Ash from the erupting Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland may cause problems in the air space over the United Kingdom by the end of the week. See this article from the BBC for details.
If you are planning on flying to Scotland or England later this week, check with your airlines to see if the flights might be delayed or cancelled. Depending on upper atmosphere wind patterns, the Icelandic volcano may cause problems for air traffic in Europe during the eruption cycle.
When we were kids at play or just daydreaming castles seemed to occupy our thoughts, as did knights, princes, princesses and all things medieval. For years we thought that the castles at Disneyland and Disney World were authentic. (By the way, why is Disneyland one word and Disney World two words?)
Later in life we had the opportunity to visit our first real castles when we toured England, Scotland and Wales. It was a surprise to find out that the term castles encompasses palaces and fortified manor homes, as well as the defensive bastions that, to us, were the “real stuff” of castles.
The castles of Great Britain are enchanting and always well worth a visit. We generally took a tour to find out the “historic” details of the castle, although most of our time was spent exploring every nook and cranny we could enter. Our legs were aching by the end of the day, as climbing stairways is the only way to see the top section of these historic castles. We would reach the top of the towers and peer out across the countryside, checking the visibility profiles and estimating how hard it would be to attack and conquer the castle.
Castles were a good defensive bet, at least until the development of gunpowder and cannons. Until then, most defensive fortresses appropriately engineered with thick walls could withstand sieges, unless they were done in by treachery – which was often the case.
You get the picture. We like castles. So, if you do too, you might be interested to the ThereArePlaces Guide to the Best Castles in England, Scotland and Wales. If you happen to be planning a trip to Great Britain, take a look. Even if this area is not on your travel agenda, why not take a look at our castle guide and begin remembering the pleasures of pretending to be “In the days of old…”.
One of the world’s most interesting travel destinations is the …United Kingdom. Yes, that’s right. Unfortunately, it seems as if the UK has fallen out of favor with some travelers, but we find it a delightful place that is full of unique attractions, interesting cultures and beautiful landscapes. What’s more, for many visitors the language is relatively easy to understand (remember we mentioned the language, not the accents).
If you have not been to the UK, you should take a look at our Guide to its best places to visit. We even have a separate guide that explores the wonders of Scotland. In addition, we recently added a new piece on the Best Castles to Visit in Wales, England and Scotland.
We have to admit that we always look forward to the time we can grab in London, as we never tire of its museums, galleries, pubs, shopping and assorted things to do. It is a great city for walking and wandering and you every time we visit we find something new. As many times as we have been in London, you would think that we would not be candidates for taking one of the many “walking” tours offered, but we always find a new topic of interest to us and the guides are usually very informative and uniquely comical.
Outside of London, we find ourselves drawn to the beautiful Cotswolds, Bath and its Roman heritage, the Lake Country, York and its unique Viking heritage. For some unexplained reason we are almost magnetically attracted to the many archaeological sites along Hadrian’s Wall. In addition, Wales, its castles and unique coastal villages also seem to send us a beguiling message to visit as soon as we can.
As for Scotland, well visiting Scotland is a reward in itself. The sights, the culture, its painful, self-destructive history (including the story of Mary Queen of Scots), all intertwine to make a most interesting visit. However, we usually spend as much time hiking around the Scottish countryside as we do anything else. In spring, summer and fall, Scotland can be a glorious place to visit.
Maybe it is time for you to think about visiting the UK? We think it would be well worth your time to visit this dynamic collection of nations. If you have kids, the UK is one of the easier places to tour, it offers a great deal of information about things and places they have likely heard in school and it is a kid-friendly destination. Of course, it will give your kids a great deal of ammunition to ping you about concerning their adventures while you were driving on “the wrong side of the road”! If that worries you, we even have advice for “driving on the left“.
It continues to be a hard-weather winter in Europe. Both de Gaulle and Orly airports have closed for the evening due to expected high winds of up to 120kph (75mph) and are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday morning at 0700, De Gaulle is one of the busiest airports in Europe, so the closure will play havoc with travel throughout the continent.
Across the Channel, rain, snow and flooding are plaguing the United Kingdom in the south and west after the most largest snowfall in the last 18 years. Blizzard conditions are expected in Wales tonight and tomorrow. Throughout the country roads and bridges are icy and many municipalities are running short of road salt to melt the ice. Expect difficult travel conditions if you are traveling in the UK by car during the next week. If you are interested in recreation you should know that the skiing is Scotland has benefitted the large snowfall.
Fires, some natural and some set, have killed over 170 in south eastern Austrlia, north and east of Melbourne. The effect of the fires has been influenced by high temperatures and drought conditions that have plagued parts of Australia over the last several years
A good overview of all of these stories can be found at the BBC or by searching a news aggregator.