Wednesday, August 3, 2011

England and Ireland and Home again

I am sorry for being so slack and not updating my blog since the 3 rd week in England. I am now back on track and trying to catch up on what we did. The time in England and Ireland was very hectic but enjoyable and this is the rest of our story.

4th Week in England and 5th Week in Ireland.

26th June Sunday

We left our lovely Abby House Hotel, which was a shame as it was so nice. It did not take us too long to drive up the M6 to Carlisle and turn off to Newcastle-On-Tyne. The further we went east the sunnier and hotter it got. To day was the hottest day for nearly 3 weeks that we have been here. We stopped at the site of Hadrian’s Wall, took photos, walked down into the village which was not far then it started to rain, and as James has a cold we didn’t hang around very long. We went back to the car, had a cuppa and then drove to Newcastle.

Hadrian’s Wall was built to keep William the Conquer out of England. It was very disappointing to see that there wasn’t much of it left. The wall was not very wide or high. Maybe it was wide and high when it was built. Maybe.

We arrived about 12pm, nice and early. We asked for directions into town and was told it was a 25 minute walk. The walk was nice with a gently down slope to the city. When we arrived in the city, I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were in the Mall and the shopping centre and down by the river. We had a look at the Mini Sydney Harbour Bridge the Tyne Bridge, and was not as good as ours. There were markets down by the river and they are the same as markets everywhere, selling the same sort of ‘stuff’. we didn’t buy anything as we would have to bring it home. We walked along The High Level Bridge to take some more photos of The Tyne Bridge. We walked up lots of steps to get to the Black Gate and Castle Keep.

The Castle Keep of Newcastle Upon Tyne was built by Henry 11 in 1168-1178. The Castle was built by Robert Curthose, the son of William the Conqueror. After rambling around the area for awhile we decided to have a sit in the park and watch the world go by. We then wandered back to the hotel, which seemed to be quicker than going into town.

27th June Monday

Today we set off to Sunderland, a city where James’ grandparents came from. Robertson lane was where his great uncle Bob Crammer was born and lived. Which now is under a shopping centre. We were told that they built straight over the top of the street.

There was also another street there name Olive Street. James mother names was Olive we wondered if she was named after the street. Maybe not.

Vine Street was where his great, grandfather was born.

Then we drove to Whitby, the famous town for having TV shows made there and that is where lots of famous people lived. Also Whitby is where Captain Cook started his career . He lived there as an apprentice and when he left for Australia he left from Whitby.

28th June 2011

We were glad to be out of that B&B’s the room was hot very hot, uncomfortable hot. It was supposed to take 2 hours to drive to York and the address of the
B&B we had booked for the night. It didn’t, don’t know what went wrong but it took a hour longer. We nearly ran out of petrol too, which was a bit of a concern. Anyway we got to York booked in and walked into town. The York Minster cathedral was built in 1200 an took 250 years to build. It is enormous. We went inside for a peek and it was vast. The Cathedral had been added to 3 times over the years.

After that visit we walked, and walked and walked around the city with it tiny little streets which were full of people walking just like us. We saw the oldest row of houses in York, and they looked like it too. Walked down The Shambles on cobbled roads, there is a lot of them still in the cities, especially the older parts of the towns.

We decided to go over to the train museum, a walk of about half an hour. We walked over the bridge and along the side to old wall of the town of York. We thought that we would see the Flying Scotsman, but as usual we were too late. There were the biggest train I have ever seen. One train went to China and came back many years later. All in all a very interesting day.

29th June Friday

Tonight we are staying in Northampton, the hotel is nice our room was upgraded and is extremely big overlooking the front yard. We went down to Silverstone but as they are getting ready for the Grand prix they wouldn’t let us in. Not even to have a look around.

One thing I will say about England, there is cigarette buts everywhere. It makes the place look untidy and dirty.

30th June Wednesday
Extremely tired today so this is what we have done to make us this way.

