Sunday, September 30, 2012

From Vienna to Dublin - Days 11 to 19

Leaving Vienna, we dead-headed to London for a brief overnight rest before boarding an Edinburgh-bound train.  It was a favorite highlight of trip, and such a good way to see some amazing countryside.  North England and all of Scotland is steeped in antiquity; rock cottages & quaint farms occupying the lush terrain upon which fact & fiction collide.

A favorite memory: train & coach rides

A favorite sensation - Understanding "remote"

Even now, Scotland captivates me.  It is the place of a few of my ancestors - MacDonalds, Campbells (who were warring factions against each other in 1692 when the Massacre of Glen Coe occurred) &  others.  Thus my heart felt right at home in this amazing land.

There are commercial elements to Scotland, but far less so than our other travel experiences.  It has commercial elements to it, but mostly Scotland has maintained a sense of yesterday, of yesteryear.

Of interest:  Our visit coincided with the worst rain & wind storms in 35 years.  Go figure.  But for two web-footed Washingtonians, it slowed us down not even a wee bit.

Once settled at our hotel in Edinburgh, we quickly arranged to tour the Scottish Highlands by coach (no danger of our driving here:  on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road).  Scotland is land dotted with lochs, mountains, glens, rivers & moors.  It's impossible to travel in any direction without being assaulted by beauty.  Though we encountered rain & clouds, they only added to the magic of the moment.

Favorite Glen - The Great Glen of Scotland

There's no way to select a favorite loch or castle, so this
will have to be one among the many:  
Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle

From Scotland we flew to Dublin, where we rented a flat on Dublin Bay for a week.  In hindsight, I wish I'd booked a week in Scotland and but 3 days in Ireland ... Oh well, hindsight makes for better tours in the future. 

Ireland is aptly named, The Emerald Isle.  The countryside is truly painted with the most vivid shades of green, now dotted with splashes of Fall golds, reds & oranges.  Our little roost, complete with a halltree & funky shower (pictures cannot do it justice), is 3 miles from the heart of Dublin.

Our favorite perch - Sandymount/Dublin, Ireland

Before rains set in, we quickly cobbled a 14 hour tour to see as much of the countryside as possible.  After a good night's sleep, we headed out early to roam far and away ... From Galway Bay to the Castle of Dunquire we were amazed at the vast, largely unpopulated countryside.  As we passed through the village of Kinvarra we thought we'd found home.  It was a Norman Rockwellian experience, to say the least!

Eventually we found ourselves at the Cliffs of Moher - a magnificent formation that made our knees quiver.   Walking the rim is not for the faint of heart!

A favorite view - the Cliffs of Moher
We also enjoyed Dublin's Hop On/Hop Off tour buses, which allowed us to see a good deal of Dublin without exhausting our reserves.

Dublin is a city of foot traffic, and thousands of pairs of them!  The crush of tourist traffic surprised up given the "off season" nature of September.  And the pubs - 1,746 of them in Dublin alone!  Oh my goodness.  I can see why the call one tourist attraction a "Pub Crawl".  We opted out of that in favor of something far more personal ...

Favorite meal:  Flanagan's Restaurant!

As I mentioned, the city center is about 3 miles from us.  We've used the distance for our daily walks, opting out of bus transport unless or until we're too tired to walk.  Besides, given the chocolate, pastry, bread & butter (LOTS of butter) here, we NEED to walk.

Favorite surprise:  Sailboats on Dublin Bay 
(across from our flat)

I will spare you a glut of pictures.  I've got plenty of them.  We have another two days here in Dublin, so I'll conclude it all when we make our way home again.

Home again.  It's beginning to sound like yet another adventure I'm more than ready to claim.


Denise said...

Appreciate your sharing your trip, love you.

skoots1mom said...

these pics are calling to day i HAVE to go there.
continued fun and safety being prayed for you!!

Maryann said...

The photos are fabulous, loved the one of the Great Glen of Scotland. Sounds like some wonderful memories have been made.

Sonja said...

I've so enjoyed these snapshots of your days. I think you feel the same connection in Scotland and Ireland that I felt in Norway 2 years ago. Our heritage and genes bwas rooted in those lands, and it is such a rich blessing to visit.

I know these days are special. Look forward to hearing even more!


Debbie Petras said...

I love that you are blogging along the journey! I've enjoyed your beautiful photos on Facebook. And how cool that you visited Flanagan's Restaurant. Keep on posting those photos as I feel a bit like I'm in your suitcase Kathleen.

Love you and be safe,

Just a little something from Judy said...

Your favorite perch looks like a fun place to stay, and I was unaware that you owned a restaurant named after you. The pictures are so interesting and I can't believe the bad storms and wind you lived through. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures, because I have never been there.

Peggy said...

I've been to a lot of Europe but never Scotlnd or Ireland. they are on my bucket list. so glad you are having such a wonderful trip.

Debbie said...

My goodness these pictures look like postcards! Sooo pretty. What a wonderful, wonderful adventure. So glad you enjoyed it!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Oh my! Breathtaking...the picture of the castle and Loch Ness....stunning. I can only imagine how it was to stand a look at in in person!


Beth E. said...

How was the food at Flanagan's? What was their specialty? I hope they treated you extra-special, since you were (most likely) their kin! ;-)