A Travellerspoint blog

Dingle and The Ring of Kerry

The south west of the island contains the rugged and jagged green landscapes that you picture when you think of Ireland. The Ring of Kerry is ~180 kilometers around with beautiful seascapes and green pastures the entire way. The furhter North Dingle Peninsula is even more rugged. The visit to the western part of Ireland was a great way to end the trip. With less people around and less travelling to do, we enjoyed our stay a great deal.

The Ring of Kerry (Dingle Pictures to come later along with others that I have not had time to upload)
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...And now... we are in Frankfurt once again... tomorrow we begin the long journey home! The next week will involve a stay in Ohio then a road trip, across the land of the free, to Idaho. What a way to end a trip on the other side of the globe, a reintroduction to my homeland, nothing quite like it in the world.

Posted by foltz.45 11:42 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

To the Island of Eire

During the first part of our grand tour of Europe we travelled relatively slowely, taking in the places we visited to a pretty good extent. Somewhere, about half way though our trip, around the time we left Italy, we started on a more rapid pace. This can tire a backpacker quickly. During our time in Greece, we decided that we needed to recharge. The recharge was deciding to skip Scandinavia and head over to Ireland. This would allow us to end our trip in an easier and relaxing manner, not trying to fit in three or more countries.

I am happily writing you from western Ireland. We flew into Dublin for a three day stay. A very interesting city, we saw the sights and dealt with the rain. The most memorable part of our stay in Dublin might have been our roomate, Dane, a kiwi from Christchurch on the south island of New Zealand. He was there staying in a hostel until he found a flat, working odd construction jobs for the next year. We had some fun conversations with him every night. I had forgotten how hard it is to understand a thick New Zealand accent. I just remember all the 'buggers' he talked about, his trip to New York City (his only experience of the USA) and how many of the buggers he met were in a dear state. By dear, he of course meant dire. Good times those southern hemisphere english speaking mates.

After Dublin we decided to spend three days in Killarney in the south west of Ireland. This is another case of us planning three days and staying longer, ten days actually (we are still there). The landscapes in Ireland are rugged and scenic. My favorite part of being in Killarney, other than its small size (15,000 people), is that it is less than a five minute walk to the Killarney National Park, 10,000 hectares of land.

I can see people who like to walk, like my Mom, really enjoying it here. The park is no what I think of as a national park, like in the USA. I would describe this park as a giant city park with foot paths, areas of mowed grass, and old ruins, in addition to what I think of in US national parks -- the wildlife and landscapes. All in all, it is a great place to have a stroll and get some pictures.

More to come on the southwest of Ireland... until then check out the last weeks adventure in pictures.

St. Patrick's
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Funny, but only because it is true.
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The Spire on O'Connell street
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The Guinness Bottles
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To the train station...
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St. Mary's Killarney
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...and inside
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Killarney National Park...
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deer jumping the fence
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Ross Castle, its only about 500 years old, no big deal
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Posted by foltz.45 20:44 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Brussels

Belgian Waffles
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"The Brussels waffle: (also referred to as the "Belgian waffle") is prepared from a yeast-leavened batter, often lightened with beaten egg-whites, to give a light, crisp waffle. It is often served warm by street vendors, dusted with confectioner's sugar, and sometimes topped with whipped cream or chocolate spread. They may also be eaten as a dessert, served with fruits, whipped cream or ice cream." (from Wikipedia.org)

Sound good? They are. My favorite, from the shop pictured above, was strawberry with the works. In this case the works included sugar injected into the waffel itself with a heavy wipped cream, the type that is basically unmeltable ice cream, which makes it pretty much amazing.

Brussels was an intersting place to visit, lots to see, but I am only going to talk about the waffles (plus a few more pictures). That is how I want to remember Belgium.

Brussels Town Hall at Grand Place, one of the coolest squares I have visited (plus the waffles can be found in great abundance here)
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Atomium (btw, for you travellers out there, at the Atomium stop on the Brussels metro, there is a huge movie theater that shows movies in english if you run into a rainy day)
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Some dogs running around chasing a ball, I guess this is where you have to play if you live in the city, bummer.
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Posted by foltz.45 21:54 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

The City of Light

Paris

We had made a brief stop in Paris in the beginning of March and were a little put off by our experience. I guess Paris required further review before I passed my judgement.

It is no wonder that the City of Light is the most sought after destination in Europe. To me, it has the feel of a big American city in the style of streets, hotels, amenities, and traffic -- but the sights are one of a kind.

We wanted to take Paris in slow and therefore had two things on our agenda: the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. To do this, we would walk the city and see everything else we could.

The walk to the Tower was easy -- you can see it from just about anywhere. Pictures do not give you an accurate idea of how large it is. The thing is huge, 900 feet tall making it the tallest structure in the world in 1889. From afar, it towers above everything else, but it is not until you approach that you begin to take in its vastness -- it is the base. So we remained at the Tower from daylight until dark because it is even more magnificent when it is lit up at night.

The Louvre. Three museums claim to be the biggest in the world, the Vatican Museum (most art pieces I believe), the Smithsonian's (together have the largest area), and the Louvre (the largest single area). No matter, it is huge. It has everything from ancient Egyptian art to the paintings of the masters. We wanted to hit some of the highlights given that we only had one day to take in what should take weeks, so we used our map trying to find our way. The thing is, the Louvre is so massive, when you take a turn, walk for a while and think you know where you are on the map -- you actually have only moved a tiny distance. This happend to us constantly. We did manage to see more than most in our six hours in this way though. I will have to say that my favorite pieces were the ancient egyptian artifacts and art pieces. They are so old and some of them so perfectly preserved certianly almost the same as it looked 3,500 years ago.

The Arc de Triumph
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Breaking it down on the Champs Elise
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The Eiffel Tower, see what I mean, it is way bigger than that!
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The Louvre, bringing back pictures from The Da Vinci Code?
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Birdman outside the Louvre
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Dan and I playing with mirrors in the Louvre
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Cupid
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Behind
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Sphinxs'
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Posted by foltz.45 15:45 Archived in France Comments (2)

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a remarkable place. No matter your conception of the city, I bet you would like it. I only had the opportunity to spend a few days in the Netherlands, but the place is all you could hope for on a vacation. The people are very friendly, some of the friendliest in Europe in my opinion. To make things even better, it seems like the native language in Amsterdam is english.

The city boasts more museums per square meter than any place in the world. Couple that with the theaters, other exibits, the canals, Red Light District, and the liberal culture -- the idea of compromise and 'agree to dissagree' -- and in a nutshell you have what makes Amsterdam remarkable.

One last thought on Amsterdam -- while the inner city seems pedestrian friendly, it is not. For instance, to cross the street -- you are actually crossing several paths, you have to look both ways twice for bikes, at least twice more for trams, and again for busses, cars or mopeds. Even when you think you are safe on the sidewalk, you are always in a battle with bikes. There are more than 600,000 bikes in Amsterdam, you always have to be on gaurd.

Bikes!
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The Canals
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Canals and Bikes
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And in the center of the Red Light District, a Church?
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Posted by foltz.45 06:23 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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