Monday, 13 July 2015

Emblematic land marks - Durdle Door # we adore!

Today I’ll try my hand at travel blogging. Rainy Sunday, I didn’t go anywhere fancy, I didn’t wear any of my many (some fear thousands) dresses, I didn't go out for dinner… so, I might as well.
Luckily, I did travel - a few weeks ago. This weekend I chose (yes, it’s an euphemism, hrrr!) something more fun: cleaning my house and arguing with Anita, who was in her worst mood lately. Alright, she received some amazing awards at school this week, being recognised as academically excellent, but does this give her the right to drive me mad? She clearly thinks it does, so she did! Dear God, we both need a holiday… SOON!
As I was telling you, trying to come up with something for the blog (I don’t want to skip a round, so soon after starting this challenge, and give satisfaction to some), I remembered our great trip to Lulworth and Durdle Door.
I rummaged in my photo folder and came across our pictures of this incredible, gob-smacking place, whose uniqueness and splendour struck me as soon as I glimpsed it from afar. I still feel breathless, just like I felt on the edge of that cliff, simply by flicking thorough the pics! Yes, I’ll use these, they’re worth a story!
Saturday morning, sometime in June, glorious summery weather - we decided to go somewhere. Anita had studied about this place in Geography and even went to visit the place with her school, after which she strongly recommended we should go. “It’s amazing, it’s great, Mum! Let’s go there!” We listened to her (see, we do listen to our daughter, like good parents that we are) and went. Woke up early, didn’t do much to my hair, no time for make-up; I went straight into the kitchen, prepared three yummy sandwiches and a fab stir fry to go with pasta and/or cuscus - veggie and delicious, put everything into tupperware and prepared our backpacks. Plenty of food, some fruit, water – I felt more ready than ever. Post code ready, we tried to digit it into our Tom Tom. Ha, you wish! Our satnav had been playing us for a while now and decided that it was time for it to demonstrate Murphy’s laws exactly that day! Hibernation mode… or simply dead! Why would things be simple and straightforward? They wouldn’t be memorable otherwise, would they? Noooow I seeee why: a pinch of salt in my story. Never mind, we said, it was time for a new one anyway. Let’s head to our local Argos and get a new one (life-saver: we can pay £300 in monthly instalments, no added stress to our trip!). Durdle Door suddenly seemed further and further away, if not unreachable. An extra half an hour further, at least – the time we spent in the Argos car park, trying to figure out how the new gadget worked, in the torrent of kind words a lady was addressing us from behind, while waiting for us to leave the car park end free the space for her. Well, it wasn’t her lucky day, just like it wasn’t ours!
Ok, we finally started our journey, still feeling excited and enthusiastic, despite of our little trials and tribulations. Green – the most beautiful, lush green, all around us, patches of different shades painting the valleys everywhere; sheep here, cows there- simply, the sweetest idyllic British landscape you can imagine. I was mentally taking photographs with my eyes wide open, imagining how amazing it would be if we could pull the car over and take a few shots. The sky had started to cloud over and the weather changed a few times, capriciously, in the two hours it took us to get there, but it turned out it had saved the best for last. Typical British weather aside, we enjoyed a few hours of sun and warmth on the coast of Southern England that I will never forget. We parked along the road, behind other tens of cars, up on the green and dangerously leaning towards the tarmac, got out and made our way towards the long waited view. I had seen it in many photographs and I'd dreamt I would find it one day (at first, I didn’t even know its name or location), see it with my own eyes, witness the grandeur only nature can display – it’s that kind of beauty: spectacular, astonishing, jaw-dropping! A few more steps and the anticipation was unbearable! And all of a sudden, the spectacle started, all for us (and other thousands who had the same idea as us that day). We stared at it for minutes and minutes, unsure where to look first, eager to absorb in every millimetre of fabulousness, fearful we might miss a speck of this majestic painting nature created for us, mortals. Fabulous bays, incredible coves, azure water, stretches of beaches unbelievably beautiful, cliffs cut straight into by winds and waters, shapes and curves one cannot imagine; layers of rocks, curved and moulded together, folded one on top of the other, as if God played with His plasticine and had an inspirational moment. It was DIVINE! There’s no other word to describe this place nearly enough. I put my tripod up and started taking photographs, although everyone around seemed to have a mission to stop me - they were everywhere, intruding in my frames, desperate for selfies with this incredible rock. Have I ever mentioned I hate selfies? No, I didn’t. I HATE SELFIES! Phew, there… I feel better now. Although I did fall in the trap of feet selfies for once in my life! I just felt my feet would look quite cool framed by the door in the rock. Please, pardon me!  So, here I was, squeezing through these thousands of people and trying to avoid their selfies, in the attempt of immortalising the splendour of this one of a kind place. We strolled up and down the coast, went down the stairs to the beach, looked at the sun peeping through the Door, went up the stairs and down again on the other side of the beach, trying hard to catch our breath (it’s funny how you think you’re quite fit and then find yourself gasping for air doing a few stairs – they weren’t a few at all, they were many and tricky and I still wonder why people go there wearing high heels or sandals or flip-flops!!!), taking the magnificent views in. You have to go and see it! Really, no words can depict the beauty and the grandeur, the feeling it gives you, the astonishment you’re left with. You look and look again and you’re still incredulous something like this was possible to be created. And, for once, I am not afraid to use the verb “create”, although I’m a science person. There are things in this world, still,  that make you doubt…or, actually, BELIEVE. Gazing at this miracle, you feel so small and insignificant, transitory, that you can’t help yourself thinking it took nature millions or billions of years to sculpt this work of art and you’re there for a split of a split of a second to witness it. It’s a humbling experience and you wish you could stop time then and there, but of course it doesn’t – it carries on digging and digging, sculpting on those rocks, on our faces, in our hearts. That door in the rock appears like a portal to a different dimension and for a few moments you feel transported, captured by the reflections of the rays of light in the watery mirror. You count the waves passing through, you feel the pebbles under your feet and you sense the wind in your hair, playing a bit after all of that hard work it does and you fool yourself  for a moment you now have a deeper perception of life, of its meaning. You're surrounded by nature, in its purest and rawest form and you feel it: present, alive, pulsing.
I took my shots (many of which ruined by a stubborn fellow photographer who was adamant to just find himself in my view – I hope I managed to do the same to him up on the white cliff, because I really tried to, persuaded by his perseverance), I engraved the images, the sounds, the smells in my memory and I made my way through the crowd, willing to come back home, but never really ready to leave that place. I wanted to stay... I wanted to rent a tent and live there like a nomad, I wanted to remain in that picture – that’s how powerful it is. Go and see it, if you can. I can’t believe I’ve been in the area for a few years now and it took me so long to finally go and see it. I won’t allow this to happen again and I can’t wait to return there and to show it to my relatives or friends who’ll come to visit us. What a memorable day I’ll make it for them! Just like mine was! 

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