A weekend in Toulouse and Albi

Back in October my boyfriend and I spent the weekend in France. I only took the Friday off work but it felt like a really good break. We stayed in a lovely Airbnb in Toulouse – with a comically low bathroom ceiling (especially as we’re both quite tall) but a wonderfully comfy bed.

It was a weekend that centred around our stomachs and we ate our way through the city over the next couple of days. This included visits to the markets full of all kinds of delights – and a few horrors!

DSCF9116

DSCF9119

DSCF9170

DSCF9172

DSCF9174

DSCF9176

We also took the train to Albi for a day which was a stunning town, another market to explore, a delicious lunch including snails and a trip to the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec. We were much luckier with the weather in Albi so there were many more photo opportunities!

DSCF917

DSCF9122

DSCF9123

DSCF9131

DSCF9134

DSCF9138

DSCF9140

DSCF9143

DSCF9146

DSCF9151

DSCF9153

DSCF9154

DSCF9157

DSCF9158

DSCF9164

DSCF9166

 

DSCF9167

My highlight of the weekend had to be seeing a starling murmuration over the river in Toulouse. I’ve always wanted to see this natural spectacle but had no expectations that Toulouse would be where I see it!

We’re off to Portugal next so look out for some more photos soon.

 

Advertisements

Scotland – day 6

Our final morning arrived much too quickly and we drove back to Inverness to drop off our car and catch the plane home. But first, we went for a walk through the city and to Ness Islands.

DSCF9104

DSCF9105

DSCF9107_edited-1

DSCF9109

DSCF9110

We had such a fantastic trip exploring the highlands and would love to return again to explore some more. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Scotland – day 5

After a wonderful breakfast in our castle (that will never get old), we headed to the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary in Oban. I had hoped to see some otters and seals in the wild, but a trip to the Sea Life Sanctuary guaranteed that we would see some and it was also interesting to learn about the amazing work they do. It also meant that we saw some adorable cubs in the seal hospital, and I’ve just seen on Twitter that one of those cubs has now been released back into the wild.

DSCF8964

DSCF8969

DSCF8975

DSCF9001

DSCF8982

DSCF8985

 

For our final night we would be back in Fort William, so we decided to drive back the scenic route taking in Kilchurn Castle, which took some finding! It was built in the mid-1400s but was abandoned in the 1700s.

DSCF9029

DSCF9032

DSCF9023

DSCF9024

The next part of our scenic tour back to Fort William took in the stunning Glen Coe, which I have to admit did overwhelm me in its beauty and scale.

 

DSCF9035
Felt like we’d just been sent up someone’s drive…

 

DSCF9043

 

DSCF9047
Glen Coe in the distance

 

 

DSCF9049

DSCF9054

DSCF9059

DSCF9080

DSCF9078

DSCF9066

DSCF9062

DSCF9060

DSCF9085

Glen Coe certainly felt like the climax of our trip, and it felt quite humbling standing in the middle and taking it all in.

For our last evening, we had a lovely meal in the Garrison West, a friendly pub where the bar staff talked us through some whiskeys! It was a gorgeous sunset for our last night, but unfortunately, I had left my camera at the hotel so I took these on my phone.

IMG_6063

IMG_6066

IMG_6069

A beautiful end to our last night on this trip.

 

Scotland – day 4

On day 4 we left Inverness and headed to the highest mountain in the UK – Ben Nevis. It was yet another stunning drive.  We had a bit of disappointment on the way as we looked at getting the Mountain Gondola and having lunch up a mountain however it was closed due to high winds.

We’re not hugely experienced walkers and after reading some blogs and also a rather threatening paragraph in a walking book we decided not to attempt Ben Nevis. I didn’t want to be a statistic!

So after a spot of lunch in Fort William, we drove through Glen Nevis and headed for another walk, Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge. Although the sign at the start didn’t do much to help my confidence, especially as I had recently gone flying on the Old Man of Storr, “Fatal accidents DO occur by falling from this path”.

