Thursday, May 11, 2006

Congratulations Ken and Laura!

Today's Topic: More Travel, Ireland, Weddings

I think I've failed to mention in these past posts that the whole reason I went to Ireland was to see my brother get married. So here's the them. Congratulations on making this big step. As far as the picture above, I'm not sure what's going on, but it's the best one I had. There is also this one below:

I have to say as well, I really enjoyed their ceremony more than most weddings I've been to (I'm sure I offended some people with that comment, my apologies). They wrote their own vows and eliminated the usually preaching about the holy sanctity of marriage (I hope I don't sound anti-marriage, I'm really not. I'm just anti-preaching).

So, more about travel. We left Dublin after the wedding and headed to Doolin which is a small town on the west coast near the Cliffs of Mohr, or as I liked to call them, the Dread Cliffs of Mohr.

I've heard a lot of people say that Ireland really exists in the countryside. Meaning that if you only see Dublin or some other city, you're not really seeing Ireland. While obviously there is a lot of Ireland I didn't see, I tend to believe that this statement is true. What I saw of Ireland's rural area was breath-taking.

I have to explains something about the pictures below. I brought three disposable cameras with me to Ireland. The first one I took almost entirely in Dublin at the wedding. The second one I started the first day and Doolin and promptly dropped it off a cliff (a little one) and into a tide pool. The winding mechanism broke, so I wasn't able to use the camera anymore. Luckily, the Dozen or so pictures I took before the accident still came out, but the colors came out a little funny. Any, that's why some of these pictures look they way they do. Strangely, I've been told the pictures actually look better this way.

Well, without further ado, the pictures rescued from the Lost Camera of the Dread Cliffs of Mohr...
A cow... And the Dread Cliffs of Mohr!

Me undoubtedly contracting hoof and mouth disease from these cows.

Clare taunting the cliffs.

Apparently, beating giant rabbits to death with clubs is a big sport in Ireland.

Note: NOT the planet Mars.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

There and Back Again

Today's Topic: Travel, Ireland

I have returned from my first trip overseas! I have so much to say that I have no idea where to begin.

Probably the first thing I noticed in Ireland was how they treated addresses. Having grown un in Chicago, which in my opinion is the most logically laid-out city in the world, it was difficult dealing with the craziness that was Dublin. Our "hotel" (not the proper term, more on that later) was on Upper Abbey street. Abbey was fairly easy to find on the map, as was Lower Abbey and Middle Abbey. Now logic says to me that Upper Abbey would be north of the other two. Not so. It was actually west and a little bit southward. The numbering system made absolutely no sense. A friend today explained to me that the numbers go up on one side of the street until the end of the street and then continue to clime back the other way on the other side of the street. Unfortunately, I was not armed with this information at the time. Not that it would have mattered because none of the buildings had numbers on them. Finally, we wondered into a building that looked like a hotel to ask for directions. When we told the woman at the front desk what we were looking for, she said, "I should have known." Apparently, the place that my brother picked to host us is notoriously hard to find.

Still, we did better than my mother, father, and sister who wondered around for several hours trying to find the place. They stopped for directions several times and received different directions every time.

OK, I don't mean to start my first blog about traveling to Ireland with complaining. I just wanted to start with my first impressions. Just be glad that I skipped the part about our lay-over in Heathrow. That place is a previously undiscovered extra circle of hell. Don't worry. I'll tell you more about that later....

Let me take a few lines to balance this all out to say some positive things. The coffee in Ireland is awesome. I don't think that I had a bad cup the whole time I was there. In fact that was my second observation after the address thing. After locating the hotel and locating my family, we headed straight to the cafe next door, Lemon Jelly. After all to stave off jet lag you have to stay up until the normal bed time in whatever time zone you are in. For this, we needed coffee, and Dublin did not disappoint.

Anyway, I have to wrap this up for now. Let me first apologize for my last two posts. First off, the last entry, "Score!" Should have been posted on my other blog. I wasn't paying attention. If it didn't make any sense to you non-gamer types, I apologize. Secondly, my plan with leaving a book in Ireland totally fizzled out. I just couldn't settle on any book that I actually wanted to read and drag around with me.

I suspect Ireland and travel stories will dominate this blog for some time. Stay tuned.