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Archive for the ‘A Traveling Girl’ Category

It’s been a while, no?  I said in my last post, that for once I wanted to just  experience what I was experiencing.  To live it, but not feel like I had to write about it.  But blogging is a part of my life.  I couldn’t stay away too long.

So here it is: I’ve been dating someone for about a month.  And things are going really well. Really, really well.  Our first date was everything you want a first date to be.  Well, everything I want a first date to be.  We talked and laughed for two hours, until we closed down a coffee shop.  And then he walked me home.  Things moved from there.  And here we are.  I’m quite the smitten kitten.

So, this weekend, My Guy is leaving for a much-deserved and overdue vacation.  I won’t lie: I’ll miss him.  But  I’m happy for him to get to go somewhere with his friends and have a break in the sun.

This traveling brought to mind some of my trips in life.  When I was younger, I decided I wanted to visit all 50 states.  I thought it would be so cool to say I had been to them all.  Hey, cool as a kid is different than it is as an adult.

Anyway, I never made it to all 50 states, but I made it to quite a few.  And I had some interesting experiences in those states.  So, I present a list of interesting travel stories from yours truly.  Enjoy.

Alabama: I’ve never been to Alabama…starting off well, aren’t we?
Alaska: Ditto Alaska.  hmmmmm.
Arizona: Another state that has not been graced with the presence of Cheryl
Arkansas: I think Arkansas was more or less a “drive through it” state.  And Maybe we stopped for gas or a McDonald’s.  I’m beginning to think this exercise wasn’t a good idea after all…
California: A few years ago, my mom took my sister and me to Disneyland.  We stayed in Anaheim, flew through LAX.  No offense, but LA did not impress me.  San Diego did.  It was gorgeous down there.  My mom said she just might retire to San Diego.  I said I’d come visit.
Colorado: When I was 12 or 13 we went to Colorado and I don’t really remember it all that well.  Lately, visiting Kendra in Denver have been two really great trips.  Always filled with sushi, vodka, mountains and laughs.  I love Denver.
Connecticut: I lost a tooth in Connecticut.  No really.  We stopped there to have lunch, just so I could say I’d been there.  Well, I was 11 or so and had this molar coming out, but it hadn’t released fully.  I took my first bite of food, felt my tongue pushing against the tooth and had to excuse myself.  Wherein I went into the restroom at the Friendly’s, stood in front of the mirror and plucked out my molar.  An hour later, it was goodbye CT.
Delaware: I used to drive through Delaware between Philadelphia and DC, but there wasn’t much to report…hi, we’re in Delaware…
Florida: When I was 8, we took that magical trip every kid dreams of: Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens, the beach.  I took my first plane ride to Florida and I remember gross food and upon our return we exited via rolling stairs right onto the Tarmac.  MSP has since upgraded their Humphrey terminal to include jetways.  I’ve been back twice to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale to depart on my cruises.
Georgia: Once again, a place I have not been.
Hawaii: Hello, dream vacay.  Again, never been
Idaho: Nada here
Illinois: Yeah so I’ve lived here for going on six years.  I have way too many stories to tell.  In fact, see the entirety of this blog for Illinois, ok?
