 2006, it was 2013 before I finally made my to the capital! I had been once before with my grandparents, but it was just one brief stop on a tour of Europe and all I remembered seeing was Checkpoint Charlie. This time was different! We walked a lot, visited hundreds of historical sites, including the Stasi prison at Hohenschönhausen, admired the East Side Gallery, ate delicious food (including the obvious Currywurst) and left with the feeling that we hadn’t experienced even a small fraction of what Germany’s capital has to offer. I mean, they have an entire island just for museums… of which we visited precisely one! I definitely need to go back some time and remedy this situation!

Museum island
Museum island

Ireland

Again nominating an entire country rather than a specific place, but with so much on offer how could I possibly narrow it down? I’ve been to Dublin a few times, and while it’s always good I’ve seen most of what I wanted to see there, but there are plenty of places I do want to see again. The time we spent in Galway wasn’t nearly enough and I would love to go back there, but I also want to explore more of the area around Killarney and the Dingle Peninsular, actually make it to the North-East of the country and take a trip or two to the various islands.

How could anyone resist something this green?
How could anyone resist something this green?

And that would be five. What do you think of my choices?
Now I’m supposed to nominate five fellow bloggers to take up the challenge. I pick Charlotte Steggz, Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons, Alex at Speaking Denglisch, Simone aka Lady of the Cakes and Elaine from I Used to Be Indecisive.

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Travel Theme: Ancient

Ailsa’s travel theme for this week is Ancient, and what could be more ancient than basically all of Rome? Here’s the Forum:

Foro Romano
Foro Romano

From Ancient Rome to Ancient Roman… here’s one of my absolute favourite Roman sites in the UK, Vindolanda.

Vindolanda

Just south of Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda Roman fort is best known for the discovery of the Vindolanda tablets – the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. Excavations are still going on at Vindolanda, so if you go there at the right time of year you might get to see some real archaeologists at work!

Staying in the UK,  here are the ruins of Mitford Castle in Northumberland, which dates from the end of the 11th century. Jan actually took this photo and I love it. It could easily be a professional postcard!

Mitford Castle

You can’t actually go up to Mitford Castle any more (the above photo was taken from a car window) because it’s considered dangerous. The ruins aren’t exactly stable! Apparantly the farms have no problem letting their sheep roam around in there though…

To finish with, here’s Kells Priory,  one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland. It’s featured on the blog before, but I love it so I need to include it again for those who missed it previously!

Kells Priory 1

Got any ancient photos you want to share? The travel theme is still open until the end of tomorrow! Check out Ailsa’s blog post for more details, and to see the other entries… there are lots of way better photographers than me out there!

Look Up, Look Down: Dublin Garden of Remembrance

Since it was Remembrance Day this week, I thought it would be appropriate to use some pictures of Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance for my entry to the Look Up, Look Down challenge. The two photos below were both taken looking down on the garden, one from near the entrance and one from the steps at the far end.

Dublin Garden of Remembrance

Dublin Garden of Remembrance

The Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to the memory of “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom”. The main feature of the park is a pool of water in the shape of the cross. On the bottom of the pool, there are pictures of shields and weapons – in Celtic custom, after a battle it was custom to break up weapons and throw them in the river to signify the end of hostilities.

Think you have a photo that would be perfect for the Look Up, Look Down theme?
Check out
Travel With Intent’s blog post to join in and see what everyone else has come up with this week.

Travel theme: Deep

Ailsa’s travel theme for this week is Deep, which is a perfect description of the huge gorge that divides Luxembourg.

Luxembourg bridge

Cheating a little, with a photo I’ve used before, but the River Tyne is pretty deep…

Bridges of Newcastle
The River Tyne and bridges of Newcastle

… as is the River Rhine:

The Rhine in Koblenz
The Rhine in Koblenz

… and the Irish Sea at Bray:

Bray

But enough water. Other things can be deep too… like this writing that forms part of the East Side Gallery on the remains of the Berlin Wall:

Viele kleine Leute

Those Africans are very profound!

To join in with the travel theme and see other interpretations of deep, check out Ailsa’s blog post.

Travel theme: Through

Another week, another travel theme.
When I saw that Ailsa had chosen “Through” for this week, I immediately thought of a photo that would be just perfect. All I had to do was find it… and here it is:

Stockholm

It was taken in Stockholm, looking through the fork in a tree trunk towards the water and the buildings on the island beyond.

Looking at my other photos, I discovered some more taken with a “through” perspective. I’ve posted the next one before, but it’s very fitting. It was taken from the Hohensalzburg fortress, looking through a window at the city below.

Hohensalzburg

Next up, a photo from my home country. It was taken in Alnwick, Northumberland looking through one of the cross-shaped gaps on the Lion Bridge towards the castle.

Alnwick Castle

Some of you may recognise the castle. It has featured in various films and TV series, including Harry Potter and Blackadder.
More from England, this time Dover. This was taken standing on the cliffs looking through some trees.

Dover

And finally, one from Ireland. This is Dunguaire Castle, viewed through the window of a ruined cottage just opposite it. It would have been a much better picture if the stupid car hadn’t been in the way!

Dunguaire Castle

I could have posted more photos – apparantly I like taking shots of things through other things – but I think that’s enough.

To join in yourself and see how other people have interpreted the theme, check out Ailsa’s blog post.

Travel theme: Multi-coloured

Another fun travel theme from Ailsa this week… multi-coloured. There are so many photos I could have used for this that I didn’t know where to start, but eventually I managed to narrow it down to the following few. A very Germany-centred travel theme this one, with only two shots taken elsewhere…

My first photo is from Dublin. We spotted this pre-school down by the river and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. It looks so cheerful!

Dublin preschool

This colourful bear is just one of many you can find dotted around Berlin:

Berlin bear

I love rows of buildings painted in different colours and almost always take photos of them when we visit somewhere. These ones are in Würzburg.

Würzburg

Staying in Germany, but switching towns… I’ve posted this colourful lantern on the blog before but it fits so well with the theme that I wanted to include it here. I spotted it in Heidelberg when my sister came to visit.

My next photo was taken in Sweden – this colourful Dala horse stands outside the City Hall in Stockholm.

Dala horse

And finally, I would like to end my post the same way Ailsa started hers… with a rainbow. I didn’t have to travel very for for this photo… it was taken right here in Karlsruhe, next to the train station.

rainbow

To see how other people have interpreted the theme (including some much more impressive photos of rainbows!) and to join in yourself, check out Ailsa’s blog post.

Look Up, Look Down: Flowers on the wall

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for Travel With Intent’s weekly Look Up, Look Down photo challenge.

As the title suggests, the aim is to post a photo looking either up or down. Here’s my effort:

Wall flowers

The above photo was taken in the grounds of the Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham, Dublin. The flowers were growing on top of a wall, and I had to look up to see them. The building that houses the art museum is the former Kilmainham Royal Hospital and beyond this wall is the Officer’s Graveyard, where high-ranking army officers were buried (across the way from this graveyard is Bully’s Acre, where the ordinary citizens of Dublin were buried).

To join in with the challenge and see how other people have interpreted it, check out Travel with Intent’s blog post.