Kirkland, WA, a little grey in March

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I 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 just spent a few days in lovely Kirkland, on the shores of Lake Washington, WA, in the USA. Kirkland is across the lake from Seattle.

The days were a little grey and drizzly, with a chill around the edges. The TC, bless her cotton socks, was in her element.

My impressions? There’s a touch of colour in everything.

The book I’m in

Dead Man’s Debt, by Elliott Kay. A good military space yarn, with characters to love and cherish. Until they die.

Travel tip

Pack layers. The Kirkland weather is quite changeable, and ubiquitous air conditioning makes the temperature unpredictable.

Recommended restaurant

Milagro Cantina, 148 Lake St S, Kirkland, WA. Tasty comfort food, excellent service, good atmosphere.

The photos

Me cozying up to a gnome on the way to the Kirkland City Dock. He was a little cold and grey:

This squirrel was looking for a touch of colour:

A cyclist’s bright green jacket stands out:

There weren’t many people around at the dock:

This bird looked lonely:

Me chilling out with some young blades at the Kirkland city hall:

The US flag and the State of Washington flag curl in the breeze:

Take heart! Spring is in the air:

Flying out of Kirkland, we saw the first break in the clouds:

And some gorgeous snowy peaks:

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 17 March 2017 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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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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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.

Las Vegas glam, dollars and celebs

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 Sin City, otherwise known as Las Vegas. It’s a place of parties, winners, and losers, all a-glimmer and a-shimmer under the desert sun of Nevada, USA. The TC tried her hand in Caesar’s Palace Casino and made the grand winning of $93.40. She declared herself well satisfied and left it at that.

My impressions? In the desert did we a pleasure strip decree.

The book I’m in

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. Yes, still the same book. Travelling is a time-consuming occupation.

Recommended restaurant

La Salsa Cantina, in the Forum Shops mall on the Las Vegas Strip. Good, simple food served with experience and a smile.

Travel tip

Las Vegas is hot during the day, even in spring time.

The photos

Me on the Las Vegas Strip:

Winning in Las Vegas

“Caverns measureless to man” inside the Forum Shops mall:

Winning in Las Vegas

The grand edifice of Caesar’s Palace, just one of many casinos on the Strip:

Winning in Las Vegas

Inside, pleasure domes…

Winning in Las Vegas

… and miracles of rare device:

Winning in Las Vegas

The gambling halls, where serious money changes hands:

Winning in Las Vegas

Back outside, we encountered stretch limos, palm trees and high fashion:

Winning in Las Vegas

Where else in the world will you find Venice and ancient Rome on the same street?

Winning in Las Vegas

Not everything glitters and gleams in Las Vegas. The view from our hotel window was a bit dreary by day:

Winning in Las Vegas

Add a touch of shadow and some razzle dazzle and it’s pretty by night:

Winning in Las Vegas

Drop in on the Eiffel Tower amidst the palm trees:

Winning in Las Vegas

With a bow to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and courtesy of the Bellagio Hotel:

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced

A few people heard that yours truly (Mark Wordsworm, Travelling Worm) was in town, and so I was in high demand for photo ops. Johnny was slightly nervous but delighted when I found the time for this shot:

Winning in Las Vegas

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 26 May 2014 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Route 66, Arizona, USA

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

Yesterday me and the TC rode part of the historic Route 66 in Arizona, USA. En route from Flagstaff to Las Vegas, we took exit 121 from Interstate 40 and followed Route 66 all the way to Kingman.

My impressions? Tumble weed, tricycles, wide open skies.

The book I’m in

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. I haven’t moved much (in the book, that is) since yesterday. Too busy keeping the TC company on her travels.

Travel tip

Take the time to visit the bits of nostalgia positioned along the road for your enjoyment.

The photos

Me on Route 66:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

Our vehicle of choice is a Mustang convertible. A fitting ride for this route. Here it is, with a train passing behind:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

“Kickin it on 66 at Mikes outpost saloon”:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

Sharing the road with tricycles:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

A back yard with a view:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

Me enjoying the ride:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

See y’all later!

Route 66, Arizona, USA

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 26 May 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

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 spending a few days in Arizona, USA. We started in the capital, Phoenix, then drove to the Grand Canyon via Sedona and Flagstaff. The roads are good, the views are grand. Names like “Dead Horse Ranch Road” and “Bloody Basin Road” reminded us that travel wasn’t always as easy as it is now.

My impressions? Open skies, friendly people.

The book I’m in

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. Fast action, intrigue, suspense.

Recommended accommodation

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff. Space and comfort.

Recommended restaurant

Diablo Burger in Flagstaff. Good food, friendly service, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Travel tip

Pack layers of clothing for travel in Arizona. The temperature in Phoenix was 40° Centrigrade (over 100° F). In Flagstaff, just two hours’ drive away, it was 18° C (64° F) and dropped to 9° C (48° F) at night.

The photos

Me at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

This worm does confess to a bit of nervousness when my Travelling Companion, the redoubtable TC, propped me in position for the above shot. There was a bit of a drop behind me. The wind was a trifle gusty, and I not so gutsy.

This storm cloud moved in a few minutes later:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Two more intrepid souls:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Is it possible that this streamlet dug the mighty canyon?

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

This little lady was squirreling around the edges of the canyon, storing food for the babes in her tum:

Arizona skies:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Drifting rain:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Delicate cactus hues:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

All shapes and sizes:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

A tiny ground squirrel living under a cactus:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

When positioning me in this pose, the TC discovered that prickly pears are aptly named:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 25 May 2014 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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