Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Monday, November 8
Cloudy and cold again. We are right on the lake but sit up high and should be able to see the Alps across Lake Konstanz but visibility is zero. This alpine house is set in an apple orchard and they must make kirshwasser as that is a bit fruit product. The area is known for the cherry kirshwasser. We had a great local wine with our dinner last night, which we’ll try to buy before leaving town. The apples by the way grow as grapes on a low growing support. Our family, the Werner Fioger, grow pears in their orchard.
Our drive took us over the Bavarian Alps – an unbelievable climb with spectacular views. We ran into cloudbanks that were a bit scary, but they didn’t last long. We drove to Fiussin and Schwangau and visited Hohemschwangan and Neuschwanstein Castles, the latter being the most beautiful castle or palace I have ever seen. It didn’t need furniture, as the walls, ceilings and floors were magnificent. The colors were glorious. IT was really quite livable – built in 1856-1886. It is still unfinished and Ludwig only lived in it for six months. His intention was to have Wagner’s Operas performed in the ballroom. They do have a concert once a year. We found a beautiful hotel on Lake Alpsee – fabulous accommodations and a great restaurant. His father, Maximillian’s place, Hohenschwagan, was not as impressive. We climbed up to it and across to Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein – our cardio workout for the day. We like Fiuscen Bier also – they all taste terrific! We met a darling couple at dinner – his dad runs Mobil Europe and they are both studying Economics, one in Munich, one in Veena, East Germany.
Cloudy and cold! We are frustrated to get a good look at these Alps. We’ve been driving over them, but haven’t seen them. We’re on our way to Garmische – stopped to see Weiskichen, a magnificent church – not big, but a work of art. Outside it was peach and off-white. Inside it was loaded with gilt and the ceiling and walls were painted in gorgeous colors. The choir and organ loft was all gold and white. It took our breath away. Another three wishes.
We stopped at a little neighborhood church next to our hotel this morning that dated back to 1800. It was magnificent. The German churches are colorful and baroque – exquisite paintings and murals. We stopped in Oberammergau – nice center, but very much felt like a tourist trap. Too many souvenir shops. Then on to Linderhof, another of Ludwig II’s castles. It is much smaller than Neuschanstein, but he lived here most of his life. It is terribly glitzy – they get 5,000 visitors a day in the summer. Then on to Garmisch – nice town – lots of shops. I bet it would be fun in the snow. We’re staying at a nice Guesthouse, Kornmuller, we have an apartment. Off to Salzburg, Austria tomorrow.
Gastehaus Kornmuller is run by an elderly lady who is fabulous sales person. You can’t help but like her immediately. She speaks English she has learned from her guests over the years. The weather started out cloudy but by noon we had some sunshine and our first sight of the Alps. This is the Lyral area of the Alps and the mountains are magnificent. Some go straight up like a wall. Some are snow topped. We drove through Innsbruck to Kitzbuhel. Innsbruck is such a large city, we decided to pass and we’re happy we apt for Kitzbuhel. Jane will be happy and we sent her a card from her old haunts. They are all waiting for the snow to fall so business can begin in Kitzbuhel. Then on to Salzburg. We drove right into Old Town and found a Limmer John had seen recommended in a bike magazine. It looks tired outside, but is quite satisfactory and a short walk to town. The houses here and in Germany are built to last 500 years. The new houses have heavy, solid oak doors and plastered walls and marble stairs – very sturdy. We walked into town for our first chicken since leaving the USA. You never see it on a menu, but this town is very cosmopolitan and this was a chicken chain restaurant. Stores look very nice – very expensive – the exchange in Austria is 11:4 pence to a dollar. So if something is priced at 1500, it is approximately $150.
Enjoyed the conversation with a young mother and her two-year-old from California here with her husband for one semester while he is teaching at the University. A nice fifteen-minute walk back to our room. Early to bed as tomorrow we visit all the sights of Salzburg.
Good sunny day – warm, about 60 degrees. Walked to Mirabelle Plaza to meet our Sound of Music bus tour. There was a market day and the plaza was filled with vendors and shoppers. People are up early and stores open early – 8 a.m. for shoppers. It is the busiest time of day for local residents. The tour was great and they played the complete sound track from Sound of Music, as the tour progressed. The sun was out and we visited the places where the movies were set and some of the real places from the Von Trapp story. The mountain rides were wonderful and we stopped at St. Gilgen, a gorgeous village on the St. Wolfgang Lake and then again in Mondsee, a typical Austrian Alpine village – flower bedecked balconies and snowcapped Alps in the distance. We had hot apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and coffee in a Konditori in Mondsee. What a fun day!
Back in Salzburg by two, we visited Mozart’s home (not much) and 4 gorgeous churches all close together: St. Frances, University Church, St. Peters and Salzburg Cathedral. St. Peters is the gem although they are all masterpieces. We went up the funicular to the castle for the view, which is breathtaking. The trip up the straight cliff face was quite a thrill for me by itself. Upon coming back to earth, we stopped in Peters Stiftskeller for dinner. It is part of St. Peter’s church and they have been selling wine for centuries. However, it is a lovely restaurant – recently restored – food was fabulous – atmosphere superb. I’m out of superlations for today!!!
The sun is out and we have a milder day. We are driving to Munich. It didn’t take very long on the autobahn – even though we are traveling fast (85 mph) cars passed us like streaks of lightening. We want to stay near Iching where Roland and Lydia Jetter live as he is going to help us with our Munich program. We found a delightful town called Starnberger on Lake Starnberger See. The tourist office sent us to Pöcking (pronounced Perking) and we have a nice large room with bath and balcony. It feels like an English town to me. Most of the Bavarian kitsch is gone here. Roland came by for a visit and we had a glass of wine and we went over our schedule. Tomorrow from early 'til late we’ll be in Munich. We are just up the hill from the Bahnhof and trains run every twenty minutes into Munich. We had dinner right here in this wee town at one of the best restaurants yet. It was called Alt Kanzlei here in Pöcking.
We were certain it was raining when we woke and looked out. A heavy fog covered everything and the tin roof visible from our window was wet. So we set out ready for rain – umbrella, raincoat, oldest pants. We even took the car down the hill to the train station just in case it was still raining on our return after dark. It is cold – brr, as we stood on the outdoor platform waiting for the train to Munich. Arrived in Marienplatz in forty minutes – smooth, speedy trip. Reasonably priced: $12 round trip for two. The only thing cheap in this country I believe.
Munich is fabulous – the shopping area is wide open – no cars. Picture Fifth Avenue without cars paved in granite blocks with fountains, trees and beautiful shops and people. We visited St. Michael’s Dom Cathedral and St. Peter’s. The latter is most beautiful.
