33.3, or so it goes.

Ok, so you wonder what the heading is about? Well, according to my husband, who has totally embraced his Irish heritage and is now even speaking in brogue, informs me that approximately ‘tirty tree and a turd’ of the Irish population live in Dublin. That interesting bit of trivia was discovered on today’s bus tour of the Irish capital.

Seriously, the bus tour was a great way to get a bit of perspective of the historical places of interest.  We had tried to get in to see the Book of Kells first thing this morning, but the line stretched half way around the quadrangle at Trinity College. On the bus, our guide, Barry from Ballymore was hilarious and gave us plenty of moments to take the p**s out of the Irish.  It also gave us an opportunity to see where we wanted to hop off the bus and check things out more closely.

Later  in the afternoon after enjoying a great coffee at Fixx Cafe  and having a good look at the vibrancy of Grafton Street, including dropping into Antonio Carluccio‘s Dublin digs, we sauntered back to Trinity College and managed to get in without too much delay.

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‘Tunda’ over the Emerald Isle

Ahhh, Tipperary water.  “T’is the sweetest water in all of Oireland,” says the other half in his best Oirish accent when we walked into our hotel room today.

If you haven’t guessed, we are in Dublin and have already experienced a quaint Irish welcome from the cab driver who told us there had been lots of ‘tunda stoms’ today.

And he was right. We experienced a fair few of them as we walked around the streets this afternoon, getting our bearings. It seriously bucketed down and was accompanied by lots of ‘tunda’ claps and some spectacular lightening forks.  Sitting under the post office awning out of the rain gave us the opportunity to relive the 1916 Easter Uprising  which is regarded as one of the defining moments in Irish history, because of the rise of republicanism. The post office was the setting for this momentous event.

We took some obligatory  photos of the Spire of Dublin which is a pretty ugly, useless thing in the middle of the main streets of the city, the River Liffey and  bridges over the Liffey from the O’Connell Bridge as well as the statue of Molly Malone who wheeled her wheel  barrow… you know the rest. We are next door to Trinity College which will be on the tourist trail tomorrow as well as a ‘pop on pop off’ bus tour of the major historical areas of this city.

We have also booked a tour to go to Belfast on Monday to see the Giant’s Causeway as well as  a cab tour of Belfast’s major historical areas of political unrest.

Bit of trivia – did you know there is not one Catholic cathedral in Dublin?

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When Irish eyes …

Just a quick update without photos.  The past few days have been both work and play related.  We have been catching up on client projects and in between, have had some excellent nights at beautiful restaurants, as well as giving the credit cards a little use – Tony of course, not me!

That said, we are amazed at how much construction is happening in the city of London – certainly no sign of constraints on the economy here.  Many of the buildings in most of the major streets including Oxford and Regent Streets, are getting some serious makeovers.

Heading to Ireland in the morning with lots of photos to post and experiences to enjoy.

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Finding coffee

While the cricket has been less than ordinary, so has the discovery of coffee . However, big plus today when we stumbled on Sacred Coffee  established by two New Zealanders! What a surprise. Big thanks to husband who spotted the La Marzocco ahead of us  in the shopping centre long before we discovered the beans, so I could enjoy a half decent brew.

These photos may be boring for some but they are important to others of us who enjoy a good coffee or two.

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London and cricket

Having survived the Italian Autostrade and the small roads in Cinque Terre, it was time to survive the rigors of the English cricket fraternity as we battle out The Ashes series.

Our first commitment has been the Lord’s Test and we spent the first day under hot and sunny skies. By now you would know the result of Day 1, which was that Australia took ‘scalps’ early, thanks to Ryan Harris and Shane Watson, and also at the end of  the day, courtesy of a fine spell of bowling by Stephen Smith. We had already started to make our way home by then, and of course we are now convinced that the wickets came because of our early departure so if the game is at a stalemate, we may do the same, unless the Australians are batting, of course.

