Talin's Illustrated European Travel Journal

The "Hacker Tourist" series

This is an account of my 10-week trip to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Northern France.

If any of you folks reading this out there are anywhere along my planned route, feel free to send email to Talin. I'm always looking for 1) new friends to meet, and 2) high-speed net access. Note that while I'm travelling, I can only check my mail every few days, so conversations will be slow.

This trip was planned with the assistance of Richard Foss of Ladera Travel, and with suggestions from many of my friends.

This site is being hosted courtesy of Stig Hackvan at The dev/Linux project. This is due to the fact that my ISP has had some hardware problem which makes them unable to provide me with network access.

Journal Entries

March 6: Arrival in London.
March 7: Picadilly Circus and the Tower.
March 8: Shopping, and reflections on the Tube.
March 9: A day trip to Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath. Later that evening, a travesty.
March 10: The British Museum and a Night Out.
March 11: Palaces, Pews, Politics and Plants.
March 12: Another day trip, to Leeds Castle, Canterbury, and Dover. Also, a rant on British cuisine.
March 13: Train trip to York.
March 14: Exploring York.
March 15: Skipton Castle.
March 16: The Yorkshire Dales and beyond.
March 17: Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile.
March 18: Stirling Castle and the Trossachs.
March 19: Edinburgh fills up with Rugby fans, Talin flees north.
March 20: Heavy Horses That Move the Land Under Me.
March 21: To the mouth of the Ness.
March 22: The monster is safely under loch and quay.
March 23: A sortie to the very north.
March 24: Skye's the limit...or not.
March 25: Lewis and Harris: Boat ride to another planet.
March 26: Scotland's a beautiful country - when you can see it.
March 27: Iona and Mull: A Grand Day Out.
March 28: Jura: A good forest is hard to find.
March 29: A run down the coast.
March 30: A day in Glasgow.
March 31: Passage to the Emerald Isle.
April 1: Train ride to Dublin. A Herald's Hospitality.
April 2: Glendalough.
April 3: Not-so-heavy horses this time.
April 4: Dublin: Adventures in Politics.
April 5: Dublin: Cruising the geek scene.
April 6: Dublin: Ancient History.
April 7: Dublin: Hop on, hop off.
April 8: Tara and Newgrange.
April 9: Dublin: Loose Ends.
April 10: Powerscourt: Gardening on a grand scale. Later, a lobster.
April 11: Kilkenny: Not much fun on a cold Sunday.
April 12: The Rock and the Mountain.
April 13: Recovering in Cork.
April 14: Blarney!
April 15: Counties Cork and Kerry: Ring Saga.
April 16: Killarney and Dingle.
April 17: Castle Matrix: A Lady in Peril.
April 18: Castle Matrix: History Lessons.
April 19: Adare, Limerick and Bunratty.
April 20: County Clare: Landscapes.
April 21: Galway: A hob-nob with my fellow wizards.
April 22: The Aran Islands
April 23: Donegal and Derry: High on Craic.
April 24: Ulster's North Coast.
April 25: Dublin: Shelter.
April 26: Ferry to Wales.
April 27: Town of Art, Town of Books.
April 28: Southern Wales.
April 29: Brunel's Creation.
April 30-May 3: Glastonbury I
May 4: Cornwall: Wizardry.
May 5: Cornwall: Signals.
May 6-11: Glastonbury II
May 12: San Francisco: There's no place like home.

Other Information

I've created a list of general notes and observations for U.S. travellers going to the U.K.

Proposed Travel Itinerary

March 5-13 London
March 14-15 York
March 16-19 Edinburgh
March 20 Stonehaven
March 21-22 Inverness
March 24 Dunvegan/Skye
March 26 Isle of Lewis/Baille-na-cille
March 28 Glasgow + Loch Lomond
March 29 Mull of Kintyre + Jura
March 30 Islay
April 1 Stranraer / Belfast
April 2-9 Dublin
April 10 Enniskerry / Powerscourt
April 11 Kilkenny
April 12 Cashel
April 13-14 Cork
April 15 Limerick
April 16-17 Galway
April 18 Donegal
April 19 Belfast
April 20-21 Dublin County / Wexford
April 21 Fishguard, Wales
April 22 Pembroke
April 23 Caerleon-on-Usk
April 24 Swindon/Glastonbury
April 25-26 Bristol/Plymouth
April 27-28 Penzance
April 29 Cherbourg
(More to come as plans are made!)
May 27 San Francisco


I want to thank all all of the people who contributed suggestions or other assistance in planning this trip. A partial list of these includes:

Richard Foss of Ladera Travel, who provided a detailed travel itinerary, as well as the usual plane, auto and hotel reservations.

Mike Jittlov, who sent me voluminous and extensive travel guides and tips.

Rebecca Nathenson, who coached me on some aspects of travelling, and who lent me her wonderful internal-frame travel pack.

A number of interesting suggestions were offered by Elaine Richards, Barry Cassidy, and Barry Beechinor.

Allison Hershey, for getting me interested in Scotland in the first place.

Stig Hackvan, for letting me use space on his server while mine is down.

Technical Notes

The camera I have is an Epson PhotoPC 750Z. I have a 24 MB compact flash memory card, and a PCMCIA adaptor for the card. I also have a spare 8Mb memory card.

I normally use the camera in 1280x960 resolution. The camera supports significantly higher resolutions, however I haven't been using this for several reasons: 1) I tend to take a lot of pictures in a day, and I can't fit that many super high res pictures in memory. 2) The upload times for the super-large pictures are killer. 3) Without a tripod, I can't hold the camera steady enough to get really crisp shots anyway, so there's no point in having the extra resolution.

My laptop is a Sony Vaio 505FX, a super laptop for a traveller concerned about weight. It runs Red Hat Linux, version 5.2.

Each night I upload the pictures from the memory card into the laptop. I use a custom perl script to create the thumbnails. (One limitation of the script is that it does not figure out the width and height of the thumbnails, which means I have to use the Netscape Composer "image properties" dialog and select "original size" for each thumbnail.) The script utilizes the standard command-line image process utilities, such as cjpeg, djpeg, etc.

Upload: I use a combination of secure shell (ssh) and rsync to upload the new pages. This means that only items which have actually changed get uploaded, making the most of limited upload bandwidth.

There are now many megabytes worth of JPEGs on this site, and my bandwidth is only a 384K DSL line, so things might be a bit slow if this gets at all popular. I wouldn't mind it if someone would volunteer to mirror this site.

Also check out Talin's home page.