Sea Lions popping their sweet heads out of the water, star fish covering the ocean floor a bald eagle closer then we have ever seen and us gliding through it all in kayaks!
Last weeks adventure started at the end of a dusty dirt road leading away from Pourpise Bay Provincial Park. Pedals and Paddles an Outdoor Adventure, rental and guided tour company with the kindest owners and wonderful boats, was the start of our epic day on the water. Every direction we turned offered us a view more stunning then you ever thought possible. I will be honest, living surrounded by mountains in Colorado it is hard to impress me with a mountain view, but when the mountains rise up out of the ocean, it’s magic!
Here is a glimpse of what made that day so special:
Some new friends, we also saw beautiful sea lions, but I was so entranced watching them I forgot to take any pictures!
A stop for lunch
My kayaking kings
Fantastic day with Zoli and Seamus, rafting on the Cheakamus River with Canadian Outback Adventures in Squamish B.C.
Listening to the pre-rafting instructions, even more frightening then the pre flight instructions on an airplane! At the end they ask if anyone wants to ride back on the bus…..
Or if you are like Seamus, you don’t want anything to do with the instructions, you just want to get on the river!
And we are off, down the river, lots of smiles!
Zoli at the helm, just in time to go over the biggest rapids of the trip.
Now you see us…….
Now You Don’t!
On a mellow part of the river with Seamus up in front!
We all loved rafting, luckily we live in Colorado and can do it again when we get home!
It has been said that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so this post will have very few words, and LOTS of pictures.
Last week we had (in my opinion) a perfect day on vacation. Of course it involved all things I love with the people I love!
The day started with an early lunch at The Happy Pear in Graystones, sometimes I think we go to Ireland just so I can eat at their cafe.
After lunch we stopped at the Powerscourt Waterfall. I didn’t know what to expect, as you can see it was STUNNING!!! The boys loved playing in the stream at the bottom of the waterfall and climbing on the rocks
We left the waterfall and for our hike on the Wicklow Way. Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Wicklow!
And that was our beautiful, perfect day.
Boarding the plane for Ireland I knew we would have a great time, that it would be wonderful to be back. Honestly, I thought what would I have to post to the blog. We did and saw so much last summer, there can’t be anything more that is “worth writing home about” I thought at the end of the trip I would post a few of my favorite pictures and that would be that.
Holy moly was I wrong, we have had so many more adventures on this most wonderful Island, I don’t even know where to start or how to pick what to blog about first, so here (in random order) is a sneak peak into what we have done the last 8 days.
Viking Boat Tour – great fun! There are a handful of the boats used around the world for tours. All boats were all built in Pontiac Michigan by women during WW2 our boat “Loki” is the only one of the Dublin Fleet that they know for certain was not used during the D-Day Landings, the tour that left before ours, “Thor” is the only one of the fleet they know for certain was used on D-Day. I had no idea we were going to be riding in a part of history. ~Seamus want’s to do a full blog post about the Viking Boat tour, but he is supposed to be falling asleep right now.
Riverdance at Gaity Theater – after Quinn said, “mom we should do this every summer” I’m so glad we stayed for the second half, the theater was a tad stuffy and I wasn’t sure that the boys were enjoying themselves. To be honest the 2nd half was even better then the 1st and the “dance off” was awesome.
Played At The Beach – skipped stones, Seamus is even nutty enough to go in the cold cold water, silly boy! He loves it.
Stayed in the best cottage in all of Ireland, seriously it was amazing, I loved Leabeg house, Matt almost had to drag me out of there kicking and screaming!
Wicklow Way – we spent an afternoon hiking the Wicklow Way, I don’t think it can get any more Irish then hiking with views of the green mountains and the blue sea in the background, oh and sheep grazing on the trail. Stunning, it was like hiking in a fairy tale.
Powerscourt Waterfall – we stopped there on a whim and wow, amazing, another fairy tale setting!
