Monday, May 30, 2011

Saturday and Sunday around Dublin...

Mostly took these two days to take buses:

bus sign

dublin bus

and check out some of the things I had wanted to see...

The Famine Memorial:

famine monument1

The River Liffey:

River Liffey

Glasnevin Cemetery:

Glasnevin Cemetery 1

Glasnevin Cemetery2

National Botanic Gardens:




Picked up a little food to eat along the way:


and generally tried to avoid the tourist crowds in the shopping areas:


LOTS more pictures on Flickr, just click on any of the above photos and it will take you to the Flickr Ireland page for more!

Last night while talking to Andy on Skype I thought about how it is so amazing to have a 30 minute conversation and not have to use up phone minutes -- and have video no less! The future is here!

I told him of my most interesting language conversations so far this week: 2 people I could speak Japanese to and another conversation in French. I have to leave home and travel half way around the world to use my now mostly forgotten Japanese -- I never find anyone around Sacramento to speak with anymore! But here there were 2 different situations on the two tours I went on where there was a visitor from Japan on one and another was a Japanese young woman who was living in London over to Dublin for a holiday. I can usually tell if someone is from Japan (as opposed to other Asian countries) by their English so I spoke to them first asking if they were Japanese (in Japanese which always catches people by surprise) then went on to have a little conversation -- usually where they are from and why/how I come to speak Japanese but still it is nice for a change to speak it again).

And the French was with another couple on the Newgrange tour who were from Belgium but were speaking French to each other (English to everyone else -- of course most Europeans know their own language and are fluent in English and often other languages as well). So one time I just answered them in French and a small conversation in French ensued. Both my Japanese and French get so rusty with non-use that it is nice to attempt them once in a while. I guess Andy and I need to get back to France soon so I can work on that rusty French!

Just had my last breakfast in Ireland

Full Irish2

and will be heading out to the Airport later this morning. Next stop: London

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I can't believe I watched the whole match!

But Barcelona was just so good and it was so exciting -- I was happy to see them win.



Even I who knows only a little about football (soccer) here knew it was a beautiful game.

barcelona win

And those Barcelona guys were so cute! Good thing I am not 30 years younger! LOL (Nothing to worry about Andy!) Too bad the celebrations got so violent in Barcelona. But those Europeans sure take their football seriously!

Every time I see a yellow (or red) card I think I should adopt that system in my classroom!

Oh and before the game I had a nice lamb shank for my dinner:

lamb shank

I would have also gotten a green salad had I known there was no green veggie but it was so filling I let it go. The Irish DO love their potatoes and their carrots-parsnips combos! The lamb was from Wicklow area (where I was the other day) and was oh so tasty!!

On another topic: HERE is a link to an online Celtic streaming radio station that has some nice Irish tunes. Unfortunately there is no radio in my hotel room so I don't get to listen to regular Irish radio. TV is limited to the hotel fare (CNN news and a few BBC shows, plus later at night American movies, not much). I would have loved to see regular day to day Irish tv to see the commercials and the stuff people watch here on a daily basis. I guess hotels don't figure the "normal" tourist wants that so it isn't available.

And lastly for now until I upload more pix to Flickr... I rearranged some of the photos already in Summer Travels Flickr into sets and deleted the big Summer Travels set. I decided not to lump all the summer travel together but to separate it by country. Hopefully when you click on a photo here it will just take you to Flickr and you can figure out the rest for yourself! Happy viewing!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday along the coast...

Yesterday was a nice day exploring the coast around Dublin. It started with a small breakfast of lovely Moroccan blueberries and Irish yogurt:


Then a walk along the canal near the hotel:


To the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit):


At least no smoking on the trains:


Off the train, passing by some yummy goodies:


But THIS is what I came to see:

bray beach1

The south part of Dublin Bay and the Irish Sea:

bray beach2

Then back up the coast a bit to Dalkey and its Castle:

dalkley castle

Then finally further up the coast to the north of Dublin to Howth to take in the wharf and all the amazing fish:

howth fish

Tons more photos to upload to Flickr but I have been having too much fun to sit down and work on the computer!
This was Friday.... it is Saturday night now and I have a whole slew more to post from today, which will have to wait because there it is almost time for Barcelona vs Manchester United and the whole of Europe is going to be watching this game (and drinking of course) so I am going to go downstairs and have a Guinness and watch and listen a while!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday in Newgrange...

