Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Springtime in Blighty

Spring is by far my favourite season. I love the lighter evenings, baby animals, buds a blooming, all the stereotypical aspects of this wonderful time of year. As wonderful as all of our recent travelling was, it's been truly lovely to come home to Spring. And Spring in our new home as well!

This tree is in the courtyard at work, I have no idea what it is but apparently its blossom lasts a couple of weeks at most. It's absolutely stunning and makes me smile whenever I need to use the microwave (on the other side of the courtyard to office).

As you can probably guess bluebells are my favourite flower, and it was great to see the first ones poking through in a woodland walk the other week,

C has been away this weekend and I have just been pottering around our lovely home. Today I took myself for a walk across the fields (I really want a dog... a walk never feels quite complete without one) and found some cows along the footpath. I think they were quite young, a little bit jumpy!

I'm trying to get my step count up and a big part of that is leaving my desk at lunchtime and strolling around campus. There are lots of flowers planted which I enjoy as I wander, the university where I work isn't as stunning as the one where I studied, but it's really growing on me. Speaking of which I've managed to get a permanent job there and will be changing roles next Monday - I'm really pleased and excited but will be sad to leave behind my colleagues.

Monster van is back. Shiny and running much better than before the fire. Chris is rebuilding the interior, and our first getaway is planned for my birthday weekend in May. I am super excited!

I've started my first ever baby crochet, a blanket for C's best friend's baby arriving in May in Oz. Need to get it finished soon to allow time for posting!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Penang - Georgetown Snaps

Although we were lucky enough to visit many wonderful places on our travels, my favourite place was Georgetown, the capital of Penang which is a Malaysian island.

Georgetown has the most amazing assortment of cultures, languages, history and food. Originally a British colony, it has prominent Chinese and Indian communities with a long history on the island, and of course the native Malays. Walking around you'll see colonial architecture fused with ram-shackle buildings, walk past a hindu temple straight into a Mosque and then wander through a churchyard. So many people of different cultures, races, religions all living alongside each other - a real model for the world at the moment.

While the main part of Georgetown is a world heritage site, around the coast is the business district, hazy in the smog but the sky scrapers pointing to a very different way of life. We didn't venture that way, but it was interesting to gaze across the sea (very polluted - we didn't swim) at it. We humans are so bad for the beautiful planet we live on.

Just in the park opposite the water were these beautiful lanterns made by local school children, beautiful day and night

One of my favourite things about Georgetown was the street art - there are wrought iron caricatures all over the city which give you a glimpse into its multicultural history and heritage.

And elsewhere grass roots paintings have become a big tourist attraction, scattered in the most random places, here are some of my favourites. You had to look very carefully!

I really want to go back to this beautiful place, I'd also highly recommend anyone go if they ever get the chance :)

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Out of the City - Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

One of the most beautiful days of our trip was the day we hired a taxi and went off up the nearest mountain, Doi Suthep, to visit the famous temple at the top and a hilltribe village.

The temple, Doi Suthep, was established by King Keu Naone to enshrine a piece of what was said to be the historical Buddha's shoulder bone - carried up into the mountain by a sacred white elephant. The temple was founded on the spot where the elephant died and consists of several beautiful and ornate buildings, again I have to confess my ignorance of the Buddhist religion.

I loved all of the pretty pink blossoming trees that surround the various buildings and statues, they were so pretty. Being nearly on the top of the mountain I imagine that you can also see some pretty incredible views, however when we visited it was sadly very misty. Still, a different kind of beauty.

There were so many ornate and stunning statues around, including the most beautiful Emerald Buddhas. It's highly disrespectful to have the Buddha as decoration outside of temples and sacred buildings where they are worshipped - there are signs everywhere warning against buying Buddha statues etc. 

This statue really made me chuckle, and wonder what they had against mothers!! My Mum saw the funny side when I sent her a picture :)