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About Indigo

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Visit at least 4 continents
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Visit as many libraries as I can
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Meet a famous author
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Visit 5 capital cities
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Travelog for: Indigo

Leeds, England - 21st August 2014

By: bookloverblue

The first journey I ever went on took me from my birthplace in Portugal to my new home in Leeds, England - where I still live today. I share my home with "The Writer" - a lifelong Leeds resident - who kindly helps me document my various travels.

Shortly after my arrival in Leeds, I decided to have a day out - to look around my new home town and to learn more about my new surroundings.

My first stop was Kirkstall Abbey - a Medieval monastery that was later destroyed by Henry VIII. Its ruins now form part of a park and museum. I looked around for a good long while, trying to imagine what it must have looked like back when the monks lived here.

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After that, I hopped on a bus and headed into Leeds' big and busy City Centre. It's filled with shops, offices and museums, so there were lots of things for me to see and do here.

After getting off the bus at Leeds Town Hall...

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... I noticed something rather unusual nearby. A golden postbox!

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Postboxes in England are usually red. Why had this one been painted gold? Luckily, a plaque on the front explained everything: it had been painted in honour of a local sportswoman, Nicola Adams, who had won the first ever women's boxing Gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

And it turned out that the golden postbox wasn't the only memento Leeds had of a significant sporting event. A marking on the pavement near the Town Hall showed the spot where the 2014 Tour de France starting line had been - Leeds hosted the Grand Départ that year.

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Not too far from the Town Hall, I came across Leeds Central Library. I've always loved books, so I decided to go in for a look around. Its halls are beautifully decorated with tiles and elegant stone staircases, whilst statues of owls - the symbol of Leeds - watch over it from outside. (Owl statues and artwork are common in Leeds, and can be found all over the city.)

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After browsing the shelves for the latest bestsellers, I headed towards Leeds City Square, where yet more history awaited me. The square is dominated by a tall statue of Edward, the Black Prince, riding on horseback. (The Writer later told me that, during the Grand Départ, someone knitted a special yellow jersey for him to wear!)

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As you can imagine, I was beginning to feel a bit exhausted after my long morning, so I popped in a local shopping centre for some refreshments!

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In the afternoon, I rounded up my day out with a visit to the beautiful Roundhay Park. Aside from the gorgeous greenery, the park is also home to some amazing architecture and the stunning Waterloo Lake.

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It turns out I had chosen a good day to visit - I was able to see most of the park by riding around on a special land train! It was the perfect way to end my day before heading home.

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Until next time!

- Indigo

* Posted Jul 31, 2015, 10:09 pm Last edited Aug 1, 2015, 8:43 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Galway, Knock & The West Coast, Ireland - 27th October 2014

By: bookloverblue

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The first leg of my journey to Ireland actually took me to Wales! Along with some of The Writer's university friends, I was driven down in a minibus to the port of Holyhead, where we would catch a ferry to Dublin and begin our cross-country drive.

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Sadly, we hadn't chosen the finest day to cross the Irish Sea! Although the ferry itself was very nicely decorated, and completely comfortable...

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... the sea was quite stormy, and as a result, the crossing was rather rough. After a while, I began to feel a bit seasick, so I stepped out onto the deck for some fresh air. This also proved to be a bit troublesome, since the last thing I was expecting was very strong winds - my fedora almost blew away!

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A couple of hours later, we arrived - shaken, but safe! - in Dublin. Unfortunately, though, we didn't have time to take in much of Ireland's beautiful capital, as we had to begin our drive to Galway - which was on the other side of the country! We ended up having something of a drive-through tour of the city, and from the minibus, we spotted the famous sights of Temple Bar and the Guinness Brewery at St. James' Gate.

Several hours later, after admiring the beauty of the Irish countryside during our long journey, we made it to Galway - the city we would be calling home for the next few days.

