Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ireland update

Sunday turned out not to be a day of rest. We ended up going to Powerscourt which is about 25 minutes from Druids Glen. It is a huge estate with beautiful grounds and ponds. Very peaceful. Their rose and flower gardens are breathtaking. The roses actually smell like a rose should. Of course there's shopping and places to eat within the estate. Tim sat at a table for 4 while the rest of us went thru the cafeteria style line. They don't do anything too fast over here so it took awhile. Some woman came over to Tim and told him he couldn't sit there without a food tray. He started speaking German to her...she repeated he couldn't sit there and he again replied in German. I'm not sure he knew what he was saying but it worked because she looked bewildered and then left. He's still talking about it.

Monday we took the Dart (commuter) into Dublin. About an hour's ride. Did breakfast and then headed to Trinity College. Trinity College was found in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1 to "civilise Ireland with both learning and the Protestant religion...for the reformation of the barbarism of this rude people". Good thing she's long gone. The Book of Kells is also located at Trinity. It's approximately 800AD and it illustrates the 4 Gospels. the Long Room (upstairs) is a library which is something you would picture right out of Harry Potter. It houses approximately 250 million books. Pretty impressive. Tim and Bruce went to a Rotary meeting and it turned out that that particular club was the oldest Rotary Club in Dublin.

Tuesday we piled into the car and Tim drove us to Waterford. Have to say he has this left hand driving down. We all suck air once in awhile simple because the roads are curvey and narrow. Spent our monies in Waterford doing our part for their economy. Barely had enough left to eat at the local McDonald's. Yes, they are everywhere. We left Waterford and headed north through Kilkenny thinking it would be a great place to stop and windowshop. Well, traffic in the town was unbelieveable and after a few wrong turns and a couple of times around a roundabout we headed back toward Dublin. Had happy hour in our room, ate dinner and crashed.

Decided we would make today (Wednesday) a quiet day. We all had butt-itis and didn't want to sit in a car or on the commuter for any longer than we needed to. Just went into Greystones and dinked around. Then went to Bray (small town north of us) dinked around and had lunch. Tim is now back in the room with a book. Probably will be napping by the time I get there. Tomorrow we head back to Dublin.

Have taken some great pictures. Too bad I don't know how to get them on the blog while over here. Will have to wait until I'm home.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ireland - Druids Glen

We left Edinburgh yesterday morning for I think the shortest airplane ride I've ever been on! The flight had food and drink but you had to catch the flight attendants as they flew up and down the aisle. I never did get anything. I must have blinked as they went by. In addition to the food/drink they were also hawking duty free stuff and lottery tickets. These were not all at the same time either. They had different push carts for duty free and the tickets. Landed in Dublin, got bags, got car and headed south to Druids Glen where we are staying. Had lunch in Greystones, did the booze shopping and then Tim and I were sure we could find our way to Druids Glen going the back way out of Greystones. (He was also sure the tinkers (gypsies) would still be on the corner they were 3 years ago!) They weren't. There is a 2 story building now. Needless to say, we sort of missed a turn or two. Seems like our landmarks we were counting on have now been built on! Bruce and Susan are great...they just sit in the back sit and listen to Tim and I banter back and forth who's right about what turn. And, as usual, I was. The roads do seem narrower here than Scotland. I'm sure we scratched the hubcabs a couple of times getting here.

We napped and read books the rest of the day, had happy hour in our room, had dinner and then crashed. Tim has a cold and is sort of under the weather. He got up this morning, went out and watched the sun come up over the Irish Sea. I swear he is communing with his ancesters. As lousy as he feels...he feels as if he was home (and I don't mean Pebblecreek). He also came back up to the room and went back to bed. We will probably make this a do nothing day. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Edinburgh update

Arrived Edinburgh Sunday late afternoon. This is our 3rd trip to Edinburgh and the first for our friends, Bruce and Susan. Took a cab in to town Monday and got on the hop on/hop off double decker bus to give them the lay of the land. The Edinburgh Fesitival is happening and there are more people in the street than usual. Lots of street performers and others who are hawking their plays, etc with short presentations.

Tuesday I headed out with my camera to take pictures of the local old church. The wedding coordinator was in the graveyard and asked me if I would like to go inside. She then gave me the history of the church and the surrounding area that the Dalmahoy sits on. She pointed out a stone that was dated 6th century A.D. The family that apparently owned the land/farm still owns it today with the Earl of somebody living in the family home. (Back in the trees - couldn't see anything). We got adventurous and took the public bus into the city. Cabs cost approximately 20£ (close to $40.00). bus is 1.70£. Headed to Edinburgh Castle and did the tour thing. Had a great dinner and then headed back to the Castle for the Military Tattoo. Crowds were absolutely unbelievable. We had been to the Queen Mum's Tattoo a few years ago and didn't remember any crowds like that. Security was ever present. Your bags were checked before you even got close to the viewing stands. Even for the size of crowds it went pretty smooth. The Tattoo didn't start until 9pm. It is an amazing event. Don't remember the web site but if you go to Google and type in Edinburgh Military Tattoo you can find it and get a feel what it is all about. Took a cab back since it was so late and Tim didn't want to go the bus route.

