Saturday, September 25, 2010

And now the end is near...

Hey Gang

This will probably be the last post of the holiday (unless i get really bored in Abu Dhabi airport) oh what fun times we have had over the last 7 weeks. But anyway i am not going to get all sentimental on you... i will inform you of what we have been up to in the capital!

We got into Dublin smack bang in the middle of peak hour traffic on Thursday.. URGH that does not make for a happy navigator.. but we got here safe and sound which is the main thing!. So after getting settled into our accommodation we decided to walk into town (which is a good 20 min walk from where we are staying) and have a potter around Dublin town. We walked up O'Connell street and walked up Henry Street mainly on a search for the only store in the whole ROI that sells Privateer Press Products.... because Nath was getting some slight withdrawals. Thank god we found it and it was open so his cravings were then satisfied. We then went for dinner at a place on O'Connell street, it was actually reasonably priced (which was a turn up). We then decided to walk back to the accommodation and when we were about half way there the heavens just opened and we got drenched (as Nath said at the time our little umbrella was just delaying the inevitable soaking). By the time we got to our accommodation we looked like drowned rats. We then proceeded to attempt to use the little hairdryer to dry our shoes... Nath shorted it a few times so then the task was given to me and urgh after 7 weeks in runners blow drying those bad boys STANK!!!

So thank goodness yesterdays weather was nicer because that night did not leave Nath with a good impression of Dublin. So yesterday we set out to explore the city. We started off by investigating something we had found the night before but decided not to go into it. It is an exhibition called Game On. It was basically a gamers dream. They had 120 playable games on loads of different platforms from the last 30-40 years. They had everything from Pong to Guitar Hero... and if i am to make a confession... as you all know i don't like computer games / console games mainly because i am hopeless at them... but i really enjoyed myself!! it was so much fun playing all sorts of old games... needless to say i sucked at all of them and Nath kept challenging me in fighting games (all of which i lost except 1 where i kept pushing him off the edge and winning by default) but it was a blast!

So after the nerd-a-thon we decided to go on a historical walking tour, i highly recommend it even though our guide was a bit all over the shop in his explanations of things. We both really enjoyed the tour and it was very informative. During the tour we noticed heaps of buildings promoting Culture Night.. which was on that night and it meant that lots of Dublin attractions were open until about 10pm. We took advantage of this fact and headed to the Book of Kells in Trinity College. I had already seen the book but I was still in awe of it. I hope Nath enjoyed it, but he is getting very Jack like in his responses... as in all he tends to say is good :P We then went to dinner and headed back to the accommodation.

Which rings us to today... the last day I don't know what we will do, but i am sure we will fill you in on it nevertheless.

See you soon :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ireland : almost home time

Hey gang

My goodness i thought that we were blogging more often - apparently not!

So well lots has happened since Nath last blogged, the day that we wrote the blog we were in Tuam and we just spent the day in town because the All Ireland Football final was on. Cork V Down i was very excited because Cork wears Swans colours hooray the swannies were in a grand final :P But anyway we headed to the pub that Anna Marie (one of my mates) works at and we spent the afternoon watching the match. It was so much fun even though we weren't crash hot on the rules... it was a blast! and Cork won :) hooorrraaaayyyyy.

Monday we headed off on another cross country trip, this time to Co. Meath home of Newgrange. We decided to go the back way mainly so we could see more than just the motorway! It took us though lots of small towns i was very impressed with my navigational skills (if i have to say myself) and we only had to make 1 u-turn!. When we got to Co. Meath we headed into Drogheda for a wander around. We saw the preserved head of a saint... very cool, we also went Millmont which is a military fort on the top of a hill... it was very interesting and our guide was lovely! We spent the night in a B&B outside Slane and met 2 couples from Texas there, they were very keen on chatting to us and telling us all about their adventures!

The next morning we headed to Newgrange, this was just mind blowing. I studied a bit about this in Art class (gotta love Irish schools) and still it just blew my mind! It was so mysterious and just had a very mythical atmosphere around it. Although it was slightly broken by the 2 men mowing the lawn on top of the monument.. that made us laugh. We then just headed back to Tuam and took it easy for the rest of the afternoon.