We spent our first night there exploring the area around and including Eyre Square. As a lover of literature, I was thrilled to come across a statue of someone I greatly admire: Oscar Wilde! (The Writer is a big fan too, apparently!)

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The next day, our group got back in the minibus and headed up to Knock - home to a famous Catholic shrine, following a vision that occurred there in 1879. We spent the day learning about the shrine, its history, and taking in the wonderful atmosphere: it was a calm, serene place, full of beautiful religious artwork and architecture.

Our final day in Ireland was filled up with driving, walking and general sightseeing, as we explored several wonderful locations along Ireland's West Coast and elsewhere. Places of particular interest were the village of Westport, Croagh Patrick and the deeply moving "coffin ship" National Famine Memorial at Murrisk, the awe-inspiring landscapes of Connemara, and the stunning Galway Cathedral.

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When our wonderful trip finally came to a close, we made our cross-country journey in reverse, and sailed back to Holyhead from Dublin. Thankfully, the seas were smoother this time!

Ireland really is a beautiful country - I hope to go back there sometime soon, and maybe my second visit will allow me to spend some more time in the capital!

Until next time!

- Indigo

* Posted Jul 31, 2015, 10:21 pm Last edited Aug 1, 2015, 8:45 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Lourdes, France - 3rd July 2015

By: bookloverblue

I travelled to Lourdes with the Diocese of Leeds 2015 Pilgrimage. This pilgrimage group is very large in number, and goes to Lourdes every July. My writer friend has been travelling with them for six years, acting as a volunteer carer for the sick, and I went along as her guest.

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In the days before we set off, I read up on St. Bernadette Soubirous and the Marian apparitions of 1858 - to help gain an insight into why Lourdes is dear to so many people's hearts. The heart of the Sanctuaries (as the holy area of the town is known) is the Grotto, where Our Lady (the Blessed Virgin Mary) is believed to have appeared, and the spring waters that St. Bernadette dug up there during one apparition have become associated with healing. The Sanctuaries also house several churches and candle burners, and processions are held there every day - with all events and actions being inspired by St. Bernadette's story, or Our Lady's instructions to her during her visions.

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Shortly after my arrival in Lourdes, I came to the shocking realisation that I had lost my fedora somewhere en route! But I didn't have time to worry about it - there was a packed itinerary ahead, filled with both religious and social events. Whilst the pilgrimage is ultimately about faith, there is also a strong social aspect: pilgrims and carers get together each day to enjoy each other's company and have fun, with several entertaining events being held by volunteers. My writer friend even helped write and stage mystery plays in the past!

Even if you are not a believer, I feel that anyone could appreciate the architectural beauty of Lourdes. The churches are all beautifully built and wonderfully decorated. One of my favourites was the lovely Rosary Basilica, which is covered in mosaics depicting the 20 Mysteries of the Rosary - 5 outside, 15 inside.

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On top of the basilica is a golden Crown and Cross - a gift from the people of Ireland. Women even offered their wedding rings to be melted down in order to make it! Just behind the basilica is a smaller church, the Crypt: this was the church that was built in St. Bernadette's lifetime, and one she actually visited. Today, it houses some of her relics.

The top of the Rosary Basilica is also a great vantage point from which to watch the nightly Torchlight Procession - where pilgrims process around the Sanctuaries whilst holding candles and reciting the Rosary, with hymns and other prayers mixed in.

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Another interesting church is the Underground Basilica - which is the size of a football stadium, and houses banners that depict saints from several different countries and time periods. International Mass is held here twice a week.

Of course, one of the most special places in the Sanctuaries is the Grotto. At certain times of the day, you are permitted to walk through it - the rock is very smooth to the touch, since so many hands have brushed across it over the years! Here, you can see the spring, and look up at the spot where St. Bernadette saw the Blessed Virgin.

