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!
A Beginner’s Guide to Yacht Charters: How to Choose the Right Yacht and Plan the Perfect Trip
Yacht charters offer a unique and luxurious way to explore the world’s most beautiful destinations. Whether you’re looking to spend a week exploring the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, or you want to take a romantic trip to the Mediterranean, a yacht charter is an excellent option. Phuket is an excellent location to charter a yacht and is one of the most popular destinations for yacht charters in the world.
However, choosing the right yacht and planning the perfect trip can be a daunting task for those who are new to yacht charters. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your yacht charter experience a success.
Consider the Size of the Yacht Needed
Yachts come in a variety of sizes, from small sailing boats to large motor yachts. Consider how many people will be traveling with you, and how much space you’ll need for your trip. You’ll also want to think about the type of activities you want to do on your trip. If you’re looking for a more adventurous trip, a smaller sailing yacht may be the way to go. But if you’re looking for a more luxurious and spacious experience, a larger motor yacht may be a better choice.
- Small Sailing Yachts: These are typically 30-50 feet in length and are ideal for more intimate and adventurous trips.
- Mid-Size Motor Yachts: These yachts are typically 50-80 feet in length and offer more space and amenities than small sailing yachts.
- Large Motor Yachts: These yachts are typically 80 feet or longer and offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort.
- Superyachts: These are the largest yachts, typically over 100 feet in length, and are often custom built to the highest standards.
Consider a Place to Discover
Yacht charters are available all over the world, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, so choose a location that appeals to you and your travel companions. Research the destinations you’re interested in, and find out what the weather will be like during your trip. You’ll also want to consider the time of year that you’re traveling, as some destinations may be more expensive during peak season.
Here are some popular yacht destinations:
Mediterranean: The Mediterranean region is a top destination for yacht charters, with its turquoise waters, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage. Some popular destinations include the French Riviera, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and the Greek islands.
Caribbean: The Caribbean is a popular yacht charter destination for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and clear waters. Some popular islands include the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and Antigua.
Bahamas: The Bahamas are another popular yacht charter destination, known for its stunning crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and tropical landscapes.
Maldives: The Maldives is a group of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, known for its stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and abundant sea life.
Thailand: Thailand is known for its stunning beaches, lush tropical forests, vibrant local culture, and rich history. Some popular destinations for yacht charters in Thailand include the Andaman Sea, Phuket, and Koh Samui
When it comes to planning the perfect trip, timing is everything. Booking your yacht charter early is key to ensuring that you get the yacht and destination that you want. Don’t wait until the last minute to book, as yachts can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. It’s also a good idea to book well in advance if you’re traveling during the holidays, as yachts tend to be in high demand during these times.
Yacht Charter Cost
Another important factor to consider when planning your yacht charter is the cost. Yacht charters can be expensive, so you’ll want to budget for your trip carefully. Consider the cost of the yacht, fuel, food, and other expenses. Some yacht charters may include some or all of these expenses, so be sure to ask about what’s included when you’re booking. You may also want to look for yacht charter deals or discounts to help save money on your trip.
Think About the Crew
Finally, you’ll want to consider the crew. Yacht charters typically come with a crew that includes a captain, chef, and other members. Consider the size of the crew, and make sure that they have the experience and skills you need for your trip. You’ll also want to make sure that the crew is friendly and professional, and that they can accommodate any special requests or needs you may have.
A yacht charter is an excellent way to explore the world’s most beautiful destinations in style and comfort. With a little bit of planning and research, you can choose the right yacht and plan the perfect trip for you and your travel companions. So start exploring your options today, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
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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