Glendalough – the camera battery died right before we got to Glendalough so I didn’t get to take any pictures there. The boys were equally fascinated and disturbed. Fascinated that the door that was 12 feet in the air so that the munks could use a ladder to get in and then pull the ladder up to escape from danger. Disturbed to be walking on “ancient” grave sites.
Avoca – I want to wrap myself in the georgous blankets they make. I could have spent all day watching the process of the weaving. The boys couldn’t last that long, so we had to leave…..otherwise I would still be there, well they would probably start to think I was nuts and kick me out. Matt was kind (smart?) to not look to closely when they rang up the bill at the gift shop.
Oh, and we had dinner in a real castle, stopped (3 times) at my absolute favorite cafe anywhere, The Happy Pear and went horseback riding, but the WIFI (pronounced WEE FEE like a true european) is so so very slow in the hotel and I need to go to sleep. So this sneak peek will have no pictures of the castle or horseback riding… but they are coming
What vacation have you taken where you thought you would have a great time and then had even more fun then you expected?
It has taken me months to get around to writing this post. In part because we have had so so many things going on and, in part because I was disappointed that our grand adventure ended sooner than we expected it to.
The quick recap of the story is there were some issues with work permits/visas and all that incredibly boring legal stuff that you have to figure out if you don’t want to be living in a country illegally! There may have been some ways to work around the issues, but none of them left us feeling comfortable enough to stay. This was all happening in late August, and we made the painful decision to pack the bags and fly back to the states. Other than knowing we would be back in Boulder we didn’t have a very detailed exit strategy!
Matt had driven our bags to the hotel, then he drove the car back to the house. We took a few photos of the boys and walked to the bus stop, where it appropriately started to rain. We enjoyed our second to last double-decker bus ride into Dublin to get some dinner and ice cream before heading to the Bwelys Dublin Airport Hotel for our last night in Dublin.
After months of looking for good mexican food in Europe we found it in Dublin at Acapulco’s on South Great Georges Street in Dublin 2! If you are looking for lively, kid friendly Mexican food in Dublin this is the perfect spot. Quinn was the photographer at the restaurant, most of our pictures from there look like this:
Traveling with food allergies can limit us to where we eat, especially desserts.On the bright side, it also leads us to discover great places like Murphys Ice Cream. Ice cream that is handmade in Dingle of all natural/real ingredients it can be found across Ireland and most important the taste is melt in your mouth delicious.
One last ride on a double-decker bus, I know if they had these everywhere they would become as boring as a trip in the car, but there is something about sitting in the front, on the top of a double-decker bus!
A few hours of sleep later we were up and at the Dublin Airport ready to board our flight to London then across the pond and back home. Just to keep things exciting, about 30 minutes into our flight from London the flight attendant came on and announced, “I’m sorry folks, we have detected a technical issue (LONG DRAMATIC PAUSE, giving me enough time to think yes this is it we are crashing for sure) then he continues on to say with the entertainment system! Total heart attack when I thought it was with the plane! Then a minute later I thought, Oh My God 9 hours on a plane with three kids and no entertainment system what are we going to do.A quick reboot of the system and we were all set. Entertainment for Everyone! I do love British Airways
Quick Recap after coming back to the States.
1. A week in FL – greeted by Tropical Store Isaac and a trip to Disney World
2. Moved into our new house, boys went back to school
3. Boys playing hockey – Go Jaguars, had a great time at our Tournament in Vail and the Pond Hockey Tournament at Evergreen lake. If you are ever in Colorado during the winter a trip to Evergreen Lake is a must. Well, unless you are from Canada or Minnesota where skating on frozen ponds is not unusual at all! Up next a hockey tournament in Chicago – did you know you can skate at the top of the John Hancock Tower or at Wrigley Field, I don’t know what one sounds more exciting. Maybe we will get a chance to try them both!