Yesterday we planned on spending the whole day in Galway.... well a much needed sleep in got in the way. We ended up in Galway at about 1 and then just pottered around for a while before meeting Cormac for Tea. He then gave us a little walking tour to places in Galway i had never been to, so that was fun. After we said our goodbyes we headed out to see my friend Dani at her job in an adventure center in Connemara. For those who don't know Connemara it is very rugged and beautiful. Kind of like going though the Scottish highlands actually, but there are free range sheep that you have to watch out for, because not only do they walk on the road... they tend to like to sleep on it also! We had dinner with Dani and it was just wonderful! but given that where she lives is about a 2 hour drive from Tuam we didn't get home until late.

So that leaves today. We were meant to get up and get going to Dublin but once again we are taking our time and just taking things slow. So the plan is to head to Dublin shortly and spend 2 days sightseeing and then jump on a plane and we will be home before you know it :)

See you then

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ireland: post 2

greetings blog readers,

Nathan here yet again i have usurped the power of the blog to write to you.

When we last left of we were half way around the ring of Kerry, The second day around the ring we mainly drove we took the advice of out B&B host Thomas and went and drove around Valentine Island. This was a lovely place there were a couple of things to do but as typical for Ireland it was rainy and windy hence staying in the car and driving. We then headed on around the ring and completed it. We stopped in Kilarney for lunch with nothing interesting to report and then made our way to our next nights accommodation. We stayed at the laked side Hotel and this place was amazing and considering i normally just state that things are good that is an awesome comment. This place was very swish and was lovely it was nice to just bum around and have a couple of drinks at the bar (as it was still raining out side SURPRISE).

The next day we headed off to Cork BTW when we left there was a whole lot of rich people with awesome vintage cars don't know much about cars but they were cool. The drive to Cork was uneventful along with the day around Cork. The highlight for Sarah in Cork was visiting Eddie rockets a 1950's style of diner. We then went to our accommodation White lodge it was nice we lookedaround the local area and called it a night.

The next day we were cooked a Irish breakfast by our lovely eccentric host Oliver, he is a champion of a bloke and was happy to chat about the local area and point out some things to do. We then made the long Haul back to Tuam for Erika's birthday party. It was a 4 hour drive when you take into account all of the road works and traffic build up as a result (i think Ireland is on a massive road build-a-thon) We then did some maintience and made a Quick Call into Galway and picked up Sarah's friend Cormac.

When then spent the night at Erika's party, when i asked Sarah to describe Erika's party in three words she could not and therefore i will describe as interesting when i though i could understand the Irish it just got a whole lo more Irish like with a slur and yeah a lot of nodding and smiles were employed.

The next morning was a slow started we headed into Galway again as there is not an awful lot in Tuam and we walked around with Erika and just took it easy. He went into down town metropolis Tuam to one the the fifty thousand places to drink for some traditional music and some Guinness.

We have slowed down a lot now we are in Ireland not seeing as much or doing as much just relaxing and catching up with people.

Stay tuned for the next post were Sarah will have possibly wrestled blogging power from me and will return to blogging as per normal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fiddley-dee Potatoes

Top 'o the mornin' to ye

If you haven't guessed already we are in Ireland :D and I (Sarah) am just beaming from ear to ear.

We will start this post back in Glasgow... we got information from flight center that our flight was at 3.25 so being good kids we got to the airport at the suggested 3 hours before departure... however.. it had changed... our flight was now at 5.45 oh well it is just another 2 hours you say... well the flight was delayed.... only until 6.30 but when you got to the airport at 12... you start getting a tad annoyed and there isn't that much to do at Glasgow airport!!

In the end we got to our destination (Tuam) and I had a wonderful (if not a tad short because it was 11pm by the time we arrived) catch up with Miss Erika.

The next morning we spent in downtown Tuam. I showed Nath all the sights and we caught up with my twinny Aine (seriously we are born on the same day). After the catch up with Aine we had lunch and then headed down to the Ring of Kerry. We stayed in a nice hotel in Kilarney for the evening and went to bed early in preparation for the next day.