We went to the Deutsche Museum and saw Roland’s’ Venezuella Bridge. It was very impressive. It is a wonderful engineering museum, but I was too tired to enjoy it. The weather turned out fine, but so cold my face ached. The whole feeling of this city is exciting. We went to Hofbrauhaus and shared a mug of beer (1 liter) and met a darling young couple. She and her boyfriend were at our table. She is a medical student and he works on an oil tanker, but she was from Denmark and told us to visit Jutland for biking.
We found a great place for dinner, recommended by a lady we met on the train platform in Pöcking. It is called Marché (Move and Pick). They give you a card and you go from one station to another picking what you want. They stamp your card depending on the size of your plate. I was in a vegetable mood and filled a large plate with five different vegetables. It was one of our best dinners and definitely our least expensive. It was nice to see what was going on your plate when most of the time you pick from a menu you can’t read.
Ride home on train was very relaxing but we are walked out. Ice on our windshield had to be scraped to drive up to our hotel. Also, we saw the Glockenspiel in Marienplatz Square. This huge square was filled with people. Munich was filled with people – you could barely move in the street, although the stores close at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the day.
We wake to rain but I suspect it is clearing as I can see snowcapped mountains in the distance. This is a nice little town. We can see an apple orchard from our balcony and sheep grazing in someone’s backyard. We drove into Munich and became thoroughly lost for two hours. We found ourselves by accident at the Olympic Stadium that was on our list to see. It is a very unusual way to hang a roof, but looked quite homely from the outside. We gave up on the palace and left for Iching and our lunch with Lydia and Roland Jetter. They made our trip to Munich – what great people – so hospitable. We had a fabulous lunch, beautifully served in their home. He is so interesting and we hope we’ll see them again in the US. Their youngest son, Michael, is undergoing experimental treatment for leukemia and it is a very difficult time for them. Their daughter is expecting in February, a first baby. Other son, Andrus lives in Switzerland. After lunch we drove around the Starnburger See back to Pöcking and it was beautiful with the snowcapped Alps in the south, visible all the way. Even saw the Zugspitze – tallest peak in Germany.
We came back to Starnberg to find many people out walking on Sunday evening after dark in the cold, blustery evening. All the stores are closed except the newspaper store at the Bahnhof and a couple of bakeries that are being cleaned out. It is very different from the US, but people are out walking or strolling through the town center and in the parks and along the lake with children and carriages.
Wake to light snow flurries! Off early to Romantic Road. It is so raw and cold. I haven’t been warm in Germany except in bed. It poured the entire day. We drove through Augsburg to Donauworth to Nordlingen. It is a walled city and we took a quick tour in the rain. This road is lined with picturesque villages, but the weather was too bad to stop. We stopped at Dinkelsbuhl for a quick tour. It was not so good in the rain. We pushed on to Rothenburg odt and registered at the Hotel Glocke – very good – very German – excellent German dining room. John had a lentil dish and Spaetzle that was delicious. I hate to admit I had Bratwurst and Kraut twice today. Hoping for good weather tomorrow so we can see more of this town.
Snowflakes – cold and blustery. Rothenburg is the most picturesque and loveliest medieval city we’ve seen so far. We walked the town including the wall, which is quite scary. We didn’t walk all around the town on the wall, thank goodness. It is very high from the street and very narrow and although you have a banister, the walk is not smooth. The stairs are very steep going up or down to the wall. We stopped at the Konditorei for some apple strudel and coffee to warm our ears, and looked in the stores. Too expensive, not worth the prices. I bought a few little trinkets for Emily and Eric. We left about noon to finish the Romantic Road – on to Bad Mergentheim where we had lunch – another beautiful little town.
The quaint little towns are all running together in my head at this stage. We drove through Tauberbischofsheim to Wurzburg. Our hotel is very nice – another ring hotel Wittelsbacher Hof. The dining room is particularly lovely and completely painted in faux. We had a fabulous dinner – we are nearing the end of our trip and we are ready to go home.
Wednesday, November 17
Wurzburg, Wittelsbacher . Looks like another gray day. This is a holiday so we’re not sure what will be open. This is our last day in Germany. We really have seen Bacaria – could have shortened this by four days. Drove to Wurzburg Lentrum to see the Residence and the Cathedral. The Residence is a very large palace-like building which housed the Bishop in Residence of Wurzburg, one of the only towns that remained Catholic during the Reformation. The Residence is immense – beautiful art work but very cold. We also went to the Cathedral, which was destroyed in WWII. It has been completely restored. You can tell the old and new. The exterior is completely new, but they are to be commended for the fabulous job of restoration. We are tired of museums, etc. The town is empty due to a religious (Catholic) holiday. Everything is closed except the Residence and the church. We did a check on the route to the airport in Frankfurt and went back to Aschaffenburg for the night. The Wilder Man is another Ring Hotel and very dependable and reasonable. It is very cold. We’ll be off early tomorrow. These little German Hotels are rather cozy. The family runs it and I expect lives here also. They are extremely clean. I believe one of their shortcomings it hat brown is their favorite color. Outside buildings in Germany’s small towns are usually pastel – pink, peach, or yellow are most common. It has been a good trip but we are tired.
Monday, November 1
Cloudy, cool morning. We picked up our car rental at Harrisburg International and went home for our luggage. We left about 11:30 for JFK. It was a smooth trip and we returned our car and were in the airport by 5 p.m. Our flight left at 9:15 – later than expected. It was a mob scene at the boarding gates – 3 full TWA flights to Frankfurt leaving same time, same gate. They were asking for people to give up their seats – five planes full leaving for Paris at another gate. It was a little scary to be so loaded. The pilot announced they had their maximum load for the flight – including a payload of mail. He made up the time with a tail wind and we arrived on time at 9:30 a.m. with six-hour time difference, we flew for six hours.
Arrive Frankfurt – cloudy, cold, 32 degrees, but it feels colder. I am really tired – didn’t sleep. It was a smooth flight. We picked up our car rental and spent twenty minutes trying to figure how we’d get to Miltenberg and Heidelberg. The maps always look like Greek until you get used to the names and the language. The first three people we came in contact with speak no English. Thank goodness for John’s horrible German – it got us to the right road and we had a delightful ride to Miltenberg – wonderful little town, picturesque and quaint. Narrow cobblestone streets and timbered houses. Lunch was a super soup and duck bread and our first German pils. It was great but we’re all jet lag and our time clock is all askew. The ride to Heidelberg took us through the Odenwalds– an oh & ah trip through the mountains of golden and burnt orange foliage. The sun came out just in time to spotlight all this beauty. They have some evergreen or needle type trees that turn a golden yellow and their ferns turn rusty also and it was natures’ show. We were lucky to catch it, as it must be about finished for this year. Our hotel, the Richspost is right in town – very German, old and sort of tired, but clean and the linens are wonderful with feather beds. We’ll be here two nights to recover from our jet lag.