Indiana: I’ve been a few times.  The first time we stayed at a terrible hotel in Gary.  Although it was not the most horrible hotel we found ourselves in on a family vacation.  That prize goes to…Mississauga, Ontario.  Where my mother actually said the words “We can’t stay here, I don’t know if these sheets have been laundered” and where, as an adult I now have complete confidence the rooms went by the hour, if you know what I’m saying.  I’d also like to clarify that upon seeing the room and its sheets my family did NOT stay at that hotel, but hightailed it to a different Toronto suburb and nice clean, comfy Choice Hotel.  And why we were in Toronto, I still don’t know. But Gary, oh Gary.  You are quite the town and so was your hotel.  The first time I remember being less than pleased by an overnight stay.
Iowa: When I was 14, my mom and dad and I went to Iowa and saw the Field of Dreams.  I was 14 so I’m sure I was all “OMG this is so uncool.”  But that movie now always makes me think of my dad–who loved baseball, who loved that movie–so now that he’s gone, and despite all the BS that went on between us, I’m happy we went.
Kansas: We drove through Kansas once, and holy flatness.  I remember the fields of wheat waving like the ocean.  And yet, so land-locked, quite dry.
Kentucky: Um, once again a drive-through state.  Not much to report on Kentucky.  Sorry Blue Grass state!
Louisiana: Have not been
Maine: On a trip to the east coast, we drove up to Maine and stopped in a trading post to peruse Maine-y type stuff.  We did not eat lobster.  What the hell is wrong with us?
Maryland: I looked at apartments in Maryland–near Silver Spring–when I thought I might move to the DC area.  I also hit Maryland on those trips to DC and still remember the looooong tunner under the harbor in Baltimore.  Good times.
Massachusetts: On that east coast trip, we hit Boston.  I loved all the history and the red stripe on the sidewalk that took us to the historical sites.  I also remember seeing Cheers.  Here’s the thing.  Back then anyway, you didn’t get to go to the actual bar unless you were drinking and 21.  Otherwise you had to go to that Bull & Finch restaurant and see T-shirts.  My dad knew I wanted to see the bar (I used to watch Cheers reruns during my summer vacations) so somehow he conviced the bouncers to let him take me in, and straight through to the back door.  I remember darkness, smoke, noise and a huge crowd.
Michigan: Oh Michigan.  I’ve really only driven this state.  But I do remember seeing gas for $.98/gallon at one point.  Ah, memories.
Minnesota: Grew up there, dontcha know?
Mississippi: Once again, I believe Mississippi entailed a gas stop.
Missouri: I’ve been to Kansas City (saw a baseball game) and St. Louis (saw the arch) and Hannibal, Mark Twain’s hometown.  I couldn’t stop picturing that when I read Huckleberry Finn in high school.
Montana: Nada
Nebraska: Ironically, I missed Nebraska.  I went around it, never into it.
Nevada: Oh how I’d love a Las Vegas weekend.  Alas, I have not been to Nevada
New Hampshire: I fell in a river in New Hampshire.  In the Washington Mountains. I decided to wade in.  Well a slippery rocky and a strong current meant that river swept me off my feet–literally.  It was a long, wet drive back to Boston.
New Jersey: Oh New Jersey.  You do get picked on don’t you?  I’ve been through NJ many times.  I went to Atlantic City once–um, I think it’s seen better days.  Cause damn.  Also went to Six Flags there in college.  We went on a day where it was only open to a few groups, which resulted in being able to go on one roller coaster three times in a row.  We didn’t get off the ride, just stayed in our seats and went again.  That was a great time.
New Mexico: So, the Southwest is like a black hole to me…never been here.
New York: I’ve been to upstate New York: Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Rochester and the Finger Lakes for my friend’s wedding, Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame, and I’ve been to NYC many times.  The first time I went I had to run from the Port Authority to a theater to see Chicago, then had a slice of pizza (mmmmmm) and then saw Times Square before heading back to Philadelphia.  It was quite the trip.
