Europe, North America · 27 Days · 42 Moments · June 2017

Kate's Adventure in Great Britain and Beyond!

4 July 2017

Made it to DEN! Now to pick up our car and go eat at Sweet Tomatoes!!! My favorite place!
Leg one of the journey home completed! We just landed in Chicago and have an hour layover until we fly to DEN. Then we stay the night and drive Kendra back to KS tomorrow and then on to TX :)

3 July 2017

Today we explored Dublin! We saw Christ Church Cathedral, the Dublin Castle, the Ha'Penny Bridge, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College. We also went to Dublinia, a museum chronically the history of Dublin City, from the 9th century Vikings until the 12th century protestant reformation. Very cool! Then we went home and repacked. Headed home tomorrow!

2 July 2017

Today we drove from Ballinrobe to Dublin. We got the keys for our apartment, ate dinner, and chilled. This cutie was sitting on the fence in Ballinrobe yelling for his mother. So precious!!!

1 July 2017

Finally we drove home on more of the Wild Atlantic Way. The sun came out while we were at the beach and made for some lovely pictures on the way home. A perfect Sabbath day!!
Then we drove from Diamond Hill to Omey Beach. This is a U-shaped beach that is covered by the ocean on both sides at high tide. There are people that live on the island and they have to carefully plan out what time of day they leave and return to the island. We found lots of shells and seaweed and strange curly sand piles. It was a lovely end to a wonderful day!!
From Kylemore we drove to Connemara National Park. It was gorgeous!!! We stopped at the visitor's center and the hiked up the hill. Mom and Kendra went about halfway up and Dad went just a tad further with me. He said I could climb to the summit if I made it back to the car at the same time that he did. That's why my face is so red in the photo... I practically ran up the summit and back down. The views up there were amazing though! The pictures don't do it justice.
This morning we drove about an hour and a half west to Kylemore Abbey. It was built for a wealthy man and his wife buy is now an abbey. It was also used to educated girls from the nearby towns and from all over the world. There are extensive working gardens and a nearby church erected in memory of the original owner's wife. A very beautiful place to walk through!

30 June 2017

We ended our drive at the Cliffs of Moher. The sun was shining so beautifully all day and it provided a new view of the Cliffs. It was amazing! Then we ended our day by driving to our next hotel in Ballinrobe, 30 minutes north of Galway. A great day!
Just a few pictures driving between Skibbereen and the Cliffs of Moher...
On our way from Skibbereen, we drove over Healy Pass. It came highly recommended by the owner of our hostel. It was very much worth the one lane road we had to drive to get there... I can say that though because I didn't have to drive ;) Lovely!!

29 June 2017

Today we flew from Edinburgh to Dublin, picked up our rental car and drove south. I was pretty focused on navigating and my camera was in my suitcase in the trunk so I didn't take many pictures... We got to our hostel around 1700 and Dad and I took a nap (because Mom and Kendra slept in the car the whole way...). Then we went to the Church Restaurant, which is a beautiful restaurant in a renovated old church. The food was also very delicious. Then we drove to Lough Hyne to go night kayaking. At the risk of dropping our devices into the lake, we didn't take any pictures while we were on the lake. But the bioluminescence was much better this time. However, because of the wind, we only paddled halfway around the lake. We finished up around midnight. All-in-all a great night!

28 June 2017

Today we went through Edinburgh Castle. We are some falafel wraps for lunch again today. Delicious! We also got some family photos made of us in traditional Scottish dress. I couldn't post any because they are on a CD and I've no way to get them to my phone currently... Then Mom and I hiked up Arthur's Seat to get a great view of the city! It was painful but the view was amazing and the walk back down wasn't so bad! You can see Edinburgh Castle on the rock in photo 6 and look down into Holyrood Palace in photo 7...

27 June 2017

Today we took a tour to Loch Ness. The same one I took but with a much better narrator! We bought tickets to do the boat tour and see the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Mary and Karla and I were too cheap to do that tour last time. If you look closely in picture #9, you might even see Nessie!!!!

26 June 2017

Today we explored Edinburgh (again for me...). We went to Holyrood Palace, walked down the Royal Mile and walked up Calton Hill. It was a little chilly but it never rained on us so I suppose it was a good weather day!

25 June 2017

Today we took the train from London to Edinburgh. It was about a 4 hour ride. We had 4 seats facing each other over a table so we could play cards! We had some delicious pastries and enjoyed the view! It was very relaxing! So relaxing some people just slept and missed the view... Once we got here we checked into our hostel, are some delicious Italian food, and then went grocery shopping. We called it a night around 2030 because I was exhausted!!