But we set off, and it was well worth it. Although crossing waterfalls on wet rocks with just a massive drop on one side did get my heart racing!

DSCF8835

DSCF8841

DSCF8844

DSCF8847

DSCF8849

DSCF8851

DSCF8853

DSCF8857

DSCF8863

DSCF8864DSCF8869

DSCF8874

DSCF8883

DSCF8896

It was so cloudy and overcast we didn’t ever see the top of Ben Nevis, but we knew it was there – looming above us!

After getting back to the car we headed towards Oban, and to our big treat. We stayed in Premier Inns for the whole holiday, apart from one night where a castle waited for us. We stayed in Barcaldine Castle, also known as The Black Castle. A B&B with a difference! I couldn’t recommend staying here enough, the staff were amazing, the room was gorgeous, the views were perfection and breakfast was delicious.

DSCF8928_edited-1

DSCF8915

DSCF8921

DSCF8917
Not a bad view … 

Once we’d got over the excitement of staying in a castle, we headed to Oban for a seafood dinner. What a day!

Day 5 includes seals, otters and Glen Coe …

Scotland – day 3 (part 1)

On the morning of day 3, after a full Scottish breakfast, we visited Fort George. Fort George is one of the most impressive fortresses in Europe, it was built after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and is still an active military base.

But I had another reason for visiting, my Grandad had been based there in the 1950’s when he was doing National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps and I wanted to retrace his footsteps. He was very lucky to be sent to Fort George, in my opinion, as other places that the Royal Army Medical Corps were sent during this time included Korea.

It was quite surreal arriving at Fort George and walking around, imaging my Grandad there as a young man 60 years ago. I took some photos of him and his mates and tried to find where those photos may have been taken.

IMG_5888IMG_5889IMG_5891

DSCF8698_edited-1

 

DSCF8701
I hope my Grandad had a nicer place to sleep than this!

DSCF8702

 

DSCF8707

DSCF8709

Day 3 (part 2) coming soon, where we visit the Cairngorms and spot a red squirrel!

 

 

 

Scotland – day 1

Last week my boyfriend and I visited Scotland – it’s the second time we’ve been to Scotland together but last time we visited Edinburgh for a festive city break, so this time we decided we needed to explore the highlands! We spent 6 days driving around this stunning country (covering over 1000 miles!) – we based ourselves in Inverness for 3 nights, Oban for 1 night and Fort William for the final night in the shadow of Ben Nevis. As I took so many photos of the stunning landscapes, I’m going to share separate posts for each day of our trip. This photography blog may be morphing into a travel blog!

Day 1

After arriving in Inverness we had some time to explore the local area, so we drove around Loch Ness. I had no idea quite how large it was, the Loch Ness Experience taught us that it is actually as deep as the height of the Shard in London in some places – plenty of spots for the monster to hide.

We drove along the A82 which runs along one side of the loch, and back round on the B roads which lead back to Inverness on the other side – but are a much more dramatic drive as you can see from the photos below!

Urquhart Castle is located on the side of the loch, and this was the view on a very murky afternoon when you could only just make out the other side of the loch.
DSCF8501

Couldn’t resist a bit of fun with photoshop on this one, my own shot of Nessie…

nessie

These are some of the views we were treated to on the B road back to the city. It wasn’t great photography weather and I struggled to capture the atmosphere and to get the right lighting, something for me to work on!

DSCF8503

DSCF8506

DSCF8508

DSCF8512

DSCF8516

DSCF8507

Photos from day 2 coming soon!

Stormy seaside

I recently spent a few days in Rye for a friends wedding, we had a wonderful time and included some strolls around the village and a trip to Camber Sands to nurse our wedding induced hangovers. It’s a great beach and was a perfect summers day until the rain and hail moved in – made for some good photo opportunities though!

DSCF8487

DSCF8492

DSCF8499

DSCF8494