Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Europe - Part 3

Sometimes, selfie sticks don't work as well as you would like them to....

 ....but when you want a group picture.... just make do!

A cute little shoppe in Kenmare

 Scenery on the Ring of Kerry

 On Sunday we attended East Dunsmore Christian Fellowship.

 We toured the Waterford Crystal factory.  They used to make all of their glass right in the town of Waterford, but now only special ordered pieces are made in this small factory and the rest is made elsewhere.  It was mesmerizing to watch them blow glass.

 Next it was on to Wexford to see the Famine Ships.  These ships were used to take the Irish to America & Canada during the hard times caused by the potato famine.

 Our Airbnb lodging one night was on this farm where we met one of our most memorable hosts!
Peter was waiting for us when we drove in and introduced us to his wife who had prepared a lovely tea.  Next on the agenda was a tour of the farm.

He even provided us with muck boots! :)
Peter and us.  He couldn't stop remarking about the beautiful view this hill on his farm afforded.  And he was right!

 Newgrange - an ancient burial place although the reason for the structure and the way its built remains a mystery.  The sun only shines into the inside chamber on about 5 days of the year, around the summer solstice.

The only entrance and exit to the inside chamber.  If you easily become claustrophobic - this is not the place for you!

Dunluce Castle - rumor has it that the kitchen of this castle fell into the sea during a bad storm.

 A kind lady who happened to be exiting the tour bus, graciously took our picture for us.  But then a tour guide hurriedly got off the bus and and said "No, no! Don't let her take your picture, she drops cameras all the time!  And let's get the rest of your group on the picture too!"  (They had just stuffed themselves into our vehicle)  But when someone offers to take a group picture, you accept!  So they extricated themselves for yet another group picture.

Giant's Causeway

Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge

It was such a long day, we hadn't eaten in awhile, and it was taking forever to get to our hotel.  (This is probably 10:30 in the evening).  After working some minor problems out with returning our car rental, we finally got a taxi ride to our hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

 And then we had our first taste of Chicken Lickin'! :)

The End...
....for now.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Europe - Part 2

Part 2 of the British Isles:

 Heathrow Airport waiting for our flight to Dublin - when we still had lots of energy!

 At first, we thought our rental was the huge, white van, but we were so relieved that it was this gray VW van/car...until we all tried to fit inside.

 Our Airbnb rental for the first two nights in Ireland.

 Rhonda and our host

The inside of the cottage - This was one of my favorite places that we stayed!

The Rock of Cashel 

We had an overnight flight from JFK to Dublin with a layover in London.  When we arrived in Ireland we rented a car and promptly started touring.  This was the end of our first day and we were tired!

Day 2
Before we started driving around the Ring of Kerry, some of us had a hearty Irish breakfast in the little town of Kenmare.  This breakfast consisted of black pudding, white pudding, bacon (which looked somewhat like ham), tomato, fried eggs, sausage, and toast!

Some of us got to talking to a group of ladies from Germany.  We mentioned that some of our ancestors had been from Switzerland and Germany.  Through the course of the conversation we learned that Melody and Marian shared last names! 

Ashley, Melody, Rhonda, me, Amanda, Amber 

 So thankful these ladies came along on this trip!

 During our drive around the Ring of Kerry we witnessed a dramatic water rescue by the Irish Coast Guard.  From what we could gather, someone had fallen off a cliff and needed to be rescued.

We arrived at the Cliffs of Moher around 9:30 pm - after they had closed.  I would highly recommend seeing this magnificent natural wonder at this time of the day.  The light was gorgeous and there weren't many other people there.

Day 3
 Our host referred us to some ruins - Athassel Abbey.  Her directions were rather vague, but we knew they included climbing over a stile.

Shepherd's Pie for lunch

 This was my lunch, but after asking the lady several times what it was, I still don't know what she said... :/

 A fellow tourist, from South America, took our photo for us.  She was friendly although she apologized often for her English, which was actually pretty good.

 This is why "some" people kiss the Blarney Stone

 Our Airbnb rental for the second night.  This also was a nice place except we had great difficulty in locking the front door (as previously mentioned & shown) and more importantly, we couldn't figure out the hot water (or else it didn't work) and we all had icy cold showers.

 The thoughtful hostess left us with a loaf of brown soda bread and a stocked refrigerator!

 In the evening, we were hungry and it was getting late.  I was driving (in circles) looking for somewhere to eat and/or somewhere to park.  Finally, we found both.

  The maitre d' observed us looking at their menu in the window.  He asked us if we were Amish. (A question we were growing rather used to).  After asking, he was apologetic and acted slightly embarrassed.  Then he told us they have a special menu for larger groups and brought one out to show us.  By then we were tired of looking for somewhere to eat.
It was an authentic Italian restaurant and boy, we were glad we went!  The staff was so attentive and friendly (probably because we said no, we weren't exactly Amish, but somewhat similar...) and the food was spectacular.

To be (possibly) continued...
Photo credits to the talented Ashley, Melody & Rhonda...