In which we see the world and all the wondrous creatures therein. And probably get lost a lot.

Watch this space for pictures, video, and updates!

The album was getting too big, so additional albums are posted at the bottom of the blog - hopefully I'll have everything labeled within a couple of months.

Click on the slideshow pictures to reach the album links for larger views.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We've Moved!


Find us at

Happy Travels!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Moving the Blog!

The blog is moving over to WordPress!

Just because.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere!

I'm planning a cruise!!!

It's time to see some glaciers while there are still glaciers to see!

Stay tuned...the current plan is May, 2013.

Alaska, here I come.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Europe 2012 Wrap-Up

See what happens when you tack on an extra week to a vacation?  After ten days in Ireland, I was exhausted, but there was more to do!  The guys headed home and I trekked across a couple of ponds to mainland Europe and eventually Vienna.  The next week was a whirlwind of Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and Budapest, courteously organized by my big brother.  Because I've clearly failed at the day to day, here's a quick list of sights and impressions of the whole shebang:

Snow in Zurich, plague memorials in Vienna, excellent sauerkraut, trams, the Belvedere, Klimt, cafe after cafe after cafe, Sacher torte, St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Spanish Riding School, schnitzel!, sparkly things at the Schatzkammer (sp?), Schoenbrun, the Danube, the Easter Market, schweinnestelze, trains, Nonnburg Abbey, Mozartplatz, the Dominican Cathedral, garlic soup, rain in Salzburg, Schloss Mirabelle Gardens, Mozartkugel, more trains, Prague, Castle Hill, St. Vitus, the Charles Bridge, Kafka, musicians on the bridge, bread dumplings, palenka, tokaj, boar stew, the old Jewish cemetery (closed, bah), overcrowded nightclub, the Danube again, Budapest, the crumbling Parliament, bridges and more bridges, the spa, the ancient subway, the statue of the scribe, chicken paprikash on the river, the old Synagogue, St. Stephen's gold dome, back to Vienna, excellent Italian food, back to Dublin for a heartbeat, and home.

Phew.  Good stuff!  Now to start planning the next one while I take a year or two and sort photos. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 9 - Kilkenny -> Dublin

One last day in Ireland!

I wanted to make sure we got to see Kilkenny, which is a beautiful little town, so we walked around for an hour before breakfast. The cathedral is especially lovely, and we were lucky that they were just setting up for the day and the doors were open - some great pictures.

With one day to go and most of my plausible list accomplished, we thought we should meander through the Wicklow Mountains back toward Dublin. It's a great drive, and we stopped in the Wicklow Gap for some pictures. The only planned event were the grounds at Powerscourt, a huge estate outside of Dublin. It invokes Versailles and lots of comments about the idle rich, but the grounds are very impressive - fountains and topiaries and amazing flowerbeds. I can imagine what it looks like in the summer. So we walked around for awhile, and I drooled over all the handmade things in the gift shops - sigh, no souvenirs other than pictures this trip!

On to Dublin, where Jim had kindly booked us into the airport Hilton for our last night.

Overall, a wonderful trip - Ireland is beautiful, everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful, and I learned more about Irish history in a week than I did in my entire school life.

The guys are heading home tomorrow, and I continue on to Vienna.

Day 8 - Cork -> Kilkenny

I'm falling behind on my blog! And as usually happens, dates and places are running together in my head. I'll do my best here:

The B&B we stayed at in Cork was my only really uncomfortable night - although apparently the second room was great. The first room was a mix-up, and missing a bed, so I wound up on a very hard fold-out cot shoved right up against the heater - not fun. Then we discovered that the shower had boiling hot water...but no cold. Oh well - the food was good, the owners were very nice about the whole thing and gave us a break on the rate.

From Cork, we headed east to the little town of Cobh, which has the distinction of a large cathedral on a hill and also of being the last place the Titanic stopped before it sank. It's a lovely little seaside town, but we were there too early to really do much - just a few photo ops and we were done.