I am SO tired after a wonderful but long day out in the wind and rain seeing Mesolithic and Neolithic tombs and burial mounds with an amazing guide! I signed up for the Mary Gibbons Newgrange tour and if you notice on her website there are articles by her brother Michael, a noted Irish archeologist. Well, turns out he was visiting her this week and he decided to lead the trip today! So, we got an incredible more academic tour probably than most people were expecting but I appreciated it so much more that way! I have heard Mary is very knowledgeable and gives a great tour but I was happy to be guided by her brother today instead. I just wish the wind had been a little calmer because it is very tiring walking a lot and trying to listen to someone when the wind is thrashing around you out in the countryside.
We went to several areas which I will leave it to you for now to Google and learn about: Dowth, Newgrange, Hill of Tara and the whole Boyne River area.
Here are a few highlights. As usual, more to come!


Boyne River area

michael gibbons

Michael Gibbons


The outside of the tomb. As usual, photos not allowed inside.


rock carving

A rock with a carving.

Then Michael rubbed grasses on it to make the carving stand out for us:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday in Wicklow...

Today I took a great day tour to the Wicklow area, the highlights being Glendalough. Weather was semi-cooperative in the morning, breezy and cool but by afternoon we had a lot of scattered showers and high winds, so photo taking was a challenge!  Forget about the hair! Red hair flying everywhere!


But enough of me... here is where I went today:






Lots more photos to upload to Flickr in the next few days... but one last thing... it's official... Obama was here:
He wasn't actually in the place I was, but there are posters of him now everywhere showing him all over famous places in Ireland! Gotta make a Euro somehow I suppose!

Book of Kells exhibit...

Book of Kells exhibit by Cali-rhoz
Book of Kells exhibit, a photo by Cali-rhoz on Flickr.

Could not take any photos inside (they are very strict on this) but HERE is the site link for information about it and HERE are some of the images.

Having a bit of trouble getting pix onto Flickr and posting on blog...

Not sure what the problem is: the hotel connection is slow, this Netbook, volcanic ash (why not)?  Anyway I managed to get this posting up and will work on posting photos and commentary soon! I could not upload to Flickr yesterday -- need now to find a way to shrink my photos and make it a little faster. Connection kept going down while attempting to upload. I gave up after an hour of frustration!  At least I was able to Skype with Andy for a few minutes before we got disconnected.

In a nutshell: finally got into Dublin Monday, all City Center was closed due to Obama's visit so no bus service from the airport -- had to take a taxi. Cost me around 14 Euro more but I got here!  Yesterday (Tuesday) got to Trinity College and Book of Kells, and the Chester Beattie Library so got my Illuminated Manuscript fix in! Walked miles around thge City Center area, touristy spots. Today on a day tour to Wicklow Mountain area. Looking forward to getting out to the countryside even though rain is forecast for most of the day.

I will try uploading photos again tonight!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Watching me pack...

cats on bed by Cali-rhoz
I think they were waiting for me to leave the room so they could hide in my suitcase and come with me! I will miss them (and my naps) but NOT the hairballs!

packing cubes

This is what the packing cubes look like inside the duffel bag. There is still a lot of room for souvenirs (yes Andy I will find you a t-shirt!).

clothes for trip

This is as minimalist as I could get for 7.5 weeks: 3 pants (one worn on plane, 2 packed), 6 shirts (all interchangeable with the pants, one worn on plane, 5 packed), Not shown: 3 pairs of shoes (one worn on plane, 2 packed), 2 t-shirts and shorts to sleep in, undies and personal items and toiletries. Also one black sweater, an light weight ivory colored jacket and my blue wind-rain jacket. Of course there are the other things, my journal and art supplies (that was the hardest thing to pare down), ziplock bags, few plastic dish/bowls and camping silverware (I like to get things from stores and make my own food a lot rather than always depending on restaurants), a coffee mug that I can leave behind, decaf teabags for evenings (sometimes hard to find traveling), and somehow it all still 3/4 fills up this duffel bag -- just a little too much for the 22 inch carry-on (which for a flight to Europe I couldn't carry on anyway because of their tiny weight limits).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Slow tweaking...

Since I last did a blog there have been a lot of changes to Blogger so I am in a way having to relearn how to do this again.

Tonight I figured out how to open the comments fields on my pages. Not sure I want them but I thought I would see how it went and decide later if I need to leave them without comments.

And I figured out how to get rid of the borders around my photos. Actually I figured it out the other day then blogger went down and I never got a chance to change the template. Did that tonight finally. For some reason I prefer the look of photographs right there on the page without all that Blogger padding and framing around them. Just a personal choice. So I fixed it.

Oh yeah, and I figured out how to link the Flickr photos to this blog so I can upload photos from Flickr along the way.

Slow night, wasting time at the computer. Too busy listening to Margaritaville Radio and reading about the Queen's visit to Dublin. Glad she is there this week and not next or I might not get to all the sights I want to see. She was at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the place was shut down for tourists. That is one of the first things I want to see next week, so glad it will be open!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting closer to leaving...