Cool and sunny – beautiful day. We overslept – wow – 'til 10 a.m. They held our breakfast; I believe we are the only people in the hotel. Breakfast was cold cuts, cheeses, and lovely rolls. The coffee is good. We walked to Philosophers Weg – a beautiful pedestrian walk up, up, up the side of the mountain overlooking the Neckar River – some stairs but a strenuous climb to the top and along a distance of about two or three miles. It is beautiful with places and benches along the way in gardens and lookouts to meditate and rest. People actually live on these steep slopes and garden on terraces areas. We crossed the Charles Theodore Bridge, one of the most beautiful in the world, and dates back to the middle ages. It was partially dynamited in 1945 near the end of WWII. We climbed to the Heidelberg Castle, 300 feet above town, the most famous castle ruin in Germany. The church of the Holy Ghost is red sandstone with a beautiful altar. It is being renovated, as is Peter’s Kirche, which is closed. However, we made our true wishes at the Church of the Holy Ghost. We had dinner at the Red Ox Tavern, which is such a famous old tavern and a hangout for students from the University. We were the only patrons – food expensive for simple German fare of sauerkraut and sausage. The beer is excellent – love that local Heidelberg Pils!!! Walked the length of the Hauptstrasse to our hotel. It is cold (nippy cold). We must have walked a dozen or more miles today. The people are beautifully dressed. Even casual clothes are neat and stylish – fur lined shoes or biking-type shoes with cords and jackets with fur trim.
Left Heidelberg after breakfast and a trip to American Express. You have to dodge the bicycles in this town – almost as many bicycles as cars. We drove to Baden-Baden on the Autobahn for lunch. It is really quite civilized – the trucks really stay in the right lane except to pass and cars travel in middle and left almost exclusively and faster than the trucks can move anyway. We were traveling at 130 k (80 mph) and they passed us on the left as if we were standing still. It works!!! Baden-Baden is obviously affluent. The stores have fabulous clothes – different and beautifully tailored – beautiful fabrics. The handbags and shoes, beautiful and expensive and many stores selling each. Had lunch at a creperie – delicious! On to Strasbourg – we have our difficult moments finding our way, but managed to find a hotel which is clean and reasonable just South of the city. We’ll stay 2 nights. John is making the transition back to French – Ugh-Oi-Moi oh Moi!!! Dinner was an expensive bust. I ordered jambon and John ordered smoked salmon. An entire platter of each arrived cold – no veggies or accompanying food. We ordered a salad – a plate of lettuce with delicious dressing. We made it up with a fabulous dessert – dinner ended up costing more than one room. Crazy!! Hope we’ll get the hang of this soon.
Wake early to another cloudy, cold day. We both feel back to normal and were in the City of Strasbourg early. Breakfast in a little pastry shop was very expensive. We visited the Cathedral and two nearby museums – one had a collection of early Italian art that was quite spectacular – some Rubens and Van Dykes among many others. We had lunch in a café – delicious croque manviews - $20 for lunch. After some shopping, I should say looking, we drove to Obernai – about twenty miles south of Strasbourg. It is a fabulous, old, antique town – the most picturesque we’ve seen. The early timbered houses lean into the narrow cobblestoned streets with window boxes heavy with by geraniums. The shops are lovely and Grass Chocolatier was hard to resist. My legs ache from all the walking but this town is a charmer and we wish we had stayed here. All the hotels are very special. We visited a supermarket – a rare sight here to pick up some odds and ends. It didn’t compare to ours in produce especially. The French outdo us in the pharmacy or body shops – soaps, creams, shower gels – unbelievable choices and perfumes.
Petit France was an interesting part of Strasbourg to visit, but Obernai was a better way to see old France.
Another cold, raw, cloudy day. I know why fur and wool-lined shoes are so popular. This damp cold gets your feet first. We drove the Rue de Vin Route from Obernai to Colmar. It is not an ideal bicycle route – but would be fun for strong cyclists. Each little village has numerous wineries and you can stop for degustation on every turn in the road. The towns are quaint and the vines cover every inch of the hillsides. It is a wonderful drive with almost no traffic. Wes topped for wine and bought three bottles to take home for Dick Reich from Splitz and Hills. I wish we could carry more as they have Kirsch and many other specialties, it would be fun to try.
We stopped for lunch at Riquewihr, an antique wine village full of caves for degustation. We stopped at a creperie and find they can fill us up, but it is still expensive for lunch. Gas is very expensive $3.60 a gallon. We arrived in Staufen in time to see the town – another really picturesque area in wine country. There is a winery across from our hotel – Hotel Sonne. It is Saturday so only one Restaurant is open. They close for weekends as well as all stores close each day 12 'til 2. They lose more business! John had a wild chicken for dinner called Rebhuhn, only served two days each year. They served bacon fat with bread for an hour oeuvre. They are accustomed to farmers’ appetites.
Today started out to be very bleak – it was raining and foggy. We left the Sonne Hotel after our best sleep yet and the customary breakfast of hardboiled eggs, cold cuts and cheese. The Freiburg Cathedral had a 10 o’clock Mass and it is truly magnificent. The stained glass windows are unique in their detailed depictions of the life of Christ. The apse was extremely high and there is a wood sculpture of the last supper in life sizes – unbelievable in its detail showing the apostles’ faces full of emotion.
We drove south to Lake Konstanz on Rt. 31 the entire way. It is too bad our weather is so bad as we went over the mountains and the views would have been lovely. We stopped at a restaurant for our lunch, but decided to have dinner as their menu looked so interesting, and a sweet waitress spoke English so well, we had a good idea of what we were ordering. John had Sauerbraten and I had more Bratwurst – love that German sausage. This place was up in the mountains and looked like a place Heidi might frequent. On to Lake Konstanz stopping for the night in Hegge – terrific wee town along the lake. Super Guesthouse, giant chalet overlooking the lake. We have a balcony off our room at the peak and ivy geraniums overflow the window boxes. It is lovely. The people are terrific and John’s German helps, but most don’t speak English. This is a great spot. We will look into the biking. It looks as if there may be a bike trail.
Meersburg was great stop – darling town!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Brief showers. Sunny, cool.
