Grantown on Spey

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on 26 January 2015 by Watcher Romano

Speyside is the region of Scotland most famous for the whiskies. It’s not that the other regions are not known for the whiskies, it’s that the most distilleries are here, including the best selling trio Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan. I will not make this post about the whiskies, I am merely explaining how one can not go to Scotland and not visit Speyside.

Speyside is a region around the river Spey (kind of a duhh statement), which easily explains how we got an accommodation in a little town called Grantown on Spey. The choice was ideal: it was well located amidst the distilleries, in a beautiful part of the country, with an impressive scenery. We stayed at Rossmor Guest House, which we fully recommend. Here are some photos to help you decide (which I believe do the place more justice than the photos on their site🙂 )

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Rossmor Guesthouse in Grantown-on-Spey

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Rossmor Guesthouse – guest living room

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Rossmor Guesthouse – cozy breakfast area

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Rossmor Guesthouse – nice spacy room

Grantown on Spey was a great choice for HQ in the area, as it was nice, quiet and cozy, had restaurants open until late, with good food and a lot of photo opportunities.

What was especially surprising was how late there would still be light. This photo for example is taken after 21:30:

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Grantown-on-Spey hotel in the early hours of the night

The weather was also very welcoming, and allowed us to take more colorful street photos:

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Yes, I know this is B&W, but the following one is color

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On the streets of Grantown on Spey, Scotland

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Pun fully intended – storefront in Grantown on Spey

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Beautiful hotel in Grantown on Spey

There are numerous other posts from this trip here on watcher.ri There’s also a lot more content where this came from, so be sure to subscribe and have it automatically delivered (by email or via RSS) when it’s fresh of the press.

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Culloden Battlefield

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , on 19 January 2015 by Watcher Romano

“Just near Inverness” (as maps go) lies one of the most important historical sites in Scotland: the Culloden Battlefield. This is the place where the last military conflict on Scottish grounds has taken place. There is a visitor center with recorded movie clips from the event and also a big 3D model: you go outside in the field and walk around to find clues around.

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Culloden Battlefield Memorial Wall

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Funny Tombstones at Culloden Battlefield

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Tombstones at Culloden Battlefield – I have “mixed” feelings about how to describe this tombstone🙂

culloden 02 traditional palace

Scottish architecture at Culloden Battlefield

I feel a need to clarify the the tone of the captions is not serious! I really loved Scotland, as you can easily see in other posts from this trip. There’s also a lot more content where this came from, so be sure to subscribe and have it automatically delivered (by email or via RSS) when it’s fresh of the press.

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The beauty of Islay

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12 January 2015 by Watcher Romano

As you have probably already found out, in 2014 I visited Scotland with the main purpose to do an exhaustive tour of whisky distilleries. As any respectable peathead would do, I included Islay (home to Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila) in this tour.

The main idea was that this is the place where the best whiskies are made. We were ready to sacrifice the general principles of travel (good quality accommodations, fair prices, decent food, nice weather, etc) just for the sake of visiting those specific distilleries.

Most fortunately for us, there was much more to Islay than just the wiskies. It is almost incredible how everything on this small island is ‘just right’, how warm and welcoming the people are (probably in order to overcome the harshness of the weather), the landscapes were beautiful and the weather just right. Judging by the standards of our part  of the world, the June weather was a briliant autumn weather🙂 .

Here is a bunch of interesting shots and topics from Islay that were not directly linkable to distilleries:

The Kildalton Cross popped up as a destination to visit after our visit at Ardbeg Distillery, where we had found the new fad for the year (the Ardbeg Kildalton). This means that the NHI – Glenmorangie collaboration is working as supposed to (see previous link).

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The Kildalton Cross, Islay

This is the secret of Islay, how all the whiskies here get their highly distinctive characteristics: THE PEAT !

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Freshly cut peat on the roadside in Islay. This is burned in chimneys to stop the germination process of the barley – to malt it for the whisky.

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Freshly cut peat on the roadside in Islay. This is burned in chimneys to stop the germination process of the barley – to malt it for the whisky.

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Freshly cut peat on the roadside in Islay. This is burned in chimneys to stop the germination process of the barley – to malt it for the whisky.

