Europe Trip 2018

Holland

Whenever we go back to Ireland we take advantage of being on that side of the world to make a side-trip to Europe. This time we visited Holland, Belgium and France.

Amsterdam: bicycles, crooked buildings, canals, flower market, cheese, Ann Frank’s house

DSC08479

DSC08365DSC08367DSC08348DSC08322DSC08340DSC08338DSC08335

We tried to visit the Van Gogh Museum but after a bus, train, then tram-ride to get there, we found that the only way to get tickets was online and I had left my iPad at the hotel so had no means of accessing the Internet and the museum didn’t provide any. Seems to be a very strange form of crowd control!

We had the same sort of luck with the tulips. Family in Liverpool had shown us their photos of field after field of tulips, each a different vibrant colour. But when we asked at the tourist office for directions to the tulip fields and windmills, we were told the tulip  season was over and the farmers had pulled any remaining tulips out of the ground.

Fortunately in the Zaan Region there’s a dedicated windmill village that can’t go out of season so we went there instead!

DSC08372DSC08390DSC08393DSC08399DSC08389DSC08413DSC08403

We used 1-day Amsterdam and Region travel tickets to get a bus to the windmills at Zaanse Schans Village; trains to Zaandam where we ate lunch and to Edam where we had a beer across from a cheese shop; then a bus via Volendam and Julianaweg – one of my middle names is Julianna – back to Amsterdam Central.

DSC08434

Zaandam

DSC08446DSC08454DSC08470

DSC08472

Edam

We had dinner at the waterfront before taking the free ferry over to Buiksloterweg, then back again after a short walk. Its a very popular ferry with pedestrians and cyclists.

DSC08480DSC08482

Den Haag and Delft day trip

We caught the Sprinter train from Schipol to Den Haag.

DSC08487DSC08488DSC08492DSC08496DSC08499

After exploring  Den Haag also known as Le Haag, The Hague and Le Hague, we caught  a tram to Delft.

DSC08509DSC08512DSC08513DSC08514DSC08516DSC08517

 

Next stop Belgium!

 

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018 cont

A last taste of Ireland

During our last days in Ireland we concentrated on places around or close to Dublin.

We discovered a lovely walk along the banks of the River Liffey from Chapelizod to the Memorial Gardens in the shadow of the Phoenix Park.

Liffey walk 18.05.18 (16)Liffey walk 18.05.18 (10)Liffey walk 18.05.18 (3)

Liffey walk 18.05.18 (11)

Nature’s flowers from the heart!

It wouldn’t be a trip to Ireland without a visit to the Hill of Tara.

DSC08273DSC08275

DSC08274

DSC08283DSC08277

Dowth and Newgrange are other ancient burial mounds.

 

DSC08268

Newgrange

 

The whole area is steeped in history.

DSC09448DSC09447

Slane Castle and Brewery

Slane Abbey

 

DSC09504DSC09505DSC09506DSC09507DSC09509DSC09510DSC09511

Trim Castle

Closer to Dublin, we also explored Portmarnock, Malahide and Skerries  and a little further as far as Drogheda.

From a photo displayed in reception, I think we might be related to the original owner of Skerries Mills, Richard Flynn. I had an uncle Dick/Richard Flynn, and though not the same person, probably a relation as my Dad’s family came from around that area.

DSC08250

Skerries Mills – We didn’t need to go to Holland to find windmills.

 

Malahide Abbey

 

Defensive forts called Martello Towers are dotted along the coast north and south of Dublin. The name comes from the tower they were modelled on at Mortella Point on the western side of the Gulf of San Fiorenzo, Corsica.
Read more at – History of Martello Tower

 

Drogheda was a good base to explore from.

DSC08267DSC08260DSC08261

 

I’ll leave you with this idyllic Irish scene.

DSC08262

 

Next stop Amsterdam!

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018 cont – England and Scotland

England

From Edinburgh we drove to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where I used McDonald’s’ wifi to book us into the nearby Holiday Inn Express, which was sheer luxury in comparison to the previous night’s accommodation. It was on the outskirts of town so we went for a drive in the evening to find somewhere to have dinner.

