Location: Bernie and Loobie's, England
Arrived in London to torrential rain, hail and flooding - ahaa, feels like home! One gets the feeling there is plenty of nervousness around the dismal British summer and the impending London Olympics. Officials have ordered 200,000 plastic ponchos in time for the opening ceremony! However in semi sunshine, today we took the train to London Victoria and started the day with a visit to Westminister Abbey which was hugely impressive. When then did a quick gallop around the Tate Modern before heading to Oxford Street. Tomorrow we will attempt to prop up the British economy some more with a bit more shopping. Lovingly, I have given Jacqui my cold so she is making her way through the entire chemist I bought in Ireland.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Our day in Dublin started with a bowl of porridge and a bacon and egg mcmuffin (no prizes for guessing who ate what there!). We then headed for the hop on hop off bus tour and experienced the infamous Irish gift of the gab. Luckily we could remain mostly annonymous down the back of the bus as the guide took the mickey out of anyone Scottish! Highlights were the Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness factory (hic), and Trinty College. Later that evening we went to my cousin's place for dinner and left Dublin the next day feeling a little dehydrated! Next stop London.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Left busy Galway for the much quieter surrounds of Knock - a small village an hour up the road who's main claim to fame is a bona fide apparition of the virgin Mary seen by several locals. Knock is Ireland's version of Lourdes and people come from far and wide to seek absolution for their sins or cures to their ailments. I tried a bit of holy water and it was a bit of an acquired taste. Still an interesting place to visit. We are in Dublin now where Jacqui eagerly awaits a tour of the Guiness factory. She is such a sinner!
Location: Galway, Ireland
Busy day! We started with a drive to Cobh to visit the Titanic Experience. That was fabulous and absolutely well done. It was amazing to stand on the deck where the passengers stood before sailing off and we thought that even the third class cabins looked pretty reasonable by todays standards.
But the best part of the trip there was following the gps which suddenly said, 'turn left and board ferry'. Ok, we weren't expecting that but it did explain why we couldn't see a bridge :) Ferry was a bit of an overstatement as it was more like a motorised barge and Liz was wondering how to tell the rental car company that their vehicle was now at the bottom of substantial water! Anyway, as expected we made it to the other side and didn't meet the fate of the Titanic.
Then a little retail therapy, we discovered that shops don't open until 12noon on Sundays , perhaps so all these non practicing Catholics can go to Church?? And then a quick visit to St Finbarrs Cathedral before Blarney Castle. This was Liz's highlight of the day, with the walls of the castle still so solid while the middle is completely open. Fantastic time we had here and we completed our first virtual geocache :)
The drive to Galway was uneventful as we took the advice of the pharmacist in Cork and planned our run through Limerick to coincide with the time that all the locals would be at a football game.
Galway is heaving. The Volvo Ocean Race has just finished up here and there are soooooo many people. Packed in every restaurant and hotel but it is very festive. Will visit a couple of local sites early before the next day of adventure. Liz is keen to leave as soon as possible as she doesn't like the hotel and won't walk on the carpet without shoes on :) I think the placed is very sweet!
Location: Cork, Ireland
First stop a cache by the river in Kilkenny and then on to the castle. Beautiful park like surroundings and the castle wasn't too shabby either! Quick stop in Waterford, the home of Waterford Crystal (surprise!). Couldn't fit the 30 000 crystal bear in the car boot so had to leave empty handed :( Driving out of Waterford Liz spotted a sign saying "William Hobson, first govenor of NZ was born here". Small world!
Then a nice drive on to Cork. Love it here. A visit to the old gaol was really interesting. It only closed in 1923 but the cells didn't look too flash. Lots of political prisoners there over the years. Walked over the 'shaky bridge', a swing bridge across the river which was actually really stable (and also stopped for a cache, wahoo). Then a walk around town before a yummy dinner at the hotel. Why do we always think we need garlic bread to start? Need to do some power walking tomorrow!
We can see St Fin Barre's Cathedral from our hotel room tonight and will visit there tomorrow. This is a pretty flash hotel - we've come back to a turn down service and slippers beside the bed. Spoilt!!
Location: Kilkenny, Ireland
Friday 6 June. Kilkenny.
