Monday, December 29, 2008
Yesterday we drove up to Northern Ireland and checked into the Causeway Hotel on top of the hill from the Giant's Causeway. Waking up this morning we were welcomed by the frost and beautiful sun. After walking around the rocks and cliffs in the sun we drove to the equally impressive Dunluce Castle. During the 5 minute drive, the sun disappeared behind clouds and the temperature went from just above freezing to completely, ridiculously freezing. It is a shame really because Dunluce is incredible and we didn't spend nearly enough time there because of the awful weather. The castle is nearly 1000 years old and built on a tiny rocky outcrop. Around 200 years ago the kitchen fell a few hundred feet into the ocean on day. If you check out the phanfare pages you will see some pics.
Northern Ireland is beautiful but strange. The people sound Irish but act British and once you cross the totally unmarked border between the two, your Irish money becomes completely useless. We discovered this at lunch today. After we had ordered and eaten we were told that our Euros were no good and they didn't take credit cards! 4 banks later things were sorted and we headed back into the Republic where all the buildings aren't covered in barbed wire.
Tonight we are in Donegal and I am enjoying being nice and warm as I write this in the hotel with the central heating turned up full.
Tomorrow we are going to the scariest tourist attraction in Ireland. Slieve Leauge is the highest sea cliff in Europe at 600 meters high. The road to the top has no guard rails and is one car wide. It is not one way. Once you get to the top there are no pesky fences to get in the way of a good photo, its windy and don't forget the frost. In Australia tourist attractions are easy - you don't have to think about what you do and whether its safe because if something is unsafe there will be a fence around it. I am not taking the kids up Slieve League tomorrow, we'll be waiting in the coffee shop at the bottom which I think was custom made for paranoid mothers like me.
Speaking of the kids, I am pleased to report that the demon which had possessed Ivy since the plane trip has vanished. She is back sleeping normally and has started smiling again instead of screaming all the time.
Everyone is having a great time and there is lots of snow falling in Whistler - yay!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Speaking of Krakow, Ivy has been put in her highchair every morning and evening in an attempt to get her to eat some food or drink from a bottle. Ivy likes to refer to this as her torture chair. So far we have managed to force a few drops of formula and bits of baby rice in between the screaming - some progress at least. They have something here called a Farley's rusk, these were a revalation because she loves them! Thinking that I was free at last, I made the mistake of checking the main ingredients of Farley's Rusks - sugar, damn. We still have a week.
In the last few days we have been to Dublin and the cliffs of Mohr. Both were great - we actually saw the sun for a few minutes in Dublin - and James and Kirsty continue to love Ireland. I have continued to recover from my jetlag. There was a bit of an incident at Mohr. Poor James is so impoverished that he was forced to jump over the safety fence at the cliffs of Mohr (the cliffs are about 100 meters high!) to retrive one Euro. As you can imagine, his father was outraged at his adctions as he would never condone this sort of reckless behaviour!
I am going to get back to the eating and drinking that is Christmas Day in Ireland now but before I do, make sure you check out our live photo updates at iblueman.phanfare.com for all the holiday action as it happens.
Miss you all and have a wonderful Christmas.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
After 5 hours in the crapness that was Frankfurt airport, we were very pleased to be boarding our short flight to Dublin. We got on the plane and waited to be airborne....... 3 hours later I find myself on the freezing cold tarmac picking out our luggage from a pile of bags. This was after the baggage handlers had removed every case from the hold and checked them over ......... twice. Apparently there was a bag on our flight that wasn't supposed to be. We spent three hours looking for it only to discover that it wasn't there in the first place!
Another thing, Ivy isn't a good traveller. She did ok for the first 26 hours or so of our ordeal, sorry, flight but after that she screamed non stop. Sure it was near the end but you have no idea how long those last 3 hours seemed to Jack and I.
Anyhoo, we're here now and the holiday part is mint. The kids got us up a full three hours before sunrise this morning at 5:30 am (ok that bit wasn't mint) and we spent the day showing the kids around Athlone. There is a full on shopping mall here now! I have to admit, I loved the easy access to some of my European shopping faves (yay for River Island, H&M and Zara!) but that's not what Ireland is about. Things improved considerably when we left the mall and explored the crazy Irish roads, millions of pubs and really yum pub lunches that Athlone has to offer. Tomorrow we're going to Dublin. I want to go to the museum and St Patrick's Cathedral - does this make me old and boring? Whatever we do, we will end the day with a Guiness on top of the Guiness Brewery which should be a highlight.
If I wasn't suffering the worst jetlag ever I would upload a picture of my newest acquisition, black and gold blinging wellington boots, but you're going to have to wait until tomorrow for that.
Fingers crossed that Ivy actually sleeps tonight instead of feeding and crying so that I can sleep off my jetlag.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
terminal for hours waiting for our flight to dublin. The kids are
driving me nuts!
Flight was sort of ok - it could have been much worse I suppose. It is
amazing what strangers will do for you if they think you are about to
lose the plot. I would like to say thanks to two complete strangers;
one who cleaned up my wee soaked child at the Perth QANTAS club and
the other who adopted reuben for the entire flight from singapore.
We are all very tired and grouchy right now. Hopefully spirits will
improve after guiness, shower and sleep.
Sent from my iPhone
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Gone are the days of packing a few hours before the flight with a hangover, getting ready for this trip has been a major exercise. Here's a pic of the baggage we are taking; 12 bags and a pram. Total weight about 120kg (for the record, most of it is Jack's). Imagine how much stuff we are going to have to bring back after shopping, Christmas and retrieving our snowboarding gear from Whistler! At least there are 5 weeks before we have to deal with that.