Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic Handover

Now that the Beijing Olympics is drawn to a close, London's task of building and preparing for the next Olympics officially begins. As expected, Beijing treated the world to a spectacular presentation in the closing ceremonies. But for us the key moment is the actual handover to the current mayor of London, Boris Johnson, of the Olympic flag and the short very modern 8-minute presentation for London's 2012 Olympics. A stark contrast to the formal, dramatic and epic proportions of the host's show.

Boris gave this rousing but funny speech (true to British nature) after the ceremonies. Click on here and have a listen to what he says.

London 2012 Olympics logo
See this logo for the London Olympics? You don't know how much I hate it. The colour is absolutely jarring. It certainly hurts my eyes. Characters look like jagged jigsaw puzzle pieces that are not fitted together. At first glance I couldn't make out what it says and tries to convey. I don't like it at all. Doesn't it look like a blown up something that was jumbled up together? I do realise now that London Olympics is trying to project a modern and 'cool' image. They could have done the same with a nicer logo with clean lines, equally bright colours and most of all readable text. Mr. Boris Johnson, this would be your next work assignment - replace the London Olympics logo ASAP !!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another Trip To Cornwall

National Maritime Museum
Okay so the previous post tackled the beaches. Next up is the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. This museum has got a really cool way of ferrying their visitors. You can actually arrive there from the car park by a boat - no kidding! Just make sure you visit during Monday to Friday. They don't have the boat ride on weekends. :(

model boats on display
They have excellent facilities in showcasing the maritime history and anything about sea sailing.

real boats hanging from the ceiling
There were lots of hands-on displays that were very good and guaranteed to keep your young ones interested and engaged. It ranged from wind sailing toy boats in an indoor pond to interactive weather quizzes to computer interactive games in steering virtual boats.

Toy Sail Boats
The toy sail boats in the pond were particularly impressive because they don't have any motor to propel them forward. There were vents on the side of the pond that blows air. So you were really using wind power and the boats' tiny sails for movement.

Lizard Point
I've to Cornwall many times but I haven't been to the tip of the Lizard Peninsula. The very day we arrived we grabbed the opportunity to visit Lizard Point. As expected we were feasted with dramatic steep rocky cliffs that is prevalent in this area. The setting sun provided a dramatic backdrop to the photogenic view.

Lizard Point
See the green things growing on the side of the cliffs? They're not grass but a variety of the succulent plant sedum pachyphyllum I guess it must be hardy enough to grow rampant in what must be harsh seaside conditions.

On the way home we decided to stop by Tintagel and we saw this sign along the way.

Tintagel is one of the fabled home of King Arthur. 'Fabled' since nobody really knows if King Arthur is real or a product of a fertile imagination of a medieval writer.

WARNING: Bring your sturdy walking shoes and be prepared to hike and climb up steep stairs and cliffs!

There were no warning of this kind in any of the tourist literatures that we researched on nor even in the sign in the entrance to this English Heritage site. I tell you it's such a disappointment if you're not wearing the right gear since the actual ruins of the castle is way way up high on top of cliffs! Even just the hike from the cafe and visitor's centre is uphill which is an ordeal for someone like me who was wearing open backed slippers with heels. Though if you think you cannot make it back from there are Range Rovers ferrying people to and from the entrance and the visitor centre.

caves below Tintagel castle
Since I can't climb up to the actual ruins of the castle I have to content myself with the sights down below. It did not disappoint at all. Just look at the dramatic rock formations and caves in the pictures above and below.

view below Tintagel castle

Friday, August 22, 2008

Three Beaches

This is the first part of my post on our trip to Cornwall this year that is long overdue. We went there last year and so many other times before. I never tire of going to that area. There are so many things to explore and see. Besides the fact that I have to have my yearly fix of being near the sea. Even if I don't have to bathe in it. There's something about seeing the water or hearing the lapping of waves rejuvenates me. Right now Cornwall is my favourite destination here in the UK.

Kynance Cove
Okay let me begin with the tale of three beaches. The kids (especially J3) definitely wanted to go to the beach and bathe or just lie around. Of course we first went to our favourite - Kynance Cove. We timed our visit with the only sunny day during our time there (courtesy of the Met of course) but we forgot to check the tide times. So by the time we got there it was nearly high tide and in Kynance Cove that means no beach!

Kynance Cove access
As you can see, one of the reasons people don't flock to this area is because of the access which is just fine with us because that means there would be less crowding. Besides the long walk from the car park you have to negotiate steep stairs cut in the cliff side which when wet could be quite slippery.

Kynance Cove beach
After only about an hour, we have to leave due to the oncoming tide. Bye bye beautiful Kynance Cove. See you again next time.

