Wentworth Falls and Valley of the Waters, Leura

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

The TC recently spent a couple of days in Leura, a town in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I was there too, but I spent my time cosily buried in a book. The TC, brave soul that she is, went on a four-hour hike from Leura to Wentworth Falls and back. The walk is 6 to 7 kilometres in distance, with a vertical drop and ascent of 200 metres.

My impressions? To judge by the TC’s glowing face and weary limbs, this was a walk and a half. She loved it, and had sore muscles for days afterwards.

The book I’m in

Jupiter War, by Neal Asher.

Travel tip

When walking in the Blue Mountains, take plenty of water and some food. Although your intention may be to stay out only a couple of hours, weather can change and mishaps can happen.

Recommended accommodation

Fairmont Resort, 1 Sublime Point Rd, Leura NSW 2780. Comfort, warmth, and friendliness.

The photos

Looking out over the Blue Mountains from the Fairmont Resort in Leura. This is where the four-hour walk started. Early in the morning, the valley is filled with mist:

Leura, Blue Mountains

On the way to Wentworth Falls, the path takes you up and down, through forest-filled glens, under overhanging rocks, along cliff faces:

Walk to Wentworth Falls

The views are stunning:

On the way to Wentworth Falls

At the top of Wentworth Falls, the ground just ends. The water falls over the edge:

At the top of Wentworth Falls

Wentworth Falls, seen from the bottom:

Wentworth Falls

To get down there, you can take the National Pass, a spectacular cliff-face path of metal and rock:

National Pass, Wentworth Falls

Cockatoos frolic around the falls:

Cockatoo at Wentworth Falls

On the loop back to Leura, the TC’s group walked through the Valley of the Waters. This is a gorgeous walk, with waterfalls and hanging gardens and spectacular views. This shot is taken from behind the curtain of water that drops off the cliffs:

Valley of the Waters, Blue Mountains

Here’s a short video taken from behind the same waterfall:

The Cascades are a silver shower of water on black rock:

The Cascades, Valley of the Waters

That’s all for today, folks.

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC just spent a day and a half in Melbourne, Victoria. On Saturday we drove from the big smoke down to the Twelve Apostles on Australia’s south coast. The drive takes around three hours. It’s well worth the trip, to see the Apostles themselves as well as the bush and coastal area down the bottom end of Australia.

My impressions? Bright, clear beauty.

The book I’m in

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. Teenage angst, beautifully written, with a hint of dreadfulness to come.

Travel tip

Take layers and layers of clothing to the bottom end of Australia. Even in spring, the cold can be bitter. Leave the brolly behind, unless it has gale-force certification.

The photos

Me at Twelve Apostles, Victoria:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria. Australia

The Apostles are these strange steeples of rock rising directly out of the waves:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

The vegetation is pretty in a low-stated way. It’s early spring, with tones of silver and green:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

You can walk down the cliff path at the Gibson Steps and stroll along the beach. This shot is taken with the Twelve Apostles out of sight behind the photographer:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

Now for a last look at the Apostles before I go:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

That’s all for today, folks.

A stroll down Broadway, New York

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in New York, New York. The city that’s so big, you have to say it twice.

My impressions? Smiles are a little hard to come by, but all’s well when you get to know someone.

The book I’m in

Kill Decision, by Daniel Suarez. Convincing death-by-tech end of days adventure. This worm thrives on it.

Recommended food store

Whole Foods Market Chelsea, 250 7th Ave, New York, NY. There’s something for everyone.

Travel tip

Take a stroll through the city in the early morning. It’s cool and quiet. People potter around getting ready for the day. Colours are bright, tempers are soothed.

The photos

Me, your sleepy travelling worm, in early morning Times Square:

Times Square

Now that you’ve seen the obligatory me pic, let’s jump back to the start of our stroll down Broadway. The Flatiron Building is near Madison Square Park, on Fifth Avenue and Broadway. It’s called “Flatiron” because its shape is similar to that of an iron:

Flatiron building

Big Bling is a sculpture by Martin Puryear in Madison Square Park. The shiny bit is covered in gold leaf:

Big Bling, Madison Square Park

Being a little short in stature, I tend to notice things that loom. The skyscrapers in New York are good at looming, particularly when viewed from a park. Here they are, doing it Madison Square Park:

Skyscrapers looming over Madison Square Park

This Serbian Orthodox Cathedral on West 25th Street caught my eye as I strolled up Broadway. It’s just a shell. You can see sky and other buildings through the openings:

Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, New York

Colours, flowers, and bikes outside the Martinique Café:

Martinique Cafe

It’s early morning on Broadway:

Early morning on Broadway

Poor pickings for pigeons:

Pigeons and tables on Broadway

Gotham Hall, with appropriate steam effects:

Gotham Hall, Haier Building, New York

Approaching Times Square:

Approaching Times Square

There’s a strong police presence this morning, possibly because the Gay Pride Parade is due to start nearby in a few hours:

NYPD in Times Square

All is quiet in Times Square. Just some early morning travellers strolling and the usual billboards scrolling:

Early morning in Times Square

That’s all for today, folks.

