travel

Edinburgh, Scotland | Travel

Time for another installment of the KRP travelogue. Of which I haven’t contributed to since last October. I suppose this is what happens to a photographer’s blogs once you have a baby! On this post, I’ll be sharing photos from our time in Edinburgh, Scotland. We visited for a very brief two days in May of 2017, and those two days had a big impact on both of us!

Curtis and I have been dreaming about returning to Edinburgh since we boarded the train to leave it and head to London during our trip last spring. It was that amazing. We loved everything about it. We loved the architecture.. because I mean, just look at it, there is no where else like it! We loved that it wasn’t too big. If I’m being honest, London drove both of us nuts because it was just so incredibly crowded all the ding dang time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still obsessed with London, but you try riding the Tube at rush hour. It's enough to make a person feel a wee bit mad! We loved the friendliness of the Scottish people. And we loved the history and sense of adventure we felt every time we rounded a corner. From tea in Edinburgh Castle to walks through Dean Village, I loved every single second we spent in Edinburgh, and I cannot wait until we make it back one day!

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Below are some images of St Giles Cathedral. It was stunning! I loved finding a quiet corner and just sitting to take it all in. It’s sort of surreal getting to sit inside a building that looks like it could be in a medieval movie.

We headed to Edinburgh Castle right when it opened in the morning. Pro-tip, head to the crown jewels first thing in the morning and you won’t have to feel super cramped while looking at them! We really enjoyed our time in the castle. It was like it’s own little town in there and the views were spectacular.

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The photos above are from a little part of town called Dean Village. I saw it while researching Edinburgh and was like.. yup, we have to go there. It was even more wonderful and fairy tale-like in person.

We also walked through quite a few graveyards. Anyone else fascinated by them? It’s weird, but I love the history of it all. Definitely not going at night time though, ha! We also had breakfast in the Elephant House, the place where JK Rowling wrote a good portion of the first Harry Potter book. We’re both huge HP nerds, so naturally it was a must.

Glencoe, Fort William & the Scottish Highlands | Travel

This blog post is full of a bunch of landscapes because well.. that's pretty much what I was consumed with once we arrived in the Scottish Highlands. After landing in London, we spent our first day there exploring the city (you can see photos from our first day in London on this post), but we were really excited to get on our train up to Scotland and spend a few days soaking in the natural beauty of a country we've been dying to visit for a long time. 

We arrived in Fort William fairly early in the morning and trekked to our rental car (a story for another day... it wasn't my moment of shining glory). I had requested a mid-sized sedan, we received a VW Golf. Not exactly mid-sized to us Americans, but it did the job. After figuring out how to drive on the opposite side of the road (terrifying), we made our way slightly south to Glencoe. Now, if you've ever watched James Bond's Skye Fall, you'll have seen this magnificent landscape as Bond and M made their way up to Bond's family home towards the end of the film. First, I love me some 007. Second, the moment I saw that scene, I had to figure out where on earth that was. Third, once I knew it was Glencoe, I made a mental note to my bucket list to see it for myself. And it did not disappoint! We weren't there very long because our drive to the Isle of Skye was going to take us quite a while, but it was well worth the extra 35 minutes to see such an amazing landscape. 

After a short hike and a couple of stops through Glencoe, we made our way back to Fort William for lunch and to find me an authentic Scottish wool tartan scarf. Ft William is definitely a place I would have liked to had more time in. It's such a quaint little town. We then started our journey through the highlands up to the Isle of Skye where we'd be spending the next 3 days. There were many, many stops along the way at lochs, mountain ranges, and perhaps even a little stop for the bathroom because well.. there weren't many public restrooms along the way. 

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Eilean Donan Castle was another item on our bucket list. Unfortunately, we didn't make it in time to head inside the castle, but we did get to have the entire grounds to ourselves for a time. When we first got to the castle, there were quite a few tourists hanging about, but some rain came through and everyone deserted the area for the shelter of their cars. We just decided to wait it out under the castle door's archway and portcullis, and got to explore once the rain all by ourselves. It was pretty magical, minus the hiding our camera gear in our coats. That was a little annoying. But, seriously, one of the most beautiful and magical places I've ever had the chance to experience and I'm so glad we took our time to explore such a beautiful country. 

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To see more posts about our trip to the United Kingdom, check out London, Part I

London, Part I | Travel

London, oh London. I've dreamt of the day we'd make it to this magnificent city for a long, long time. I saw some amazing prices for airplane tickets last November while we were in Waco for Thanksgiving, and I asked Curtis if he really wanted to go to the UK for our anniversary in May and if so, could I bite the bullet and just buy the tickets? He said, if that's what you want to do. Soooo.. we did it! I then proceeded to research, plan, dream, and obsess over our trip to the United Kingdom. All in all, we visited London, the Isle of Skye, Ft William, and Edinburgh, so there will be many more blog posts to come! 

These photos are from our first day arriving in the UK. We flew from Houston to Atlanta and then on to London Heathrow. Neither of us had flown across the Atlantic before, so we weren't quite sure what to expect on the flight. Sleeping kind of didn't happen, so it was a tough first day because we didn't have a home base due to the fact that we were hopping on a train to the Scottish Highlands that evening. But, the adrenaline was pumping and we were just so dang excited to finally be there, we made it work.. with the help of lots of coffee. Being in my first trimester of my pregnancy made it a little more rough because I was super fatigued on top of jet lag and could only have a certain amount of caffeine per day, but it was worth it. Fortunately, I never really experienced much nausea in the first trimester, so I didn't really have to worry about that too much.  

