Around The World · 35 Days · 207 Moments · May 2018

The Long March 2018


29 June 2018

And 15 and some hours later we're home ... Hope you enjoyed our trek

27 June 2018

More Getty Museum ...
Part of the Getty exhibitions ...
On a beautiful sunny LA day we took an Uber and went to visit the Getty Museum. After driving through the hills along Sunset Boulevard we arrived at Getty. This is a simply amazing place ... huge, indoor and outdoor, with amazing 360° views over LA ... and it's free. Simply stunning ....

26 June 2018

From wandering in Hollywood we hot footed it over to Beverly Hills to spend a little time on Rodeo Drive. It's like another world compared to Hollywood and a little like an up market shopping theme park in all honesty. We enjoyed a nice lunch at a local eatery called Villa Blanca and, apart from lunch we bought nothing.
Here we are in Los Angeles and doing regular tourist things ... we enjoyed a nice walk from your apartment to Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard to imprint our hands and names in the concrete out front. Unfortunately, they weren't ready for us so we had to be satisfied with seeing who had been there before us. Oh, and Craig found the star of a fellow Tasmanian ...

25 June 2018

What's not to love about a nice lunch at Le Bernadin on your last day in NYC? Le Bernadin is another repeat restaurant ... delicious seafood dishes in a lovely refined setting.

24 June 2018

Yesterday was NYC Gay Pride day ... The whole city goes rainbow and celebrates from the police to the commuters to almost every building large and small in the city.
Sondheim Unplugged is a cabaret style show which we first went to last year at 54 Below. Young performers and former Broadway performers sing selected Sondheim's songs with a narration from the MC. Among the people pictured below are Lane Bradbury who was the first actress to play the role of Baby June in Gypsy - she just turned 80 ... And she's the one in the 2nd and 6th photos for the record! The actress with the curly hair is Sarah Rice who originated the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd.
The desserts at Jean Georges are wonderful and the petit fours as well ... What's not to love about a champagne gummy bear? Following lunch we made our way down to W45 St for the Edward Albee play, Three Tall Woman starring Glenda Jackson. At 82 Glenda Jackson was stunning in the lead role and we'll deserving of her recent Tony Award. What a great show ...
If you're stuck in New York City on a Sunday and in need of lunch you should go no further than Jean George at Columbus Circle. This beautiful French restaurant never fails to impress with consistently good food and service. I remembered to take a photo of the menu so you can sort it out from the photos, but the caviar dish with egg was among the most delicious things we have ever eaten. Keep going and check out the desserts on the next entry ...

23 June 2018

And finally ... one for a friend at home. Who knew he had his own street in NYC! It only goes one way - which is actually not that surprising when you think about it.
From the "first bites" at Jungsik until the petit fours at the end everything was beautiful - delicate flavours, beautiful presentation and perfectly paced. The banana on the plate was an absolute treat ... a white chocolate shell encasing the most delicious banana mousse! It arrived sitting atop a large fruit basket which I was too slow to photograph.
There is great return on doing good research before travelling and research prior to this trip saw us dining tonight at Jungsik - a modern Korean restaurant in Tribeca (and also in Seoul). The restaurant, food and service were all impeccable. With hints of Korean flavours I would say that there is a stronger international influence in this cuisine. The korean-ness of the menu was understated.
It's a cooler day here in New York City and we headed south for brunch at Nur, a new restaurant specialising in modern middle eastern fare. Brunch at Nur is an overwhelming pris fixe, all you can eat affair consisting of a broad range of delicious dips, bread and salad, two egg dishes, dessert and Turkish coffee/mint tea. It's well worth the trip downtown for this brunch. On the way back, in the city of street food vendors we saw one selling iced treats for dogs - believe it or not!! Today we also took in the matinee performance of Hello Dolly! starring Bernadette Peters. Last year we saw the same production starring Bette Midler. The show was wonderful (again) and featured some wonderful perfoemances. It was great to see Dolly again, and a treat to see Bernadette Peters in the lead.

