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.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Stephen’s Green
Swans and ducks together on the lake in St Stephen’s Green
Chocolate delight in Carluccio’s Dublin
Another ‘Tony’ outside Carluccio’s
Beautiful old book stores are dotted throughout the city
Flower sellers on Grafton Street.
A lot of effort for a few Euro
The Trinity College library. Fascintating.
Another perspective of the Trinity College library
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?
Us on the O’Connell Bridge looking over the River Liffey
Some of the bullet still in the post office columns after the 1916 uprising.
The Post Office which was in 1916 was the scene of the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798
Dublin public buildings in the rain
Irish history fills the bookshelves in local book stores
Some of the quaint pubs in the Temple district of Dublin
The Irish boxty – potato pancake with anything you want. Tony had pulled pork, and mine was a fillet steak in pepper sauce
The Temple district – the hub of restaurants and original Irish pubs
Sweet Molly Malone
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.
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.
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.
HM the Queen inspects the ‘guard of players’
A bit of light entertainment
The ghastly press box
The Aussies in action
Royal Albert Hall, just off Kensington Gardens
The Albert Memorial
Flower gardens in Kensington Gardens
A rock monument, in Kensington Gardens. Don’t know what for though
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.
Leaving our hotel
In the Grand Canal heading to the airport
Meandering through some of the ‘back streets’
Under the bridges for the last time
Well on our way to the mainland
London bus a symbol of the place
Last night in Venice
This is all Tony’s luggage!
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
The foyer of our hotel
‘Where’s Wally’ In amongst the crowd is the better half
Moi at the bridge
Now that’s a pizza
The a capella group perform in front of delighted crowds in one of the laneways
Gondola log jam!
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!
Even the shopkeepers entice you on the canals
The gondolier (who is nicknamed Mr America for some reason) and me!
The classic views of Venice
In the Grand Canal
This orchestral troupe played in San Marco piazza. Shed a few tears when they were playing Mozart waltzes. My mum would have loved this
Tony chilling out in the water taxi to Murano
The grand master of glass blowing demonstrates his talent
The finished product – a glass horse which we are bringing home
Our purchase – hand-made by a local designer We are getting eight-glass settings of red, white, port and water glasses including the decanter and water jug
Our hotel, the Westin Europa Regina
The view of our water taxi – they are everywhere!
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.
Tony trying to find love. Apparently.
Our public water ‘bus’ water . Not easy with heaps of luggage. Lesson learnt.
Now that’s a boat
This is what it’s all about
Gigilos live here.
The photo opportunities here are endless
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.
When it’s hot, this is the best place to be
Lowenbrau, the beer of preference in this place
Sirmione is a comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy
The outer walls of Sirmione
Some of its history
Driving through ‘walls’ of people to get to the hotel was interesting
More of the outer walls
We drove through these during the busy lunch-time people traffic
Sirmione’s lazy summer days
Apparently he was a Latin poet
You can drive through when the light turns green
Tony’s fantasy with fast cars