And getting more excited as the week goes on.

duffle suitcase

Yesterday I did a complete packing run-through to make sure I had everything. It's hard to know what to bring for a 7 1/2 week trip and I am working on keeping it as minimal as I can, but in the end it didn't all quite fit into a 22 inch carry-on. Andy wants a couple of t-shirts and other souvenirs and I usually buy pressies for my niece and nephew so I figured I better have a tiny bit more room. The only other suitcase I had was my 26" REI duffle (this one I took to Iceland last year) so even though now it has a few inches of extra room when it's closed and upright, I imagine I will fill up the spaces as I travel.

The problem with carry-on anymore is that going to Europe you are only allowed a very small bag (no more than 13 pounds) which is like a heavy daypack (like mine with all my electronic gear since I do not want to put the Netbook* or any other electronic necessities in the suitcase in case it gets lost). So after those things and my art travel journal and such, my pack is at the pound limit.

So even if I had been able to get it all into a 22 inch carry-on I would have had to check it anyway. I just don't want to have to schlep a lot of weight around when I travel.

*Yes, this time I am bringing my Netbook. This is unusual for me because I usually prefer to travel lower-tech and not have to worry about things like a computer and all, but Andy wants me to Skype along the way (beats having to pay for phone calls I guess and we can video, so he can show me the cats and dog and I can remember how much I hate hairballs!)... the interesting part will be to see if the supposed "Free WiFi" in the hotels and B&B's I am staying in really exists. If not, there are always coffee places and libraries and I think most of Europe is more "connected" to the Internet that most of the US so it shouldn't be a problem.

So... just have a few more days of school to go (I think the teachers are just as if not more antsy than the kids this year) then I am off... leaving on a jet plane.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

About the watch...

I wrote this for Thursday's posting but then Blogger was down and it never got posted. So it's a few days later.
Thursday, May 12

I forgot my watch this morning. 

So, what’s the big deal?

I didn’t notice it until I was a couple blocks from my house on the way to work.  The big deal is that probably most of my school and working life as well as weekends and summer vacation I have worn a watch.  I feel naked without my watch on. But I was already a few blocks from home and didn’t want to double back and go get it so I kept going. I thought about it and realized I have no lack of clocks around me. There is a clock that is 2 hours wrong in my car (I lost the manual and never figured out how to fix it), there is a clock in my classroom, a clock on my computer at work, and probably about half the kids in my classroom wear watches. I could get through the day without my own watch.  There is really nothing I need to do today where I need to know the precise time (except maybe knowing I have 4 minutes between classes to run to the bathroom but I always know this and don’t think I need a watch to tell me to pee fast).

But that is not really what prompts me to write this. People forget their watches all the time. No big deal. What strikes me as important for me is that it was really easy to let it go. No watch? Ok, no big deal. No panic, no anxiety… I noticed it and then let it go.  And in truth I think I only looked at my arm once and remembered I had no watch and haven’t even though about it for most of the day.

Can you tell letting go is a big issue with me? Not just the emotional letting go, but also the letting go of stuff, habits, and everything else that has been holding me back.

THAT is probably the pivotal point of this blog and what I want to explore and expand on in future posts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Starting over... again! Or maybe not...

I wrote the paragraphs below about 2 hours ago and just a few minutes ago when I went to check my blog, what I had written 2 days ago was back. Go figure....
I just got this blog started up when Blogger went down for a couple of days and when it came back, everything I had done was gone. So, I am starting over again, after starting over the first time a few days ago after a blogging absence of a couple of years.

What this has taught me:
1. It's not really a big deal.
2. Don't get too attached to anything I write or do here because it can disappear. On the other hand, if what I wrote was really that good, insightful, funny, pithy, or even genius (haha) it will get written again because it's still somewhere in my brain. And if not... see reason #1.
3. Write out stuff in word docs first and save them on my computer before putting them here or on any online destination. If I don't... see reason #1.
4. Be thankful I happened to have the day off today (termite guys out working on the house) and have time to redo this. But if I hadn't, tomorrow is Saturday, could have done it then... see reason #1.
5.  In the long run, it doesn't really matter. Just let it go, get some coffee and start making a blog again. At the most I lost a few hours. Nothing more, so... see reason #1.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First order of business...

I really need to find another title for this blog but I realized something this evening: THAT was one of the things I was letting get in the way of starting this up again, so for some reason it clicked tonight and I just let it go and dug in and got going. So here it is, another blog, starting up again...

It has been a couple of years since I have kept a blog going and there is a lot going on: travels, changes, and no doubt a few rants and instances of bad punctuation inside me so it seemed to be time, again.

No promises, what comes out will come out. I am sure there will be a lot of changes in the beginning as I get back used to communicating this way. But this definitely helps me with my stepping back away from Facebook and I think it will set me in the right direction for the writing I plan to do and the journeys I intend to embark on, foreign and otherwise.

We shall see... que sera, sera.