North Carolina: Another black hole is that portion of the east coast south of Virginia and north of Florida…never been here.
North Dakota: I’ve been but there’s not much to say about it.  Sorry ND.  I was in Fargo briefly and, yeah…
Ohio: I’ve driven through Ohio many a-times (there is no other way to get from Minnesota to Pennsylvania, really) and one time we stopped in Cleveland to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The museum is awesome.  The Hall of Fame?  Well, let’s just say I’ve been to many a Hall of Fame–Baseball, US Hockey–and I didn’t even know I was in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame til I left it.  Hall to me means big hall–large open room.  Not hallway.  I wasn’t impressed with that part of it.
Oklahoma: Nope
Oregon: Nada
Pennsylvania: Went to college here for two years.  Many stories to tell.  In fact, I belive Pennsylvania is the first place I got drunk.  That’s right.  In fact one time I got so drunk I banged my head, started crying (even though it didn’t hurt cause hello booze) and then sat in the dorm bathroom crying to a friend “I don’t want to throw up!  I don’t want to throw up!”  I didn’t.  But oh the headache the next day.
Rhode Island: I went to Newport and saw the disgusting displays of old money in those “summer homes.”  I also had fresh seafood, saw a lot of ships and enjoyed the seaside town.  And ice cream.
South Carolina: Try again later
South Dakota: You know the typical stuff: Corn Palace, Mt. Rushmore.  Erin lived in Sioux Falls for a bit so I visited a couple of times.  Oh, and I got sick in Rapid City.  Like delay the family vacation sick.
Tennessee: We went to Nashville and Memphis.  I remember Nashville as being gorgeous.  With beautiful flowers and scenery.  And the Grand Ol’ Opry.  I remember Memphis as cloudy but we did see Graceland, and the Pebody Hotel with the ducks (geese? swans?  Help me out).  And the Lorraine Hotel, where MLK was shot.  Talk about a place having a pervading feeling to it.
Texas: This is probably the most ironic of all the states I haven’t been to, because I root for Texas (Hook ‘Em Horns), especially in football season.  Why?  Cause I went to a D3, all-female school.  And didn’t have a team to root for.  The Texas fans adopted me.  Yee-haw!
Utah:  Um, as far as going to Utah is concerned: Fail.
Vermont: Another state I somehow just kind of missed.
Virginia: My experience with Virginia is entirely DC-related: Arlington, Falls Church, etc.  I have a friend who lives in Arlington and have visited her a few times, more-so in or directly after college.  I liked it there, I haven’t ventured much further away.
Washington: This was my first non-parents trip.  The summer before my senior year, my friend Anna and I went (with my sister) to Seattle to “check out colleges.”  Other than the University of Washington, we didn’t spend too much time at the colleges.  We spent way more time on the water front, at touristy places, eating and drinking coffee (as there was a Starbucks every 12 feet).  Loved it.
West Virginia: My route to college included about 30 minutes in West Virginia and the city of Wheeling.  It was very picturesque, though brief.  It wasn’t long after leaving Ohio that you were in Pennsylvania.
Wisconsin: Oh Wisconsin.  Bane of my existence when I must drive home.  Land of “Are We There Yet.”  Also of cheese, fireworks and porn.  I’ve been to Wisconsin many times.  My grandmother lived there (on my father’s side) and every year we went to the rutabaga festival.  The often overlooked, but valiant veggie (?).  Oh yeah, plus there’s the Wisconsin Dells…
Wyoming: Drove through it.  Stopped for lunch with some of the worst service.  Saw a lot of open spaces.  It’s also the first (perhaps only) state I saw post a population of “4” on the town’s sign.  For real.