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After dropping off our bigger luggage at the train station we'd be leaving out of that evening, we headed to Borough Market for lunch. Fish and chips was what we found first, so that's what we had (and many, many more times after that, ha). We were so tired and couldn't find tables to eat at, so we just sat on the sidewalk and ate with our backpacks surrounding us.. I'm fairly certain the locals thought we were hobos. They would stare and stare until we looked up at them, and then they'd quickly avert their eyes somewhere else. Those weirdo Americans just sitting on the ground eating.. We grabbed a coffee at Monmouth Coffee afterwards, a place I'd highly recommend if you're ever in London! 

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After filling our bellies and recharging our batteries (figuratively), we took a stroll to Bankside on the River Thames to walk across the Millennium Bridge (mostly because we're total Harry Potter nerds and how could we not?!), but also it was a direct route to St Paul's Cathedral, our first sight-seeing stop on our vacation. I was like a kid in a candy store. And, we had typical London weather -- overcast and a bit chilly. Our favorite

I love all of the flowers they have everywhere in London. I suppose since it is a bit rainy, it makes sense to add some color where you can. I'm also a huge architecture buff (not that I'm very well educated on the subject, I just know I like something when I see it), so I was absolutely in love with this city. The charm of centuries of buildings and different styles is just fascinating to this Texan. 

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If I had to pick a favorite church that we visited while over there, it'd definitely be St. Paul's. You guys. This place was magnificent. I wish we could have taken photos inside, but I understand they're reasoning for not allowing it. Unlike Westminster Abbey, it was far, far less crowded (because it's not included in the London Pass), so we spent a lot of time just sitting and admiring the beauty of it all. They had a prayer time, which was really awesome to experience, and we climbed up (mind you in a veryyyyy tiny and very steep stairwell) to the dome and just enjoyed the experience of being surrounded by such history. I was sad we couldn't go outside at the top of the dome, I was really looking forward to that, but for some reason that part of the cathedral was closed the day we visited. I'd highly recommend stopping and visiting St Paul's Cathedral!  

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We then took the Tube towards Westminster, where Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey are located, and I proceeded to take a billion photos of Big Ben. It's just so pretty, y'all. I'm super glad we got there before they started doing outer repairs and restoration on it! I've seen some recent photos they have started putting scaffolding around the tower. Whew! Got there in the knick of time! We didn't have any major plans that day other than Borough Market and St Paul's, so we just sat and listened to Big Ben chime at 6 o'clock and then headed to St James' Park to hang out for a bit and rest our feet. The pigeons in London are far too bold though you guys. They will fly straight at you. It's terrifying! So, our little sit wasn't quite as relaxing as we'd hoped it would be. 

Soon after, we headed to King's Cross and St Pancras Station (mostly so I could photograph them.. those are the buildings in the two photos below) and then we headed to our train to Scotland at London Euston. It was an amazing first day in London. I'm surprised how vividly I still remember everything, honestly. I'll be posting many more blog posts about our time in the UK, so keep an eye out! 

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Santa Fe, New Mexico | Travel

 

Last summer Curtis and I headed off to Durango, Colorado for our anniversary trip. On the way to Durango after staying the night in a KOA in Santa Fe, we stopped to see the gorgeous red rock formations just outside of Carson National Forest. I hadn't ever driven west before, and the landscape out there is unlike anything I've ever seen before. It just feels so.. American. I've been itching to head back out to the desert again. Maybe next year! On the way back from Durango, we left fairly early in the morning so we could have an afternoon in Santa Fe exploring the churches and downtown area. When we went through originally, we tried to get dinner at Cafe Pasqual's, but didn't quite realize how popular it was.. so we made reservations for lunch. I had enchiladas, which were a bit different than the ones I'm used to having here in Texas. It was interesting to see the different take on Spanish culture in New Mexico!

 
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We then headed over to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which was built between 1869 and 1886.  I loved the Romanesque Revival style of the church, which contrasted with the typical adobe style of Santa Fe. Stepping inside and seeing the columns and archways was absolutely breathtaking. 

 
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We then made the short walk over to Loretto Chapel, which was probably my favorite of the two churches we visited. Although it is no longer a practicing church, the history behind it is wonderful. Here's a brief overview of beautiful staircase known as the "Miraculous Stair."

Needing a way to get up to the choir loft the nuns prayed for St. Joseph's intercession for nine straight days. On the day after their novena ended a shabby-looking stranger appeared at their door. He told the nuns he would build them a staircase but that he needed total privacy and locked himself in the chapel for three months. He used a small number of primitive tools including a square, a saw and some warm water and constructed a spiral staircase entirely of non-native wood. The identity of the carpenter is not known for as soon as the staircase was finally finished he was gone. Many witnesses, upon seeing the staircase, feel it was constructed by St. Joseph himself, as a miraculous occurrence.

The resulting staircase is an impressive work of carpentry. It ascends twenty feet, making two complete revolutions up to the choir loft without the use of nails or apparent center support. It has been surmised that the central spiral of the staircase is narrow enough to serve as a central beam. Nonetheless there was no attachment unto any wall or pole in the original stairway.

 
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