San Francisco Photography

The City

Taking a Seaplane from Sausalito, a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge,  we got some amazing views of the city from the air, including some of San Francisco’s most icon landmarks like Alcatraz, AT&T park, Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge! We took a stroll around Pier 39 to see the sealions and wandered through the Golden Gate Park!

 

Yosemite

As long as you don’t mind an early start, you can visit Yosemite in a day!  The day we visited a good foot of snow had fallen in the lower valley andee higher up.  It created a beautiful but eery silence and being out of season the park was relatively quiet. The light changes in the blink of an eye, one minute you can see El Capitan, look away for a moment and it’s disappeared behind a blanket of fog.  The mist lifted by the afternoon and the view from the Meadow was spectacular!  Walking out into the middle of the Meadow, head down, carefully stepping through a foot of snow, I hadn’t noticed the beautiful view. Looking up I was greeted by El Capitan and Sentinel Rock, with the mist beginning to creep in around the trees!

 

Alcatraz

You can’t visit San Francisco and not take a boat across to Alcatraz.  The audio tours tells you stories about escape attempts, riots and daily life in the prison.  You can step into some the cells, including those used for solitary confinement.  Graffiti from when the Native Americans occupied “The Rock” can still been seen around the island.

 

Muir Woods – Redwoods

Walking among the giant Redwoods is a must, even if it makes you feel very small indeed! The land was bought and donated to the government to protect it from the logging industry.  The tallest Redwood stands at 258 feet, this cathedral of a forest is about 800 years old.

Sri Lanka | Travel Photography

We have recently returned from our holiday and Sri Lanka is paradise!

Sri Lanka had been kept of the map for many travellers due to the long civil war which ended in early 2000, the end of conflict followed by the clearing of land mines lead to the growth of tourism in the country.

My husband and I spent two weeks travelling around the south central and southwest of the country this October and I could not have dreamt of more perfect holiday!

The Temple of the Tooth is Buddhist temple, housing a very sacred relic, a tooth from Buddha.  The tooth is held in series of golden caskets, housed under a gold roof.  Despite being situated in the bustling city of Kandy the Temple and surrounding grounds are blissfully tranquil.

Heading up into the Hill Country of Nurawa Eliya, once dense jungle, is where you will find a plethora of tea plantation, introduced by the British in the Colonial era.  WE were given a tour of the factory and had a go at tea picking too!  At an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level the views of the surrounds hills and valleys are breath-taking.

Elephant safaris is a must in Sri Lanka.  Udawalawe is one of several National Park, home to an array of wildlife and picturesque scenery.  Udawalawe has a Transit Home for orphaned elephants, here the babies are cared for until they are able to fend for themselves.  The elephants are truly majestic creatures.

Sadly, we were not lucky enough to see a leopard, they are few in Udawalawe, Yala has a large population, but there is plenty more wildlife and beautiful views.

The Southwest coast is home to more of Sri Lanka’s wildlife and the rolling waves of the Indian Ocean.  The coast of Bentota has several turtle hatchery’s, safeguarding the next generation of a variety of sea turtles and home the victims of the 2004 tsunami, shark attacks, many of whom lost flippers and suffered damaged shells and turtles deformed from polio.  Take a boat trip down the Madu river and meander through the many islands, stop off at Cinnamon Island where locals demonstrate how to prepare cinnamon, weave roofs from palm leaves and produce mats from fibres of coconut shells.

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine | Recipe

We went to Marrakech for our honeymoon a couple of years ago and LOVED it! The vibrancy of the place was wonderful.  I loved the ecletic mix of people, colours, sounds and the food – the food was amazing!

When we went, I was still on my ‘no red meat’ diet and I though finding dishes might be tricky. But this wasn’t the case at all, they had some amazing vegetable tagines, cous cous, chickpea soup and the bread was incredible, not to mention the mint tea!! Marrakech spice market, vegetable tagine

What I loved the most was the wonderful mix of spices and herds, I am not one for spicy food, a tikka is the hottest curry I would stretch too but Moroccan food has the taste with out the heat!

I have been cooking Moroccan inspired meals ever since, although I still regret not buying a tagine while we were there!! What makes Moroccan food even better is that it includes so much of the food vegetarians need and it’s easy to cook.

Moroccan vegetable tagine

The Recipe:

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 gloves of garlic – crushed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sticks of celery – finely chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • A handful of dried sultanas
  • A handful of dried apricots
  • A handful of dried dates
  • Mix of frozen peas and green beans
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes – cut into small chunks
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • salt and pepper

The Method:

  • Boil the sweet potato until par cooked
  • Gently fry the onion and garlic in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, until the onion turns soft and transparent.
  • Put the sweet potato, onions and garlic to a large oven dish, preferably one with a lid
  • Add all the ingredients to the dish and mix well
  • Cook a low-medium heat, around 180 for a hour
  • When cooked the sweet potato should be soft and the liquid should have reduced to a thick sweet gravy
  • Traditionally served with cous cous.