Sunday, June 13, 2010

Take my breath away

I've been postponing writing about my vacation in the UK, and was just running out of excuses, when Manish's mom, who is also back from a vacation in England, (and who gave me wonderful tips on travelling with a toddler - you can write to me for them), asked me, "What is the one place that took your breath away?" And I thought, this is the right time to start writing about my experiences.

There were many places that made me catch my breath, but Scotland is the one place that is seared in my memory. It keeps coming back to me, in my dreams, in visions, catching me by surprise when I'm doing the most mundane things.

But it isn't fair on all my other experiences to name just Scotland. So here are a few instances that took my breath away.

1) Spring had just arrived in England. Ever since I landed, I'd been seeing bare trees, and spring was an entirely new experience. The green was greener, there was fuzz on the trees and pretty flowers popped out from behind every green hedge. We were driving to a neighbouring town. I was entranced by the countryside and was looking out of the window. Suddenly, the road rose, reached a summit, and then dipped. At that vantage point, the countryside spread out in front of me. A clean green. Gently rolling hills. Farms on either side of the road. Little lambs gambolling about. Neat fences and hedges. Trees with fresh new leaves. Patches of flowers here and there. A blue, blue sky. The sensation of pleasure was very physical. It literally took my breath away.

2) Shortly after that, my aunt and I were driving, when from nowhere, a tree bursting with blooming magnolias sprung into view. It was so sudden, so magnificent that it made me feel glad to be alive just to see that wonderful sight.

3) With spring came these sudden, striking patches of yellow in the fields, amid the green. The first time I saw this yellow was at a distance. It looked like a giant's picnic mat, or as if someone had spilled a huge bucket of bright yellow paint in the middle of the green fields. It was absolutely lovely. The first time, it made me catch my breath. I never tired of the sight. I later found that they were rapeseed fields.

Rapeseed fields, near Stonehenge

4) While travelling in London, we got down at Westminster underground station, climbed up, and came out onto the road. "Ok, where are we?" I said, turning left and right to get my bearings, and then casually looked upwards. We were standing right below Big Ben. It is one thing looking at photos of something all your life, and another thing seeing it up close, that too when you don't expect it. A lovely feeling. Definitely a breath-taking-away moment.

My first view of Big Ben, London

5) We were driving upwards towards the Scottish Highlands from Glasgow, along the endless banks of Loch Lomond. It is not that beautiful compared to the other lakes we saw, but something about it, or probably the drive past it, moved me to tears. Sobs, actually.

6) Glencoe - I can tell you about it, I can show you pictures, but nothing can convey the feeling of awe you experience when you are there - like the mountains have a life of their own and closing in on you. Prehistoric, almost. This did not exactly make me catch my breath, but it made me forget to breathe.

Glencoe, Scotland

7) Loch Lochy - My favourite Loch amongst all those we saw. Made me catch my breath each time we passed it.

Loch Lochy, Scotland


Revati Upadhya said...

seems so picture perfect!

Sanjay M said...

the mountains brought back some good memories of walks through Wales... (though never been to Scotland) Thanks felt like I was there, and esp your last pic is so serene and refreshing!

Anu said...

beautiful pictures...and seems like a lovely vacation!

Brinda said...

Interesting, Shru! Nice photos too. Looking forward to more stories of your trip.

Shruthi's mom thanks Monish's mom for nudging her daughter to write and post this:)

Shruthi has tried quite a few times to give the first hand report of her trip in person to us, her parents. But Putachi prefers to tell us her own stories and there is no chance or hope of hearing it from Shruthi. So this, we find is the perfect media. Keep blogging, Shru!

Shruthi's mom

praneshachar said...

You took my breath away with such great write ups. Its amazing how u manage all this. You have got natural flair for writing ( ofcourse from geans too) For me it was like being there with you all. enjoyed and believe read it again and again. Photos too are simply marvellous. looking forward to read more and more
happy penning!!!!

Mangala said...


held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us

(Mary Oliver)

Anonymous said...

Loved your description :)

The pic of rapeseed fields was amazing!!!

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