The next day we left Kilarney and started to drive the ring. We did what the lovely gentleman in a shop we went in told us, we drove around it anti-clockwise.. although i don't know why he said that... you see the same stuff no matter which way you drive.. The ring of Kerry is only about 200km long so you can easily do it in a day.. we decided to take our time and do it over 2. So on the way to our half way point we stopped in a few places and took a few de-tours. We stopped in a recreated 18th century uh bog village... it was interesting, they had ponies and Irish wolfhounds :) We then drove to Cahersiveen (where we were staying the night) and we pottered around there for a while, saw some cool castle ruins and partly drove around the Skellig trail.

Well that brings you up to date, we will post again soon :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

UK road trip - the final leg

Hey gang

I officially have (as Nath has put it) my mojo back!!!

We are sitting in an Internet place in sunny Glasgow at the moment so i will fill you in on our adventures yesterday!

We left Inverness and headed to Culloden. For those not in the know... Culloden is where the Jacobites were defeated by the government forces during the rebellion with Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Now going into Culloden it is safe to say that i wasn't really keen... but once i was there i really enjoyed myself. Just what happened there was so heartbreaking, the government lost 50 men... the Jacobites lost 1,500.... just really sad stuff.... however i really recommend you go there if you are ever in the area.. the visitors center is really educational and you get to go for a guided tour of the actual battlefield!

Unfortunately for us, the weather decided to turn Scottish right as we were touring the battlefield.. not pleasant! The weather then proceeded to follow us to Glasgow. On the way to Glasgow we stopped at Loch Ness. I loved Loch Ness even though the visitors center we went to was like BAM every photo of the monster is fake... which i already knew but i still liked believing in the myth. Although there was an interesting fact... there is enough water in Loch Ness to submerge the worlds population three times over! which i wouldn't have believed going into it because i honestly didn't realise the place was so big... it is HUGE.. and it just keeps going...

Anyway the drive to Glasgow took us though the Highlands, which meant wonderful scenery for me... terrible roads for Nath. But we got here safe and sound, that's the main thing.

So in a few hours we will be heading to the airport to say farewell to the Blackmobile (oh by the way that is what we named the car) and head on over to Ireland for the final phase of our excellent adventure.

So i will post then!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Uk Road Trip Day 5 -

Hey Gang

Whoops sorry for the delay in posting, we have just been a tad slack and not all places have had somewhere to use the interwebs :P

So... Day 5

We left York and drove north to Peebles, now this drive if you take the motorway should take approx 3 hours, but Nath and I thought that if we take the motorway we won't get to see anything other than.. well motorway, so we decided to take the coastal route... which took a fair bit longer, i think we were driving for about 8 hours (including a stop). The way took us past some very quaint villages (one called Powburn, which Nath insisted on stopping at! Because i needed a stop) and we also stopped in Whitby, which we both agreed is a lovely place and it turned out that Captain Cook did his Seamens apprentiship there so there was a monument to him and a museam that we could have visited but we just didnt have time. So after that it was on to Peebles, now as some of you may or may not know the reason why we travelled to Peebles is because of our accomindation there.. Now i keep referring to it as a castle it was infact more like a manor home that looked like a castle but oh my goodness it was amazing. It was nice, it was very fancy, the dinner we had was outstanding, the food was very fine dinning which was not something that this trip has been renowned for. We stayed in at the castle for the evening enjoying the luxurioush surroundings rather than exporling the Scottish border country.

Day 6 (BTW if you have not figured it out Sarah stopped typing somewhere in the above because she lost the power to type and I Nathan have taken comand of this sinking ship that is this blogpost)

We had a very slow start to the day, not leaving Peebles until 11ish, we then made our way to Edinburgh. We then spent the day walking around Edinbrugh with no plans or goals for the day apart from the Vaults tour. It was rather nice just not doing much and enjoying the passing bys of another city. The vaults where interestingm, with out getting technical like i tend to do basicly its a burried bridge with many vault like rooms.