4. LOVE being able to shop at Whole Foods again and know what I am buying 🙂
5. Hopefully planning a ski trip to Winter Park sometime this winter and something small for Spring Break….. tossing around the idea of another European Trip as soon as we can (next summer????) Where would you go?
P.S. If you made it to the end of this post you have a longer attention span then I do! I had to sit down three times just to finish writing this!
I”m thinking about changing the blog title, from The Lively Little Traveler to the Lazy Little Blogger 🙂 …. it’s nearly mid August and I think I have blogged once in about 6 weeks. I would like to say it’s because I am just too busy exploring Ireland with the boys, but I think it might have more to do with being “busy” watching the 2012 Olympics (and wishing we would have made the trip to the UK to soak up some of the Olympic atmosphere!) Ohhhh well, I am still planning on someday knowing someone who is an Olympic athlete who will have an extra ticket for me to go to the Opening ceremonies (hint hint, if you think you will be competing in the 2014 or 2016 or any subsequent olympic games let me know and I will become your new BFF – sorry to any of my current BFF’s that are reading this I still love you!)
Here is a lively little recap of the past few weeks:
We experienced our first big American Holiday as an Expat and had a quiet little 4th of July in Dublin, mixing the best of both worlds by making Nutella Brownies (My reasoning is that Nutella is Euro and Brownies American so it was the perfect way to mix a little of both worlds) and riding a double-decker bus
Sometime after the 4th of July Zoli lost his first tooth – oh wait, I just checked the date on the photos, he actually lost the tooth before the 4th of July, but keeping in the spirit of lazy blogging the picture is still going to go after the 4th of July….. that’s ok right?
We spent an afternoon at the Greenan Farm Maze & Museum in the heart of stunning Wicklow Ireland
On July 14th we got tickets to the Shamrock Bowl the championship game of the American Football League in Ireland, it was the Limerick Vikings vs. the Belfast Trojans and what a battle it was. The funniest thing was the announcer who explained each play to the fans, apparently American Football is not that popular here, but I will admit I learned a few things about the game! I still don’t know as much as my 4 year old about football, but at least I’m learning.
Now the lazy little blogger is getting tired, so I will need to post pictures from the Leprechaun Museum (yup Dublin has a Leprechaun museum, how cool is that) and the Limerick vs. Manchester City football/soccer match in a later post.
However, we did have a fun week, so a quick recap of the last 7 days,
The sun finally came out, yes the rumors about how much rain Ireland gets is true! It rains ALL THE TIME, but for a brief few days the sun came out! The boys loved it and celebrated with a giant water balloon fight in the back yard with their new friends.
The owners of the company Matt works for are in Dublin for a little bit of work and a little bit of fun. On Thursday it was all fun when one of the partners and his wife renewed their vows in the constitution room of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin – the vow renewal took place in the very same spot that the Irish Constitution was drafted in 1922 – of course I think I have a bit of dyslexia, when I was reading about the constitution room I thought it said the Irish Constitution was drafted in 1992…. ummmmm apparently I need to review my history just a little bit! The room was stunning, the dinner was fabulous (they so kindly catered to the picky vegetarian!) and it was amazing to have a baby sitter for the kids and be out in the “adult world” the first time since we left Boulder in May! The only downside, I felt totally underdressed! When I was packing months ago I didn’t know we would be out in the fancy grown up world! The best I could come up with was a slightly anthropology inspired dress and sparkly belt…. why didn’t I use it as an excuse to go shopping…..
On Saturday we hit the mall, Zoli has outgrown the pants I brought for him so the poor kid has been freezing in shorts all summer, yes you read that right, freezing in shorts in the summer, it has been cold here! Well, the people in Ireland don’t really think it’s cold, I think it’s cold! One day it was 65 degrees out and Matt went golfing that evening, he met someone on the golf course who said, wow it was such a scorcher today I couldn’t come out to golf until this evening! It’s so funny to hear 65 degrees talked about as a scorcher! I’m a little bit worried what winter will be like! We stopped at Gap and got him some pants then went to my absolute favorite little spot south of Dublin, in Graystones, Happy Pear. It is so cozy, has the most amazing food in the cafe and produce in the market, I wish I could just move right in! It was a wonderful day.
