Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a lazy day...

Due to winter weather conditions, a certain laziness has set in.

In Ireland I lay curled up by the fire, warming up one end of my body at a time, rotating myself until I was cooked.

Here I sit in front of the computer, looking out at the "cold-grey-wintry" sky, rather pleased with myself for getting out this morning to walk the dog. He ran circles around me!

So let's see- New Year's was a blur...

We saw Avatar!

This is the bar where Phil's brother works- it's called the Standard, short for Royal Standard of London.

Very atmospheric!

I am amazed at the lovely selection of far out brews they have here- cask ales with names like "Old Peculiar", "Doom Bar" and "Tanglefoot"

One of my favorite things about traveling to other places is the variety of familiar items that aren't quite exactly the same as what we have back home...

and then I went off to Ireland. Winter there was acting up something fierce for that part of the world, with ice and snow slicking up the roadways... We tried to go the scenic route but ended up almost sliding backwards down the hill.

Luckily the gritters came right up behind us and that helped the car get some traction. Another time we had to get out and push the car up the little path that led up to the house.

The house was so quaint and rustic- built of stone, it was the old groom's quarters behind the main house. The path up to it was lined with a manicured garden and antique black lamposts. Covered with snow, the whole thing looked like a page out of a fairy tale! The ceilings were high, the beams were wooden, and the area surrounding it was absolutely quiet. There was a conservatory in the back, a room made of glass, freezing cold but bound to be beautiful in the summer. We were in Enfield, about 30 miles south of Dublin.

I went to Galway, all the way on the west coast of Ireland. It only took 3 hours by bus. Emma-Jane wasn't feeling well, so I went on my own.
As soon as I got to the hostel, I checked in, dropped off my stuff, and went downstairs to ask the hostelfolk for the best walk around town. Turns out I wasn't the only one with this plan- Elody and Daniel were also looking to have a breath of fresh air, so we all went off walking in the direction of Salthill.

It was beautiful!
Later we had dinner...

Then made the rounds to several pubs.

It was a great night!

The next morning I woke up early to get on a bus tour of the Cliffs of Moher. It had snowed overnight, and everyone was amazed- nobody had seen weather like this in decades...

And quite unexpectedly, the clouds cleared up in time for us to actually see the Cliffs of Moher!

It was quite a surreal landscape.

We also passed by an old abbey.

From there I hopped back on the bus for the return trip back to Galway. 18 euro roundtrip!
I did get into Dublin for a little sightseeing.

Although I didn't get a picture of it, the Charles Beatty Library turned out to be really interesting. He was a wealthy American who amassed a large number of religious manuscripts and artifacts from Judaism, Christianity, Muslim, Buddhism and Hinduism.

This is where I caught the ferry from Dublin Port to Holyhead. It had been cancelled the night I was supposed to go due to inclement weather, so I had to catch the early one the next day.

View from inside the ferry.

On the way back, I got a shot of the longest train station name in the world! "Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysilio-gogogoch" It means "The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave". It's in Wales.

When I got back to England, I found that it had been snowing a bit here too. I found time to visit Mestre Poncianinho's Cordao de Ouro class in London on Friday night- great class, really fun and lots of nice people! Too bad it was so out of the way- 2 hours by bus, train and tube to get there!

Well that's all the news for now! Until next time...


Gary said...

Amazing story and photos Akemi, really enjoyed reading about your adventures.

Nailah said...

Miss you but so glad you're having a great time. Any chance you'll be back in LA before 2011?? XOXO, Ama