A Travellerspoint blog

heat wave...NOT

luck of the irish

rain 15 °C

We reached Dublin on Thursday, picked up our hire car, and were stuck in traffic jam for the next 2 hours. We finally got to our hotel after going round in not so round circles, and went straight to the guinness factory, where we spent the next four hours. It was quite an amazing place, even Jo tried drinking guinness, but sean was gratefully finished her entire pint.
The next morning we were up early and heading to tipperary. We stopped off at the Curragh, and then went to the Coolmore stud farm for our much awaited tour, which did not dissappoint. We got to pat Saddlers Wells and encosta de lago, as well as witness a superbly run farm.
From there we headed to Galway where we had a room booked for the night. Had a quick look around the city - but the scenery - is out on the open roads, with some breathtaking sights. From there our next stop was Derry. On the way we discovered a really cute place called Sligo were we stopped for coffee, but when we arrived in Derry the heavens had opened, so we continued on to Giants Causeway. We were so amazed by this, and lived up to all our expectations. We also stopped and checked out Dunance Castle which was also pretty cool.
On the way back to Derry we also spotted the Royal Portrush Golf Course, which once held the brittish open, so had a quick look at that as well. Then to Derry itself. Quite an empty place on a Sat night, and very scary, as everything is barred up and all windows had metal shutters. Broken glass lined every street. So we decided not to spend too long out exploring the streets at nite. By luck we met some Americans who were staying at the hostel with us. They were also going to be heading in our direction the next day - but they were in for a big night so weren't sure our paths would be crossing again. The next morning we explored the wall itself - which was really incredible, and as still nothing was open, we decided it was time to head to Belfast. As we were driving out, our new American friends were heading to the bus stop, so we picked them up and drove them to Belfast. Luckily we did, as they were staying the same place as us, and we would never have found the place. Once we got there and checked in, we all took a Black Cab tour, which takes you through the orange and green sections of Belfast, and teaches you about the history. They were also preparing for the big Bon Fires which are taking place on the 12th (good time not to be in Belfast).
Our time in Ireland/Northern Ireland managed to reach a high of 17 degrees, and rained every hour for about 5 mins.
It was such an interesting experience.
Then to the airport to drop off the car. As we drove to the international airport - we checked our itinerary, to discover we were departing from the city airport - so after quick scenic trip - we were headed back to the correct airport - then onto Amsterdam.

Posted by kingburns 12:33 Archived in Ireland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Abbey road

what the uk has to offer jet lagged tourists in three days

all seasons in one day 16 °C

We arrived in London at about 9.15 am having had no sleep (but watching a couple of good movies - wild hogs and shooter). So we figured the best option was to try to make it through the day and wait until night to sleep. After Kate gave us a cup of tea (normal tea - not what we got in the states) and some toast and Vegemite - we felt half human - and were ready to shower - and take on some of the sites of London. We headed for the city and got off the tube at St Paul's cathederal. From there we wallked to the London eye - but london being typically wet and miserble - we figured it wasn't where we were going to spend our extremely hard earned pounds. So we walked around to Big Ben, and westminister abbey, and by this time didn't think we could make it much further, so for a much earned rest, and to get out of the rain - we bought a hop on hop off bus ticket. While dosing in and out of sleep we managed to catch a glimpse of some of the sights we intended to see the next day. We met Kate and Mark in town after they finished work, went for a bite to eat, and checked out picadilly circus and covent garden market.
That night we slept very well. By the time we woke up the next morning - and got going half the day was gone, so we went and saw Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus, and also visited Harrod's.
The final day, we went to abbey road, and walked across the pedestrian crossing as you do - but were quite shocked at how unrecognisable the area was. From the we went to Camden Town - now this place has a hip (punk almost) market - really big and worth a look if your in that area.
The day ended with a awesome home cooked meal - thanks Kate we really appreciated it. It will be the last one for a while. Next stop - Ireland.