Lost and found in the Googleplex

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in California again. This worm has had an interesting day, navigation-wise.

My impressions? It’s very easy to get onto U.S. Route 101.

The TC decided, bless her cotton socks, that she now knows her way around Mountain View. No need for a navigation aid today. So we set off in good cheer. Faithful readers can guess where this post is going, particularly if they’ve read my previous scribbling.

Our first foray into unaided navigation went well. We found the Googleplex, which was our intended destination. After a few hours in one office, the next step was to get from one part of the Googleplex to another. To those unacquainted with the TC, that mayhap sounds simple, but not so.

In the blink of an eye, in the twitch of a steering wheel, we found ourselves on U.S. Route 101, heading north for San Francisco. Now, the highway is worth a visit, as a venerable and worthy piece of navigation history. Wikipedia says that US 101 is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California. It was one of the original national routes established in 1926. Still, if you don’t need to head north at speed, it’s probably not the best place to be.

Luckily it’s almost as easy to get off U.S. Route 101 as to get on it. Also luckily, the Googleplex is a big place and thus easy to find. The TC kept calm and steered us to our destination unscathed although not unrattled. There to greet us were a giant Google map pin, a Street View car, and the Code the Road bus.

The book I’m in

Caleb Williams, by William Godwin (1794). This worm is enjoying the richness of language and the care taken with phrasing, though it be at times a trifle archaic. Mr Godwin is adept at building up an atmosphere of menace that lurks close beneath a seemingly civilised society.

Travel tip

Ne’er cast a navigation aid til journey be made.

The photos

Me on the giant map pin outside the Google Maps offices. I am here:

worm-on-marker

A Street View car took a well-earned rest nearby. I made use of its rearview mirror for a quick face-and-hat check:

worm-on-street-view-car

Me hanging out with Pegman:

worm-and-pegman

My own dear Peg needed a bit of me time after seeing the above snap. So here are me and Peg, and a big green fuzzy person who happened by:

worm-peg-android

The Google Maps Code the Road Bus was in the neighbourhood too:

code-the-road-bus

Me on the Code the Road bus:

worm-on-code-the-road-bus

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 3 June 2016 at 10:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lost in Portland, Oregon

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Portland, Oregon. They told me it’d be summer. They said I wouldn’t be cold. They were mistaken.

My impressions? Warm, friendly people. They smile as you pass them in the street. I feel they’d take care to avoid stepping on a humble worm.

The book I’m in

Rich Man’s War, by Elliott Kay. Military sci-fi as a genre has a strange appeal, especially when travelling. This worm puts it down to a camaraderie among people shoved into small spaces under stressful circumstances.

Recommended accommodation

Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 15th Ave, Portland, OR. The rooms are furnished with care and talent, and the reception is friendly.

The photos

Me outside Portland Central Library:

Worm at Portland Central Library

Storm clouds loom over McMenamins Ringlers Annex, a tavern at the corner of SW Stark Street and W Burnside Street:

McMenamins Ringlers Annex tavern, Portland

The TC and I went for a stroll to explore the city. Our outing progressed in typical fashion. Before setting off, we checked the map and located downtown Portland. On a whim, we diverted to see the Pioneer area. So, we spent a few hours doing what the TC does best – getting lost!

Here’s the Pioneer Courthouse in SW 5th Avenue, Portland:

Portland Pioneer Courthouse

For a different atmosphere, the Portland Outdoor Store in SW 3rd Ave:

Portland Outdoor Store

With apologies for the bleached out appearance of the lighter areas (the TC says the lighting was difficult) here’s a colourful place in SW First Ave:

SW First Ave Portland

They have trams in Portland:

A tram in Portland

After our impromptu tour of the Pioneer area, the TC and I set off again confidently, continuing our quest for downtown. A few blocks later the TC checked the map, only to discover that we’d been heading in opposite direction. (May I say that this is not an uncommon occurrence when going for a stroll with the TC.) The Portland riverside was now nearby, so the TC decided that was where we wanted to be anyway.