22 June 2018

We rounded out the day with a visit to the current revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel. It's a wonderful production of a slight strange, anachronistic show but done superbly in this production - wonderful singing, choreography and staging, and of course those memorable songs.
Desserts and petit fours at Gabriel Kreuther...
More from Gabriel Kreuther...
Returned to Gabriel Kreuther restaurant for dinner last night. This is another restaurant we have dined in before and is right opposite Bryant Park. The menu included such things as marinated red snapper, langoustine tartare, sturgeon and sauerkraut tart, cent delicious polenta, shrimp a la plancha (ravioli), bass, rhubarb and chocolate! Pictured here and on following entries ...
Also at The Met was an exhibit of art relating to the parks and gardens movement in France and its influence on artists and society. You will recognise some famous works. Another lovely day for a walk back to the hotel through Central Park ...
More of the Heavenly Bodies exhibition at The Met.
Currently at The Met is a wonderful exhibition with the catchy title Heavenly Bodies - Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. The exhibition shows the work of famous designers with Catholic backgrounds and how this influence shows through in some of their work. It is beautifully staged throughout sections of the museum amidst other beautiful works.
After a very enjoyable lunch at Le Coucou we set forth for The Metropolitan Museum to continue our artistic pursuits. The collection at The Met has to be seen to be believed.

21 June 2018

On our way to the theatre to see Mean Girls we stopped by Empellón (in Madison Ave) for something to eat. This is a modern Mexican restaurant by Alex Stuoak whose approach the NY Times reviewer described thus: "He doesn’t reproduce or translate the cuisine; he builds a fantasy version of it, coupling deep technical skills with imagination to create a slightly unreal version of reality, the way the best animated movies do." The food was delicious and included dishes with duck, fish and pork belly. The desserts were a treat ... the avocado superb. Mean Girls was fun ... if you know the movie you will know the musical.
And having finished at The Met Breuer (formerly the home of the Whitney Museum, and shown in the first photo) it's only one block to Central Park - irresistible on a beautiful day and an absolute gem in the heart of Manhattan.
In addition to fabulous sculpture The Met Breuer is home to a lovely restaurant called the Flora Bar. Situated in the lower ground level in a large, light filled space it was the perfect spot for a light lunch.
And a final few from The Met Breuer ...
And a few more from The Met Breuer ... I love the 1969 housewife
More from The Met Breuer ...
On an absolutely perfect New York day we took ourselves to The Met Breuer gallery and saw a fantastic exhibition of sculpture across the ages ... If you're in the neighbourhood it's worth a visit. This and following is a small sample of what's to see ... Check out the red head in this set of pictures ... It's 10 pints of the artists own blood frozen inside a mould of his own head in a refrigerated glass cube. 😱

20 June 2018

And following dinner, we were given the opportunity to visit the kitchen of Eleven Madison Park and given a lesson in making raspberry popsicles! The first time we dined at this restaurant we also visited the kitchen so it was great to see it again (totally renovated and renewed). It is an amazing place and a wonderful experience to see the kitchen of this fabulous restaurant, and what it takes to produce food like this.
At the end of the evening at Eleven Madison Park they kindly provide you with a personalised menu for each diner in a small tin, as well as a glass canister of granola each for breakfast ... about enough for a week!!
And the meal at Eleven Madison Park continues with ... duck and lamb served with mustard greens and snow peas, goats cheese, black sesame dessert and finally a chocolate coated pretzel with Apple Brandy.
And then the meal at Eleven Madison Park commences ... savoury cheesecake and caviar, fluke, foie gras, (bread & butter), lobster, striped bass, grilled snails with morels & ramps. To be clear here ... this is a set menu with options on some courses ... eg one had fluke, the other foie gras. I will post photos of the actual menu towards the end.
Today in NYC it is all about food ... specifically, the food you eat when you dine at Eleven Madison Park! This is our 3rd visit to this beautiful restaurant, and our first since it re-opened after renovation. It is in a beautiful art deco chamber and overall is a top quality experience from the moment you walk through the door and are greeted by people who know not only your name, but where you're from and whether you have dined there before. Pictured are the welcome snacks they serve while you enjoy a cocktail ... Black/white cheddar cookie, asparagus tips, peas, quail eggs ... delicious.