Flew to Ireland today, picked up the rental car, the friendly gps, and on to Kilkenny. Nice uneventful drive even if a bit damp! Watching the news tonight it looks like we have it way better than England. We did a fabulous walking tour of
Kilkenny this afternoon, learnt lots about the history of the area & some fun facts like one of the mayors had 25 children and Kilkenny actually means church of canice (kill means church and somehow canice has been anglicised to kenny!) We saw the market cross, the butter slip where they used to sell dairy produce in the shade, the shee alms house, the beautiful Black Abbey, St Mary's cathedral which was converted to a protestant church after the reformation but is now not used at all. The Black Abbey was mostly destroyed and half of it has been restored. When they were restoring the nearby St Canice cathedral they found an expensive alabaster statute hidden in the walls. It is thought that those in the church knew that Cromwell was coming along destroying everything so hid it really well! After the tour we visited Rothe House which is restored by the archaeological society and was fabulous. A highlight was the antlers of an extinct giant deer which were mounted above the fireplace at the height it would have been is standing. Massive!
Drying off in the hotel so Liz doesn't get sicker and then we will head out to get some time dinner. I'm keen on the oldest pub in Kilkenny where the landlady had 4 husbands by the
she was 44! The step children started to get suspicious and the church investigated. Of course it was alleged she was a witch and she, her son and servants were imprisoned. The landlady escaped and was never found, the son bought his way out and the servants were burnt at the stake. Sounds like a perfect place for a drink or bite to eat :) We are counting on good street lighting as neon signs are not allowed in Kilkenny - even the golden arches of McDonalds are made of wood!
Looks like the rain might follow us around, might come home with webbed feet...
So back in England long enough for some washing and a quick trip up to the local shops for some dinner. Off to Ireland tomorrow.
Since our last entry in Spain we went to Guadalest to a fantastic old castle up on the rocks, but the best bit was the view across the lake which was a colour we've not seen in water before. A real vibrant turquoise, hope to get some photos up soon. And then on to fonts de l'algar, a waterfall park nearby. Given how sunburnt people were it felt like that they paid the 4 entry fee at the start of the day and stayed there until closing - swimming and enjoying the complex and the stream/swimming hole/waterfalls.
Found some great caches while in Spain too - in Hamilton nearly all the caches are in flax but in Spain it seems that rocks are the hide of choice. Doesn't really narrow it down any when all you can see are rocks on the ground, rocks in stone walls and rocks in piles near buildings or trees but somehow Liz always knows just where to look :) There was one cache on a narrow goat track way up high on a cliff and I refused to go on to that one! It said terrain 2, really??? But we had great views from lots of caches without endangering life and limb and even 7 windmills at the last one. They are slowly being restored and the sign said they were used to grind wheat etc. It was blowing up there so I could see the sense of using the wind to grind but I am pleased we weren't expected to carry bags of grain with us on the climb up!
Liz has a bit of a cold which is a huge surprise since she never gets sick. I think it was too much heat and warm weather and she'll be fine when we get to Ireland and the temperature is below 20 instead of the 28-35 degrees in Spain!
So Kilkenny here we come tomorrow ... we'll give you an update from there once we hunt down some internet access.
Day 5. Spain. Greetings from another internet cafe, this time in Javea. Blazing hot and Jacqui in her infinite wisdom thinks going for a geocache hunt is a good idea (especially when we have already found 4 in Spain. Her addiction knows no bounds). Spain is a happy place today given the Euro 2012 win over Italy. We went down to the town to watch it where there were dangerously cheap and large drinks at our disposal. We have seen glasses of wine smaller than the glassses of gin they were pouring. Our time to date has been mostly about relaxing, reading, swimming and shooting the breeze with Bernie and Loobie. When we have some wireless, we will put some photos up.
Waking this moring at 7am to 26 degrees - lovely!
As usual we are having a lovely time here with Bernie and Loobie. We have been out in the sun and in the pool already. Great, great fun and very relaxing. We´ve just popped in to an internet cafe so I can sort out a few caches to look for - they are humouring me for sure! Anyway, the fantastic man here has aweseom English and he is suggesting that B and L could teach him English (it is already great!) and he could teach them Spanish when they move here. He used to be a teacher - we just can´t help ourselves can we :)
We went out for dinner last night and for a short walk while it was cool enough to move, don´t think there will be much walking in the heat today - not sure when the geocaching will be done!
Plan to go into somewhere in Benetexell to watch Spain in their next Euro game so that will be fun .
Right, off for more heat, books, sun and relaxation (and maybe a cache or too if I can handle the heat and convince someone to drive me).
Liz would write something but she has gone off to find a cold drink already :)
Day one - Singapore.
Had a good flight over with no passengers from hell and no screaming children. Bliss. Singapore is steamy, orderly and fastidiously clean. We are looking forward to coming back to this hotel on the return leg - a swim in the rooftop pool has already been a highlight.
Jacqui is worried that the hop on hop off bus that we intend to use when we return stops at every shop in Singapore! Hopefully Liz keeps enough money in reserve for her shopping run here :)
Back to the airport now for the next stretch but it feels easier after a good night of sleep and a nice breakfast.