24 June 2017

Today we went to church at Kennington Community Fellowship. The people were so welcoming and friendly!! The message was very deep and inspiring! All-in-all, a blessed - and relaxing - Sabbath!!!

23 June 2017

Today we went to the British Museum. We saw the Rosetta Stone and some cool mummies and such. It was neat but we didn't make it through all of it. Then we went back to Covent Gardens to finish up our souvenir shopping! We stopped along the way to get some Mexican food that was much better than what I had in Edinburgh!! It also came with potato wedges which were delicious!! Then we walked home by the Parliament building and Big Ben! It's been fun London!

22 June 2017

Finally we walked through Little Venice before heading home. It was amazing! All these cute little house boats parked on one side of the canal temporarily (for up to one week without cost) and there were bigger, permanent boats parked on the other side! It was such a neat little place and much quieter than the rest of the city.
Along the river walk we stopped at the Borough Market. I don't have any pictures because I had my hands full with all different kinds of food!!! It's my favorite kind of tourist attraction. I had Samosas, some other kind of Indian finger food, something resembling a large piece of Spanakopita, fish and chips (more chips than fish), a vegan burger made of chickpeas and sweet potato" and strawberry and salted caramel goat's milk ice cream for dessert! To be fair, I was sharing all this with my family! I really couldn't have eaten all that by myself... There was plenty more that I wanted to try also but I just didn't have any more room! We also saw Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. We were going to see a show but they were all sold out for the rest of our stay here... :( But then, as we were getting ready to cross the Millennium Bridge, we saw a man blowing bubbles with an arch-like wand... It was beautiful!!!
Then we took a boat down the Thames and saw the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. This time I got to walk across it and back down the other side! It was a nice river walk!
This morning Kendra and I went on the London Eye! It was so cool! We found a ticket for buy one get one free tickets so we were able to go for half price! It's a little scary because every once in a while you feel the pod adjust so it stays upright and it is wobbly! But the views of London are fabulous!

21 June 2017

Today we walked around London again. We walked by the Royal Horse Parades and saw these mounted guards. This horse was quite antsy! We then went to the Florence Nightingale museum and learned about the history of nursing. It was quite fascinating! Then we went to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria theater! It was the first musical I've seen and it was amazing! I want to see more!!! Finally we walked through Chinatown on our way home. Lovely day but quite warm... No AC in the theater either... :/

20 June 2017

We finished up with a late lunch at a delicious Thai restaurant! We came back to our apartment which is super cute and tiny on the second floor. The only downside is that there's no AC and it's quite warm today...
We also saw the Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square. It was very toasty today!
Today we went to see the Buckingham Palace, among other things. It was pretty and the fountain outside was nice. Not quite like Versailles but still nice. We also got to see some soldiers. There were also some beautiful parks nearby!
On our way to Buckingham Palace we stopped at Big Ben and the London Eye. Got some new pictures from different angles :) Also, was reunited with my partner in crime!

19 June 2017

Today we didn't do much... Flew into London around 0700 and roamed the city a bit. Found a nice park. Went to our hotel near the airport. I got Mary and Karla all tucked in, said goodbye and went to meet my family for part 2!

18 June 2017

Today we went canyoning with Nae Limits. It was a blast! We had about a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to get there. The weather was perfect for our outdoor adventure... One of two sunny days that Scotland gets every year ;) Once we arrived in Ballinluig, we struggled into several layers of neoprene and drove to a river. There we sweated profusely while climbing to the entrance point. However, we were very grateful for the wetsuits once we climbed into the glacial river water. Then we had quite the adventure slipping, sliding, climbing, and jumping downstream. It was great! The only downside was that getting out of the neoprene is harder than getting in... If you can see the exhaustion on our faces in the last photo!

17 June 2017

Today we went on a tour up north in Scotland. On our way out of Edinburgh we saw The Kelpies, statues of giant horse heads. They are kind of cool but I was unable to get my camera out fast enough to get a good picture. Then we drove up close to the Highlands and saw some native Scottish Highland Cows. They are so cute!! Then we drove up to the Highlands and into Glencoe and saw the most wonderful scenery! I have so many more pictures because it was absolutely beautiful! Then we drove down to the shores of Loch Ness. We drove the entire 23 mile length but never saw Nessie... So much for that £6 million reward... Then we ended the day with a quick view of Inverness and back to Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth. It was a nice bridge but I don't have space to post more pics. Let's just say it was nice but not my favorite view of the day :)

16 June 2017

Today we hiked up Calton Hill. It provides a nice view of the city! At we reached the top at about 12:40pm and decided to stay and watch the ball drop from the time keeping tower. Apparently, in the old days, they dropped a ball at 1300 everyday so that the ship captains could know exactly what time it was and synchronise their equipment. They still do this today (in London also and I'm sure other places) and they also fire a cannon from the Edinburgh Castle. The cannon is because the ships usually can't see the ball on the tower due to the fog! We just meandered around Edinburgh today and saw a mansion of an old banker and some beautiful flowers in the Princes St. Gardens!!!