 

DSC08111

Next morning,  after a hearty breakfast which was included in the tariff, we got the very friendly, helpful staff at Reception to print out our boarding passes for our upcoming flight back to Dublin. We were flying Ryanair. With them you have to provide your own boarding pass, or pay something like €50 per person for them to do it at the airport. Your boarding pass can only be accessed within four days of departure an,d if you are not on a European passport, has to be in hard copy not electronic format. So it’s no easy feat producing one when you’re on the road without a printer in your backpack! I have noticed printers for public use in some airports but there’s no guarantee that it will be operational if you’re lucky enough to find one.

The rest of the morning was spent visiting the ancient South Shields’ ruins of the Arbeia Roman Fort. Parts of the site have been reconstructed to provide an insight to fort life at the time, around AD160 to 275.

DSC08128 - Copy

Working from home – we’ve come full circle

DSC08122DSC08130 - CopyDSC08129 - CopyDSC08126 - CopyDSC08131 - CopyDSC08106DSC08107DSC08108DSC08110DSC08133 - CopyDSC08109DSC08097

 

Hadrian’s Wall was next on our list of ancient locations.

DSC08139 - CopyDSC08140 - CopyDSC08146 - CopyDSC08141 - Copy

 

DSC08149 - Copy

The caretakers of Hadrian’s Wall

DSC08151 - Copy

View from Hadrian’s Wall

York

We got to York in plenty of time to have a walk on the city wall and around the old town including the Shambles and various churches and ancient buildings.

DSC08163 - Copy

The Shambles

dsc08165-copy.jpg

DSC08157 - CopyDSC08155 - CopyDSC08168 - Copy

We tried Nepalese cuisine for the first time at TAAS restaurant where the staff were so attentive and friendly I felt guilty when I couldn’t finish the huge meal they’d served me.

Next morning we went for a walk to the River Ouse and around part of the town we hadn’t been to the night before. Saw some interesting wildlife.

DSC08173 - CopyDSC08175 - CopyDSC08179 - Copy

On our way from York to my cousin’s place in Skelmeresdale, Liverpool, we visited more ruins: Sawley Abbey – a Cistercian abbey founded in the 10th century and the Roman baths at Ribchester.

DSC08185 - CopyDSC08187 - CopyDSC08196 - CopyDSC08198 - CopyDSC08209 - Copy

It was a relatively short drive from Ribchester to Skelmeresdale. My cousin was working late but her husband welcomed us with a delicious dinner. We talked well into the night before going to my aunt’s house next-door to sleep. My aunt is in a nearby nursing home.

My cousin took us to see her the next day.

 

We took her around the corner to The Fox for achat and a cuppa.

She joined us again that evening for another sumptuous dinner at my cousin’s place, along with a family friend and later her sister who lives nearby. We had a good night talking about all of our travels and adventures past and planned.

After saying our goodbyes the following morning, we spent our last day in England visiting Antony Gormley’s Another Place – statues in the sea; and

 

the Beatles statues on the Mersey promenade, Liverpool.

The Beatles Merseyside (2)

Then it was back to Ireland for a few days before taking off again to Europe.

 

Link

Thursday 12 April. 2018

It’s a week since we left Darwin, flying to Dublin via Singapore and Abu Dhabi, it was an uneventful trip.


During our 10-hour stopover in Singapore we visited the Kampong Glam area and Haji Lane, places we hadn’t heard of on previous trips and well worth the trip.

Singapore airport, Changi, is interesting enough in itself with an indoor orchid garden and rooftop sunflower garden at Terminal 2.


Our Ethiad flight landed in Dublin 30 minutes early and we had no delays with collecting our luggage or getting through Imigration, which would have been great except that without an Irish SIM card I couldn’t phone my brother who was picking us up. I had to use the free Dublin Airport wifi to message our daughter Aisling in Sydney, who messaged Barry in Dublin, who eventually came to get us after being parked behind the airport plane-watching, waiting for the Ethiad plane to land! The weather was bleak – cold, grey and raining.

A week later it hasn’t improved. The only place we’ve been other than grocery shopping is the Phoenix Park which we drove through yesterday. We saw a couple of herds of deer quite close to the road but didn’t get out of the car, it was too cold.