We then went to our accomodation in Tarnent, this was another lovely B&B but this time there was one old english sheep dog and one young english sheep dog. Both were addorable and Sarah wished to take them home, i convinced her this was not a good plan. We had a pub meal in Tarent and a couple of pints and that was a close to that day.

Day 7

Saw us travelling to Inverness via Stirling. In stirling we saw Stiriling Caslte and the William Wallace monument both of these were educational and entertaining, and if you are a nerd like me both well worth a look. The Willam Wallace momuent stair case of 246 odd stairs was a very tight spiral stair case that is apparently boths ways ie people comming up and down the one stair case (possible a design flaw). Also one comment about stirling Castle the Stwarts were possible the shortest royal family of all time as even sarah managed to bump her head aginst many doorways within stirling castle.
We then made our way to the Highlands, we had dinner at a Pub in inverness that contained a Thai restruant, had not encountered this combination before. It is a that this dinner i have finally made the conclusion that Sarah is much (to the power of 4) better at picking meals and random beers than i am. Her meal and beer choices are that much better that i am honsetly thinking that i will get Sarah to pick my food and beverage for the rest of the trip.

Day 8

Also known by the the travelers on this trip as the Whisky-a-thon. We travelled 2 hours east of Inverness to go the the Cardhu distillery for the Aromas and flovours tour. Did you know that Cardhu supplies Johnnie walker with one of the major parts in their blend? This was a blast as at the end we tasted different types of Whisky, this gave us the oppurtunity to discern what types we liked. We then headed for Benromach Distillery this part of the trip ended up via Forres as we becoame a little directonaly challenged and required some help. Benromach is a tiny little distillery and the tour was similar but differnt to the other as it was a litle more hands on. Our tour guide was another Jim bringingn the tour guides named Jim total to 3. We enjoyed the Whisky at Benromach a liitle more for reasons of taste.

That brings you the valued viewer right up to date as if i was to type any more i would be informing you of the update of the blog. Hopefully Sarah will get her blog Mojo back for the next installment so you will not have to endure my horendus spelling and paragrah structue.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Road Trip UK - Day 3 & 4

Hey gang

Day 3 - So yesterday was our first full day in York. We started the day seeing the Jorvik Viking Center. We both really enjoyed the center we did however think it was a tad short. After leaving Jorvik we went to Barley Hall (which is a medieval house). I found Barley Hall more informative than Jorvik and a tad more interesting, Nath found it meh. They had herbal remedies to ward off the plague (i thought this was a good idea given my cough). After Barley Hall we went for lunch, we had fish and chips.. it was delicious! After lunch we just pottered around for a few hours before returning to our accommodation. We then pottered around the house before heading out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.

Day 4 - We started today with a free walking tour of York. It was really interesting because it took us to places in the city that we had not yet been to. We also got to walk on the wall! After the walking tour we went to a barber shop so Nath could get a hair cut & chop trim. This wouldnt usually be blog worthy except one of the barbers was about to go on lunch and said to Nath "I will get my colleague to cut your hair, you look like you will take a while and this gentlemen here looks simple" needless to say this cracked me up! The haircut was a success, after leaving the barber shop we went to the post office to post back some stuff and then had lunch. I persuaded Nath to try a pasty and they were delicious! We finished up our day (and time) in York at the Castle Museum. Nath went in to the museum thinking it was a museum about castles... not the case (as i could have explained if he had asked). It was a bit of an everything museum.. i really liked it. They had a special exhibition on the 60's... man i wish i could have been a hippy it looks like so much fun!

So that is our time in York, tonight we are going to the pub next door for dinner and then tomorrow we are off to Scotland!

Until next time

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Road Trip - UK Day 1-2

Hey Gang

So we have started Phase 3 of our holiday, the road trip across the United Kingdom.