After breakfast we three took the tube to St. James and walked to Buckinham Palace. Thousands of tourists were already in place 45 minutes before the changing of the guard. Gram was lucky as we found her a bit of wall to sit on within view of the courtyard. It was exactly as seen on TV, only it poured for about five minutes during the ceremony. Went to Fortnum and Masons for lunch and then to Selfridges where I bought my china. John bought shoes at Church’s in Burlington Arcade. Gram is tired. The stores and sidewalks are mobbed. We had supper in our rooms.
John went to pick up our car and I went to Au Lengies for Gram. The trip out of London was traumatic. Driving is like hari-kari: few signs to guide you. We were okay once out of London, except for mistakes made due to lack of signs. Cambridge in time for tea at Aunties – the best scones we’ve tasted. We did see very little of the town, but hope tomorrow we’ll see the colleges. Our hotel is in St. Ives – quaint little town, lovely old manor house and a fabulous restaurant: Rugeleys. We have to limit our walking with Gram and driving is so difficult we are hampered somewhat. Flowers everywhere in huge pots – mixed bouquets, pinks, purples, reds, whites, climbing roses and gorgeous pink hydrangeas.
Slope Hall, St. Ives.
Left St. Ives – lovely old town with 15th century arch bridge. Drove to Cambridge, short distance. Visited Trinity, St. John’s, Kings, St. Catherine’s. Lunch at University Center – planned to take a picnic but rain and timing spoiled plan. The bicycles have taken over and it is even hard to cross a street. We wish we had ours with us. Drove to Chipping Campden – 3 ½-hours. Beautiful old wool town. Settled in at Noel Arms and went to a little pub for supper. After supper we walked all over town and early to bed.
Cool, cloudy. Occasional sun and showers.
Nail Arms – 600 years old. Breakfast at hotel then off to Broadway. Perfect example of the Cotswold Village – lovely! Then to Snowshill. The houses have moss growing on their roofs – saw many thatched roofs. Then to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace. It is magnificent with best art collection we have seen. Many Sargents and Van Dykes and magnificent tapestries. The gardens of over 200 acres were more than we could see, but those close to the palace were great. Lunch in a pub in Woodstock where we shopped before leaving for Oxford. Visited Blackwell Book Store – terrific! Back to Chipping Campden for late dinner.
Rain and cloudy. Nail Arms – Chipping Campden.
Left chipping Campden for Stratford on Avon. Took bus tour of Shakesepeare’s area including house tour of Anne Hathaways Cottage and Mary Arden’s homestead – mother of William Shakespeare. The tour guides were excellent – spooning some origins: square meal, worth your salt, upper crust butter. Shopped Stratford – disappointed in town, but Elizabethan buildings are charming. Town is a giant tourist trap. Drove to Royal Leamington Spa and found a charming B&B called Adams House Hotel – old manor house restored. Learned that there are 2,000 miles of canals on which you can take canal trips in US. Dinner at Julians on Clement Street – fabulous French food. Julian was so hospitable – glad to have Americans. Salmon steak with hollandaise was unforgettable. Great evening.
Adam Hotel, 22 Avenue Road, Royal Leamington Spa. Breakfast was a party with everyone giving us directions and help. They love the Americans. Our chef from Julian’s, Julian himself, dropped by before 9 to give us some travel tips. We went to see the Jephson Gardens first and they were fantastic. Then off to Haslingden. Annie was so excited to see her cousin Evelyn and she had tea prepared for us. It is a dark, poor-looking town – many row houses and attached houses, crowded lots. Annie took us on a tour to show us 10 Watson Street, home of John’s Great Grandfather, Ormerod. Then to Bernard’s house, her nephew. Fabulous family –warm. They had a wonderful dinner of steak and mushroom pie, peas and pan-browned potatoes. Chicken soup, apple and sultan pie, fresh fruit: all with double cream!
Rain. Large breakfast at Bernard and Rosemary’s of sausage, bacon, eggs, etc, before going to the churchyard. On the way we ran into a local parade to memorialize VJ day. The churchyard was old and overgrown and I was afraid of falling into a grave – and it was raining. The names were familiar English N.B names: Warebarton, Heap, Geenewood, etc… Some Ormerods but not the correct ones. We spent the day finding Arsendel Street and Farefield Street where Gram was born and lived. Bernard showed us around Haslingden. It is lovely green hills – no trees on them and the houses are all in the valley – dark stone and brick close together. Took all 13 to Dog Inn for dinner. Lovely view at night from top of hill. Wonderful family – kids Ian (eleven), Sarah (eight) and Stephen (nine).
Cloudy, cold. David and Sherre Pickup’s home. One of the places we saw yesterday was Mossley – real old mill town cut in side of hill right out of a storybook. Dark depressing little row houses, but not shabby or slummy – well built of dark stone. Mills in valley – huge smoke stacks. Drove through North Wales along coast – breathtaking views. Stopped and walked out steel pile in Llanberis. Found an absolute beautiful B&B in Aber – met gal from Chatham named Hanafer – lives across from Chatham Barn Inn. Knows Ginnie Deals in Cotuit Bay Shores. Dinner at Aber Inn – cute Welsh pub. The B&B is an old rectory dating to 1605 overlooking the ocean.
Rain – cold, raw. The Rectory – Aber, Wales.
After pleasant, friendly visit at breakfast with Hanafees and Newzoms, we drove to Bangor for boat reservations. Visited Plas Newydd, home of the Earl of Anglesey as we drove to wait for 5:30 ferry to Dublin. It is a magnificent house with a wonderful art collection. The most memorable art by Rex Whistler who was killed in action at age 36 leaving one painting unfinished. His work is very unusual and encompasses stage settings, as well as portraits and costume design, home decoration. Our room has a mural which takes an entire wall. Crossing is rough – John seasick – me too a bit. Jury’s looked good – we felt like refugees on that boat.
Cloudy. Jury’s Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.
Face cloths and water pressure here are great. Drove through midlands to Tourmakeady. Jurys was great!! The midlands are very flat and not until you get to Mayo is there any scenery, but when you get to Loch Mask it is beautiful. I recognized the boateen and we went up to Nellie's right away. She looks wonderful! Then to Bruge and Paulrich where they had our supper waiting. Everyone dropped by – Bruges’ brother, Paulrick and Ursula. We liked them so much and john power who is a super guy. Everyone was off to Maura Lukes after dinner for drinking and dancing. Irish accordion player and country western – great fun! Even Grammy came!
Sunny. Paulrick and Bruge Tourmakeady.
