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 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.

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.

Hawaii – volcanoes, waterfalls, cliffs and valleys

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 took a helicopter tour of the volcanoes and valleys of Hawaii’s Big Island. One side of the island is flat and dry, a thin layer of vegetation covering the blackly barren lava rock. The other side is lush, green and hilly, with some of the world’s tallest waterfalls, and towering cliffs pounded by fierce ocean waves. In the middle of the island is a steaming, smoking, belching set of volcanoes that continuously create this scene of life on the edge.

My impressions? An island inching its way across the sea – losing land to the ocean on one side, building out land with lava on the other.

The book I’m in

Zero Recall (Legend of Zero), by Sara King. This is the second of the Zero series. Meeting the Huouyt and Jreet again is like seeing old friends. The Geuji is a force to be reckoned with.

Recommended restaurant

‘ULU Ocean Grill, at the Four Seasons Hualalai. Service, elegance, beauty, cuisine.

Travel tip

Hire a car, to get where you want to go, when you want to be there.

The photos

Me. I think the Hawaiian lava makes an excellent backdrop for my distinguished person:

Hawaii

Lava swirls:

Hawaiian lava

I entrusted myself to Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours:

Me at Blue Hawaiian

The TC came too. Bless her cotton socks, look at that smile:

Blue Hawaiian

Ready to see some smoking lava? Here’s a video, just a very small part of the helicopter tour. This worm advises you to mute the audio, because it doesn’t do anything except hurt your ears:

The drifting mist in the video is a mixture of smoke and cloud. We could smell the smoke and sulphur inside the chopper! Quite other-worldly.

Trees don’t do too well when you pour hot lava around them:

Trees in lava flow

Things get real when the lava flow threatens a village. The people of Pahoa had to evacuate their homes in October 2014 because the lava came very close indeed. This photo shows the lava path, with the village in the distance:

Lava approaching Pahoa village

The lava flow has been monitored carefully since October last year, with hourly public announcements of its status. While we were in the bus on our way back from the helicopter tour, a radio announcement stated that the lava flow had stabilised and it was therefore no longer necessary to issue public reports. Our driver expressed great relief at this good news.

The helicopter instrument panel, the pilot’s boots, and a view of lava through the glass floor panels:

Helicopter instruments

After the volcanoes, we set off for the north east coast of the island. Green green valleys, steep cliffs and pounding surf:

Hawaii north east coast

Waipi’o Valley quite took the TC’s breath away. This worm was impressed too:

Hawaii Waipio Valley

The waterfalls in this remote valley are some of the tallest in the world, at around 1,450 feet (440 metres). Our helicopter pilot gave us an adrenaline-punching view of the valley and falls. Again, kill the sound, says this worm:

Back to more traditional views of Hawaii.Clouds:

Clouds

Flowers:

Frangipani

And a sunset:

Hawaiian sunset

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 3 April 2015 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dangling over the Whitehouse gardens in Washington, DC

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 have been in Washington, DC, for the last few days. Washington is the capital of the United States. It’s also known as the District of Columbia, or DC, or just “the District”. This worm admits that, until today, I thought the city of Washington resided in an area called District of Columbia. But it seems they’re one and the same thing.

My impressions of the city? Wide roads and lofty grandeur. It will be warmer when the cherry blossoms are out.

Travel tips

Don’t dangle over the Whitehouse lawn. The story: The TC has been pretty busy running workshops, which has left me and Peg to our own devices most of the time. As you’ll see, this had a different effect on each of us. Me, I was raring to go when the TC suggested a quick tour of the capital this morning. Peg, on the other hand, had become unfortunately attached to the room and so missed out on seeing the sights. She also missed out on saving this worm from a fate worse than death. Read on, dear friends.

The book I’m in

Zero Recall (Legend of Zero), by Sara King. This is the second of the Zero series I’ve tasted. Meeting the Huouyt and Jreet is like seeing old friends again, and the Geuji look like a force to be reckoned with.

Recommended accommodation

Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol St NW. Our room is small, but comfortable, clean and pretty. Service is friendly and efficient.

The photos

Me and the Washington Monument:

Washington Monument

The weather is chilly and grey. Yesterday we had snow, although it was officially the first day of spring, which led to much derisive commentary from the locals. Here’s a wintry view of The Mall, which is the thoroughfare connecting many of the monuments and museums in the city:

The Mall, Washington DC

We walked closer to the Washington Monument and snapped a shot through the trees, along with a passing plane:

Washington Monument

The Whitehouse is close by, nestling behind the bare winter branches:

Whitehouse

I had to have a shot of me at the Whitehouse, naturally, so here it is:

Travelling Worm at the Whitehouse

It was at this point, dear readers, that I sorely missed my faithful companion, Peg. Or should I say, my erstwhile faithful companion.

Peg would have been most useful in ensuring I didn’t inadvertently drift down onto the Whitehouse lawn and be lost, forever out of the TC’s reach. But Peg had elected to stay in the hotel room on this occasion. She said she was keeping the coffee company. I suspect, however, that she was hanging out with the cool kids and basking in their warmth.

Peg keeping the coffee companyPeg-WashingtonDC-21March2015-IMG_6297

Never mind. Despite the brisk breeze, I managed to cling to the Whitehouse railings long enough to get the shot, and the TC and I continued our stroll. More of the Whitehouse:

Whitehouse

The buildings in this area of town are gorgeous and grand. This is 1301 Constitution Avenue, home to the US Environmental Protection Agency and other organisations:

Constitution Avenue, Washington DC

Pennsylvania Avenue:

Pennsylvania Avenue

The Ronald Reagan Building:

Ronald Reagan Building

More grandeur:

A Washington building

The Corcoran Gallery:

Corcoran Gallery

And… the Eisenhower Building? How come Ronald Reagan and George Washington merit such imposing structures, while Eisenhower is relegated to this humble construction?

Eisenhower Building

The TC, bless her cotton socks, was actually taken in by the sign, until we rounded the corner and spotted the actual Eisenhower Building:

Eisenhower Building

The Metro offers a painless, easy way to travel around Washington DC :

Metro at Union Central, Washington, DC

That’s all for today, dudes.

Bennetts Wallaby with joey in pouch

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 a couple of days in Freycinet Park, Tasmania. A Bennetts Wallaby, also called a red-necked wallaby, wandered into the car park at the start of the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout.

My impressions? Somewhat jaded, slightly faded – I’m referring to the wallaby, not to myself of course.

The book I’m in

Where Song Began, by Tim Low. The fascinating tale of how Australia’s birds took over the world.

Recommended accommodation

Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. The cabins are dotted around amongst the trees. Inside is clean and comfortable. Open the doors to step out amidst the trees, birds, wallabies and echidnas.

The photos

This worm can pardon the mother wallaby for her slightly dufus expression. It must be hard work carrying such a big joey in the pouch. And so hard to scratch that itch too!

Here’s a still photo of the pair:

Bennetts Wallaby with joey in pouch

That’s all for today, dudes.