Tag: Travel

Glencoe: You’ll Never Feel So Small

There are no words to describe it. The awe-inspiring, breath taking sensation of standing amidst the colossal, ominous mountains of Glencoe.

One of Scotland’s most famous must-see landmarks, Glencoe is truly a unique place on Planet Earth. Its atmosphere is both magnificent and foreboding. The tiny, weaving A9, as seen in James Bond and M’s trip up north in Skyfall, snakes its way first across Rannoch Moor (a must see on its own, although better seen together with Glencoe) before, suddenly, looming out of the dark, grumbling rain clouds, is perhaps Glencoe’s most famous peak, Buchaille Etive Mor.

Rannoch Moor from the West Highland Way

This terrifying mountain is simply jaw-dropping, a sight so unique to Scotland. The mountains and falls of Glencoe inspire a sense of awe, and oh boy do they demand your respect. Buchaille Etive Mor is an example why – this mountain claims lives, frequently. She and her sisters are no pushovers. They are much like Scottish women – nice to look at, you know they’re a challenge, but if you let your guard down, God help you.

The road wraps around the base of the mountain, entering the Glen and leaving the flat, barren landscape of Rannoch Moor behind.

For a driver, this road is heaven. Great sweeping curves, well-maintained surfaces. But you have to know what you’re doing, as it’s not an easy road to drive. The best things in the world never are. There was a fatal accident when we were up there, and it caused chaos and commotion for hours.

Driving through Glencoe is one thing, but actually pulling up and getting out of the car to look around, is another thing entirely. The feeling I had when I stepped out of the car…I have never felt so small.

A NYCoSian Summer

Hi guys,

So by the time this post will be up and published I will be in America!! You have no idea how excited I am! I have never been to the States before, and it will also be my first tour abroad with NYCoS. Aaah! Have to admit though, if I could get to America without the 8+ hour flight I’d be highly appreciative. I’ve never done long-haul before. Not all that sure I’m looking forward to it. Could also do without the 4am rise that is required to catch my flight. Why? I want my sleep! I don’t do well without my sleep, just ask my mum.

Oh, the things we do for fame, fortune and travel!

My summer is pretty NYCoS packed, actually. I have the ten day tour in the US of A, then I’m home for a fortnight-ish, with a few trips around Alba, and then I’m off to London with NYCoS for a performance of Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliette at the BBC Proms!

Holy crap!

And after all that we’ve still a performance of the Berlioz in France for the Berlioz Festival! Where did this jet set lifestyle come from, what is happening?!

I’ve also a family holiday, best friends’ birthdays, and my own 19th all mixed in there. The summer is supposed to be relaxing, why am I so busy?

Don’t get me wrong,  I am well aware how incredibly lucky I am. I am so fortunate to be a part of this amazing choir, and I hope to be part of the NYCoS family as long as possible!

Where are you guys headed this year? Business or pleasure?

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You Speak Spanish? That’s So Cool!

Hi guys,

How many foreign languages do you speak? Answer if you’re like many of he people I know – “I can say ‘hello, how are you?’ in French”.

And I bet you say that in the most appallingly Scottish French accent aka no accent at all.

In 2004 the British government decided to make foreign language learning optional at GCSE and Standard grade level, as they stupidly believed that those who had learned languages at primary school would definitely want to continue their studies at high school.

Dumbass.

Language learning is seen as hard, and today’s lazy kids prefer to take different subjects they believe will give them an easy pass, rather than actually apply themselves and acquire skills that definitely will help them in life. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I had to use Pythagorean Theorem or tell you the chemical symbol for cheese, but only this morning was I hearing and translating French I was listening to on television.

Languages are useful. Learn them!

Countries in Europe teach languages as standard in their schools, be that other European languages or English!  They’re making the effort! Why aren’t we?! Europeans are so used to Brits being such ridiculous, for want of a better word, ‘dumb’ tourists, who go on holiday to be British in the sun, instead of travelling to see and feel these wonderful countries. But we make no effort whatsoever to blend in. You can spot a British holidaymaker a mile off (I am guilty of being one myself at one point I do admit.)

I’ve gone slightly off topic, this was a rant about languages…

University courses and foreign language departments are really starting to struggle with their pools of candidates, as fewer people are taking languages in school, and then even  less are taking them on into university. It’s madness!

I loved learning languages in school. The Modern Languages department at Greenfaulds High is something I can only applaud. They really pushed you to learn, and held activities at lunchtime encouraging people to try foreign foods and movies and culture, as well as learning the language. My Spanish teacher was phenomenal, I always loved her classes. She spoke to us and taught  the class entirely in Spanish, and so immersed you entirely in the language. You didn’t realise how much you had learned until you suddenly realised you understood every word she was saying to you, and if you didn’t understand, she helped you figure out by breaking down the sentence, all still in Spanish. it was fabulous. Plus she wasn’t one of those awful language teachers who hated their lives and now only lived to make their students lives a misery, I do get that those exist.

But with all this ranting and raving about how few people are learning languages, I have to admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite, as I’ve let my languages slip. I could still hold a pretty decent conversation with someone in both French and Spanish, and can now have a very basic conversation in Italian, but I’m a bit rusty, and could do with some revision, which is exactly what I’m going to do.