Posted by kingburns 03:26 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

DC - farewell to the USA

Washington - our favourite city so far

storm 38 °C

Washington is an amazing place. On our first full day we headed to what we thought would be the number one attraction - the white house. After initially being told we couldn't see it - we were then advised that this was temporary - but they wouldn't say why. Well after about 20 mins we got to see it - and it was a big white house and that was about it. So the next biggest object in our site was the washington monument - we arrived to discover that you needed to have been there at 9.00am to get a pass - we managed to get onto a tour and the view was spectacular from the top - you could see out over all of DC, and the pentagon in Virginia, plus every memorial or museum you can think of; then to the movies for some washington action - live free or die hard - bruce willis as the usual John McClane.
The next day we headed to iwo jima. The moment most recognised by fans of the movie - flags of our fathers, then onto arlington cemetary where the likes of jfk and the tomb of the unknown soldier reside, from there we headed to union station and the postal museum - which was fascinating. And lastly the Spy Musuem - which had a great james bond movie car from GoldFinger - and if someone can tell Richard A - that they were impressed with sean's mata hari t-shirt that dan designed (and sean just happened to be wearing that day)
The next morning we were up early to que for tickets to the holocaust museum. This was pretty disturbing but paints a very real picture of what happened in the 30's and 40's in many parts of europe. We then had a brief look at the folk life festival in 'the mall' but it didn't capture our interest very much, (but sean got to give some ribbing to the irish about galic footy fights)so off to the washington national zoo. I can't believe these places are almost all free. The panda's and tigers were jo's fav's, while Sean was facinated by the reptile enclosure.
Our last few hours we decided to spend in historic georgetown. Unfortuntely the place doesn't wake until midday and our shuttle was picking us up at 2 so we missed georgetown at its best. However can highly recommend the tenderloin steak from bourbon in Morgan Adams - went back two nights in a row - and reasonably priced for that area.
Until our UK entry - where we have just arrived, and luckily enough to be staying with Kate and Mark.
somehow managed a trip/tour of US capital as well - which was fascinating

Posted by kingburns 03:53 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Niagara Falls

Amazing but no Terrance & Philip

sunny 37 °C

Well we have now been to Canada, and really enjoyed visiting the falls. Maid of the mist was really great, journey behind the falls - wasn't anywhere near as good though.
Tax system needs some work - we actually have a decent one in comparison. GST, PST and others all get added after you have purchased your items - you never have any idea what the total bill will be.
Butterfly house was really neat. Sean was the main attraction according to the butterfly's they all came and sat on his hand, hat, neck - but they didn't come near me?
Would have been interesting to see the falls frozen over in winter. They light them up and night time - in different colours, and they also put on fireworks display the night we went down there, which looked great.
It looks like a real hick town in some parts, and like an amusement park in other parts. Very extreme town.
The travelling from buffalo to niagara - wasn't as straight forward as we thought it would be - they said the bus we were planning on taking would take about four hours, so we ended up taking a cab which only took about 45 mins, (with a flat rate of US$75) and slight delay crossing the border. Glad we weren't heading back to USA on a weekend - the queues the other way were mad.
We have now arrived in Washington - our last destination in America - and will update you toward the end of our visit here.

Posted by kingburns 15:03 Archived in Canada Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

New York

The city of lights - and trash filled streets

semi-overcast 25 °C

Well we have lived it up in new york, and seen as many sites as we could.
We started out visiting Strawberry Fields, in Central park - and have heard that it is a big park - but its more than that - it is gigantic.
We then headed into Time Square. That was pretty amazing. We saw the empire state building - were about to take elevator to top - when it started pouring with rain - so we figured we'd see more on foot.
So we went to Grand Central station - the scene of many films including men in black I & II. And capped off the night with dinner in an Irish Pub??? and a trip back to Time Square to see the night lights, and a walk down broadway.
The next morning we headed to the Ferry's to decide which trip to do to see the statue of liberty. After seeing the queue for the one which stops out front and lets you climb it, we thought a nice cruise by it would be ample. We also had a good view of the brooklyn bridge, and numerous other new york sites. After we got off the cruise - took a leisurely stroll through Battery Park - and up to see the big bull who used to be out the front of New York Stock exchange. Then walked up through the financial district and saw the site of the world trade centre - which still seems quite raw. The construction they are doing there won't be finished until 2011 (i think).
We sat on the stairs of the courthouse (that is filmed in Law and Order) and walked past city hall (but due to heavy security could not get very close to that). We also walked through the streets of SoHo and are not quite sure what the fuss is all about - with people selling rip of DVD's, Sunglasses and handbags on every corner - we thought it was mistaken for Thailand.

Today we went for a walk to the Hudson river - but couldn't figure out where to cross the major highway (no pedestrian crossing in sight) - so headed back into town. Went to the Manhattan Mall, and to Hell's Kitchen Flea Market - and managed to find ourselves at yet another Irish Pub in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. We then went back to 42nd street to catch a train back to our hostel, so we can get the usual washing done, and get packed ready for our next adventure - Niagara Falls.

Until then.

Posted by kingburns 16:42 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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