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Goodby Venice, hello London

We left Venice yesterday, and it was tough to go.  Beautiful city, amazing sights and a visit we’ll always remember.  This was the highlight so far. Despite some concerns of how we would manage our baggage in the water taxi, all went without hitch.  Surprisingly, the water taxi drivers are robust and can manage some 45 kgs of bags with ease. So stop worrying Ingrid!

And so now onto cricket commitments.  Updates may not be as regular as daily pitch reports may not be quite as interesting, but we’ll try to keep them interesting as we move around the UK.

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So many people, so many laneways

Wow, Venice is a busy little city – only 50,000 residents yet 1 million tourists pour into the city each month during summer.  Nowhere was it more evident than today when we made our way to the Rialto Bridge which is the oldest bridge on the canals.  Seems like all of the tourists came out to play today.  In the laneways, in the main piazzas and at the bridge itself.  The heat doesn’t faze them. They are there at every turn.

A great interlude while fighting the crowds of tourists was a a capella choir from the Portland State University  who did a ‘flash mob’ promotion of a free concert tonight in a local church. The group’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujiah was quite beautiful and welcomed by the crowd who stopped to listen and be amazed. To top it off one of the girls in the choir works at Stumptown Coffee in Portland. So big thumbs up!!
Some pics of the bridge, a bit of shopping, the choir, all made for a lazy Sunday

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Gondolas and glass blowing

Today was a day on the water firstly for the gondola ride around some of the canals near San Marco where we are staying. We also ventured out onto the Grand Canal. The photos are typically what we would all expect of Venetian canals and the city’s historic architecture.  We could reach and touch the side walls of these buildings, many of which are sadly in decay.  The gondola ride was a highlight and although a very ‘tourist’ thing to do, we are working by the philosophy that we may ‘never come back here again’, so why not?

A walk through the famous San Marco square packed with people and pigeons  was another highlight.  While people were everywhere, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly as they went about their sightseeing. Cafes line the piazza and on a gloriously hot day it was the place to be.

A water taxi to Murano which is the famous glass blowing district was another highlight today.  Apparently in the 1920s all the glass blowers in Venice were forced to move there because of the fear of fires.  Venetians are obsessive about the risk of fire. For example our hotel rooms do not have irons because of fire risk. Getting emergency vehicles by water, into these small canals would be nightmare and in the large hotels, almost impossible.

Our visit to Murano was fruitful in that we bought some beautiful handmade glasses, a wine decanter and water jug.  We will next see the whole set in about eight weeks!

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Venturing to Venice

Today was a day of driving – firstly to the historic city of Verona on our way to Venice. Our stop was to visit the family home of Juliet Capulet (of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet fame). We did the touristy thing, well Tony did.  He touched her right breast which is apparently good luck in love.  He is still searching for it apparently – the love that is!

Venice is quite beautiful and we are fortunate  we are staying on the Grand Canal which is stunning. Our only mistake was to take the public water ‘bus’ from where we left our car, as opposed to a water taxi and so there was a bit of a walk to our hotel.  With two very heavy suitcases and backpacks, not a pleasant venture but happily a friendly porter took some of our money – well a fair bit of our money actually – to get us to our destination. But it was worth it, because importantly, he got us there.  Not sure we would have been able to find it on our own! We could still be wandering the canals if not for him.

So tomorrow we are going to do what everybody else does in this city – take a gondola ride. So be prepared for more gondola photos.

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Rest and recreation

Today was a day of rest and recreation in Sirmione, along with a dose of work this afternoon.  Not bad really when you consider that we can get our work done while the southern hemisphere is sleeping. Clients are pleased that everything is ready when they wake up, which makes us happy.

We took some happy snaps of the town but spent the rest of the morning lounging by the pool.  Much needed on a hot and steamy day like today. Tony also had his nose in the Twitter feed watching the Aussies dig themselves out of a hole, and enjoying Agar’s innings.

Anyway, photo time.

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