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Driving to Minnesota is one thing in the summer. And even then it’s almost unbearable. Driving to Minnesota in the winter is bound to make me gray, or bald. I’m not sure which would be worse–obviously bald, I could dye gray hair. Anyway, I thought the eight hour drive back to Chicago in snow at Thanksgiving was bad. But yesterday’s drive, while it took less time, was just all around ugly.

I woke up at 7:45 or so and saw a sunny, nearly cloudless sky. That seemed to bode well for me since I’d wanted to avoid snow on the trip. I began checking online and it seemed I may not encounter snow until about 3/4 of the way there. So after some hemming and hawing I decided to go for it. Therein began my journey of epic proportions. Ok, it wasn’t an Odyssey or anything like that.

First, I had to get my car, which on Tuesday, you may recall, I moved to a non snow route. I stepped outside into bitter, painful cold conditions. We’re talking snot-freezing cold, with wind that cuts through you. I got to my car, covered in snow after two rounds of snowfall, and now frozen. In fact, the lock to my driver’s door was frozen and wouldn’t unlock. Which meant I had to climb in from the passenger side. I blasted the defrost and cleaned off the car as best as I could, drove to the alley behind my building, loaded up, drove to Starbucks for my coffee and breakfast sandwich and I was off. I did all of that climbing in and out of the passenger door.

You know how when your car is frozen like that, with ice on the hood and windshield, it will melt once the engine gets hot and the defrost kicks in? Well when you car arrives in Minnesota, seven hours later, still frozen, you know it’s cold outside!

My first indication that this might not be a normal drive where my car might “thaw” was when I got to my first toll booth. At this point my car had been running for a good 30 minutes and should be warming up. I pulled up to pay (I must get an iPass) and hit the button to make my window go down. Nothing. It was frozen shut. Normally I’d open the door, but that frozen lock? Yeah it was still frozen. So I pulled up, got the back window opened and apologized to the attendant as I wrenched around my headrest and handed him a dollar. He seemed unfazed. But I’m betting he’s seen some pretty weird shit on that job.

Finally my door and window gave in to the heat and I was able to pay my tolls normally and use my driver’s door for the rest of the trip. Which was good. Because as I drove along the dirty, wintery interstate, my windshield got really gross. So, I went to spritz them with wiper fluid. Only to have nothing come out. Because the nozzles were covered in ice, ice that you may recall wasn’t melting away despite the big old engine whirring beneath. Oh, and my windows were a frosty mess.

I made my first stop for gas, tried to chip away at the nozzles and got them clear and grabbed the little squeegee to clean my windshield. Except? It was so cold in Beloit Wisconsin that the blue fluid was frozen shut. So I cursingly bought wiper fluid inside the stations, doused my windshield and I was off. Because despite clearing off the nozzles, they still weren’t working.

As I headed toward Madison, I noticed my car was making creaking noises in the cold. I honestly thought it was going to start falling apart and I’d end up driving a car like Chris Farley and David Spade in Tommy Boy. Although regardless of the state of my car, I would NOT be belting out Superstar by the Carpenters.

Anyhoo, I had to keep pulling over to douse my windshield because the fluid never came. I even, at one stop, checked to make sure the fluid was full. And it was, which I was confident was the case. At one such stop, where the squeegees were mercifully in a slushy mixture and thus usable, I went inside to buy a driving snack and heard a woman asking how much a paper funnel was, to which the clerk responded free. As I went up to pay, the clerk looked at me, then the women out by her white Jeep and said, “She just asked where the wiper fluid goes. I hope she’s not putting it where the radiator fluid needs to be.” “Really?” I asked incredulously. Because even I know that one. It goes in the reservoir marked for wiper fluid and/or with a picture of a windshield on it. “I hope she’s not traveling alone,” I added. Luckily a customer was helping her. And as I left she came in and asked where the Starbucks was.

So after I resigned myself to a messy windshield (difficult for me, dirty windshields drive me crazy) and a frozen car, you’d think the trip would have gotten better. But then came the black ice, coupled with gusty winds. And my SUV,–prone to tipping over–began to do mini-fishtails at 50 miles per hour. That is some scary shit, let me tell you. Especially on a bridge.

Finally, there was the sign, welcoming me to Minnesota, and from there it’s a matter of 20 minutes to my mom’s. Which I made handily. I had begged her for a night in the garage, and I found my sister’s car in the driveway. But the thing is, it’s still really cold, and even now my car is a vision in snow and ice. Because currently it’s -11, with an even worse windchill. Thanks so much arctic winds.

Anyway, I’m holing up inside today, giving me plenty of laundry and blogging time. What a vacay! Happy Christmas week you all. Oh, and I’m sorry if you, like me, are now singing, “Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby!” My bad.

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Promised

I promised a post on my Colorado adventures, my Rocky Mountain high if you will.  So, rather a bit late, here it is.

