Cambridge, where to go?

You have many reasons to visit this extraordinary university town. Cambridge has a unique vibe and will amaze you with its聽history,聽architecture, and natural beauty.

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When visiting Cambridge you can’t miss the聽colleges and it’s gardens, the riverside,聽all the green聽meadows surrounding the city and the Backs (gardens and parks line up beside the river聽behind the colleges).

Walking and cycling are the best ways to visit the city.

The town is full of cyclists, students and tourists, but still has a nice vibe and it’s far from being a big chaotic city.

The Colleges are truly amazing even if you only contemplate them from the outside.

Before your arrival, you should check on the internet if the King’s College Chapel or the聽Trinity College are hosting a concert during your visit. This is excellent way to visit both of this emblematic places (sometimes for free).

Most of the museums are free in Cambridge, if you have time you should visit them all, if not I recommend the fabulous聽Fitzwilliam Museum, the聽Kettle’s Yard and the聽Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

If you are a fan of聽Sir Isaac Newton, stop at Trinity College to see the聽famed apple tree where it was said to be the inspiration for his theory of gravity after being bopped on the head by one of the fallen fruits.聽2015-01-09 23.58.30.jpg

If the weather invites for a picnic the Botanic Gardens are a must聽or a punting session through the river Cam.

It聽is always something happening in Cambridge, so make sure you do your research and don’t miss what this city has to offer.

If you visit cambridge be prepared to fall in love with this town.

Cambridge is聽very accessible by bus or train from London.

photography 鈥撀燼ll rights reserved 鈥 Ana Rocha

馃崪聽More about聽vegan food聽in Cambridge聽馃崪

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Best places to visit in Edinburgh – Scotland (part II)

Located beyond the east end of Princes Street is the聽Calton Hill (UNESCO World Heritage Site), surrounded on three sides by Regent Terrace, Calton Terrace and Royal Terrace. At Calton Hill you’ll find various iconic monuments and some incredible views out over Edinburgh.聽Take a hike to the top of the hill, sit and relax in a quiet(ish) park-like setting.

The monuments on Calton Hill include the National Monument, which looks like Athens鈥 Parthenon; the obelisk-like Nelson Monument聽and the Dugald Stewart Monument.

The Victoria Street,聽is a very picturesque street, known聽for its unique and colourful shops.

The聽Arthur鈥檚 Seat聽was one of my favourite places, despite being a bit of a hike for my fitness level.. 馃檪聽It’s located聽about 1 mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle; and it’s the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, formed by an extinct volcano. From the top you get the greatest panoramic views of Edinburgh鈥檚 stunning skyline of Victorian and Georgian architecture and the聽Firth of Forth聽(estuary)聽in the distance.

Was a tough hike and some of the parts are rather difficult (at least for me) depending on your aptitude, the walk to the top takes approximately one hour, but the views from the top are worth it though.

The old Calton聽burial Ground聽also known as the聽Old cemetery,聽dates back to the late 16th century, and despite not being as extraordinary has the Glasgow one, still worths a visit. Supposedly聽JK Rowling聽got a few ideas for names in the聽Harry Potter series here. And just because I’m already talking about聽graveyards, there’s another famous one, the聽Greyfriars Kirk, laying on the聽tale of聽Greyfriars Bobby, a dog who聽supposedly聽sat upon the grave of its deceased owner for fourteen years following its masters death.聽The graveyard itself is quite beautiful and offers a nice view of the city.

The聽Museum of Edinburgh, offers a good view over the聽history of the city through a聽collection of artefacts, you can also dress up with replica costumes and have some fun 馃槈 the museum also has a great聽courtyard.

If you are on a tight budget walk and spend time at the parks, gardens, and museums, 聽almost all of these are free…

I will leave here a few more pictures of other corners of the city, hope you enjoy it..

Let me know if you have been to Edinburgh, and which are your favourite places..
Looking forward to hearing from you..

馃殞聽聽read聽part I聽馃殞

photography 鈥撀燼ll rights reserved 鈥 Ana Rocha

Best places to visit in Edinburgh – Scotland (part I)

While traveling across Scotland, we took a bus from Glasgow to聽Edinburgh.聽We quickly dumped our luggage in the room, and went out to聽explore the beautiful city with gorgeous聽historical and natural wonders.聽No matter where I am, I always feel that stroll around is the best way to properly experience a country/city, so is what I always do… is no surprise that I did around 90 miles in 4 days (by foot), my legs and feet always complain but my heart and soul just crave for it..