Sunday morning I got up and ran the Celbridge 5K, I had a great time running, but ran a little bit slower than I had wanted to 😦 Then Matt went golfing in the afternoon. We are trying to figure out our next “move” since we need to leave the country since we don’t have our visas yet and we are waiting on a few things to fall into place. The adventure continues!
here is a parting photo before I get back to tackling all the laundry….. and to be honest the laundry is no more exciting in Ireland then it was in Colorado!
Maybe I should change this from a travel blog to a photo blog…. I think this is going to be another photo heavy blog post :)! But the boys are just so cute, I can’t help myself!
We were able to spend some time in Bray Ireland, otherwise known as the gateway to the Garden Of Ireland. The beauty in this part of the world is stunning! I really don’t know if I have been anywhere this beautiful before. These pictures are from a hike I did with boys.
Here we are getting ready to start the hike.
And we are on our way up the “mountain” If you look hard you might be able to see the little gap between Zoli’s teeth…. he lost his first tooth the other day :)! The tooth fairy paid in Euros! There was talk he wanted a more stable currency… but he got Euros and promptly spent it on a foam sword.
Shea found himself a hiking stick…… I think it’s big enough, what do you think?
The boys found this great tree to climb on…. mommy is working hard on not being a nervous freak when they climb on things… not sure how good I am doing that, but I’m trying!
Me and my sweet little ones at the top of the mtn. I love that view in the background, stunning! (and you should see it on a clear sunny day!)
ahhhh the view
This was the cross at the top of the mountain that we hiked to.
Quinn has turned into a Mountain Goat and insisted on running full speed down the mountain! I kept thinking he would wipe out, but we all made it down scratch free! Yeah a hike with no one bleeding, now that is a success!
Natures Jungle Gym……..
I got spoiled with hikes this week, I took the boys on this hike and the next day, Matt gave me some time away and I did the Bray to Graystones Cliff Walk, amazing! If you are ever in Wicklow on a Trip Of A Lifetime, this walk needs to be on your to do list!
A few weeks ago we got to spend some time in the adorable University town of Maastricht Netherlands.
The boys spent some time playing tag (do you see a theme with these blog posts, every town we get to there is a game of tag!) in Vrijthof Square
Across the square from our game of tag stood the impressive St. John’s Church – we have seen quite a few churches over the last few weeks, but this one stood out due to its striking red color.
At the far end of the square stood the Carnival Statues
After hanging out with the Carnival Statues for a while we walked toward the University Area, and came across this beautiful Alley Way near a stream and old water wheel. Shea took over the camera for a bit to take some pics of all of us
After our impromptu photo shoot the boys couldn’t decide which way to go next.
Traveling & accommodating all our crazy food needs (issues?) including 2 vegetarians, one Gluten Free Corn Free Diet, allergies to all melons, cucumber, walnuts and a semi picky 4-year-old can be challenging/exhausting or maybe just insane!!! For that reason when we find a restaurant that works for all of us, we tend to go back multiple times. In Maastricht we ate at The Loving Hut, a vegetarian restaurant three blocks away from the hotel, for 3 days in a row. By the third night, I started to feel pretty funny about going back! But the people who worked there were so kind and the food was great. One of the waitresses recommended that we drive to Valkenburg, a short little hop, skip and jump away from Maastricht,to hike in the forest there. It was great to get the kids out in the woods for a bit….. of course the first trail we took led us to a casino… not the hike we were looking for! We found a new trail from there and spent a great afternoon exploring the forest
And we made a new friend along the way….
It started out like any other Sunday, we drove by the International School the boys would be shadowing at the next day…. oh wait, that is not how most Sundays start out……… in fact nothing the last few weeks has been like any other we have known! (both the good and the bad!)