Drove to Canterbury
Motorway was extremely crowded and slow
Took forever to get to Dover.
We saw the White Cliffs of Dover today.
Had a drive around the waterfront
The beach was stones, not sand, the water was nice and blue,
There were lots of ferry’s there.
A nice little town, we had a coffee.
Nearly ran out of petrol, until James say the red light and we were so close to a petrol station it was funny.
Didn’t go to the castle on the hill as it was nine pounds and I was not paying that much. If it was a nice and sunny day I may have paid just to see the view to France.
Drove to Canterbury.
Paid for more parking which is getting a bit of nuisance.
Walked around Canterbury, the old city, which is where all the shops are.
Found a patchwork shop and had a great chat to the ladies there. If I was staying longer I would have done a course on bleach printing. the ladies gave me  a very quick lesson on how to do it. I am very grateful for that as I have never found anyone else to give information about a subject. Anytime I have found a course that I would have loved to do the person giving the lesson has said to me. "If you want to know take the lesson and find out" and it has been as blunt as that.
Came back to hotel and had a well earned rest and dinner.
Asthma is giving me hell.
1st July Friday
Drove to Heathrow, Costa Hotel.
Everything was going well until we put the sat nav on, and we got lost.
The address that was on the booking sheet was wrong. That took sometime to sort out.
Did the washing, so now we have some clean clothes to wear.
Booked in
Had a cuppa, repacked our bags, had a bath, a sleep and a feed.
Now ready to drop off the car tomorrow.
Ready to fly to Ireland.

2nd July Saturday

Had a great sleep last night.
Had a wonderful breakfast
Found the Avis return very fast and with no trouble at all.
Checked in for the flight to Ireland.
Walked miles and miles inside the airport. It got to the part I thought that we were walking to Ireland.
Nice flight, very quick. 1 and a half hours.
Went through customs so quick, we just whizzed though.
Took an hour to get our bags. Don’t know why and I think they don’t know either.
Went to get our booked car.
Didn’t want extra insurance. We had to leave a deposit with the credit card for the access in insurance. The credit card didn’t work at all so we had to take the insurance. When we got to our hotel we checked the CC and found that $1900 was taken from our CC. NOT HAPPY. Think we got ripped off.
Found our way to the hotel, which was easy
Tomorrow we will catch the bus into Dublin for a bit of sightseeing.

3rd July Sunday
Once we had breakfast we ran for the Number 66 bus into Dublin, and we caught it.
I had to ask a passenger where the centre of the city was. I just couldn’t tell.
After we alighted we caught the Hop-on-Hop-off bus just to give us some sort of idea where everything was. It didn’t. We just winged it and won in the end.
There was lots of things to see and do but I think that we are Catherdraled out, Castle out, and probably museumed out.
We ended up going to the Natural History Museum, I didn’t stay inside as there the museum was full of every dead animal for the last couple of hundred years. Not my scene.
Then we went to the National Museum, it wasn’t much better. Like I said maybe I am museumed out.
After walking and walking and looking at just about everything there was to see we caught the 66 bus back again to the B&B. Magic!
One thing I did see was how many beggars there were on the streets. And how many people asked for money. There is no reason for the begging as I saw quiet a few wanted adds in windows of shops. Very disappointing.
How dirty Dublin was with cigarettes butts everywhere and broken glass in the gutters and on the footpaths.