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Even having been walking endless miles, I still need to say that all the main attractions are quite close to each other, and despite the hills, Edinburgh is a great walking city, so walk is the best way to discover this beautiful historic city.

Edinburgh is split in two by the valley that separates the Old Town from the聽New Town.聽The Old Town of Edinburgh, dates聽back to Medieval times, and is where we found the oldest聽attractions. The Royal Mile,聽is undoubtedly the most touristic street and is packed with people, pubs, shops, restaurantes, and street performers; feels like theres聽is nothing that can鈥檛 be seen on this street. To be fair, this packed touristic places are not my cup of tea, so what I enjoyed the most here were the escapes to the聽many quirky streets going from there.

The聽St Giles Cathedral,聽located in this street, is covered in聽lovely details and has beautiful stained glass windows.聽Pop in to see the pretty blue ceiling, and the intricate聽Thistle Chapel.

At the west end of the Royal Mile is the聽Edinburgh Castle, a landmark聽visible from many parts of the city.聽The entry fee is聽17 for adult,聽so if you think is too much (what I do), you can always enjoy the views聽from the Castle Esplanade.聽I didn’t go inside, has I think is not worth the price. On the other hand the聽Craigmillar Castle,聽located in the other side of Edinburg have a more acceptable fee (5.50) and it’s really nice.DSCF7113

The city鈥檚 best museum is聽for me, by far the聽National Museum of Scotland,聽 located very close to the National Galleries on The Mound.This museum is dedicated to聽the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology, and Scottish history. 聽Like most museums in the UK, 聽it’s 聽free.

From here in direction to the聽Royal Botanic Garden聽you can stop at the charming聽village of Stockbridge. This place has a nice vibe and is away from the聽city center touristic buzz. The聽picturesque street聽Circus Lane, is another must.

The聽聽Royal Botanic Garden聽 is a great hidden gem and a very special place; for me an聽absolute must-see in Edinburgh, specially if the weather is good. They are a great escape from聽the crowded Old Town.聽On a sunny day you can explore the many different features around the garden and also the glasshouses.聽The 聽Garden lies in Inverleith, a half-hour walk north of聽the city centre. The stroll through New Town and Stockbridge is worth the time.聽The gardens are free to enter, but for the Glasshouse you pay a fee.

Back at the crowded 聽old town the Princes Street Gardens聽are another free outing. The gardens are a great spot for relaxing on a sunny day; from here the views are excellent to the Castle. This garden is home to the gothic Scott Monument, which can be climbed by聽200 ft above the city (5).聽This area also contain some of the city鈥檚 key museums and serve as a venue for Edinburgh鈥檚 famous summer cultural festivals. The聽National Gallery聽 is located in the midst of the Princes Street Gardens and displays a lovely collection.

Princes street (named after George III鈥檚 sons) is the main shopping street in Edinburgh, so very frenetic and congested with people and buses.聽The National Portrait Gallery聽and the聽Royal Scottish Academy聽are both located聽just off Princes Street, so it鈥檚 very easy to pop in for a visit.

馃殞聽read聽part II 馃殞

photography 鈥撀燼ll rights reserved 鈥 Ana Rocha

 

Exploring Glasgow for free, Scotland

Glasgow聽is Scotland鈥檚 largest city, and a great place to start a trip to Scotland. Despite overshadowed by聽the famous Edinburgh, this city is at least equally amazing. I need to say that in the end of my visit聽I was totally in love with聽this city, that once was a聽former industrial powerhouse, but now is a cultural hub, with lots of interesting things do do and see.

Glasgow is today a聽cosmopolitan city, with a rich history, 聽and a national cultural hub, home to many great聽museums (most of them free). The museums and聽art galleries have聽superb collections, that will surprise you聽as much as surprised me.

We landed at聽Glasgow’s airport and got the connection to the聽city center, using the聽bus 500, that takes 30 minutes to be聽on the Queen Street, close to聽George Square, in this short trip it’s already visible the聽historic sandstone buildings and modern architecture.

