We flew out to Dublin from Edinburgh late on Thursday night with a smooth transition through customs into Ireland. Much to my annoyance my new “smartphone” decided not to be so smart and wouldn’t pick up any of the roaming signals as the Three network decided not to automatically set this feature up. My fault for not checking I guess. Picked up the rental car and headed off to the outskirts of Dublin for a sleep before an early rise to head down to the Cork region in the morning.
Thanks to the continental brekky providing us with our stamina for the day (plus 8 free muffins stuffed into the girls handbags) we were off to Blarney. Our first stop led us to the recommended Rock of Cashel, which I originally understood to mean that it was Gaelic for Castle but turns out its a grand old Cathedral. We were just in time to catch a tour around the site which always helps with understanding the history of the area. The site even contains a graveyard which you can still be buried in if you are on the register, however this has dwindled to just 5 locals all over the age of 80. Once they have passed away then no one else will be buried on the site.
Stop 2 was right down at Blarney Castle next to Cork. Amazing grounds with Blarney Castle rising above numerous caves and passages dug into the rocks beneath the foundations. The main reason for visiting was to kiss the old Blarney Stone so that we might gain the “Gift of the Gab” or achieve great eloquence. No luck so far but that might be because I only gave it a minor brush after seeing the slobber marks left by the other hundreds off tourists that had preceded us that day! Adela assured me that she gave it a good old smooch though as you hang upside down over the walls of the castle. So was not really looking forward to later on when she leant in close…
As per usual, our holidays are punctuated with food experiences and this was no different as we prowled around for half an hour looking for the best eating spot and decided upon a really tasty Chinese restaurant with starters, mains and desert for a reasonable £15.
Blarney to Galway. Google maps is telling us that its only 5 – 6 hours to drive, however as with previous experience driving across Canada and USA I knew this would extend into 10+ hours after stops and detours. Sure enough after only an hour we had visited Ross Castle on the Killarney lake front which has a spectacular setting. Our drive continued on to the Dingle peninsular with stops at several beaches. Some brave souls decided that since the sun was poking through the clouds it was summertime and speedos seemed to be the order of the day. Luckily I forgot mine on this occasion as the water would have created some incredible disappearing acts in the nether regions that would rival David Copperfield’s acts.
Through Dingle to pick up some lunch and up and over the amazing Connor Pass (the highest mountain road in Ireland) with some beautiful scenery. Unfortunately there was heavy fog at the top but some amazing views nonetheless. Quick pit stop for lunch with turkey and coleslaw sammies on the beach. Amazingly you are allowed to drive along the beaches although I was fairly worried that our tiny Fiat wouldn’t make it off again but some smooth wheel spins ensured our safety.
We drove onwards to the breathtaking Moher Cliffs which plunge over 200m into the Atlantic Ocean. I only wish we had some binoculars so that we could see the Puffin’s clearly. Absolutely gorgeous and produces some great (and not so great) vertigo moments for someone like myself who is petrified of heights! I couldn’t believe Adela and Warrick could stand so close to the edges with no barriers.
We parted ways with our flatties the next morning so that we could head out Aillwell Cave and they could lounge around in the Cafes of Galway. I must say that Aillwell Cave was definitely one of the highlights on the entire trip with a short tour in near pitch-black surroundings with a well informed guide. The caves were formed from an underground river before drying out and is where the local, now extinct, bears use to hibernate. At one moment the guide shut off all the lighting within the cave to understand how it was for the discoverer of the caves. You could not even see your hand 1 cm from your face and the guide informed us that if you spend just 72 hours in that level of darkness you will end up blind from your eyes straining to pick up light sources. Spooky.
We ventured back to Galways and enjoyed the atmosphere of the local Arts festival and tourist sites including the Spanish Arches, Cathedral and canal with an ice cream in hand.
We spent Sunday night in Dublin enjoying a well earned pint of Guiness, which tastes a lot better in the city it is brewed in I must say. After stuffing ourselves from the hotel breakfast buffet the next morning Adela and I joined the free Dublin walking tour. Any chance we get we always jump on a free walking tour in all the major cities as they are a great way to see a large portion of the city and quickly gain your bearings. In addition they are free although always worth at least £5 in tips to the unpaid guide who does a good job of sneaking in the word tips every chance he gets. As usual we took in all the most important sites including the Cathedrals, bridges, top pubs in the Temple Bar area and other historic landmarks. All accompanied with a historical background of the Irish independence movements.
On a final note, make sure if you have not taken the next day off work when you get back to the real world, don’t go catching the 10.55pm flight!
Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East
Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.
An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.
The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.
At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.
Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.
It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.
Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.
The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.
Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?
Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park
If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.
This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.
You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.
There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.
The Rim Trail
This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.
When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.
Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.
Navajo Loop Trail
On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.
Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.
Mossy Cave Trail
This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.
Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.
Tips Before Sending Christmas Photo Cards
Finally, it is that time of the year! You are excited that you can gift shop for your family and friends, and maybe even spend time with them. Sending them a Mixbook Christmas photocard is a unique way of letting them know how much you value and care for them, especially with the Christmas spirit.
Below are some tips to keep in mind before mailing them the photo cards.
Take a Photo-shoot
Nothing beats the joy of a casual and fun family photo-shoot in matching outfits for the holiday season. You can also play around with different fun themes and ideas for your family photo card. For instance, you can have a matching pajama party theme and take amazing photos.
On the other hand, you can also try out a Santa theme photo-shoot, with matching red trousers, complete with the white beard, black boots, and red hats. Have fun while at it! Remember, a high-quality photo with happy faces can spruce up your holiday cards. Plan the shoot in advance to avoid the last-minute rush trying to capture a perfect angle.
It will be sad to go the extra mile, customizing holiday photo cards only for your friends and family not to receive them. Before mailing the photo cards, kindly ensure you have the right address on the envelopes.
Additionally, you can include a mail-back address for your recipients if they need to send one to you. Seal up your envelopes and also include holiday stamps to add a unique style.
Find Your Design
Your Christmas card design plays a significant role in the general outcome of the card. The plan includes different aspects such as size, colors, format, and foil options. You can also play around with different trim options and photo orientations before settling on the final outlook. Mixbook photo cards can help you create suitable, fun, and engaging designs for your loved ones. Plus, you can experiment with different designs.
Have The Joneses been sending you holiday photo cards for the last three years and you haven’t mailed them one? Now it will be a perfect time to return the favor. It’s courteous and mindful of people who appreciate you and your family. Let them know that you also love and think about them.
Many people will send out holiday photo cards. However, what will make yours stand out? Select your photos and incorporate a unique design to complete the look. Additionally, you can also hand write the address of the envelopes with your recipient’s names.
You can also include a special event that happened during the year. Share the moment with your family. Moreover, let every personality in your family stand out in the photo.
Additionally, think of the personalized messages you can send to your family. Think outside the box and let your photo card express what you feel. However, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, ignoring limits of your budget. Be you: that is all that counts in the end.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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