19 June 2018

More Satsuki delicacies ...
Tonight we saw The Band's Visit - interesting musical about an Egyptian police band who go to Israel but end up in the wrong town ... simple enough story and interesting music. After the show we went for dinner at Satsuki ... A very classy sushi bar serving individually prepared omakase delicacies with fish flown in daily from Japan! Delicious!
Being creatures of habit we made our way to a place we've eaten lunch at a couple of times before in earlier visits to NYC. As you can see from the photos we even sat at the same table as 2017 this time! The subway stations of NYC have lovely tiled name plates.
There is a very pretty Japanese Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens which is full of tortoises (despite the bright green water). It is lovely place for a wander. Nearby you can see the Brooklyn Public Library as well a grand arch memorial to the civil war heroes (I think).
Lots of beautiful things at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Beautiful sunny day albeit a tad cooler than yesterday so we decided to go on an adventure to another borough of NYC ... yes, we left Manhattan and headed for Brooklyn. The main purpose of the trip was to go for a wander in the Brooklyn Botanic Garsens. The photos here and following bear witness to what we saw.

18 June 2018

Following dinner we hurried ourselves a few blocks over to see Once On This Island, 2018 winner of the Tony Award for best revival of a musical. It's a fun, tragic love story set on a Caribbean island. The cast included the fabulous Lea Salonga (for the older among us) and the guy/girl who played the character Unique in Glee (for those who are a tad younger).
The New York commenced with a great dinner at Indian Accent. This restaurant can be found in New Delhi, London and New York and serves delicious Indian food accompanied by great, friendly service.
And a little more Whitney to whet your appetite ...
The Whifney Museum of American Art is well worth a visit ... here's a little glimpse of what it holds
Gentle start to the day and we set forth on the underground to visit the Whitney Art Museum in the Meatpackers District of New York. Down that way is the start of the High Line (which we have done a couple of times before ... it's a lovely walk along an elevated garden built on a disused railway) and the Chelsea Markets.

17 June 2018

So not a lot to say ... We flew from Helsinki to New York on a Sunday. JFK was a bit quieter than a weekday so I guess that's good. US Border Control was the usual comedy that it always is with the queue walkers yelling things to each other and sending people left, right and centre for no apparent reason. JFK and LAX are the only airports we've ever encountered where your luggage has arrived and been unloaded from the carousel before you get there. Yep, it's slow ... be patient. Got to our hotel in good time via cab with enough time to make it to the mobile phone store to pick up a local SIM. Went to dinner at a lovely new seafood restaurant a block or so away - Gloria. It was delicious. Had a lovely chat with a couple who were visiting from Seattle ... who opened the conversation from their side by apologising for their leader, and admiring that we had managed gun control years ago. American people are very friendly and open by and large.

16 June 2018

And a final couple of shots ... daylight at 11.00pm, the shiny new escalator at the airport railway station and the setting sun (at midnight).
We enjoyed a delicious dinner in Helsinki at a restaurant called The Demo ... modern twists on traditional Finnish food ... the summer soup was delicious and the cheese course (with carrot) exquisite. If you're passing through Helsinki do yourself a favour and book a table (in advance).
The centre of Helsinki has beautiful buildings, boutiques and avenues, and on a warm, sunny day was looking at its best. Although, I'm sure it has another beauty in the depth of winter ... haven't been in that season. Pictured here are the main railways station, Esplanade, city hall, Helsinki cathedral and the Russian Orthodox cathedral.
Leaving Munich behind we set forth on our homeward journey (or part 2 of our holiday) flying from Munich to Helsinki where we have a 24 hour stopover before our flight to New York. Beautiful blue skies and warm days in Europe and having checked into the Helsinki Airport Hilton for the night we set off for Helsinki city via the conveniently located airport train. This is our 4th time in Helsinki ... It's a beautiful city and well worth a stopover for a couple of days.

