Wanderlust Wednesday: Loch Tummel, Scotland

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This Wednesday I’d like to take a look at specific place in a country I’ve always wanted to go to: Loch Tummel in Perthshire, Scotland. Located in central Scotland, Loch Tummel has incredible views and breathtaking scenery.  Scotland has always been on my must-travel-to list ever since I was little, and the Loch is an ideal place to see while there!

When people think of Scotland, they may conjure images of yummy haggis, men in kilts, and maybe even Nessie, the “Loch Ness monster.”  While these things may be notable aspects of the country, they’re certainly not the only things Scotland has and should be known for (although I’m admittedly quite a fan of men in kilts).  Scotland has an extremely rich and interesting history and quite a unique culture.  I would love the chance to be able to explore them while enjoying the gorgeous scenery, which Scotland has plenty of.  What makes Loch Tummel special in particular is how it brings together these things.

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“Loch” is the Scottish Gaelic word for lake. Loch Tummel sits between a northern and southern bank, creating a “long view” facing east and west six miles in length.  At the east end of the loch is Fincastle House, which has historic connections to the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 (involving Charles III and local clans) and offers great views of the surrounding area.  Yay historic stuff!

The loch is located in Perthshire’s “Big Tree Country.”  During the fall, the surrounding landscape turns bright with the changing colors of the leaves.  Loch Tummel was a favorite of Queen Victoria who visited in 1866.  Her viewpoint, located on the north shore, has since been named Queen’s View and is one of the more famous attractions around the loch. Other attractions include numerous walking and cycling trails and paths, Tay Forest Park (which features a tearoom, shop, and educational film), and scenic roads to drive along.

Scotland has so many great things to see and experience if you’re traveling through, and Loch Tummel is just one of them.  It definitely tops my list of places to visit while there, though, because of the stunning scenery, peacefulness, and intriguing history of the surrounding area.

Happy travels!

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Savannah, Georgia

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On this Wednesday, I’d like to highlight a wanderlust wish that is a little closer to home than most of my other destinations – Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is the oldest city in the state of Georgia and is full of history and southern charm. Even though it’s pretty “close to home” compared to many other places, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to explore!

The city of Savannah is located right on the Savannah River, a little ways away from the Atlantic Ocean. It was established as a city for strategic reasons, since it served as a port for the easy transport of goods during early America. Since it was such an important access route and trading port, it became a crucial point during the American Civil War. The Union Army targeted Savannah and General Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea” resulted in the Union capturing the city against Confederate troops (and destroying a bunch of land in the process).  There’s so much American history in Savannah!

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I grew up in the north so the idea of “southern charm” is really intriguing to me. I really admire the quaintness, hospitality, and general charm of the south. Set against a backdrop of swampy marsh, Spanish moss, and palms, the whole scene is rather enchanting. There are a number of old churches, such as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, forts, and homes that I really would like to explore and learn about.

Perhaps because my parents always dragged me to forts when I was little and instilled in me an appreciation for them, I really love exploring historic forts. Savannah is home to Fort Jackson and nearby Fort Pulaski. Since these have played a large role in the history of Savannah (and America in general, given their roles in the Civil War), I’m really interested in checking them out and learning more about them in person.   There’s just something about an old-fashion, brick-and-mortar structure that carries with it a certain sense of nostalgia for a bygone era and time. Maybe it’s just the history nerd in me, but I really appreciate things like this!

Ft. Pulaski Civil War Fort Savannah Georgia

Between city-life, the waterways and ports, and historic town squares, Savannah has a little bit of everything. It’s definitely a slice of traditional Americana and, even though it’s relatively close to home, is definitely a place I would love to adventure to and explore. And since it’s in the south, there’s no doubt it’s also home to some good ol’ southern food!

Sometimes adventures don’t always have to be halfway around the world! Savannah is home to a little bit of everything that interests me and is a trip I could probably do over a long weekend, so it’s definitely more realistic a wanderlust wish than, say, Antarctica or India.

If you could visit any semi-nearby location for a new adventure, where would you go? 🙂

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Zurich, Switzerland

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On this Wednesday I’d like to explore one of my wanderlust wishes that is to see Zurich, Switzerland! I was in conversation with someone about places to see and travel to and they mentioned Zurich was on their list. It struck me as one of those places that I can definitely see myself wanting to travel to, but had almost forgotten about while pondering other, non-European locales. Between my own research and talking about it with others, it’s clear that Zurich has a lot to offer as a destination!

“Why Zurich?” I asked in regards to why one would rank it as a must-see location.

“Because of the history, it’s got fantastic Swiss food and chocolate, and it’s by the mountains and a huge lake so there’s hiking and outdoors stuff,” is the reply I received.

It became suddenly clear to me that Zurich met a lot of my “requirements” as a location (that’s not to say a particular place does or doesn’t “make the cut” based on any exact thing) since I tend to value outdoor adventure and history a lot. If I can learn and have fun while seeing some cool sights, I’m in!

Zurich certainly has a ton of history, even more so than many places throughout Europe that are “old.” Located in north central Switzerland, Zurich is a city that’s pretty much been around for over 2000 years in various forms. Just exploring that history is a feat unto its own (and something I honestly wouldn’t mind doing!). Like most European cities and towns, shifts in politics, wars, human migration, and climate has played a large role in molding Zurich to the city it is today.