Wednesday we rented a car (2 days) and headed to Stirling (another castle) and then up to St. Andrews where Bruce stood on the famous golfing bridge for a photo op. Did some shopping and then headed back. Sort of got lost (missed the road we were suppose to get off at) and had a lovely view of the back roads of Edinburgh. They gave me a map at the hotel (a photo copy) which showed the roads...but didn't have the route numbers on it. Good thing this is an english speaking country. Tim did an excellent job of driving on the left side. I only sucked air a couple of times and we had to stay in a round-about a couple of times until I could figure out which exit to take to get out of it. Got back, did happy hour in the room, ate dinner and crashed.

Thursday was another road trip. This time we went to Caithness Glass which is near Perth. Unbelieveable paper weights!! The have a viewing room where you can watch them make them. We bought one that has a calla lilly in it. This is all done by hand and I still shake my head how they do it. Obviously, the calla lilly isn't real but it looks like one. We left Perth and drove to the Famous Grouse Distillery which is the oldest whiskey distillery in Scotland. Had a great tour with a couple of tastings at the end. Good thing Jack Daniels isn't made in Scotland! I would have had to drive back. Got back, did happy hour in the room, ate dinner and crashed.

Today (Friday) Susan and I are doing the bus thing in to Edinburgh for some shopping and maybe going to Holyrood which is the royal family's home when they are in Scotland, Tim's going to read and I'm not sure what Bruce is doing. We pack up this evening and head to Ireland tomorrow morning. Don't know what computer access I will have there.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

We're at Heathrow

We are waiting in the British Airways lounge and guess what? They have a computer! Yea! It appears our flight to Edinburgh is a go.

When we checked in we were informed that there was no food on board (and to Tim's dismay - no Jack Daniels). They gave each of us (4 total) chits for $40.00 to spend at restaurants at Sky Harbor. Well, not a lot to choose from but we did manage to spend $104.00. Used 3 chits and since we had money left ended up getting 3 cheesecakes and a bottle of water. Total bill was $121.00. Had to fork over a buck. Susan and I took our remaining $40 and headed to Paradise Bakery. We had to have something for breakfast. Let's just say we ended up with cookies, muffins, brownies, croissants and orange juice to feed the plane.

Tim stopped at the Duty Free shop and got his Jack. Once we were on board found out they also didn't have any ice! The seats folded down flat and I slept most of the way. At one point I woke up to Tim laughing. I looked over, he had his eyes shut and when I poked him and asked him what he was laughing about (plus he was probably waking everyone up) he said he was listening to the comedy channel. Apparently, he was enjoying the humor.

We've got about 45 minutes to our next flight.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Trip Update

Well, as of 5:55am this morning (Saturday) British Air says our flight this evening is a go. I've called them so many times and have gotten a few different answers that I guess we won't know for sure until we check in! What a roller coaster of a ride. At least we weren't stranded at Heathrow. Once we've landed at Heathrow we have a two hour window to get to our next plane to Edinburgh...but at this point it doesn't look like it's up and flying yet.

The dogs know something is up. They've been hoping for a cancellation since that meant a road trip for them in the "condo"!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Trip to Scotland & Ireland

We leave for Scotland on Saturday (8/13). We'll be staying at the Marriott Dalmahoy Golf and Resort hotel outside of Edinburgh for a week. Our friends, Bruce and Susan are going with us. This will be their first trip to Scotland and Ireland. We leave for Ireland on 8/20 and will be staying at Marriott's Druids Glen (about 30 miles south of Dublin) for another week.

I usually pack the last 20 minutes before we leave. Drives Tim nuts. This time I'm ahead of the game. Work hasn't been so crazy and therefore I've had more time to get ready. Tim brought the suitcases in from the garage while I was out with the dogs. They start pacing when they see them. They know something is up and it doesn't look like a "condo" trip for them. He put them (the suitcases not the dogs) in the second bedroom until we are ready to start packing. When it's time to leave I'll take the dogs outside while he takes the suitcases to the car. This way they'll think it's just another day off to work when we leave.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Trip to Prescott, AZ

July 22: We headed to Prescott in the "condo" with dogs (Tootsie and Buffy) caravaning with our friends Jan and David. We stayed at Point of Rocks RV park. Great little park. Cool, rainy weather. Played a few games of Mexican Train.