15 June 2018

A monument to Michael Jackson ... who knows ... And the Sendliger Tor right by where we were staying.
All but 2 of these are added extras at Atelier, Munich
A few more courses and some in betweens at Atelier, Munich
So that's a wrap on Munich ... Fabulous dinner at a restaurant called Atelier ... it's not the five course menu that does you in, it's the absolutely delicious extras they give you before, during and after. Tonight we each course a different 5 course menu ... his with a venison main and mine with a guinea fowl main. I'll post the menus later and you can play match the pic to the dish.
And finally for now a selection of scenes from the streets of Munich on this fine afternoon ... Including the interior of St Peter's just a small stone's throw from Marianplatz ...
A selection of sculptures from the Neue Pinakothek ...
After a light lunch at the cafe of the Neue Pinakothek (museum 3) we went for a wander to check out it's collection. Despite its name the New Museum has been around since the mid 1850's so I guess it is all a matter of perspective.
Second stop for the day is the Brandhorst Museum ... Beautiful building and lovely galleries and collection.
And a little more of the Pinakothek der Moderne ...
More Pinakothek der Moderne ...
Our first stop for the day was the Pinakothek der Moderne ... Modern art and design museum. Really great place to spend a couple.of hours and so much to see ...
It's Friday already and it's a beautiful day for wandering about Munich ... Which really is a beautiful city.

14 June 2018

... and a final few bits and pieces from the Schloss
And some more Schloss ...
More Schloss ....
After lunch we took ourselves to Schloss Nymphenburg ... just a small palace of the former Bavarian Royal family. It is set in a huge park which is open to the public and there are many sights to see. It was a beautiful day for wandering about. The following pages will show more of this interesting place.
Wandered around the Olympic site a bit and found our way to the top of the tower for a more birds-eye view ... of the whole.of.Munich really. It's a great viewing location. The pics show some of the views including the familiar (if you're old enough) stadium as well as the nearby BMW complex. Oh, and they serve a very delicious raspberry cake at the revolving restaurant.
Decided it would be churlish of us to be in Bavaria and not pay a busy to BMW Welt. The BMW HQ and complex suits alongside the 1972 Munich Olympic precinct so it wasn't as though we had to go out of our way. BMW Welt is in an interesting building and has some pretty flashy cars on display ... Not all of them badged as BMW.
Woke to a stay day in Munich and decided that recycling plastic water bottles would be a good way to start the day so we set off to find the local recycling point. Along the way we walked beside a very pleasant stream, with the return journey taking us through a really lovely old cemetery which, it turns out it's right behind our house.

13 June 2018

... which was followed by the most delicious salmon fish, langoustine, absolutely the best duck dish ever, aged Comte, and a delicious apple dessert. The usual post menu treats followed ... Well not usual, I guess, but very tasty and welcome. The walk home saw us pass through Marianplatz again and a little further on Craig made friends with a couple of horses!
Superb dinner tonight at Restaurant Dallmayr ... Great ambience and service, and delicious food. After the preliminaries there came - Hamachi or iberico pork ...
Today was cancelled due to weather ... It has barely stopped raining for the last 24 hours so we took advantage of a quiet day in our apartment. Quiet, that is until a dental crown decided to come adrift and we ventured out to find a kindly dentist to assess and rectify. Two hours later ... all was fixed thanks to a very professional outfit not 10 minutes walk from our apartment.

12 June 2018

The interior of Schwarzreiter, the menu ... Plus a lovely night view of the Neue Rathaus Munich ...
Lovely dinner last night at a restaurant called Schwarzreiter which specialises in Bavarian food unlike you've ever seen it (apparently). The restaurant was very elegant, the service excellent and the food delicious (although each course was substantial). It was a big meal with char (like a salmon trout), white asparagus, rabbit, alpine cheese, sturgeon and a white chocolate/carrot dessert ... And of course, little nibbles before, during and after.
The third part of the Residence is the Cuvillies Theatre ... Beautifully decorated old theatre. Really something to see
A few more shots from inside the Munich Residence.
The Residenz itself is the second highlight. It has, as you would expect been extensively restored and a lot of what was originally there has been destroyed. Some is reproduced while others are things of the same period. It is a huge complex and much of it is open.
The Munich Residenz is the former palace of the family that held sway here for centuries. There are three parts to it ... the first, and pictured here, is the treasury. It is full of simply stunning precious jewels and ornaments.
The Munich Dom (Cathedral) is also worth a visit ... Impressive height and beautiful windows.
Set off this morning for a walk and discovered what a lovely city is the city of Munich. Found our way via a lovely market to Marianplatz with its town halls, grand churches, shops and cafes. The new town hall with the huge clocktower has an impressive show in the tower with dancing clockwork people and knights on charging horses. It draws quite a crowd.