This weekend entailed: sushi, martinis, beer, vodka, tons of laughter, music, catching up, meeting new people and then a performance of Steel Magnolias courtesy of my new friends.  And that was just Friday night.

Kendra met me at the airport–after I reapplied some makeup and changed my shoes and whisked me off to sushi and drinks with two of her work friends.  And OMG, they had me in hysterics.  Awesome people, awesome time.  So says I.

By 1:00 in the morning (2:00 my time) my eyelids were a-drooping cause I’d been up 20 hours and honestly haven’t been sleeping all that well of late.  So all apologies to the Denver-ites for this flatlander’s eventual quieting down and sleepiness.

After some much needed sleep at the KCB&B, the rest of the weekend entailed manicures and pedicures, mountain drives and foothill hikes, breakfast burritos and a frittata (not made by me, mind you), coffee, couchpotatoism–Daily Show, cable movies and SNL, Thai lunch, some panting and wheezing from yours truly, THE BEST guacamole in Denver (I hear), dance preparations, bookstore visits, burgers and fries, a lot of advice-giving heart-to-hearts, and one brown dog.  Whew.  No wonder I’m tired.  Good thing I took Monday off.  We were so busy, we didn’t even snap photos.  Who had time to whip out the camera?  Guess I’ll have to go back.

In the meantime, I’m off to Minneapolis for work, but I get to stay on for the weekend to see my family–and that includes two of my best and oldest friends and their kids.  Wish me good flights.  I shall return.

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Yes, yes. It’s been two weeks. I was in New York, and didn’t post any pictures or give any reports. Well I was kinda busy moving and stuff. But now that all the moving dust is settling, I’ve found a few moments, and my USB cord, to download a few pictures.

If I were to sum up the weekend spent in New York with Marissa and Kendra it’d be with Kendra’s constant refrain of “Hey, we’re on vacation.” Why not take the Town Car to dinner instead of waiting in a long line in the rain for a cab? Why not tack a massage onto your manicure? Or get a parafin wax? Let’s get a pitcher of mimosas! We are on vacation.

Speaking of mimosas, I believe the other summary of the weekend would be: food. As all three of us are foodies to the nth degree, meals were very important. Marissa did us proud by making reservations at killer spots and I believe there were multiple occassions of eye-closing, mmm-inducing joy. Like when sampling a banana-stuffed brioche french toast, or eggs rancheros (do not ask my why the restaurant referred to them as eggs rancheros and not huevos rancheros) or stellar edemame dumplings or savory beignets. My mouth waters with the memories.

So many of the pictures, not surprisingly, are in restaurants. Enjoy.

Kendra and Marissa at Haru, sushi restaurant on Thursday night.

Me and Kendra at Rosa Mexicano on Friday night.

Me and Marissa at Rosa Mexicano.

Group shot at The Park, following what may have been some of the best Asian Fusion at Buddakan. Also home of some of the lamest pick up attempts we have ever been part of, including an entire dissertation on what it means to wear a ring on each of the fingers, based on Greek (?) mythology. From a man wearing more rings than any one of us. And whose friend had more rings than all of us combined. And you know, what we all want to hear on a Saturday night.

Know what else we did a lot of? Shopping and walking. Kendra and I hit Fifth Avenue on Friday, before escaping the rain for manis/pedis/massages. And we all hit SoHo on Saturday. Mostly we just used to time to talk and laugh.

Ladies, it was a blast.

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Now see, what I did there was combined my new title theme with my old one.  Anybody got the reference?  You might not.  Although I expect one of you to fully grasp it by the end of the story. And on to the post…

My mother and I are planning a trip to northern California.  We love wine and are very excited.  This on top of another fab trip I’m planning to go be fabulous in New York.  All this trip planning, got me to remembering family trips of old. 