First thing was a giant Irish breakfast and juice, cereal and sausage, bacon and eggs, and homemade bread and marmalade. Then John and I donned our Wellingtons and Paulrick took us to the Locke and Annaough. It is so beautiful, it is breathtaking. John and I are tempted to buy a piece of land here.
Then we went off to Factory Store and then to Westport. Saw Don McGiny’s son and shopped for Irish sweaters. Grammy didn’t feel too good so we took it slow. Back to Aunt Nellie's for dinner. Sarah, John, Cahol and Fergle were with is. The baby is darling and Cahol is such fun at 20 months. Dinner of lamb was great! Aunt Nellie’s knee is bad.
Rainy, cloudy. Annaugh view, Tourmakeady.
After breakfast we had a trip to the factory store, then off to Galway with Gram and Aunt Nellie. The drive is magnificent over the mountains – nothing to compare with it, green hills clotted with white cottages and grazing sheep. It is steep and you come over a hill and there lies a lake down in the valley. The fields are divided by rock walls. As you get close to the ocean it becomes more rocky. Sha sha, Sabrina and Nan were waiting for us. Then Nora Boyle dropped in and out came Paddy’s. After Paddys and 7up we had lunch (more like dinner). They were so happy to see us. The hospitality was overwhelming. Home to supper at Sarah’s: drinks and a fabulous supper. Her house is charming and loved her and John. Great couple. Back to evening with Paulrick, Bruge, Paulrick & Ursula.
Annaugh View. Sunny!!!
Nellie came over to say goodbye as we left Annaugh View. We were finally able to take a couple pictures. We drove to Ashford Castle about 25 minutes away. It is beautiful and is now a lovely hotel located on Lough Coick. Their gardens are lovely and we enjoyed the beautiful rooms off the lobby all done in magnificent paneling with interesting art – all Irish locations – one of Lough Mask. Quick lunch in Galway at Lydons – lovely pastry shop with tearoom atmosphere. Put Gram on 4:30 flight to Boston for Shannon. Then on to Killarney – beautiful scenery along the way. Weather holding with occasional sprinkles. Dinner at Rooney's – very good. Castle Rosse just OK but fabulous view of Killarney Lake from our room.
Castle Rosse, Killarney. Rainy, bad, foggy, cool.
Went to mass at the cathedral and nearly froze in church – gray stone, massive church, ceiling must be five stories high. Beautiful, but stark. Killarney is a dirty, honkey tonk town but the weather is lifting so we will do Ring of Kerry. It was spectacular! It took us 8 hours with a side trip to Portmagee near Valencia Island and up to the top of a mountain. Stopped at Waterville for lunch at Smugglers Inn on the beach and another stop at a cozy beach before driving through Killarney Natl. Park on way back, by all the lakes and through a beautiful fern forest. The whale day was one of oohs & ahs. The scenic views are indescribable and more spectacular than any we have seen before in our life. A day to remember. Saw people in swimming clothes.
Cloudy. Castle Rosse, Killarney.
Breakfast here then to Dublin via N21 and N7. Stopped at Adare for coffee and cakes and a little shopping. It is a quaint town. Arrived Dublin in 5 ½ hours and went to Casper and Gambini's, a pub and restaurant for dinner – very good at reasonable by Killarney standards. After dinner we went to Davey Byrnes pub for Irish coffee – of Ulysses fame – great portrait of Joyce against background of his titles. We met an interesting pair from Australia on their way to walk the Ring of Kerry starting tomorrow. We were able to give them some tips. Back to Egans for an early night as tomorrow we cross the Irish Sea again. Window shopped on Grafton Street and saw Trinity College exterior.
Sunny off and on.
Egans, 7 Lona Court, Dublin. Old townhouse B&B picked out of Country Inn Book. OK place. Left Egans after breakfast (very light) for the B&I line. Met two girls from Philadelphia, PA at Murrays Rent-a-car and shared a ride to the ferry – also shared our Dramamine. The crossing was smoother than last week and John slept all the way. We drove through Snowdonia Natl. Park in Wales all the way to Shrewsbury. Snowdonia is magnificent and a great holiday place. We stopped late and found a B&B on our route that is undistinguished but very clean and we’re up in the garret. We always get a few laughs from the showers or lack of them or their concessions to the USA tourist. Off to the South. Would love to go back to Batoy – coed in Wales.
Cloudy, late afternoon sun. Sydney’s Hotel, Shrewsbury's. Drove to Ross ou Wye for lunch and a couple of hours visit. It is a quaint town. Driving through the country was lovely. Stopped at Dartmouth for the night – the most beautiful harbor protected on all sides by mountains clotted with homes. The Royal Naval Academy is here and this is the royal regatta weekend. Tonight we stopped for supper at the Royal Castle Hotel and met a wonderful local couple, Douglas and Brenda Roberts. We are going to their home tomorrow. This is the harbor the pilgrims started their voyage to America from. A castle stands at the entrance to the ocean. At night it is glorious. A frigette is in the harbor and many small yachts with lights and the homes dotting the hillside. Fabulous!!
Cloudy. Cownstol Farm Guests. Dartmouth, England.
We are torn as we’ve been invited to a private tour of the Naval Academy and the 9 red arrows are performing here on Friday, but we’re going to move on to see this coast after visiting the Roberts this morning. This is a dream harbor at the mouth of the Dart River. The people don’t see many Americans and have been especially cordial. The Roberts’ house was a dream – beautifully decorated and located about 100 feet from the edge of the cliff with a 250 ft drop to the ocean. She served coffee and homemade scones with currant jam and clotted cream. It was exquisite on her terrace. Her gardens were lovely, but the view was incredible. They had a little settee on the edge of the cliff, but I couldn’t stand the thrill. All of her rooms had giant windows overlooking this magnificence. They are like old friends already. It was the way I want to remember England.
Drove through Kingsbridge and Plymouth to Cornwall. Took the ferry over the Fal River – The King Harry Ferry. It was beautiful as the sun is out. We stopped at St. Just in Rouland for Cream Tea and scones before taking the ferry. We are really full of clotted cream. Falmouth is an old resort with large hotels. We found a hotel that is old, near the water. It is clean but unremarkable. Dinner at a vegetarian restaurant after cocktails at Greenback and Falmouth Hotels.
Turned out to be the best day of summer. Hot and sunny.
Sprinkles/cloudy. Gyllybare House Hotel, Falmouth.
Spent our morning shopping. The most fascinating stores are food shops – especially pastry and the Cornish Pastry is delicious. Took the boat to St. Marves across the bay. It is a darling town and we wish we had stayed there but it is small, although quaint. Spent a great deal of time in art galleries, which are excellent. Visited the Pendennis Castle, which guards the harbor, the 2nd deepest natural harbor in the world. The people remember the US sailors here, as VE landings were launched from here.