11 June 2018

Arrived in Munich having spent an enjoyable few days in London ... warm and muggy here. The trip from Munich Airport to Munich was a bit troublesome after we had one train with an aborted start ... sat for 30 minutes somewhere on the way before returning to the airport to start again on another, significantly more crowded train. But we arrived eventually and found our way on the U-bahn to our accommodation in another AirBnB. This apartment has the largest bedroom I've ever seen! Lovely neighbourhood filled with small restaurants and bars ... very homely after the bustle of London.
Waiting to fly ... Heathrow Terminal 5 is a huge improvement on other Heathrow experiences ...

10 June 2018

The end of an amazing dining experience at The Ledbury ...
Last night we are at a beautiful restaurant called The Ledbury. Not only was the food fantastic and the setting refined and very relaxing, but the staff were very relaxed, friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed delicious things like candied beetroot, the most delicious mushroom and perfectly cooked pigeon.
After the Design Museum we continued our wandering through Holland Park to the brightly floral Churchill Arms Hotel (thanks Surjadi) and on through the Diana Memorial playground to Kensington Palace - where decided that we'd pass on the £60 entry fee (for 2) to have a look inside! Finally detoured to Knightsbridge to see a rhinoceros being hoisted through a window and for a wander in Harrods. Home now for an afternoon nap ...
Some of the general pieces in the Design Museum
... and, you guessed it, a little more Azzedine Alaia
More Azzedine Alaia ...
And the second exhibition was a retrospective of the beautiful designs of Azzedine Alaia ... a Tunisian-born French fashion designer who died late last year aged 82.
... exhibition called Hope to Nope.
Which brought us to the Design Museum where there were two special exhibits showing ... The first an exhibit of graphic design and its use in political messaging ...
Beautiful day for a walk through a very nice part of London ...

9 June 2018

And even more ... the Clove Club ... Look it up
Clove Club delicacies ...
And off we went to dinner in Shoreditch ...to the Clover Club ... Fantastic and well deserving of its place in international rankings.
After the Tate we took ourselves for a wander along the Thames. This brought us across Lambeth Bridge, past Lambeth Palace and opposite the heavily scaffolded Palace of Westminster til we cross back over and took the tube from Westminster back to Earls Court.
More Tate Britain glimpses ...
Lovely day for it ... what you ask? Trooping of the Colour, of course - not that we went this year. But, we were glued to the BBC for the duration. The queen looked lovely in sky blue at her 700th trooping and the Duchess of Sussex never put a foot wrong. Charles, Anne, Andrew and William looked impressive in their colonels outfits and the Duke of Edinburgh was true to his word and stayed home. So, with the ironing out of the way we set forth on the Underground to visit the Tate Britain. As one would expect it is a suitably grand building with an equally impressive collection, as well as a couple of special exhibitions. Some photos are here and to follow ...

8 June 2018

Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ... the queue, and random shots of the stage before and in the interval ... was good!
... with chocolate praline, milk and honey and petit fours to finish us off ...
... ocean trout, scallops, quail, and pidgeon pictured here
An extremely good pre-theatre dinner tonight at L'atelier dr Joel Robuchon in London. We sat opposite the kitchen with a bird's eye view of all the action therein which is always a treat. We enjoyed langoustine, mackerel, poached egg on this entry ...
More modern sustainable clothing made from recycled and ecologically produced artificial fabrics. The black and white gown is made entirely of recycled plastic bottles ...
Post a very enjoyable lunch we headed to the Victoria and Albert Museum to have a look at the Fashioned by Nature exhibition. It was really interesting to see the history of fashion told via the use of natural materials and colours, the misuse of animals and animal products, the impact of introducing toxic chemical processes and the move towards more sustainable fashion of recent years. The hat is wrapped in plastic because it still contains dangerous levels of mercury used in the production of the felt ... hence the term "mad as a hatter" .
Along the way we passed interesting things ... - the memorial to the great locust plague of 1563 (maybe) - the memorial for fire of London caused by the sin of gluttony (apparently) - the only statue of Henry VIII in the City of London (reputedly) - the Bishop's Finger (who knows?) - Smithfield Market (rebuilt after the blitz) - the Charter House museum (historic). Now enjoying the sunshine in a park full of playing children.
It's a beautiful morning in London and first stop was the Bank of England to exchange paper £10 notes for polymer £10 notes ... seriously. You were given 6months following the introduction of the new notes to use or exchange them. Thereafter you must make a trip to the Bank of England!! It's a bright and sunny day in London so we set forth to walk to our next location the charmingly named Cowcross Street where we are booked to have lunch with a work connection of mine. The walk has taken us through parts of London we have not previously seen as well as some familiar parts of the London financial district.