To say everyday has been an adventure since we left Boulder 3 weeks ago would be a serious under statement! However, this specific Sunday started out with us driving by/getting lost on the campus of the international school the boys would be shadowing/interviewing at the next day and ended with a beautiful hike up the Crooked Lane to Philosophenweg in Heidelberg, but lets explain how one activity led to the next.
It has been an amazing opportunity to travel around and see so many different countries and cultures over the last few weeks, however, Matt and I (and the boys) are all feeling the pull to know where we are going to settle down, get a house and return to “normal”. All of us were excited to get into Frankfurt and know that this week we would look at schools in Frankfurt, Berlin and Freiburg. We like to drive by places to get a feel for them before we need to be there for “real”. On Sunday we drove around the campus, in Frankfurt, felt a bit deflated from our excitement, when the campus was not exactly what we thought it would be, but were still excited to see it “for real” the next day.
**and incase you were wondering how the school shadow visit went…. I should have picked up on the fact that graffiti was all over the campus and right near the primary building someone had spray painted fuck, was not a good sign.Then when we picked the boys up and Zoli said (in his scratchy little voice) “it was horrible” and Shea said, “it was so boring, the math class was working on things I did in 1st grade”(two years ago!) We knew it was not the right place for us!!**
Ok, back to Sunday, sorry to jump around so much. When we left the campus, we saw a sign for Heidelberg and it was only 49K, (yup, I am so Euro now talking in kilometers, of course I have no idea how far a kilometer is…… ) Matt said, “I have heard Heidelberg is a cute town, want to go?” so we made a quick turn away from Frankfurt and headed toward Heidelberg. Kids singing in the backseat of the car. They love that I can video tape them on the iPad, and they try to out perform one another.
We get off the highway at the ausfahrt (or exit ramp, but you can imagine how much the boys like any word that sounds like it ends in fart) and with in seconds Matt got a speeding ticket from the “lightning”a speed camera (sorry Matt, that I am sharing this story, but since you posted it on Facebook I assume it is public knowledge” and, the ticket relates to the rest of the story) Feeling pretty deflated from the crummy school, the rain, a speeding ticket etc… we parked and headed up to the main square. We were sitting on a bench while the boys played tag, (yup, most of my photos on the blog are of the boys playing tag in different public squares in Europe) and played around in the town square.
As we sat watching the boys play tag, this kind women sitting near us started talking to us, she has three granddaughters who live in the US, and thought our boys were adorable. We got to talking and Matt brought up that he just got a ticket, and she pulled out a HUGE bottle of beer from her husbands backpack and gave to Matt to make his day brighter and when he refused to take it she insisted “in the name of her relatives that have passed on.” Her and her husband were originally from Romania, and she told us that there is a Romanian phrase that people say when they offer a gift to another is they are offering the gift in honor of fmaily that has passed on. It is considered a sign of great disrespect to refuse the gift. She also told us about the famous Crooked Lane that leads up to the Philosophers Way with beautiful views of the city and castle.
After hearing about the Crooked Lane & Philosophers Way, named for the University Professors and Philosophers that were said to walk along this path years ago, we headed across the bridge to check them out.
The view of the Heidelberg Castle as we crossed the bridge:
The view from the base of the Crooked Path that lead up the hillside to Philosophers Way
We started our walk up the crooked lane:
The view of town from halfway up the Crooked Lane:
The boys halfway up – one of the many benefits of having “Colorado kids” is that they don’t balk (too much) at having to climb hills!
We reached the top of the Crooked Lane and were rewarded with this stunning view of the city, well Matt and I loved the view, I think the boys were more interested in attacking small bushes with sticks as we walked along Philosophers Way….. boys will be boys right???
Turns out that Heidelberg is a pretty great place to spend a Sunday afternoon! Matt, I’m glad you took us there for the day!