I recently had the most disastrous trip of my life. The reason for the trip was a complete bust. Worse than a bust. But at least I did manage to capture an extraordinary set of images that really illustrates why I love to fly.
We spent our last evening in Scotland on beautiful Calton Hill in downtown Edinburgh. With a short 2 minute walk, you can walk around the edges of the hill getting an incredible view of most of the city. There are half a dozen different views and hundreds (if not thousands) of compositions. Calton Hill is an absolutely essential sunset stop in Edinburgh. It's likely great for sunrise as well, but unfortunately we had to leave for the airport before sunrise.
We stayed at the wonderful Sheraton Grand Edinburgh for only 12k points per night. For a hotel that was going for 500 GBP in peak summer season, it was a fantastic value. My Starwood Platinum status gave us lounge access. They have a really beautiful club lounge with a delicious, filling evening supper spread.
This post is part of a series of posts about my family's British Isles trip in July/August of 2016. My parents and four siblings joined me as we went from London to Dublin and everywhere in between in 2.5 weeks. Here's our itinerary:
- London (England)
- Stonehenge (England)
- Oxford (England)
- Bibury, Cotswolds (England)
- Peak District (England)
- Chatsworth House (Peak District, England)
- Yorkshire and Staithes (England)
- Foggy Scottish Highlands (Scotland)
- Bright Scottish Highlands (Scotland)
- Kilts & Bagpipes (Scotland)
- Edinburgh (Scotland)
- Northern Ireland
- Waterford/Dunmore East (Ireland)
- Western Ireland and the Cliffs of Moher (Ireland)
- Dublin (Ireland)
We spent one awesome night at the Gold Coast. The sunset was absolutely incredible. And I stupidly missed its peak by not getting out there early enough. Always get to sunsets and sunrises early and watch them unfold. Don't wait until you see they're nice before going, or you'll be late. Learn to recognize the clouds and future paths of light that will make for a great sunset or sunrise.
We stayed at the fantastic Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Gold Coast! I paid 12,000 Starwood points for one night. As a Plat75/Lifetime Gold member, they upgraded us to a ginormous 1000 square foot one-bedroom suite! It was an incredible deal as a Platinum member. If we hadn't had a super-early flight out of Brisbane the next morning, we could have also enjoyed free breakfast as a Platinum member, which I'm sure would have been great. I wish I'd've taken the time to photograph some of the beautiful grounds, including gorgeous pools. Ah well, there's always next time. All in all, the Sheraton Grand Gold Coast for SPG Platinums is a fantastic value on either points or cash. Highly recommended.
The Great Ocean Road's Twelve Apostles needs no introduction. My buddy Fineas (an Australian, pilot, and photographer) and I visited a week or two ago. We were blessed with a terrific sunset. In contrast, the sunrise wasn't much to write home about; but that's likely structural, given the way the Twelve Apostles are oriented--the sunrise was at about 4-5 o'clock over my right shoulder. It was cloudy enough, I don't know for sure, however.
Did you know that there are only eight apostles left? (The other four were "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" and collapsed.) Wikipedia writes: "The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. Currently there are eight apostles left, the ninth one of the stacks collapsed dramatically in July 2005."
If you walk further down the boardwalk, you can get a view of more of the apostles, but in my opinion, this is the best composition there is.