7 June 2018

So, our first two evenings in London this trip are dedicated to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts 1 & 2). Having settled in at Earls Court we set forth on the Piccadilly line to Leicester Square to collect our tickets from the theatre box office. After a wander around the local area we headed to The Ivy restaurant nearby for an early pre-theatre dinner. The Ivy is 100 years old and a really lovely space. The food was good too. We then headed off to spend the evening with Harry and friends ... Part one down and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately ... Can't give away any secrets.
So here we are in London and all settled into a very nice AirBnB in Earls Court. It's amazing how travelling a relatively short distance by air can eat into a whole day.
And just in case you needed a refresher ... here are some ancient and modern icons of London ... And a couple of old Aussie tourists. The first pic taken from the plane contains: the Thames, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the Shard (designed by Renzo Piano and owned by the State of Qatar).

6 June 2018

Leaving Mount Stewart behind we set forth for Dublin and made a brief stop at Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland. Downpatrick is reputed to be the burial place of Sts Patrick, Brigid and Colomba ... All together for eternity. The lump of rock marks the spot of Patrick's grave. The church is the Downpatrick Church of Ireland Cathedral.
More interior of Mount Stewart ... Money was clearly in abundance
The interior of Mount Stewart ... Most of which is the result of the work of the women shown in the painting in the last photo ...
A peak at the extensive gardens at Mount Stewart ... The weather was perfect and you could have spent hours walking through the extensive gardens.
The sky was so blue today ... Craig’s photos
Last day in Ireland and on our way from Belfast back to Dublin we stopped off at Mount Stewart, Irish home of the Lords of Londonderry and a National Trust property. Mount Stewart is known for its beautiful gardens and the house is not too shabby either. A lot of work has been done restoring the house in recent years. Members of the family still live there.

5 June 2018

Our street in Belfast ... a typical looking street
St Patrick's Catholic Church Belfast ...
More Belfast Cathedral interior and nearby streets ...
Belfast Telegraph building and St Anne's Cathedral (Church of Ireland) with its beautiful windows and mosaics ...
Belfast City Hall ...
This is the Dark Hedge and, it seems, had a starring role in Game of Thrones ... such that the road is now closed to traffic and accessible only on foot (and in the company of a white walker).
The rope bridge was constructed to provide access for fisherman to a small island ... It is now a very popular tourist attraction managed by the National Trust.
On the way to our second Northern Ireland highlight ... the rope bridge ...
More Giant's Causeway ...
The Giant's Causeway a natural rock formation and the leading tourist attraction of Northern Ireland ... very popular and be prepared to walk ...
A small, understated gate ... the Lion gate

4 June 2018

Dinner time at our hotel ... very nice evening ... G&T (quince or rhubarb/ginger)... Squid ... Mussel pie ... Lamb ... Duck ... Martinis ...
Cathedral of St Columb in Derry ...
The past is not quite the past in Bogside ...
The Londonderry Chapter House and environs - I like the aitin-hoose sign, and necer did find out what fancy goods were sold in The Holy Shop!
Views of Derry from our perambulation in the walled town ...
Made it across the border to Northern Ireland UK and the only signs of change of country was speed limits in miles per hour and petrol prices in GBP! After checking into our hotel in the old walled city of Derry we set off to do some exploring. Old Derry is a nice town on a hill overlooking Bogside ... and with cannons trained to keep the pesky Irish at bay (maybe)!
And we stopped for a bite of lunch in Donegal ... in a tavern next door to the Donegal Castle and creatively called the Old Castle Tavern!
Central Sligo is a rather pretty place ... with plenty to commemorate Yeats who was a local ...
Next stop of the day was Sligo where there are competing cathedrals side by side ... one Catholic and one Church of Ireland. The grave is the recent burial site of a retired bishop of Sligo ... buried 2 weeks ago. Me: oh. Was he old? Priest: No! He was in his eighties!
When driving north who could resist a detour through Knock ... according to a plaque there the visit of Pope John Paul 2 to the Shrine at Knock was the second most important thing to ever happen in Ireland ... after the arrival of St Patrick! I guess it depends on your historical perspective ...
And this morning ... Foggy over Galway Bay!