Other places that featured in St. Bernadette's life are also available to visit. These include the Parish Church (which, whilst rebuilt in the years since St. Bernadette's time, still houses the font she was baptised in), the Boly Mill (where she was born), and The Cachot (a small, disused prison cell that the Soubirous family were forced to live in when they were struck by poverty, and their home at the time of the apparitions).

However, the Sanctuaries and religious sites are not the only part of Lourdes that offer great beauty. The town itself, based at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, is in a truly stunning location. I spent several mornings standing on the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge), admiring the River Gave.

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Non-religious places of interest include the Chateau Fort - a former military stronghold and now a museum, which offers amazing views of the town, and the Pic du Jer, a mountain that can be ascended by the means of a funicular railway, and another hot spot for beautiful views.

Whilst I loved my visit to Lourdes, I only saw a fraction of what the town has to offer. Even my writer friend - who, as I mentioned, has been going there for six years - still hasn't seen everything. A return trip is definitely in order sometime soon!

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And, when I got home, there was a surprise waiting for me! My writer friend told an acquaintance of hers about how I'd lost my fedora, and they made me a new one! I felt like myself again!

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Until next time!

- Indigo

* Posted Aug 1, 2015, 8:41 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


York, England - 18th July 2015

By: bookloverblue

My first port of call upon arriving in York was the massive, awe-inspiring York Minster, which has been standing for over 800 years. The exterior alone is an amazing sight!

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The Minster is divided into three parts: the main body, the Central Tower, and the Undercroft - which houses a museum about the Minster and its history. I would explore all three during my visit!

First of all, I took my time looking around the heart of the Minster. It is filled to the brim with statues, stained-glass windows and stunning architecture. The famous Great East Window was undergoing restoration when I visited, but there were still many magnificent things for me to see.

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After taking a quick break to sit down and rest...

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... I moved on to the second area of interest - the Central Tower. Several health warning signs surrounded the doorway, warning visitors that climbing the Tower wasn't a suitable activity for those with vertigo, heart trouble, and various other conditions. Luckily, I'm in perfect health, so I decided to be brave and attempt the climb.

To ascend the Tower, you have to walk up several narrow, spiralling stone stairways. It is something of a claustrophobic atmosphere, and walking up so many steps can be tiring, but thankfully, you get something of a break halfway through - when you have to cross an outside "bridge" in order to reach the next section. You may not be at the top of the Minster yet, but the bridge itself offers some breathtaking views of its own.

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Eventually, I completed the climb, and reached the top of the Tower. The winds up there were very strong indeed - I had to keep a tight hold on my fedora, and I even worried I might blow away myself! However, it was worth it for the views.

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I even got a badge celebrating my achievement!

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After safely descending the stone staircases, I ended my trip to the Minster with a walk through the Undercroft. One artefact I found very interesting was The York Gospels - a book that's over 1000 years old! I also learned about Constantine - the first Christian Roman Emperor, who actually became Emperor whilst he was in York. I later spotted his statue outside.

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Before heading home, I had a walk around the city to take in more of its history-filled atmosphere. I stopped by Clifford's Tower, which was built in the 13th Century, and had a walk along the Roman walls surrounding York, mainly around the Barker Tower area.

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My brief visit to York barely scratches the surface of what it has to offer - it has more museums and exhibits than you can shake a stick at! If you ever get the chance, go there yourself!

Until next time!

- Indigo

* Posted Aug 1, 2015, 3:48 pm Last edited Aug 1, 2015, 3:49 pm by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Scarborough, England - 25th July 2015

By: bookloverblue

Scarborough is a lovely town with lots of interesting things to do, but of course, as you might expect at a seaside resort, I made a beeline for the beach upon my arrival! I spent most of my time here walking up and down the shore, admiring the North Sea and Scarborough's famous Grand Hotel, and passing by the donkeys as they gave visitors rides!

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After a quick visit to an arcade (I didn't win anything)...

