Logically, travel photographs should show your means of travel, right? But, of course, they don’t. Most travel photo’s show images from the poster’s destination. Most of mine fall into that group too. But this shot is a genuine ‘travelling’ image.
When I was much younger, my train-spotting hobby took me far and wide around the UK and ultimately into Holland, Belgium and France I would book a week off work in the summer and, armed with a railrover ticket, head out for a week on the rails. There were no breaks in that week, except for one return home midweek to change clothes and get a decent night’s sleep. Washing was done in the toilet on the train and food was bought wherever it was available. Back then, in the mid 1970’s, there were trains that ran all through the night so plenty of sleeping options were available to the travelling enthusiast and it was quite normal to log close on, and sometimes over, 10000 miles in a week.
A good start to a week on the rails was to catch the first train of Saturday morning out of King’s Cross – a stopping service that departed at ten-past midnight with an ultimate destination of Newcastle. As one of the last services out of the capital on a Friday night it had more than its share of office workers heading home to the shires after an evening on the booze. Passengers quickly thinned out once the train got beyond Stevenage and by Peterborough it was only the long-distance passengers that were left. I believe the train rolled into Newcastle – and memory is not what it was – at around 0730. There was then time to grab something to eat from the station buffet before catching a train to Edinburgh.
And that is where you find me, on the train to Edinburgh as it approaches the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed…
…Times have changed – you can’t stick your head and camera out of modern trains like I could then, so this image would be very difficult to replicate now. Things were different back then and it should be noted that I understood the risks involved far better than many youngsters today. My Grandfather was a railwayman and I knew to stick just one eye out to survey the view ahead. Even the camera only ever went out as far as needed to get the lens clear of the door-frame. Even so, it’s not a practice that I would suggest everyone should partake in. Even in the recklessness of youth I was more careful than most 🙂
Earlier in the series I showed a shot taken in northern France -This time we’re going south. There is much I love about France and I have had a number of very enjoyable visits, mostly along the towns of the atlantic coast. However, I have been down to the south of France and the home of the Cathars on three occasions. This is a wonderful part of the world with solid earthy wines and warm hearted people.
Our first visit was a trip south in our elderly Cherokee aircraft – one of my flying group colleagues had a business interest in the region and we flew down to Castelnaudray between Toulouse and Carcassone. It was also Epi’s first long distance trip in the aeroplane. We stopped off at Tours to refuel the aircraft and to take on much needed water ourselves – it was 44 degrees C on the ground and the tarmac was melting beneath the tyres. Epi slept for much of the second leg of the flight (I have a photo somewhere) 😉 We were met at Castelnaudray airfield by my colleague’s partner in the enterprise and driven to Villefranche-de-Lauragais and our hotel. It is testimony to how hot it had been that Epi downed the first glass of Kronenbourg 1664 in one go!
Dinner that night was also an amusing episode. The waiter brought the menu and there was an issue – pointing to Epi and myself, I said “Nous sommes Vegetarien”. You may imagine the look of horror on the waiter’s face 😉 To his credit he rushed off to the kitchen and the Chef duly appeared – without his cleaver! He suggested an Omelette Parisian with a Tomato and Cheese salade. All I can say is he did us proud – I’ve never seen so many Cep mushrooms in an omelette and there was so much salade that it was shared between all 4 of us! We also shared a very nice bottle of Cahors 🙂
So now you know why I love the south of France – first impressions mean a lot 🙂 More recently we stayed at a self catering chalet in Canet-en-Rousillon. Initially, we were a little disappointed in the area but once more friendly locals made us more than welcome. We attended a wonderful medieval festival in Canet itself and were shown around some parts of the old castle in the town by a local historian. Then the local tourist board office, which we popped into while investigating the modern town, suggested a short rail trip down to collioure to enjoy the beauty of a more traditional fishing community, albeit now very much a tourist attraction – definitely worth the visit if you’re ever down that way…
It occurs to me that my travel photographs may be a little different to those which travel sites show when seeking to encourage tourism and they’re probably a bit different to those photos that most tourists take to remember their holiday too. So far in this set there has only been one recognised tourist attraction. It’s important to understand that for each of us a holiday is always a personal experience and that it is often shaped by our interests.
When I was a child I once had a very enjoyable holiday on the Isle of Wight. Islands often become much sought after holiday destinations with those in the tropical climes off the coast of Africa being especially popular. I have enjoyed a break on Madeira – where tourists applaud the pilot for landing safely (I’m not sure why and I am sure the crew find it embarrassing!) There is, of course, so much more to Madeira than Funchal Airport and it is a wonderful place to visit.
Tenerife is much more a ‘laze on the beach’ destination. We’ve also been there and for someone like me, it has less to hold my attention than Madeira. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy my stay. I have some nice images from both of these island destinations.
The one thing that all islands have in common is ferries and fishing fleets. A trip to Puerto Los Cristianos on Tenerife took me away from the tourist crowds and closer to the local way of life. I found people fishing off the quayside, trucks delivering fuel for the ferries and fishing fleet, and the fleet itself…