The vintage tugboat Portland, moored off SW Naito Parkway:

Historic tugboat Portland

The tug is a paddleboat, lovingly restored, which now houses an exhibition of the Oregon Maritime Museum:

Paddle tugboat Portland

Geese taking off in front of the E Burnside bridge:

E Burnside bridge Portland

The N Steel Bridge in Portland has a bare nuts-and-bolts feel that must surely appeal to engineers:

N Steel Bridge Portland

It’s sad to see that there are homeless people in Portland, as in so many cities around the world. The TC and I saw many homeless people during our ramble. In the middle of this scene is a shelter built of cardboard and black plastic:

Homeless in Portland

On another day, we hiked along the trail from Macleay Park to Washington Park, in the hills above Portland. The TC, bless her cotton socks, was in her element. She’s quite a one for woodsy walks. Moody moss dripped from the trees:

Moss in Washington park

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 24 May 2016 at 9:16 am  Comments (1)  
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Colour and sound on Indian roads

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent the last week or so in Bangalore and Mysore, India. I’ve already posted my impressions of the two cities. Now for a wrapup about the traffic. Trust this worm, the traffic is a topic all on its own.

My impressions? Communication is key. Follow the sage advice on the back of the truck: toot when coming through; toot when it’s safe to make a move; toot when in doubt.

The book I’m in

Zero’s Return, by Sara King. This is part 3 of the Zero chronicles. This worm is enjoying this story as much as the first two, and is impressed with the change in theme. Sarah King has managed to retain the magic of the Zero character even while throwing him into a completely different situation. Sink or swim, again, Joe Dobbs.

Recommended garb

Wear something comfortable and adaptable. Be ready to toss a scarf over your shoulders (this is a tip from the TC, of course, since this worm’s shoulders are adequately covered by my academic jacket) or discard your sandals at the drop of a hat.

Travel tip

Hire a driver, at least for your first foray or two into Bangalore traffic. The drivers know a thing or two.

The photos

Experience a ride in a car with a hired driver. Note the expert use of the horn to let everyone know where we are and what our intentions are.

The next video is longer, and shows some interesting roadside scenes. We’re driving along MG Road in Bangalore for most of the way. In two places (around 15 seconds into the video, and another at 1:21) you’ll notice an auto rickshaw travelling in the opposite direction to the rest of the traffic. This is a not uncommon sight. In other countries, you might say the vehicle is on the wrong side of the road. In Bangalore, you’d say it’s in exactly the right place to get where it needs to go.

At 30 seconds, the car passes a laundry business on the left. See all the sheets and other washed items hanging out to dry. One of the TC’s acquaintances visited the laundry, and was amazed how the staff keep track of every single item without written records.

Here’s the video:

There’s quite a variety of vehicles on the road. The TC, bless her cotton socks, was taken with the colourful decorations on the trucks:

Colour and traffic on Indian roads

Another:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

This one’s a Tata, like the first. Tata is a very big auto manufacturer in India:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

And another colourful truck:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

And another. Yes, the TC has a fondness for trucks:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

On the rear of the trucks, it’s very common to see pleas and encouragement to hoot. That’s right, hooting is part of the system, and truckies ask you to do it to let them know you’re there:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

This one has tassels too:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

As well as trucks, there are carts:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Coconuts:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Pedestrians – the TC took this photo for the scaffolding in the background as much as the people strolling past:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Auto rickshaws – this one with a colourful view of Bangalore:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Scooters – with an interestomg background of stalls:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Bikes:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

And more bikes:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 6 March 2016 at 6:16 am  Comments (1)  
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Mysore or Mysuru in India

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are visiting the city of Mysore, in India’s state of Karnataka. Mysore, officially named Mysuru, is about three hours’ drive from Bangalore, up into the hills.

My impressions? Bright air and fresh colours.

The book I’m in

Zero’s Return, by Sara King. This is part 3 of the Zero chronicles. This worm is enjoying this story as much as the first two, and is impressed with the change in theme. Sarah King has managed to retain the magic of the Zero character even while throwing him into a completely different situation. Sink or swim, again, Joe Dobbs.

Recommended accommodation

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, 1 MG Road, Mysore. It’s comfortable, and the staff are very pleasant and attentive.

Travel tip

Drive up Chamundi Hill, or walk up if you can manage a staircase of more than 1000 steps. Stroll around the temples at the top of the hill. It’s beautiful and peaceful up there.