3 June 2018

Tonight we dined at White Gables restaurant in Moycullen on the recommendation of our friend, Mary Paula. The whole experience was lovely and the food delicious. The restaurant specialises in local seafood and we were not disappointed. Back to the hotel to see the changing light over Galway Bay from our hotel window. It's quite subtle and beautiful ... Tomorrow we head further north to Donegal before crossing into HMQE2 territory in Northern Ireland for 2 nights.
From the Cliffs of Moher we motored on to another recommended stop - Moran's The Weir oyster bar and restaurant. Thanks Mary Paula! Arriving just in time for lunch we enjoyed delicious oysters, smoked salmon fish cakes and crab salad - all delicious and a lovely way to spend an hour or two. From Weir Village we headed on to Galway which is our base for this evening. The traffic jams we have encountered around some of the larger Irish towns have been interesting to navigate ... It can take a very long time to go short distances on roads never intended for modern traffic volumes. We are staying at Salthill overlooking Galway Bay - the sky is blue with some light clouds and the locals are promenading and enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
Not far from the town of Ennis are the stunning Cliffs of Moher which you will all recognise from the scene in the 1970's film Ryan's Daughter ... won't you? The cliffs are stunning and while it was overcast it was dry, not windy and not cold so that was good. We spent some time wandering along the path enjoying the scenery before returning to nearby Moher Cottage for a coffee. Moher Cottage is a small coffee/gift shop at nearby St Brigid's Well and winner of best coffee in all of Ireland in 2017! Set in a lovely old cottage the coffee is indeed excellent, as are the homemade fudges in various flavours and cinnamon buns. Craig's sister Tamara discovered Moher Cottage and recommended it to us. There is no shortage of stone in this part of Ireland ... and the stone walls and stone ruins are something to behold.

2 June 2018

And our final destination for the day is the town of Ennis in Co Clare. Ennis is a comfortable market type town ... not remarkable in any particular way but interesting to wander around. The painting of the young woman in the local cathedral is a depiction by a local artist of the annunciation. It is a rather beautiful painting and stands out in this traditional old cathedral church.
This pretty place is the town of Killaloe just on the edge of County Clare. The impressive looking ecclesiastical building reflecting in the lake is the Church of Ireland Cathedral of Tipperary & Killaloe.
Leaving Killarney behind we headed to Adare in County Limerick ... renowned as the best English style village in Ireland (🤣). It's a nice little town with a collection of thatched cottages and tudoresque buildings.
The Catholic cathedral of Killarney is an impressive pile ... Beautiful stonework inside and out.
A couple of random Killarney sites ... Including the local Church of Ireland ...
Next stop was central Killarney and the park we landed found us outside a Franciscan Friary complete with rosary praying oldies. The skull belongs a a Franciscan friar who was beheaded by Cromwellian soldiers in 1653 ... Lest we forget!
Waking in Killarney - tourist town central - we set forth for the day starting with a brief look around Killarney. First stop was Killarney National Park and the remains of Ross Castle. The low grey clouds and mist over the lake added to the atmosphere.
I was expecting road side counsellors ... Irish version of Driver Reviver coffee stops ...

1 June 2018

The view from hotel room 1 window. The view was not the problem - the noise from the band on stage was another issue. Fortunately for us, the hotel dealt with our need for more quiet very efficiently and cheerfully.
One interesting stop along the peninsula route was at the Gallarus Oratory (11/12th century) entirely constructed of stone. At the end of the day we made our way to Killarney which is our pit stop for today. There was heavy traffic and a lot of motor bikes around. Arriving at our hotel we found ourselves in the middle of the Ireland Bike Fest and swamped in Harleys and bikers. The first room we were allocated overlooked the action and it was impossible to hear yourself think! A quiet word to management and we found ourselves allocated to a much quieter room! Yay for Irish bikers ...
Having ringed Kerry and dined in Tralee by early afternoon we decided to move the Dingle Peninsula up the agenda from tomorrow and make an afternoon circuit. The scenery, coastline and things to see around the peninsula are great. We really enjoyed it. It was interesting to note the absence of English ... some small towns had only unpronounceable (to us) Irish names with no English version. Dingle Peninsula ... 😃 ... 8/10
So, we set forth for the Ring of Kerry early enough and found our way to the town of Kenmare to start the journey. It was a grey, overcast morning and as it wore on the cloud sank lower and lower. Maybe on a clear day the Ring of Kerry is spectacular ... On a cloudy overcast day ... 🤔 By lunchtime we were in the town of Tralee for a bite to eat and well ahead of schedule. Gold star of the day goes to Katie for Most Innovative Use of a Witches Hat. Despite major roadwork at her door made sure the passing trade knew she was still there by creative commandeering of the construction authority markers. Ring of Kerry ... Must do? 🤔 5/10

