San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

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 back in San Francisco for a flying visit. The TC is working here for a week, so this worm has tagged along as usual, keeping her book warm and generally looking after her. Today, Sunday, is her only day off on this trip. So we all got in to a Smart Car and drove over the Bay Bridge, to see what happens outside San Francisco.

My impressions? Oakland and Berkeley are worth the drive, if you have time on your hands, if only to see the Bay Bridge and the view of SFO from the other side.

Travel tip

Smart Cars are larger inside than you may think.

Recommended restaurant

Pakwan restaurant, corner of O’Farrel and Jones streets, San Francisco. Quite outstanding. See photos and words below.

The book I’m in

Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child. The TC hasn’t had much time for reading, so I’m still stuck in the same book as when I wrote my previous post. No matter. I’m quite attached to the book!

The photos

Me with Peg and the food at the Pakwan restaurant:

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

The Pakwan restaurant is on the corner of O’Farrel and Jones streets, San Francisco. It offers “Pakistani-Indian authentic cuisine”. The space itself is not all that impressive, but the food is simply delicious. The price is very reasonable too.

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

Me with the Smart Car that we hired for the day. I’m attached somewhat precariously (as usual) to the aerial:

lackadaisical

lackadaisical

Me and Smarty Tyres are parked in the grounds of the University of California, in Berkeley. Here’s one of the attractive buildings on campus:

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

Next we drove down to Oakland. Surprise, Jonathan was there! Here he is, admiring the view from Oakland docks of the mist coming down over San Francisco:

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

That’s all for today dudes.

Advertisements

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

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 usually pretty easy to please, but we were just a wee bit disappointed with our recent day-trip to Litchfield National Park. The park is in Australia’s Northern Territory, about 100 km from Darwin. It was 16th May, about 3 weeks ago, and we were in Darwin to attend a conference. We took a coach trip to Litchfield, because the TC was nervous about driving around the bush on her own.

“Bah humbug,” she was thereafter heard to exclaim. “Litchfield is a walk in the park.”

My impressions? Tame, but with some pretty colours. The termites and waterfalls are good.

Travel tip

If you’re looking for a full-on nature experience, don’t take a coach tour to Litchfield.

The book I’m in

Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child. This worm is quite taken by Jack Reacher, the hero of this book. He’s a modern-day swashbuckling pirate, in a ruthlessly homeless kind of way. I wouldn’t like to bump up against him on a dark night. Unless he’s on my side, of course.

The photos

Me knocking on the door of a cathedral termite mound:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

The termite mounds in the Northern Territory are fascinating, even awe-inspiring. The TC rabbits on about them looming up from the bushes and standing silently in amongst the trees. We saw a number of different types. The cathedral termite mounds are huge and shapely:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

The magnetic termite mounds are eery and otherworldly. They’re thin and wide, and all built in parallel lines. Wherever you find them, they’re lined up to the the Earth’s north-south axis. I wrote a bit about the magnetic mounds we found near Humpty Doo, just outside Darwin. Here’s one, with a cathedral mound behind it, in the Litchfield National Park:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Termite mounds are extremely hard. Our coach driver told us that people used to crush termite mounds and mix the resulting grounds with water, then spread it to make airstrips in World War 2 and later tennis courts.

Another fascinating fact from our coach driver: 80% of the trees in that area of the Northern Territory are hollow. Their trunks have been eaten out by termites. The termites and the trees survive quite happily this way, with the termites providing nutrients to the tree and the soil. This is a picture of a palm tree with a termites’ nest inside:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield has a number of pretty rock pools where you can go swimming. You do need to make sure you’re well into the dry season and all the salties (salt-water crocodiles) have retreated towards the sea. The TC went swimming in the pool under the Florence Falls:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

A number of large black fish shared the experience. One of them made so bold as to give her a painful nip in the thigh. I’m glad I wasn’t in the water with these fellows:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

There’s a pretty walk around the Florence Falls. It’s a bit spoilt by the helpful signs explaining how you can make your garden look like this too. Nevertheless, we managed to look past the signs and enjoy the bush and the lovely colours enhanced by a recent burn:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

More colours:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

A bit of pink:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Some yellow:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

This dude is very interesting. I’m not sure exactly what it is. It’s a creature inside a coat of sticks. All you can see of the creature is the bit that attaches it to the stick.  Is it a fellow worm? An insect perhaps? Let me know if you know what it is:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

These are the Wangi falls:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

The wetlands around the Wangi falls were more like the swamps we were expecting to see in the Northern Territory:

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory

Summing it up, this worm thinks that if you only have a day to spend then the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise is more interesting. On that tour, you see the wetlands around Humpty Doo as well as the Adelaide River with the salties, and a bit of the bush around Darwin too. I wrote a blog post about it. If you have more time, then probably Kakadu is the thing. We didn’t have time for that this trip.

If you’ve seen a lot more of Litchfield than we did and you found it awe-inspiring, let me know.

That’s all for today dudes.