Dinner at the Seafood Bar after drinks at Hotel Duchy (swish) then took in Summer Theatre production of “The Corn is Green.” Very good! Called Sue – all is well at home. We’ll sleep better tonight.
Rainy start, ended up sunny. Gyllybare House Hotel, Falmouth.
Left for Wells at 10 a.m. expecting to arrive in 4 ½ hours. It took seven hours due to weekend travelers. Even M roads were packed. We stopped at a pub for lunch and arrived in Wells as the stores were closing – nice looking town. We had time to see the Wells Cathedral, which is truly outstanding. The exterior is spectacular with statuary in riches. The side streets near the Cathedral were lovely – cobblestones and row houses with beautiful windows and chimneys. The street lanterns were on one side and there was an archway at street entrance. Must be home to priests or Viguers. Found a nice B&B in Box and had dinner with a Californian couple (Gums) staying in same place. They are here for two months. It was fun to talk to an American.
Cloudy and sun. Farleigh Lodge, Box, England.
John has become an expert English driver: fast and aggressive, but he is still too polite behind the wheel. We travel at 70 and people pass us as if we were standing still. Breakfast was interesting – 3 couples: California (Gums), Dover (Kelley's), us and Peggy (owner) all trying to outdo each other with puns. Peggy kissed us goodbye and we spent most of the day on tour of Bath and Roman Baths. Some stores were open and it looked like an interesting town for shopping – nice stores.
Left for Windsor, arriving late afternoon. Stayed at Harte & Garter Hotel right across from the castle. We can look in the windows with our binoculars, but it is a work area so nothing much visible. We went on a walking tour around walls. Dinner at Castle Hotel – it was wonderful – lovely dining rooms, excellent service, fabulous fish dinner. Bed early for our trip home tomorrow. We are ready to go. The British people have been very warm and friendly, but driving is still difficult. Tired of pub grub and B&B breakfasts and cold weather. The flowers are magnificent everywhere.
Sunny morning. Left Heathrow at 12 o’clock. Uneventful flight, thank goodness. That airport was jammed, but we quickly bought some scotch in the Duty Free shop. Arrived in Philadelphia at seven our time and two their time. We kept our watches on London time so we wouldn’t stay up too late. Alls well that ends well!!!
Everyone called: Pris, John, Jane and Susan to talk with us.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Sunny, blustery, 61 degrees. Inverness Court Hotel – terrible. We are tired. Walked through Hyde Park to Albert Hall – then on to Harrods. We enjoyed Beauchamp Street with its lovely shops. Picked up theatre tickets for “Run for your Wife” for tomorrow night. We took the tube back to our hotel and had a quick sandwich before going to bed. John stayed up trying to figure out how and where to get another hotel.
Priscilla’s Christmas Gift “Country Inns and Back Roads’ Britain and Ireland” saved the day for us!
London – Inverness Court. Off and on light showers, 60 degrees, blustery. Walked through Hyde Park over to South Kensington to see Number 16 (our new hotel). This is lovely and we move tomorrow. We had a bit of trouble finding it, as there is no Hotel sign – just #16. Summer Place. The streets are not well marked. We took the tube to St. Paul’s and literally spent the day there. Rain into Bob & Sue in the crypt and made plans to meet them for dinner at Rules – found it closed temporarily for redecorating, so ended up at a steak house before the theatre “Run for your Wife” – hilarious!!! I am still laughing!
Highlight: American Chapel
Number 16, London. Cool, sunny, 60 degrees.
Gorgeous sunny day – new hotel is fabulous like a private home – breakfast will be served in our room. Today we saw Parliament, 10 Dawning Street, Westminster Abbey, Changing of House Guards – lunch at Fortnum and Masons on Regent Street – best food yet and a fabulous store. Shopped Regent Street, Oxford Street and Bond Street. Most wonderful shops! Burlington Arcade off Bond St. has lovely silver, antique, sweaters, shoes, etc shops. We stopped at Bentley’s Pub Wine Bar for supper before going to the London Symphony’s first night of Pops with George Shearing as soloist. What a concert!! Barbican Center is magnificent. Great evening. The people are very warm and friendly, eager to be helpful. Order Welch Rarebit – lunch elegant.
#16 Summer Place, South Kensington. Cloudy, warm. Breakfast arrived and woke us up at 9 – we started our day at Swaine Adeny and Brigg to buy our umbrella on Piccadilly. We checked out Turnbull and Asser, shirt makers to the Prince and a few shoe stores. Then off to Westminster Abbey. Lunch at Westminster Pub – we spent the afternoon at the Abbey – took the super tour – then off to Punch and Judy Pub in Covent Garden. Met some great local people at the pub. Have really enjoyed the people here. Then the tube to Mayfair and dinner at Tiddy Dols, really a fabulous spot. After dinner, dessert (gingerbread) in the music room. Great entertainment, then to the Hilton Roof for after dinner drinks – great view, as it is a clear night.
Cool but sunny. Rained all night.
We took the tube to Westminster Dock. Met mother and daughter from Colorado taking boat up Thames to Hampton Court also. They turned out to be interesting companions. The boat left at noon for 3½-hour trip. Views along Thames were interesting. Each bridge is a history story by itself. The other boats were old and some shabby. Many occupied as homes. Hampton Court is a magnificent palace built by Thomas Wolsey during reign of Henry VIII. The art works are grand and the gardens spectacular. We came back to London by bus in about 30 minutes. Dinner at Fagin’s Pub with New Jersey couple – we had meat pie, of course.
John left at 7 for the airport and I went to 9 o’clock Mass at Westminster Cathedral. It was a 35-minute service. The many different marbles used were unusual. The church dates back to 1220. Many London homeless attending the service also. Gram arrived safely and we took a guided bus tour in the afternoon. It is a good way to become oriented to the city, and it was even fun for us to hear more anecdotes about things already seen. Dinner at the Brasserie in S. Kensington was fabulous and really busy about 8:30-9 on a Sunday night.
|With Grandma Heneghan|
|Changing of the guard|
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
|Heavy winds up to 60 mph|
October 27, 2000-November 9, 2000
Diane and Bill picked us up at 2 pm and we drove to Annapolis. We hadn’t been down for quite awhile and even Hoover has grown. Sue had a wonderful supper for us and drove us to the airport at 7:30 p.m. It was 70 degrees today and gorgeous. The plane was an hour late due to a clerical work stoppage at Air Lingers but the flight was smooth as silk in a French Airbus arriving before the expected time due to 160-mile tail wind.