My family were the summer vacationers.  Every year we went somewhere.  Even when we couldn’t really afford it, we’d head up to Duluth or over to the Wisconsin Dells.  Later the trips grew more–Disney World, Boston, Denver.  Other than the Magic Kingdom, they were family road trips.  Yeah…enter the teen years and exit those excursions.

The first of the annual vacations was in 1984.  That summer I was four, my sister was eight and we loaded up the family car for our annual trip to Grandma Rose’s up, up, up in Lake of the Woods County.  This is the real northern Minnesota, up on the Canadian border.  Which reminds me, don’t ever let anyone tell you Brainerd is northern Minnesota.  It is actually, quite literally, central to the state. 

This year was different.  Because the family didn’t stop in tiny Baudette, Minnesota.  We kept going right over that border and into Manitoba.  And we kept going to…Winnipeg.  At a young age, I was already an international traveller.

You know how when you’re young, things kind of blur together?  I remember being four, but don’t always have clear or distinct memories of specific things.  This is what I remember about Winnipeg:

It seemed really far.  And since Lake of the Woods was a seven hour drive, Winnipeg must be fairly far from Minneapolis, especially for a four year old.  For this reason, Canada seemed very exotic what with it being a different country and all. 

We went on a train ride on something called The Prairie Dog Central.  I am pretty sure it was a restored or replica of an early 1900’s train.  I remember sitting in my chair, lots of sunlight pouring through the windows and playing in the aisles with my sister.  I remember thinking the bathroom was icky.

The only other distinct thing I remember is being in the indoor pool area of the hotel.  I was standing by my mom’s lounge chair when my sister came up to us, very upset.  “Mom, I just drowned in the pool!” she exclaimed.  My mother looked at her and calmly reminded her that she did not drown in the pool.  “If you had drowned in the pool you wouldn’t be standing here right now.  You almost drowned, but you’re ok now.” 

She proceeded to calm my sister down and assure her that everything was ok.   My little four-year-old mind puzzled over what my mom said as I headed to the wading pool and then I understood that drowning was permanent.  And that might explain why I am so exact with my words.  It also explains why, in grad school, the distinction made to us budding reporters that one is not strangled to death–one who is strangled is dead–made me giggle.

So there you have it Winnipeg.  In my mind, you are forever my first traveling adventure, the city of trains, and where my sister “drowned.”

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…Colorado!

Woo. I got home an hour or so ago, and I am so tired. But I promised pictures. So I wanted to get that done.

The weekend entailed: Mexican dinner with buy-one-get-one-free margaritas and much laughter followed by vodka tonics and much laughter. And an entire bottle of water so I wouldn’t get altitude sickness as badly. Then there was coffee and breakfast, a trip to Red Rocks, and a drive into the mountains where we commenced with “Cheryl outdoor time.” Because the hike in the mountains segued when yours truly spotted a billboard for the Coach outlet. And shopping in that fresh mountain air was my adventure. And we did stop in Golden to see Aspens and a lovely creek and get our photos on. Then it was time for Sushi dinner and dessert. Sunday was brunch and a bit more shopping and off to the airport.

There was also lots of music–hey you spend hours in the car driving through the mountains and to and from the airport without music. I dare you. Kendra proceeded to get me hooked on Common’s “Drivin’ Me Wild,” and an awesomely funny song called “Little Dudes” by a group I don’t remember the name of cause I had a long weekend people and tomorrow is my birthday and well, I’m getting old.

Here are some pictures and unrelated, yet humorous quotes from the weekend.

Red Rocks

 

“I miss the smell of autumn. Cause all we get in Chicago is the smell of urine…and garbage and car exhaust.”

 

sunset

 

“I works with him.”

 

Birthday Cake

 

“He needs to put on his Man Pants.'”

Bloggers!

“That’s classy, with a ‘K.'”

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Hello all! I’m back from my trip to Dublin. It was hard for me to leave. I was extremely pleasantly surprised at the experience and the city of Dublin. I’d always thought I could take or leave Ireland in my list of places I wanted to visit. Now, I can’t wait to go back some day. Ireland stole a piece of my heart and I think I left it there.