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The language in Zurich is fairly unique because, also the standard “formal” language is German, there’s a spoken dialect of “Zurich German.” Like many Swiss cities, though, one can hear many different dialects of German spoken, which I always find personally intriguing (the history behind the development of varying dialects in a particular region always really interests me). I don’t speak any German, unfortunately, but there is a high percentage of English-speakers in Zurich, as well.

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I love cities that have geographical points of intrigue and Zurich certainly delivers! Lake Zurich sits on the south of the city, offering gorgeous views and lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Swiss Plateau also nestles against the city, providing trails for hiking and fantastic sightseeing. There are even gondola rides up the mountainsides. I’m a sucker for outdoors things like these!

Especially since we’re now entering the holiday season, it’s a point to note that Zurich is home to some wonderful Christmas markets and is done up to look absolutely gorgeous during the season. When it starts to snow, it really looks postcard-perfect!

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Between the vast history of the city, the outdoor activities, and the chance to experience some aspects of Swiss (and partly German) culture, Zurich truly is an ideal city to visit.   I always find that there is a certain charm to these types of old European cities that I find really appealing. The history probably draws me in more than anything – the rest is just icing on the cake!

If you’ve ever been to Zurich (or Switzerland in general), leave a comment with your experience below! Happy travels!

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Seoul, South Korea

On this Wednesday, I’d like to explore a little bit of a place that has, in all honestly, generally come and gone from my must-see-while-traveling list.  Only recently has South Korea truly become a permanent “wanderlust wish” for me due largely to that fact that a couple YouTubers I watch have just traveled there.  After watching the videos and learning more about the culture, the people, the larger cities like Seoul, I’ve been sold!

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Seoul is the capital of South Korea and is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world!  The city is located on the Han River and is surrounded by mountains that are home to the most visited national park in the world, Mount Bukhan.  As an outdoors lover, the idea of being able to see a great city while also venturing to a mountainous national park is great!

Over two thousand years old, the city of Seoul (as it has been called since 1945) is full of history and culture.  I’m always aware that pictures never do places justice, so I can only imagine what some of the sights in and around Seoul look like in person since they are already stunning in photos.  The palaces of the Joseon Dynasty in particular are places I’d love to see!

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Although there’s much history, Seoul is also a very modern and advanced city.  It has some of the best transportation systems in the world and is home to cutting-edge architecture and style.  Many tech firms based in Korea are located in Seoul, so technology plays a huge role in general city life.

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Seoul is a city that beautifully combines history and true, current modernization.  I feel like it’s one of those places that takes longer to truly see and explore than is possible in just a couple days.  There’s lots of interesting foods to try, too, which is enough to make me want to stay for an extended period! 🙂

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Antarctica

Many people dream of traveling to the romantic cities of Europe, the exotic landscapes of Asia, or the breathtaking beaches of the Pacific.  While I myself do dream these things, I also have one “wanderlust wish” that has been with me for a number of years now – to visit Antarctica.

The coldest and southernmost continent in the world, Antarctica is the least populated of all sizable land masses.  No one lives there full-time as the “housing” there is used by scientists, researchers, and visitors only on temporary terms.  It is also an absolutely stunning continent, though, with fantastic icy landscapes and gorgeous sunsets (even though sometimes the sunlit day only lasts a few hours).

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There’s something truly awe-inspiring to me about such a barren yet beautiful place.  There is fantastic wildlife near the coast including penguins, seals, and albatrosses.  I would love to visit and see them!

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I think I’ve always had a desire to visit the most desolate places on Earth because my Dad always made mention of the famous explorer Ernest Shackleton.  On his infamous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, became unexpectedly trapped in the ice. He and his men were eventually forced to abandon the ship before it finally sank into the icy waters.  They then spent months atop the floating ice before finally attempting a rescue mission in lifeboats.  From the time the Endurance was trapped to the time most the crew as rescued, 18 months passed.  That’s an insanely long time to be stuck in one of the coldest and most barren places on Earth, particularly considering the time period and lack of modern day technology.  Ever since learning about Shackleton, though, I’ve been intrigued about visiting Antarctica.

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Ernest Shackleton’s ship as it lay trapped within the ice

My desire to go there was somewhat renewed as I got older while watching one of my favorite travel shows a few years ago. It was actually on the Sci-Fi (or SyFy, as it is now) channel and called Destination Truth.  Explorer and mythological/sci-fi/paranormal/weird-stuff truth-seeker Josh Gates would travel around the world with his team of other super cool explorer people.  In one episode they traveled to Antarctica and, instantly, my want to visit there was reborn.

I’m currently reading the book “The Endurance” about Shackleton’s expedition penned by the actual captain of the ship.  It’s certainly an interesting read and has only served to fuel my desire to visit the chilliest of continents.

Compared to most places on Earth, I don’t think Antarctica tends to top people’s must-see list.  For me, though, I think it’s more about the hearkening back to an age of true and authentic exploration that really has me interested.  It’s also quite a beautiful place for being so “empty!”

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