Before we went on our next beach, we had to stop and buy our youngest J3 a surfing suit since the water was chilly so she can't stay in the water for so long. As expected she asked a few more like a kite and a surf board with the Johnny Depp design. *sigh* My credit card hurts.

Poldhu Cove
Anyway, the next one we went to is Poldhu Cove. This is where Marconi relayed the first trans-Atlantic radio message to Newfoundland in 1901. We did not go to the Marconi museum but in its beach we did go. This is a more kid-safe with wide flat and very gradual depth. There is a shop for food and other beach paraphernalia and toilet facilities. The sand is fine and white to light gold. Our main complaint is the proliferation of seaweeds on the shore. My daughter does not even want to wade in. So we lay around for an hour again while me and J3 busied ourselves with flying our kite.

Sennen Cove
Again we have to move and I was getting desperate at this point. As a last resort, I took them to one of the westernmost beaches in England that I know is a safe bet - Sennen Cove. Still you'll never know until you get there but thank god we finally hit the jackpot. I highly recommend this beach folks. It's got very broad flat beach, plenty of room to move around, a little bit of waves to satisfy surfing, lots of lifeguards patrolling, lots of nearby shops, toilet facilities, restaurants, even a surfing school and surfing equipments rental shop.

Sennen Cove junior surfers
As expected, the downside of any popular beach is not enough parking nearby. I say 'nearby' because there are lots more further near the entrance of the town but you have to walk about 500 meters steep uphill and I mean really steep. Fortunately when we came it was already late in the afternoon so most people are leaving and we were able to bag a parking space in the only car park facing the beach. It was almost perfect. What can I ask more? Probably warmer waters.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Litratong Pinoy #21: Mithi (Wish)


Ako'y nagdadasal kung ang mithiin ay gustong matupad. Maaring sa Maykapal, maaring sa aking sarili sapagkat ang isang mithi ay ang simula ng pagsasakatuparan ng ideya na nag simula sa ating isip at puso.

Kuha ito sa St. Patrick's Cathedral sa Dublin, Ireland.

I pray when I want my wish to come true. Might be to God, might be to myself because a wish is the beginning of the materialization of an idea that started in the mind and in the heart.

This was taken at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Times Online Sports Photoblog

I found this blog of Marc Apsland the Times Online sports photographer who's currently covering the unfolding dramas in the Beijing Olympics.

He not only describes the technical details of his photos and the circumstances surrounding the shots but also gives tips to us amateur photographers. Stories behind the pictures are also there besides the human interest stories that is surprisingly well written by a professional photographer such as himself. So click on the link and learn from a master.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Litratong Pinoy #20: Liwaliw

Bakit nga ba nagbabayad tayo para takutin ang sarili natin?
Ito ay kuha sa isang thrill ride na Oblivion sa Alton Towers theme park. Ibibitin ang mga nakasakay sa bingit at biglang ilalaglag ng paharap sa isang malaki at madilim na butas sa lupa.

Matapos ay naglalayag na lalabas sa kabilang dulo na parang eroplano. Wheeee!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Beijing's Coming Out Party

courtesy of BBC Sports

There can be some advantages in staying at home when you're ill. One of them is to get to see the opening ceremony of the four-yearly Olympics in its entirety. I never got to see the previous ones because they're either shown in some ungodly hour or during weekdays or the replay is in some ungodly hour.

So I get to enjoy what Beijing Olympic has to offer yesterday and it was a fantastic, stunning and unforgettable experience. There were so many ooohs and ahhhs that I kept my mouth shut to prevent my jaw from dropping. It must have been so much of an sensory overload if you're in that beautiful bird nest stadium.

Beijing sure knows how to throw a party to announce to the world its 'coming of age' in the modern era. Now let me gear up for the round-the-clock watching of so many Olympic events I'm interested in - rowing, swimming, gymnastics, and I hope they televise the basketball games as well.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Italian Church In London

When I had my training in London last year I did a post in my food blog about interesting sights and food around the area of the training venue. One thing I forgot is to post here of another quirky find.

Italian Church
See this church? It's not just any old Catholic church. It's an Italian Catholic church which judging from the memorials outside has been here for quite sometime. I find it fascinating to see these out of the ordinary places hidden in the nook and crannies of London. At the time, they have just finished a service and was closing up so I did not see the inside. And yes the parishioners are all Italian speaking London locals which considering the number of nearby Italian delis and restaurants make this corner of Clerkenwell intriguingly Italian.

I didn't get a chance to see the inside since they were closing up.

There is some kind of a war memorial in the fenced-off porch in front. I hope next time I can get inside and have a look around.