When sailing away from Islay we found these hidden castles on the shore, close to Jura Island. So reclusive, so peaceful, so elegant:

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Hidden castle on the shores of Islay

And finally, two wallpapers with a Bridgend Sunset :

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Sunset in Bridgend, Islay, view towards Bowmore. 720p

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Sunset in Bridgend, Islay, view towards Bowmore. 1440×900 (mac size)

There are several earlier posts from this trip here on watcher.ro, and I promise there are A LOT more posts from this trip coming up, so be sure to subscribe and have them automatically delivered when they are pressed ( by email or via RSS).

Until then, have a look around for more travel photos from around the world!

Oban again – B&W this time

Posted in Black and White, Travel with tags , , , , , , on 15 December 2014 by Watcher Romano

I know that too many photos of a subject actually prove indecision, an artistic weakness, BUT I take comfort in the fact that I am by no means an artist – I am numbers’ guy🙂

That is why I allow myself to publish a second post about Oban, with pretty much the same photos, in black and white this time. I feel that these are very powerful, but I just didn’t want to leave out the beautiful colors that we found in this lovely city:

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Dolce Vita

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On the streets of Oban

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On the streets of Oban – the Caledonian Hotel

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On the streets of Oban – Alexandra Hotel

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On the streets of Oban

As you probably already know, these photos were all taken during a great Trip to Scotland in June 2014, which is the subject of several posts around here. There are also numerous travel photos from other beautiful places around the world, just take a look. Oh, and maybe you use one of these options to get future posts delivered to you automatically : email or RSS.

On the Streets of Inverness (on a rainy day)

Posted in Street photography, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14 December 2014 by Watcher Romano

Although this is not the chronologically accurate order of events, I feel the need to share this particular post after the Oban posts. It shares the “Street Photography” spirit of the Oban series, although there was a drizzle when visiting Inverness.

After a number of days ‘in the countryside’ (even staying at a castle for a couple of nights), we really missed the hectic and the buzz of a city. Inverness was very obliging:

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Welcome to Inverness

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Welcome to Inverness – rive gauche

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On the streets of Inverness

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Drizzle in the center of Inverness

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Inverness city center in the drizzle

I am not sure what this monument is about but you have to admit it gives you a lot of ideas for funny remarks…

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Interesting Monument in Inverness

There are several earlier posts from this trip here on watcher.ro, and I promise there are a lot more posts from this trip coming up, so be sure to subscribe and have them automatically delivered when they are pressed ( by email or via RSS).

Until then, have a look around for more travel photos from around the world!

Oban – city by the sea

Posted in Street photography, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on 17 November 2014 by Watcher Romano

Oban is a very nice little town on the western part of Scotland, which we encountered on the road from Islay to Loch Ness. There are a lot of things to say about it, but there is a site out there that gathers the collective knowledge of all of us, so I won’t dwell on the obvious.

There is a distillery there but we weren’t lucky enough to synchronize the trip there with the distillery schedule, so we just took a sip of the distillers edition and then went out to walk around.

It was well worth it, since the weather was perfect and the entire city is one photo opportunity after the other:

The colorful streets of Oban

The colorful streets of Oban

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The colorful streets of Oban

oban - 003 - street view CALEDONIAN colorful

The colorful streets of Oban

oban - 004 - street view dolce vita colorful

The colorful streets of Oban

oban - 005 - street view yet another hotel colorful

The colorful streets of Oban

There’s going to be more posts from this particular town:  one in black and white and one with wallpapers of a collector’s car, so stay tuned  (by email or via RSS). As you probably already know, these photos were all taken during a great Trip to Scotland in June 2014, which is the subject of several posts around here. There are also numerous travel photos from other beautiful places around the world, just take a look.

Bowmore Street Photography

Posted in Non Travel-Related Photography, Street photography, Travel with tags , , , , , , on 3 November 2014 by Watcher Romano

When visiting Bowmore during the 2014 Scotland Trip, it was a sunny day, almost incredibly beautiful given our preconceived opinion on British weather. That allowed for a few more photo opportunities outside the distilleries that make Islay famous.

Although the center of an island weather harshness made the peated whiskey appear like a good idea, when I visited, Bowmore was absolutely beautiful and made the visit to Islay look like a visit to a Mediterranean port:

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Bowmore city center 360 panorama

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Bowmore hilltop panorama

And then the ultimate sign of a city by the sea:

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Seagull in the center of the city

bowmore - 010 - seagull in the center - B&W

Seagull on a lighting post

There are several earlier posts from this trip here on watcher.ro, and I promise there are A LOT more posts from this trip coming up, so be sure to subscribe and have them automatically delivered when they are pressed ( by email or via RSS).

Until then, have a look around for more travel photos from around the world!