Some experiences are impossible to forget but a photo could never capture what it was like at the time. Glastonbury Tor rises 158 metres above the surrounding countryside and some believe that it is the legendary isle of Avalon, where King Arthur was taken to heal from his wounds. Monks in the 12th century also claimed to have found King Arthur and Guinevere’s bodies in the grounds of the abbey, but the remains were lost during the reformation of the 1500’s. Because of all the myth and legend surrounding the town it has become a centre for the mystical, new age, and for people on a spiritual pilgrimage. Ken’s not the biggest fan but I love it there. It’s great for people watching as there are some very interesting people around the streets, and there are lots of quirky little shops that I love looking through.
When I look at this photo it reminds me of both our visits to the top of the Tor. The first time it was a really windy day and at the top was a man, holding a flute in the air, trying to get the wind to play the flute. The second time there was a man walking around the ruins of St Michael’s Church repeatedly. Round and round, and not in a meditative way, more in a charging through life way. One of the things we love to do on holiday is find the restaurants or cafes that the locals eat in, not the ones that are full of tourists. The best of these we’ve ever tried was in Turkey – we found a little restaurant with not a single foreigner in. When we walked in everyone looked at us, and then the owner, Fatima, came to us and dragged us through to the kitchen so that we could choose the fish we wanted to eat, and a couple of other things, and then we ended up with enough food to feed more than just us. While we ate, Fatima came and stood at the end of the table, watching and making sure we were enjoying it, and then when we finished she asked if she could sit with us. With our arabic and her english we managed to have a great conversation. Fatima insisted on putting a head scarf on me, and she gave me some Turkish bracelets with the evil eye protective amulet, so I gave her some of the bracelets I was wearing. It was a really lovely evening, with great food and great company whilst learning more about the local culture.
Photos are magical in the amount of emotion they can hold in such a small picture. If we’re lucky, when we look at them the emotion comes back and reminds us of a wonderful holiday or experience.
This is a photo of me, just after I had my first glimpse of Dubrovnik which is in the background. I had just been crying so that’s why my face is a bit scrinchy. I was crying because I couldn’t believe I was there. I’d wanted to visit Dubrovnik since I was a teenager, and I remember crying when the city was under seige in 1991, during the war for Croatian independance. I wonder how this pandemic we’re living through will change the way we travel in the future and how it will impact what we do when we’re exploring the world. One experience that I fear will no longer be the same is the kissing of the Blarney Stone in Ireland. This is a stone at the top of the castle in the town of Blarney that legend says will give you the gift of the gab if you kiss it upside down. This is me about to kiss the Blarney stone in 1997 when I traveled to Ireland with my American friend Russell, who thought kissing the stone was incredibly unhygienic. Maybe they’ll develop mouth guards or something, as it feels really sad to think that this will disappear with the new ways of the world.Whatever the future looks like for all of us I hope that you are healthy and that you have moments of happiness with the people you love, and if that includes travelling, I really hope it’s memorable. I thought I’d finish with two photos taken in Budapest which show Ken and I doing what we tend to do wherever we are in the world. I’m communing with a local cat and Ken’s enjoying a vintage car – we repeat versions of these photos on every holiday we have.