4th July 2011 Monday
Today we started off early and drove down to Waterford which was easy to get to. the highway was great to drive on especially after England's road. We had a look at the town of Waterford and the Waterford Crystal Factory. We just missed the tour and we couldn't hang around for the next one so we left and drove to Killareny. That took most of the day. We were is such a hurry to get there we took the wrong road and missed the turn off for Blarney Castle. It wasn't until the next day we realised we missed the turn off, so we decided we would go back it was only an hour or so to drive and we really wanted to go.
On Monday afternoon we visited Muckross House, a wonderful house set on the lake. Now it is in the National Park. We took the tour through the house. I thought it looked like a castle. The rooms were still kept as it was many years ago. Also were the servants worked was kept the same also. The ground were lovely too and the public is very welcome to come and enjoy the  surroundings. The outlook from the house to the lake was something too. I could have stayed longer.
we drove back into Kilarney and joined a very long cue to get into the town. As all the towns over here there are little roads to travel on and the towns get very congested extremely quick. We parked the car and had a walk around just to see what was there. There were many people just doing the same thing. we found a place to eat and when we had finished it was time to go back to the B&B for a well earned rest.
5th July Tuesday,
We set off fairly early for the Ring of Kerry Drive, which was only 150 k. it took us all day the sites are wonderful, sometimes breath taking. We drove Killorglin then onto Glenbeigh, these little towns are very quaint. but more quaint was Cahersiveen. We caught the ferry over to Valentia Island. This is where we took a little walk to the look out, overlooking the cliffs. we were on the island for 1 ½ hours. Which was lovely

We came back over the bridge at Port Magee another extremely quaint town. If is wasn’t for the tourist there wouldn’t be anything here. So pretty. We went up to the ruined castle, the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to walk. The view from the castle was beautiful,overlooking the water and town and the island.

The countryside around the island is very wind swept, it was extremely windy the day we were there. It was so blowie it nearly blew us both over.

The drive around the Rind of Kerry and the Ring
Skellig which was is the Ring of Kerry.

We ended up back in the national park at Muckross castle And then drove up to Limerick and it rained all the way.

7th July 2011 Wednesday

Drove down Blarney castle it stated to rain and then it poured and we still drove through it all to get to the castle. We were early as we knew we would be, so we had some breakfast at the take away shop at the castle village. There were not many people there, so we had the place to ourselves. We climbed the very narrow steps to the top. All the steps were slippery as it had been raining most of the night. I had to sit on wet surface learn over backwards and kiss the stone. Kissing the stone didn’t make the rain stop only made it rain worse. We went back down the steps most carefully and out into the rain again. Had a walk around for awhile and then decided to go to Galway. It rained all the way, although it did at times look as if it was getting clearer. We got to Galway and then decided as it was absolutely pouring down, we would have lunch and then drive most of the way to Dublin ready for tomorrow.

We drove to a little town called Athlone, or we thought it was a small village, but we were wrong. We found a hotel after a bit of driving around in the longest traffic jam in the smallest, narrowest streets. couldn’t believe it. the town was a bustling hub with cars, trucks and buses going in every direction We made it to the hotel without to much trouble. James is sick to death of the roads. One thing I will say he was very happy when we went on a Motorway.
We are on the 5th floor and after looking out the window we found we were beside the river and overlooking the castle which is on the other side of the river and the town and the country side. I just wish that it was a clearer day, so we could see forever or what would seem forever.
Hopefully tomorrow it will continue all the way to Dublin and that will make me very happy.

7th July 2011
It was raining again when we left the motel for the airport. The only good thing was that there was a 4 lane highway and freeway to get us there. Because of that we were very early. We found a coffee shop had a coffee and then drove to the car rental place which was a bit hard to find. Mainly because they put the signs behind trees. I found this was so most to the places we were trying to find.

We boarded at the correct time and had a good flight to Bangkok where we had disembark for 1.5 hours. We both slept most ot the way which was good and made the trip shorter. That part of the flight was 10 hours.
Now for the longest part of the flight. I hope it goes fast too.

Saturday 9th July,

Home at last. Tracy was there to pick us up from the airport and drove us home without any trouble. There were not many cars on the road, which made driving easy. As the sun came up the day was nice and sunny. From 12pm to about 6pm I slept, then got up and had something to eat, and would you believe went back to bed and slept for another 12 hours. I slept most of that first week back home. I just fell asleep when I sat down. James wasn’t much better. I suppose after such a strenuous holiday I was worn out.

24th Sunday.

We have been home for 3 weeks and just now are getting back to ‘normal’. it has taken a long time for us both to get back into a regular routine. I wonder if this has to do with not wanting to be home. OR just would rather be away somewhere, learning about our world and people. Now I am looking forward to October -----away again.

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