31 May 2018

Fortunately the hotel has parking ... It appears that it could be a nightmare! A few more photos from our evening walk ...
Arrived in the city of Cork in early evening ... Our base for the night. The hotel is a modern glass pile in a very nice old neighbourhood. I'm calling these photos reflections on Cork :-)
Rock of Cashel again ...
More views of the Rock of Cashel, cathedral ruins and cemetery
Next stop after Kilkenny, and a pleasant drive away we visited the famous Rock of Cashel ... very interesting and impressive ruin. HM QE2 dropped by a couple of years ago with the Duke ... She wore green and had lots of photos taken.
More of the cathedral ... Beautiful mosaics and a very dramatic martyr
The map says it's St Mary's Cathedral but the church itself claimed it was St Patrick's ... whichever saintly being wants naming rights it is the Cathedral church of the diocese of Ossory in Kilkenny ...
A couple of views of Kilkenny town...
More of the Kilkenny castle and environs ... There is a very good design exhibition nearby in former castle out buildings.
Kilkenny hurling monument and glimpses of the castle ...
Leaving Dublin behind we set forth towards the south west with our final destination of Cork in sight. Along the way we detoured firstly to visit the town of Kilkenny. This is reputed to be the most beautiful inland town in Ireland and we enjoyed a couple of hours wandering about and looking at the lovely old buildings.

30 May 2018

Bonsai bar ... Check out the Japanese inspired cocktails.
Down one level from Taste is a lovely bar which continues the Japanese theme. Bonsai serves fantastic cocktails in a relaxed setting.
Finally a pair of delicious desserts ... if you get the chance to dine here we would recommend it!
Beef and monkfish were the next two dishes ... both delicious. Also pictured is some of the artwork around the restaurant ...
The next course consisted of tempura asparagus tips and a delicious seafood stew.
Delicious dinner at a restaurant called Taste at Rustic by Dylan McGrath. On the top floor of an old Dublin building not far from our accommodation, the restaurant served Japanese inspired cuisine and did it very well. Photos on this and following entries will give you some idea. Here you can see the appetiser, sashimi salmon and tuna, as well as a rather delicious and colourful salad.
So we're just back from a very nice lunch at a department store restaurant recommended by a friend. If you're wandering along Grafton Street at lunchtime you can do far worse than to head to the third floor of the Brown Thomas department store and have a bite to eat. The local mussels and beef carpaccio were both delicious - and a French rosé always hits the spot. Wandering back we detoured into the St Stephen's Green shopping centre and to our surprise discovered the most delicate, light-filled space. It is also well worth a visit just to see. Dublin is department store central ... there seem to be quite a number of them! So, if you're so inclined, you can shop til you drop!
Slow morning this morning ... Spent wandering about the shopping streets south and north of the Liffey River on both sides of the O'Connell Bridge. There are some very beautiful old buildings in Dublin. The statues of O'Connell St commemorate significant figures in the struggle for Irish freedom, and the white pedestrian bridge is known as the Ha'penny Bridge for the toll which had to be paid to use it up until 1919. And no ... we didn't visit the National Leprechaun Museum! Shame on us ...

29 May 2018

Harry Potter fans will know St Brutus's Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys from HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban! I think I found it last night here in Dublin. Aunt Marge would be proud of me ... Apologies to non-Harry Potter readers ... more information is available below if your intrigued. http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/St_Brutus's_Secure_Centre_for_Incurably_Criminal_Boys
... the rest of the meal at Chapter One!