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... I headed towards the cliffs and the remaining ruins of Scarborough Castle - now a heritage site. I walked around and took in the history on offer - but just like at York, I had to be very careful in the high winds! It proved to be a fascinating place and a great way to wrap up my half-day here.

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Until next time!

- Indigo

* Posted Aug 2, 2015, 11:24 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Flamingo Land, Malton, England - 26th July 2015

By: bookloverblue

The day after my trip to Scarborough, I headed to Malton to visit the nearby resort of Flamingo Land - a place that is half zoo and half theme park.

I'm not a big fan of rides, so I spent a pleasant day walking around the zoo area looking at the various animals in their habitats - including, of course, the eponymous flamingos!

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 2, 2015, 11:30 am Last edited Aug 2, 2015, 11:32 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Leeds, England - 1st August 2015

By: bookloverblue

I'm setting off on the journey of a lifetime!

The Writer is a member of the International Geek Girls Pen Pals Club, and some of her fellow members from around the world have agreed to host me for a while!

My first stop will be Salem, Massachusetts, USA!

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 2, 2015, 11:55 am Last edited Aug 2, 2015, 11:59 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Salem, Massachusetts, USA - 6th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

I've arrived safely in Salem! Here I am with Duffy - the companion of my kind American host!

Duffy is no stranger to travelling himself! He and my host just got back from a long trip around Europe! Now, they're helping a European on his first trip to the States!

I'll be staying with them until September. I can't wait to discover what there is to see and do here!

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 8, 2015, 7:13 am Last edited Aug 12, 2015, 8:53 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


New Hampshire, USA - 7th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

I'm still pretty jetlagged from my transatlantic trip, so I've been spending the day relaxing in New Hampshire.

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 8, 2015, 7:20 am Last edited Aug 8, 2015, 7:23 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Salem Willows Park, Massachusetts, USA - 10th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

This evening I got to see the Salem Willows park at sunset. My host and I watched the seagulls, sat by the ocean and went into the arcade.

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 12, 2015, 8:34 am Last edited Aug 12, 2015, 8:46 am by bookloverblue [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Preston Beach, Massachusetts, USA - 11th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

Today, my host and I went to Preston Beach in Swampscott, MA - the next town to the south-east of Salem. But it started raining almost as soon as we got there!

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 12, 2015, 8:51 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Salem Jazz and Soul Festival, MA, USA - 16th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

Today I went along to Salem Jazz and Soul Festival at Salem Willows Park. There were lots of great musicians there, and many interesting things to see!

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 22, 2015, 8:26 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Boston, Massachusetts, USA - 17th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

Today I went on a road trip to Boston. I saw some stunning views of the skyline from the car!

Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 22, 2015, 8:19 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Salem, Massachusetts, USA - 19th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

Today I went on a sightseeing tour of Salem! I visited lots of famous places:

- The Salem Friendship

- The old custom house. The ocean line used to end right there by those red road bricks.

- N. Hawthorn's famous House of 7 Gables.

- Historical Hawthorne Hotel in downtown Salem. Even presidents have stayed here, and rooms 612 and 325 are said to be haunted!

- The "Stick-Works" art installation

- Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). An art museum housing American history and international historical pieces, as well as rotating contemporary art and cultural events.

- Armed Forces Memorial

- The famous Witch Museum, explaining the real history of what happened in 1692 with the Witch Trials.

- View of Salem's founder, who is constantly mistaken for a witch... and once he was even shot at by a religious fanatic who hated witches!

- Salem's Common, the town's first and biggest park right in the center of town.

- A "Bewitched" statue, put there in the 1970s, commemorating that some episodes of the series were shot in town.

- Washington Street


Until next time!

- Indigo

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* Posted Aug 22, 2015, 8:42 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Happy Birthday! - Salem, MA, USA - 20th August 2015

By: bookloverblue

It's my birthday today! Duffy and I shared some desserts to celebrate.

Until next time!

- Indigo

Indigo\

* Posted Aug 22, 2015, 8:48 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


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