The photos

Me with part of Mysore city behind me:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Here’s the same view of Mysore, without this worm embellishing the foreground:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A busy street scene in Mysore:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A quiet side street:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Mysore Palace is full of activity, and the buildings are attractive and interesting. Here’s a temple near the palace gate:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Mysore Palace:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

The palace courtyard:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

An alleyway behind the main palace building:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

We drove up Chamundi Hill, just outside Mysore, and walked the circuit at the top of the hill. This is a view of Chamundi temple:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Chamundi temple from a different angle:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A closer view of the temple. Click the image to zoom in:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Back in the city of Mysore, Gothic huddles up close to telephone lines, carts and auto rickshaws. St Philomena’s Catholic church, built in 1936:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

That’s all for today, folks.

Bangalore peace and traffic

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Bangalore, India, for a few days. It’s an amazing place. Energetic, frenetic, hectic.

My impressions? Bangalore traffic is a metaphor waiting to happen.

In fact, traffic was used as a metaphor in two of the conference sessions that the TC attended this week.

The book I’m in

Railsea, by China Miéville. Moby-Dick meets steam punk, as told by a master of language. This worm has seldom been as impressed by a writer as I am by China Miéville.

Recommended accommodation

ITC Gardenia, 1 Residency Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025. Actually, though that’s the official address, the entrance is on Vittal Mallya Road.

Recommended restaurant

K & K restaurant at the ITC Gardenia hotel, for excellence of Indian cuisine and friendly attentiveness of service.

Travel tip

Take a stroll through Cubbon Park, during daylight hours, for an oasis of peace and coolness.

The photos

Me at the railway station on the well known MG road:

Bangalore peace and traffic

Next is a rare glimpse of the TC, snapped as she was watching a Bangalore rickshaw. These little three-wheeled vehicles are also called auto rickshaws, to distinguish them from the hand-drawn rickshaws. When this worm was in Bangkok a while ago, we travelled in a similar vehicle, called a tuk tuk. On the TC’s left, behind the green and yellow rickshaw, is the Vidhana Soudha, which is the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka, the state in which Bangalore is located:

Bangalore peace and traffic

Communication is an art in Bangalore traffic. Know where you’re going, make it clear to those around you, and toot to let people know you’re there. If you’re on foot, just pretend to be a vehicle:

For a puddle of peace in the swirl of traffic, take a stroll under the trees of Cubbon park:

Bangalore peace and traffic

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 27 February 2016 at 9:18 pm  Comments (2)  
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Views from Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Cape Town, South Africa for a few days. Melkbosstrand is a beach on the west coast of Africa, about 35 kilometres north of Cape Town.

My impressions? Wide open skies. Silver sands, azure seas, sunsets to die for.

The book I’m in

The Martian, by Andy Weir. A good yarn featuring Matt Damon (well, he’s in the movie) being rescued yet again from a far-away place. The book includes intriguing technical details of NASA equipment and how to use it in ways it was not designed for.

Recommended accommodation

Bontkop Guest House, First Avenue 43, Melkbosstrand, South Africa. The views are spectacular, the hosts are gracious, the fittings and breakfasts are top quality.

Travel tip

Hold on to your hat. The wind is mighty in Cape Town. This worm’s mortar board nearly took wing a few times. Since I’m rather attached to it, the consequences would have been dire.

The photos

Me, unmistakable even in silhouette, at Melkbosstrand on the west coast of South Africa. In the distance is Table Mountain, another thing that’s fairly well known in silhouette.

Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

Zooming in for a closer view of Table Mountain and Table Bay:

Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

Turning round and looking in the other direction across the bay, you can see Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in the distance, right on the beach (click the image to zoom in):

Melkbosstrand

This short video shows the view at dusk from Bontkop Guest House, Melkbosstrand:

On the beach at sunset:

Melkbosstrand

The TC, bless her cotton socks, is partial to silhouettes:

Melkbosstrand

That’s all for today, folks.

Golden Gate Bridge – a worm’s eye view

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC were in San Francisco over the weekend. We took a stroll under the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog.

My impressions? Bleak, booming, bulky, brrr.

The book I’m in

Search for the Star Stones, by André Norton. A paperback volume combining two books: The Zero Stone, and Uncharted Stars. This worm loves a good Sci Fi yarn!

Travel tip

Always have warm clothing with you when in San Francisco, even in summer time.

The photos

Me (the most recognisable, most photographed bookworm in the world) under the most beautiful, most photographed bridge in the world:

Golden Gate Bridge - a worm's eye view

There were other people under the bridge that day:

Golden Gate Bridge - a worm's eye view

Watch the video to hear the booming of the wind and traffic overhead. You can almost feel the breeze pushing that chilly fog around:

That’s all for today, folks.