It started yesterday as we made our way from London to Nottingham by train. In Nottingham we picked up our car (which Nath has decided to name, nothing at the moment we are still deciding) and then we drove to Warhammer World. Now for those readers who are less nerdy than some, Warhammer world is about the nerdiest place on the planet because it is the HQ for games workshop the creators of Warhammer & Warhammer 40k. So basically Nath was in Nerd boy heaven! and before you say anything yes I actually enjoyed myself too! We planned on making our trip to Warhammer World a short one but one thing lead to another and we spent a good 3 hours there... which then meant that we missed out on seeing Nottingham... but we did drive through Sherwood Forrest on the way out, so we didn't miss everything (oh well something for next trip!).

After leaving Nottingham we navigated ourselves to our first B&B for the trip, in a tiny town called (sleepy town) Ragnall (it is near Lincon). It was a pretty uneventful drive, although it did prompt us to invent Tractor Bingo as our new game!

We then got settled in our B&B and met our host Sue, she was very lovely. We then decided to have a powernap to re fresh our batteries before heading out to find some dinner. I managed to convince Nath that the best place to find dinner in small English towns is a local pub, and seeing that Ragnall did not in fact have a local we ventured into another small town that we drove though... Turxton (mainly because we liked the name). We then went into the only pub in Turxton (it had many) that didn't sell food... I was disappointed, but in the long run this was an excellent decision because if we had found food we would not have found... The Crab and Mussel. It is a seafood restaurant and to be honest we were a bit hesitant when we walked in (given that we aren't on the coast.. and the menu didn't help... weird menu) but oh my goodness if you ever find yourselves in downtown Turxton... do your self a favour and go! it is some of the nicest seafood i have ever eaten.. yummo!

The next day after the first of many English Breakfasts we set off to York where we will be spending the next 3 nights. York is a beautiful city, we spent the day just wandering around and making a list of what we want to do over the next few days. We then went to our accommodation in a small town about 5 miles out of York called Shipton. Our hostess Bron greeted us on the lawn and we sat down and had tea and scones with her. When her husband John came home we then met Kelby... their Springer Spaniel and oh my goodness it is Paddy's English cousin, this dog is just so friendly (like its owners). After getting to know our host's we decided to go and see a movie (as you do on holidays) we went to see Scott Pilgram V The World.... if you haven't seen it i wont spoil it for you.. but go and see it! it is awesome.. we laughed and laughed, it was a very cool end to a very lovely day.

On to the main sites of York tomorrow :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Topdeck... the end :(

Hey Gang

I am writing to you from our hotel room in London because it has come to that sad time where our Topdeck tour has finished :(

However we did have lots of fun on the way so i will let you know what we have been up to these last few days...

So last post was done on the travel day to Berlin, just like all travel days... a bit of a non-event but it is essential! So then we had our free day in Berlin... which is where i met up with Sandra who i haven't seen since we finished our exchange year together.. it was such a blast, Berlin is an amazing city it is such a old city but it feels so new because after WW1 & WW2 most things had to be rebuilt. We did a third Reich walking tour which was interesting, the thing that shocked me... the bunker that Hitler killed himself in (which is a very important moment in history) is now a car park... i was a tad underwhelmed! So yea i had a wonderful day... I could have easily spent more time in Berlin.

After Berlin we had our travel day to Amsterdam which was plagued by yet another traffic jam, this one was so bad we all got off the bus to have a wander around! By the time we got to Amsterdam is was well after dark which was perfect for... a tour of the red light district! One half of what this city is famous for! It was an.. uh interesting experience. After that we just headed back to the hostel to call it a night.

Our free day in Amsterdam was unusual, mainly because all the things that people said we should see in the city (Anne Franks house etc.) we just weren't interested in.. so we spend the day wandering around town, that night we had our farewell dinner at a floating Chinese restaurant... which was so tasty! after that we did a canal cruise which was an excellent way to see the city!

Our last day was a travel day back to London. This was something i have been looking forward to the whole trip because.... we stopped in Bruge! now as some of you may know "In Bruge" is one of my favourite films and my favourite line in it is "What the f*** is there to do in Bruge".. well I can now safely say.. not much other than visiting chocolate shops... which we did :) But it was still cool to do and it has added another country to the list :)

So that is it, we all said our goodbyes and parted ways.. so as of tomorrow we start phase 3 of our holiday.. the road trip!