Going through customs was fast and easy and we were out in the pouring rain in our rental cars very quickly. It is cold and bleak and we are adjusting to driving on the left. The Fearens fallowed us to Dromoland Castle where we stopped for coffee and scones. It is very old world – tapestry and suits of armor – gorgeous displays of fresh flowers and fine linen service where we were served. Then we drove to Ennis, through Connolly to the coastal drive North to Doolin. A funky little town on a blustery sea at the Cliffs of Moher. The wind is over 60 mph and we could barely walk to the door of our Hotel Aran View. It is a good stop and we can see the Aran Isles from our window. Diane and Bill are in the honeymoon suite. Cocktails at 5 after an hours nap. We are t-i-r-e-d!! Off to O’Connor’s Pub for dinner and some fine traditional Irish music. The place is jammed and we sit next to a couple on their honeymoon from North Carolina. There was a recorder, a clarinet, a guitar and a fiddle. Back and early to bed. A fine first day.
Sunday, October 29
We started our day (after a great breakfast in our hotel, The Aran House, in Doolin) by going to Mass at a church we thought was St. Catherine’s, however it had another name. Mass was fast – church was cold and no music at all. I suspect the priest was rushing due to the cold, as he mentioned several times that it was the first day of winter. We went to the Cliffs of Moher from there and what a spectacular view of the cliffs from O’Brien’s tower. The wind nearly blew us all in the ocean and it blew the ocean in our faces. We then drove to Kilfenora where we saw films about the Burren and had lunch at a lovely teashop. On to Ballyvaughan through the Burren. After having the lecture at the Burren Center, we were able to appreciate the ecological process at the Burren and understand about the Tullochs or lakes that form after heavy rains. It is very interesting. The stonewalls are so much a part of Ireland.
Ballyvaughan to Kinvara where we visited a Tea and Bar Shop on the harbor. It is a lovely town and I wish we had time to visit the shops, but time is getting late and we wanted to find the Killeen House before dark. This is a beautiful house on 25 acres. Beautiful grounds and gardens surround it. The rooms are exquisite – beautifully decorated with antiques. Our room has two comfortable armchairs by a fireplace and two queen-sized beds dressed in peach linen. It looks so comfortable we can’t wait to go to bed. The bathroom has a étagère with a collection of antique chamber pots. We will be here two nights.
Monday, October 30
John and I are still recovering from jet lag as we overslept for the 2nd day in a row. Breakfast was quite elegant – linen service, large silver compote filled with fresh fruit centerpiece and every serving bowl was sterling silver antiques – sugar bowls, cream pitchers, tea and coffee pots, small trays for marmalade, hot plates. Fabulous breakfast from extensive menu to start our day. By ten we left for Galway – another rainy, windy, cold day. We took the city bus tour. It is not an attractive city, but is growing faster than any European city. Since 1995 it has grown from 23,000 to 75,000. The tour took us to Salt Hill and Spanish Arch – nothing very impressive to keep us in town so we drove to Oughterard, which is a cute, small town for lunch. Most shops were closed due to the Bank Holiday. We had smoke vegetable soup for lunch – 3rd day in a row. It is delicious – a puree like the others, each with their own special flavorings. We drove down a lane to Loch Corrib – about 7 miles. Beautiful views of the lake and between rain storms tried to get some pictures. Back to Killeen House and our cocktail hour before going to Kellehan’s Pub for a fantastic dinner. None of us were able to finish our dinner. Seven vegetables surrounded by three larger slices of pork – an immense serving and delicious. Back to bed and a good night’s rest in this wonderful bed.
Tuesday, October 31
Before our 8:30 breakfast, John and I walked in the garden. The path took us down to Lake Corrib where swans made a picture on a frosty morning. We see some sun but know it won’t last. Rain came soon enough as we drove to Clifden. We had a little shopping time before lunch and I bought a scarf for someone. Then on to Renoyle and Tully to call on Nonie Nue. I reached her on the phone, but she was in bed and wasn’t up to visitors. Her remark was “And what would you be doing here in November anyway?” On to Kylemore Abbey and a rush to beat nightfall as we crossed the Partry Mountains to Tourmaheady. John hit a bridge abutment knocking out our front left tire and we left the car on the road until morning. Fortunately, only a mile from Annagh View. Bruge and Patrick welcomed us and had supper for us – then a trip to Maura Lukes for a nightcap. Tired. A long day and very stressful after our accident.
Wednesday, November 1
Awake to a fabulous Irish breakfast and unknown to us, Patrick went out to our car and changed our tire for us. He is such a super guy. We had a tour of the hostel and the rental cottage where mom was born. Paul and Alissa were staying there as they were home for a wedding. We visited Sarah. Her house is beautiful and she invited us for dinner. Then off to Castlebar, where the tire was replaced and then to Westport for a little shopping. That is a great town. We drove by the Quay, which is quite upscale with shops and restaurants before returning for an early rest and to catch our breath. Tomorrow we separate from Diane and Bill as they go south and we go north to Donegal. We’ll meet again in Shangarry at the Ballymaloe House. Sarah’s boys are wonderful. Fugal keeps smiling and Cogall is more serious. Still can’t get over our white-knuckle trip from Leenane over the mountains in the dark. We were invited to Sarah’s for dinner and it was excellent. Our first course was salad: smoked salmon and shrimp salad. Then a beautifully seasoned vegetable soup pureed and garnished with sour or sweet cream. Then a lamb dinner: roasted, sliced lamb, beets, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Then a dessert of bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. We are too full to move – about twice as much as we needed. Sarah and her family are charming. The boys are well mannered and helpful. Serving at the table so competently that you know it is something they do all the time.
Thursday, November 2
We said goodbye to Bill and Diane, then Bruge and Padraig after a few pictures, and Marion also. They were so hospitable to us and our friends. John and I visited the cemetery to see Aunt Nellie and Uncle Dan’s graves. There are so many Heneghans in the graveyard – maybe some related. St. Mary’s Church was locked and the graveyard there is also full of Heneghans. We drove to Foxford Mills and took the tour. It was worthwhile and shows Ireland in 1891 – what a sad place at that time. I bought a couple of throws – they are so gorgeous I couldn’t resist. Then we drove to Strandhill on the outskirts of Sligo. The beach is magnificent and the hotel, Ocean View, is excellent. We’ll head up to Donegal tomorrow.
Met a young couple at dinner – schoolmate of Stuart Knade at Gettysburg. Jeff Cuddback, Kim Watson and two children.