Onward to Waterford! The city of Waterford was not terribly exciting, but it seems that EVERYONE worked for the crystal factory at one point or another before it closed. We talked to a friendly shop owner, who pointed us toward the Waterford Crystal shop and gallery, which was well worth the visit - lots of shiny breakable things. Nearby, a group of local artists have set up shop, and one of the glass blowers was the last apprentice that the crystal factory ever took on. He let me take some pictures as he fashioned a crystal penguin at 2000 degrees - pretty impressive.

From there, we headed back up into the Midlands of Ireland, into Tipperary, and found the Rock of Cashel. The Rock is just what it sounds like, a giant limestone rock, but on top is a collection of castle-esque ruins. Essentially it was a castle until the 1100s, when the owner turned the whole thing over to the church, and it's been a religious site ever since. Still, despite being decimated by Cromwell, the major buildings survived - a beautiful round tower, the main framework of the cathedral, some of the early castle quarters, and a gorgeous sandstone chapel. Note, you would-be castle builders out there. Don't build things out of sandstone in a wet climate - it's prone to getting eaten away, mold, and crumbling. And the frescoes you put up won't survive. But what was there was lovely, and they're putting a lot of effort into the restoration of the place. What remains of the cathedral is very impressive - the "bones" of the place are enormous, and some of the arches are stunning. It's amazing to think that these places were put up by hand, one stone at a time.

After we were castled out, we headed to Kilkenny. It was Good Friday, so we opted for a real hotel with a restaurant attached, since all the pubs would be closed. Everything did look pretty closed as we drove around. The hotel itself was lovely - the kind of place you take your mom on Mother's Day, and a great place for a wedding, just across the river from the castle, which they light up at night. We had a great dinner in the hotel restaurant, then off to bed - one more day in Ireland!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 7 - Killarney -> Cork

This was the morning to drive the Ring of Kerry, but we stopped at Ardfert Cathedral first - completely in ruins, but the structure is still there - it must have been very impressive back in the day. Then on to the Ring of Kerry, which is as beautiful a drive as everyone says. Poor Greg was on the wrong side of the car - I kept handing him my camera to get shots out the window, although we did stop, mostly when we were near the water. It's interesting how many tiny little towns there are out on that peninsula, and they're all B&B oriented and crowded. We saw a few bikers and a few people walking - I'll bet there are t-shirts in some of those shops labeled "I walked the Ring of Kerry."

Afterwards, we decided to skip lunch and head straight to Blarney Castle I have an impression in my head of what castles should look like, and Blarney fit right in - tall and imposing, full of winding staircases, alcoves, and a murder hole over the entrance from which to drop boiling oil on unwelcome guests. This castle even had an oubliette, where you drop people when you want to forget about them. We explored the grounds - the poison garden, the battlements, then the interior, making our way up to the top, where the Blarney Stone rests. Jim and Greg decided to kiss the stone. I talk far too much, so I declined - besides, you have to basically hang upside down to reach it - not my thing a hundred feet up, even if there are iron bars between you and the vast nothingness below. Back on the ground, we took a quick tour of the rock close - the extended grounds, and Jason walked the wishing steps with his eyes closed. The legend goes that the witch who takes the Blarney wood for her fire has to grant wishes to those who go up and down the steps without looking.

Once we were Blarneyed out, we headed to Cork, which is only five miles or so down the road. Our B&B was a good fifteen minute walk from the city center, so we got to see a bit of everything. Cork is a bigger, busy place - a university, tons of hostels and hotels, but industry and traffic, too. We trekked over to St. Finbar's, but the cathedral was closed - got some great shots of the outside, though. Then we decided to go take a quick picture of one of the only synagogues in Ireland, just a few blocks away - there are six total. Finally, dinner at a nearby restaurant and back for some well-deserved rest.

Tomorrow is our last truly planned out day in Ireland - Saturday will be a bit of a hodgepodge, but I'm sure we'll come up with something fun to do on our way back to Dublin.