15 June 2017

Today we flew into Edinburgh. Let me just say that the accents here are even better than Ireland if that is possible... First, we saw a monument to Sit Walter Scott who apparently made Scotland famous through his novels and writings. Then we went to a little cafe and saw some of the typical sites of Scotland, like a bagpiper! We also climbed up to what we thought was Arthur's Seat but I'm not so sure we made it there... It was a nice hike though and the views of the city are phenomenal! Finally, we saw the Edinburgh Castle which sits up on a hill overlooking the city. It's compound contains the oldest building in Edinburgh, a chapel built in the 12th century (photo 2). It was a great day!!

14 June 2017

Finally we crossed the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. It is apparently about 100ft high and 60ft across. Its one of the oldest bridges and used to be a great salmon fishing spot. The cliffs in the area where beautiful as well. It took a bit of walking to get there as well but it was worth it! Then we drove through some wilderness on our way home that was beautiful!
Then we went to the Giant's Causeway... Apparently this is the route that a Scottish giant fled in fear of an Irish giant. It took a bit of walking to get down there but it made a nice spot for a picnic!
Today we saw Dunluce castle and Dark Hedges (which is apparently used in Game of Thrones... But I've never seen it...). The serpentine birch trees that make up the hedge are 300 years old which is amazing because they typically only live to be 150 years old!

13 June 2017

Today we saw the Cliffs of Moher from a different (and cheaper) view. They were still spectacular! On our way to Galway, we stopped at a local chocolate factory. ( Thought you'd appreciate that, Mom) Had a great lunch but not much actual chocolate. We also drove to Galway and saw the Galway Cathedral which was beautiful! Now we're in Dublin. Didn't have much time to do anything by the time the rental car was returned. Did walk up the Ha'penny bridge though! (I'll add some photos at a later time...)

12 June 2017

Today was probably our first relaxing day in a while. We didn't leave our B&B until after 11am and we drove to the Dingle Peninsula. We took a few photos of the ocean from there and then drove to the Cliffs of Moher. On the way we took a ferry from one peninsula to another. The Cliffs of Moyer were absolutely awesome! Unfortunately it was quite foggy and about 10 minutes after we got all our pictures the cliffs were hidden from view by the fog. I'm glad we got to catch a glimpse of them though! We also meandered through an old cemetery on our way to our hostel. Some of the views of the ocean and crumbling buildings were beautiful!

11 June 2017

I don't have very many pictures from today because we were traveling for most of it (which means I slept for a lot of it...). But we got to Dublin around 1000 this morning, rented a car, bought a few groceries and headed south! We stopped for a bit at the Rock of Cashel, an important defensive fortress. St. Patrick came there also and converted the king in that area. A neat place with beautiful views! Then we drove another few hours to a bed and breakfast that we are staying at in Baltimore. Right after that we headed to Lough Hyne to go night kayaking. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures because I didn't want my camera to possibly get wet, but the phytoplankton were amazing! It was like trails of glitter released by your paddle every time you lifted it out of the water. It was a little chilly but totally worth it!!

10 June 2017

So today we had some more fantastic tour guides, Mary's aunt, uncle and cousins! They showed us all around London, including the Eye, Big Ben, Greenwich park, the Royal Observatory, Covent Gardens and much more! We saw the fastest tea ship of it's time, the Cuttysark. Also got to stand on the Prime Meridian and be in both East and West at the same time! Got sunburned some more... Maybe I should obtain some sunscreen... All in all, a fantastic day!

9 June 2017

Today we spent several hours at Versailles. My favorite palace, the Grande Trianon, is the one with the pink marble. It also had my favorite room, the one with all the blue curtains. It was beautiful! We also walked the extensive gardens! There was an orange grove - we got some delicious fresh squeezed orange juice - and even a water show! All in all a great day with lovely scenery and we even got all our exercise for the day! (The only down side is that Karla and I got sunburned...)

8 June 2017

Walking around Paris for about 4 hours until midnight. Had a blast and a real fantastic guide!! Saw Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame (not pictured) and the Tour de Effiel and many other wonderful things along the way!
Arrived in London! Waiting to head to Gatwick to catch a plane to Paris!!!