Most of my time was spent in the city of Dublin. It’s a beautiful city, very easy to get around and a lot to see. That meant a lot of walking and at the end of the day (the first day especially) I was usually exhausted. I was lucky to get in early Thursday morning and had that afternoon and Friday to explore the city on my own. I also got to meet my friend E for dinner on the first night. She’d been there for a few months for school.

One of the things I love about Europe, and Dublin was no exception, is the sense of history you get just from being there. The old buildings and narrow streets, cobblestones and all. It’s a feeling you just can’t get in America. You can just tell how long things have been there, it’s like the history and culture are seeping from the roads, the buildings, all of it. For example, Dublin Castle has a tower from the 1200s or so. There are ruins below we got to see of the old towers and walls. At one point, I was standing in what would have been the moat just outside the city.

Temple Bar

This is the Temple Bar area of Dublin. It’s a pretty good reperesentation of some of the architecture and the feel of the city. A mix of the old and new.

Dublin Garden Dublin Garde

This is Dublin Garden, just behind the castle. Below it is where a black lake, or black pool, would have been. This is where the city got its name–Dubh Linn (“dove lynn”) is Irish for black pool, and it was altered over time.

Trinity

Trinity College, where it seems everyone famous from Ireland went…
On Saturday, E and I took a very early bus up to Belfast and then another bus took us through Northern Ireland to Giant’s Causeway and the city of Derry (or Londonderry, depending on whom you’re asking). Northern Ireland was gorgeous and when we made stops by the sea it was so quiet. It wasn’t even that it was quiet, it was still.

Me in N. Ireland

This is me in Northern Ireland. Just beyond the island behind me, there was more land. That was Scotland. It was as close as I’d ever been to it.

Island Rope Bridge

This is the view from up on a cliff. We hiked down for about 15 minutes and crossed over that rope bridge to get to some of those cliffs sticking out into the sea. I have a fear of falling so E had to put up with some real nerves on my part. But I knew I’d regret not going. I made it there and back.

Giants

Giant’s Causeway:Huge hexagonal, volcanic rock cliffs. Those people on top should give you an idea of just how big it is.

derry peace

The city of Derry/Londonderry. Famous for two things, really: it’s still walled as you can see from the first picture. It’s also the site of Blood Sunday and topic of the U2 song. The city has murals depicting and remembering the day, including the above dove, for peace.

The rest of the trip was back in Dublin with more museums and walking and shopping. Just like I crossed the rope bridge, I faced another fear, less successfully. Which means it’s confession time: mummies freak me out. It’s not a child’s fear like I think they will come after me, but just looking at the shriveled, gray-brown bodies with hair and teeth and nails creeps me out. In Dublin, I went to see the bog bodies–prehistoric corpses preserved in Ireland’s peat bogs. And as I stood looking at the third one, I noticed I felt dizzy and nauseated…I was out of breath and my heart was racing and thumping. Full creep-out achieved. I high-tailed it out of there.

Stephens Christchurch

St. Stephens Green and Christchurch Cathedral.

Monday I also went to the seaside town of Howth (rhymes with “both,” does not sound like “house” with a lisp, as I was saying it). It was very cute and charming.

Howth Howth Harbor

So that was my trip, in a nutshell. To end: a few fun facts about Ireland.

  • There are palm trees in Dublin.
  • There were no cute little stone cottages that look cold and damp in Dublin and not that I could see in Northern Ireland either.
  • The official symbol of Ireland isn’t a shamrock, it’s a harp. It’s basically the Guinness harp turned around.
  • I can’t drink beer so I didn’t have any Guinness or Irish beer.
  • You have to hail your bus in Dublin, even if you’re at the bus stop. You also have to know when you’re at your stop, cause they don’t announce it.
  • In Dublin, signs are in English and Irish which I found very entertaining.

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