For my surprise Glasgow serves very weird food from deep-fried piza or even fried Mars, but聽the vegan options just聽kept surprising me. I need to say that the聽claims that Glasgow is the聽mecca in Scotland for vegan food lovers may be very true!

We visit the city by walking around, without taking any public transports (what was probably聽a mistake, at least is what my legs and feet were聽saying).

We聽started our trip, walking around the city centre without a plan towards聽George Square,聽that is the heart of the city, and has聽impressive Victorian buildings and statues paying homage to the Scottish greats. From there we went to the聽Gallery of Modern Art, 聽where is the famous statue of the Duke聽of Wellington聽wearing a traffic cone as a hat.

While walking around, we just did a stop at Glasgow Central Station, not to take a train but to have a look at the arquitecture and its glass roof. Here you can also join a tour that supposedly聽聽reveals some of the station鈥檚 hidden secrets 馃檪 I can’t say that’s true, because I haven’t done聽it.

From the train station it’s only a聽couple of minutes鈥 to聽the Lighthouse,聽on Buchanan St. This place聽can be a bit difficult to find but deserves the effort. The聽building was designed by the Scottish architect Charles Mackintosh back in the 19th century, and is an exemple聽of Art Nouveau.聽Today聽is the centre for Design and Architecture, and has many聽different exhibits and galleries. 聽Including a聽free exhibition on Mackintosh鈥檚 work.聽From the lighthouse, you have an incredible skyline view of Glasgow.

We kept walking till we got to the river side聽that has a path along the聽River Clyde聽great for a walk or even cycle, from where you can see聽modern buildings like the Clyde Auditorium (known as the Armadillo) and the titanium-clad Glasgow Science Centre.

Then was time to visit聽one of the city鈥檚 most famous museums, the聽Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This museum聽is definitely a must see.聽But not before a lovely man invited us to take a coffee and some biscuits at a local church, the Sandyford Henderson memorial church.

The聽Kelvingrove isan聽immense place with a great a collection, that you will enjoy even if your are not an art person, because part is a聽art gallery and part history museum. Essentially, it’s an art, life science, and cultural museum rolled into one, with聽plenty to see,聽housed in a beautiful historic building.

From here across the park is the聽聽University of Glasgow, an imposing聽gothic-style buildings that reminds vaguely聽Harry Potter.

The聽Glasgow Botanic Gardens聽are聽located in the heart of city鈥檚 West End by the River Kelvin, and are a short walk from the university, and a must go if you are a nature lover like me. The gardens are lovely and the聽glasshouses聽looked like they were straight out of the Victorian Era聽revealing聽exotic ferns and tropical plants as聽you聽go.

The聽Riverside Museum,with its Zaha Hadid-designed sinuous curves, is another must.聽The museum is dedicated to聽transport and travel. the exhibition聽is very interactive and even has a recreated street taking you back to 1890s Glasgow, where you can pop in into different shops. From here you can take a聽tour of the聽Glenlee, a restored tall ship, If you fancy something like that.

Once in the city center we went to visit the the 15th century house,聽Provand鈥檚 Lordship, the oldest in Glasgow and the magnificent聽Cathedral.

The聽聽Necropolis, it’s right behind the Cathedral, and it’s a cemetery with distinctive, decorative tombstones which are works of art in themselves designed by major architects and sculptors of the time. The necropolis is located on top of a hill and聽has great views to the聽city and the Cathedral.

The聽People鈥檚 Palace聽and the Winter Gardens聽are a great聽museum to have an insight about Glasgow鈥檚 history, and聽t’s聽located in southeast Glasgow.

Glasgow’s street art is visible聽over the city, Smug One is an Australian born street artist based in Glasgow that has painted聽enormous murals.

If you are planning your trip bare in mind that the weather can be very unpredictable so just pack clothes for each of the 4 seasons 馃檪 I suggest at least 3 days if you want to visit Glasgow properly but I recommend 4, for the sake of you legs and feet 馃檪

If you have the time, away from the聽city聽there are plenty of remote places to explore.. be happy and have fun..

photography 鈥撀燼ll rights reserved 鈥 Ana Rocha