Duolingo is a website and app which lets you learn languages for free. Free! You learn languages in a sort of game like fashio9n, where you lose a heart when you get an answer wrong, you win points when you complete levels, and you can follow and compete with your friends. duolingo has been proven to work, and according to their website just 34 hours spent on Duolingo equates to an entire semenster at University or College.

It is never too late to start learning, or relearning, a language, and so I challenge you my readers to join me in my quest to encourage the world to become bilingual. I am setting myself the challenge of studying Spanish for fifteen minutes every day, and when I’ve completed that course I shall move onto French and the Italian. And after that, who knows.

So go on, get signed in, get learning! You can find me at LaurenJuli1. Follow me, and I’ll follow the next 20 people who follow me back! I’ll also keep you updated with weekly updates, let’s see how long I can keep this up, eh?

 

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There’s No Place Like Home

Hi guys,

When you look at all the different travel blogs out there people have so many different ways of travelling. There’s the Nomads, people who have no home base. They travel all over the world with everything they own on their back, having complete freedom to travel to wherever the hell they like whenever the hell they like. There are also the people like Amanda over at A Dangerous Business, who has a set home base, works at home, and then travels throughout the year around work and other commitments.

And then there’s the people like me, who dream of travelling the world and seeing the sights, but lack the courage, funds and time to actually go out there and see the world. Trips abroad are family holidays or concert tours (can you believe the NYCoS America tour is less than TWO months away? Because I can’t!) where sightseeing is usually done in groups to the big touristy destinations, and you don’t really get the chance to get involved and truly get the feel for a destination and its culture.

Hopefully though this will change soon, and I’ll have the funds to be able to explore and see all that’s out there.

But even if I do, I know that the nomadic life probably isn’t for me, because no matter where in the world I go I will always have a home, and that home will always be…

Scotland!!

Scottish Landscape Stock Photo

Scotland is and always will be home for me. There’s just something about it, it’s a country filled with magic and wonder and fairy tales, and I just feel like I belong here. Yes, I know I go on and on about wanting to travel and get out of here, but that’s because I know Scotland will always be here, calling me back. Back to what I know, back to settled normality. When I get off the train at Glasgow Queen Street and I haven’t been into the city in a while I still get this tingle that just tells me “I’m back, this feels right”, and I love that feeling! It’s an amazing sensation, and one that I hope never goes away.

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There’s something just so distinct about Scotland and its people. The culture is so unique, as are the locals who live here. We’re a very patriotic nation, but in a uniquely Scottish way. Unlike other patriotic countries, we don’t think Scotland is the best country in the world. In fact, we know it can be a bit of a shithole, but you know what , it’s our shithole, so don’t you say anything bad about it, because the only people who can are born and bred in this ridiculous country and we won’t take any flack from anyone! So I dare you to give it a try. Bring it, and see how far you get.

Anyway…Moving on.

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Loch Lomond from Balloch Country Park
View of Loch Lomond from Balloch Country Park

There’s no denying though, no matter how much of a shithole it may be, Scotland is a brilliantly stunning country. The weather’s shit, but it’s because of the dank, dark, murky skies and constant bombardment of rain, sleet and snow that our country is so green and lush and spectacular. Few places on the planet rival Scotland in her beauty and her unique landscapes and scenery. I love it, and I love that I can call this beautiful country home.

Now to head out in search of her rivals.

Where’s home for you? Have you been lucky enough to find that place you belong, or are you still out there searching? Or not searching, perhaps? Let me know!

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My Favourite Travel Blogs

Hi guys,

I absolutely love reading travel blogs. It’s one of my favourite things to do. My standard daily commute into uni involves a good read of a few travel blog posts, a quick Facebook check, and an update to Wandering Scotland if the inspiration strikes.

I do follow several travel blogs, because it’s always worth keeping up with the travel blogging community, but I do have to say I do still have my favourites.

A Dangerous Business

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Amanda over at A Dangerous Business is probably one of my favourite bloggers. Her writing makes her seem so genuine and friendly, and she was really generous with her help when I emailed her with a blogging related question. A Dangerous Business was one of the first travel blogs I ever read, and a read of at least one article is pretty standard commute reading. I also absolutely love her take on travel blogging, and the fact that she doesn’t travel full time, yet still manages to run a frequently updated blog.

Young Adventuress

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Young Adventuress was the first ever travel blog I came across, and was that sparked my interest in travel blogging and all its wonders. Liz just seems like such a strong woman, something I truly aspire to be. I also love that two of her favourite countries are Spain and New Zealand, just like me!

Hand Luggage Only

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I love Yaya and Lloyd, they are absolutely hilarious. There’s always at least one line in each post that makes me giggle. The images they share in their posts are spectacular, and are sure to inpire wanderlust in all who lay eyes on them. How they manage to travel to so many fabulous foreign destinations so frequently will always baffle me, they just always seem to be somewhere new and exciting.

The Travel Hack

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This blog is a godsend. There are so many tips and tricks to achieve cheaper travel, it’s fab! They also always seem to do their research, and so their destination posts are always educational, and I always seem to learn something.

Travelletes

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I was drawn to the Travelletes blog by a guest post I came across on Bloglovin’, but after a little exploring I was hooked! Although I am a reasonably new reader of the blog, I’ve found that the seem to think on a way very similarly to myself.

So there you have it, my current list of favourite travel blogs. I am always on the hunt for some new reads, so if there are any blogs out there that you think I’d like, let me know!

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