Friday, November 3
Had a great room and breakfast at Ocean View Hotel in Strandhill. Met couple from Gettysburg again at breakfast. They now live in Orlando, Florida. We drove through Yeats country up to Donegal. The views along the ocean are beautiful, however, once you leave Donegal and head North to Glencolumkill, the cliffs and ocean views are incredible. Crashing waves against huge cliffs and giant rocks. The road is narrow and it is a white-knuckle ride. Upon arriving we discovered the hotel is out in the mountains and electricity has been shut off until 4 p.m. We haven’t had lunch – everything is closed except a dirty-looking pub called Biddys. We went to the grocers and picked up some apple tarts and went to the pub because it had a warm fire in the grate. The whole town was there trying to get warm.
Our hotel is freezing but the heat did go on at 4, but at 8:30 p.m. it is still cold. We had a wonderful dinner in the pub: Chicken stir-fry. There is a large group (40) of scuba divers here to dive tomorrow in the ocean. They say it is not cold because of the jet stream, but it must be as the air is very cold. We’re leaving before breakfast in the morning to get far south before nightfall. We met loads of young people in the bar from Belfast here to scuba dive.
Saturday, November 4
We left Glencolumkille at 7:20 to get a head start on our 200-mile drive South. We are happy to leave. The room warmed up, but there isn’t any hot water for a shower this morning. This is in the middle of nowhere and you have a cliff drive to get in and out of this hotel. The views of the ocean are spellbinding and incredible. That is the only thing worth our drive all these hours to get here. The time of year is not the best as everything is closed. I will never forget the giant jagged rocks with the surf raging against them and the cliffs. There is so much foam produced, John thought it was snow in the water. We made good time but even at that it took twice as long as you would at home. We went 233 miles in ten hours. Stopped in Adare, a darling town, found a nice B&B and we had an hour for shopping. I bought my souvenir – a pink cashmere turtleneck from Scotland. Not hungry after a day of driving, but had a light supper at Woodlands House and Hotel. Their pub is well known for good food. Stayed at Cartsland B&B in Adare – very nice.
Sunday, November 5
Breakfast at 8 o’clock was a bit lighter fare as we begged off the Irish Breakfast of 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. We drove south toward Cork, stopping in Charleville at Holy Ghost Parish for 10 o’clock Mass. The churches don’t have early Masses. The church was cold and mass lasted 30 minutes. It is pouring so hard, the front steps of the church look like a waterfall. We headed for Kinsale but were lost and ended up in Shanagarry, which was fine as it gave us time to visit Stephen Pierce and buy a piece of pottery, and visit Ballycotton and the little fishing pier. Ocean, ocean, everywhere. Then back to Ballymaloe House, which is lovely. We have a gorgeous room called New West Wing – part sitting room. The dinner on Sunday night is a buffet, which is a little disappointing after hearing of their wonderful meals. It was all cold – great selection, but you can only eat so much. Choice of pork, ham, goose, turkey, ox tongue, roast beef. Off to bed by ten – inviting King-sized, 6 pillows, 3 gorgeous Irish blankets. We do love the Irish beds – the blankets are gorgeous everywhere. Wake on Monday and the shower was luke warm. They explained that the terrible wind kept blowing out their perpetual fire they use to burn rubbish, and heat the house and water. The smell of the incinerator is terrible as the smoke is blown in all directions. It is a lovely house, but I would not recommend it as it is overpriced for what we got. Overrated definitely.
Monday, November 6
Diane has a bug so there were three of us for breakfast. It was fine, but nothing unusual. All the breakfasts have been excellent. We drove to Middleton and took the distillery tour, telling the story of Jameson’s Irish whiskey. It was very interesting and we nearly froze, as the old buildings are not heated. Following the tour, each person had a shot of whiskey, which they needed. Then we drove to Waterford where we toured the Waterford Crystal Plant. We enjoyed that and realize why the crystal is so expensive. We had lunch at the reception Center and by the time the tour was over, it was 4 o’clock and time to find out B&B: Sion Hill Guest House. It is an old Victorian home overlooking the harbor and the city. The view from our room is quite lovely.
Tuesday, November 7
We are very aware that today is Election Day and we will miss all the excitement of watching returns. Tomorrow morning, November 8, when we wake up at 7 a.m., it will be 2 a.m. in the USA and we’ll get the results. The sentiment here, due mostly to a liberal press, is in favor of Gore. The papers are more like tabloids in covering the candidates and people hate to see Clinton leave, because his presidential term was so titillating. We left after a huge Irish breakfast at the Sion hill Guest House and drove to Kilkenny. Thank goodness we didn’t hit any flooded roads. We visited Dunnes Dept Store and took a walking tour of the town. It was a medieval city enclosed by walls, and its history is very interesting. We took a tour of Kilkenny Castle, which is fabulous. It has been completely restored – carpets and lots of furnishings and wallpapers – very beautiful. I bought the newest CD for Sarah, Carrie and Lauren of WestLife, the craze here in Ireland right now. Our B&B is Killarney House – very nice, modern, not ancient.
Wednesday, November 8
The American election has everyone on edge. It is not conclusive yet and Florida is having a recount. It is tough to be here because everyone favors the democrats due to a liberal press much bolder and opinionated than our press. We took the dart into Dublin after driving up from Kilkenny and spending one and a half hours trying to find our hotel. The hotel maps were terrible and they are in an offbeat location at Kennelly Beach. We visited Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. We still can’t understand where the gospels came from to be written in these books – from word of mouth or previous writings. The long room full of manuscripts is very impressive. We took the Dart home after a nice dinner and it is right across from our hotel. We plan to go to Dublin again tomorrow to take the bus tour.
Thursday, November 9
Last day in Dublin – early breakfast and off we go on the Dart. First stop is the bus tour of Dublin, which gave us an overview. We had a great tour director – funny. She had a story to go with every point of interest. There are many Catholics in Ireland. 96 % of the population is Catholic and yet they are diminishing in church attendance, and some churches are being closed because they don’t have enough priests. Also, people are surprised they overwhelmingly would support gore for President of the U.S.A. due to a very liberal press, but he is pro abortion and this is a Catholic Country, and life is sacred to Catholics. I don’t understand it. The two churches we visited were Anglican: St. Patrick’s and Christ Church, both built very early. Christ Church by Vikings in c1030 and St. Patrick’s by the Normans in 1191. St. Patrick baptized converts in a well on contiguous land, a park alongside the cathedral. Jonathan Swift was Dean from 1713-45. Both churches were Catholic until 1530 when King Henry VIII broke from the church because he wanted a divorce.