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

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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!

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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.

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Zaandam

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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.

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Den Haag and Delft day trip

We caught the Sprinter train from Schipol to Den Haag.

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

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Next stop Belgium!

 

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Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018  

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Welcome back! Sorry for the long delay in posting but I found it impossible to maintain this site while travelling. A recent knee operation has forced me to stay still for a while so I’m going to take the opportunity to bring it up to date. As I will be relying on my diary and camera to jog my memory, it will be mostly photos of our visits to more of Ireland; parts of England and Scotland; Holland, Belgium and northern France; and a different part of Singapore on the way home. Hope you enjoy the trip!

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Up the mountains

We enjoyed spending times with friends and family in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains, including a visit to Avoca Mills and the Meeting of the Waters. It was great to be able to have a look around the mill which is still working – the oldest working mill in Ireland I think and free to enter. Afternoon tea in the coffee shop wasn’t bad either!

 

Cobh to Clare

or the scenic route from Dublin to Doolin

 

It was a beautiful sunny day when we left Dublin and we had a lovely drive to Cork to visit my cousin and her family. We took a detour to Cobh on the way so as not to arrive too early. By this time the wind had started to get up and rain was threatening.

Next morning the rain was horizontal so we enjoyed a forced rest-day indoors with good company, good food and a bit of forward planning for our trip to Normandy later.

 

 

We drove into Cork the following morning and had a walk around the English Market and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral before getting on the road to Tralee via the Dingle Peninsula; the ruins of a Celtic stone settlement from 500 BC; and, Slea Head.

 

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It was so bitterly cold and wet in Tralee that night, I nearly didn’t stop to photograph this mural, but now I’m glad I did.

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We visited Ardfert Cathedral on the way to Talbert to get the ferry, then on to Kilrush, Kilkee, Doonbeg, Quilty, Spanish Point and Lahinch.

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It was a short drive from Lahinch to Doolin. Lucky we didn’t want to see the Cliffs of Moher on the way as they were shrouded in rain clouds. Visibility didn’t improve throughout our stay but we’ve been there before so no great loss.

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After checking into our accommodation at McGann’s Pub, we caught up with the family at the Doolin Hotel for our grand-nephew’s post-Confirmation function –  something like a wedding reception with the bride and groom replaced by 100-plus children and their families, all in fine attire.

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We had dinner at McGann’s that night with some of the family, then enjoyed the session afterwards.

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We drove through the Burren on the way back to Dublin.

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Next stop: parts of England and Scotland.

 

Adelaide to Sydney highlights continued

Bairnsdale to Eden 

After the very informative and enjoyable tour of St Mary’s Church and visiting the information centre nextdoor, we started our journey to Eden – as in the town, not the ‘Garden of …’.

This was one of the most enjoyable day’s drive. The misty mountain roads made driving enchanting without being too dangerous and the walk in the Drummer Rainforest after lunch was just magical.

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I love Eden. We stayed there once before. Again, the only accommodation the information centre  could find us was a motel. No kitchen facilities meant we had to eat out. First we checked out the views from a couple of lookouts before having dinner at a lovely Chinese restaurant, the Golden Ocean, where the food and service were excellent. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and nothing was too much to ask. It even said on the menu that if there was something you wanted that wasn’t on there, they’d do their best to make it for you.

Eden to Batemans Bay

Before we left Eden. We drove down to the very popular Aslinn Beach, the beachfront of the local tourist park.


From Eden we went to Merimbula and the Blue Pool, though it wasn’t very blue due to an algae outbreak. From there we drove to the beautiful Bermagui where we stopped for lunch.


At Batemans Bay we checked into the tourist park, shopped for groceries, then went for a drive to the beautiful beaches nearby, before going for a walk along the seafront.DSC07366

On our second day at Batemans Bay we finally had the big breakfast we’d been carrying with us since Broken Hill!  We walked that off at Eurobodella Botanic Gardens on our way to Mogo, a picturesque little town we’d been to quite a few times, the main attraction for us being the cheese tasting, although many go for the fudge, ice cream and pies. Overall it’s a very tasty place.

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Community Building Mogo

We went back to the cabin for lunch, then drove across the bridge to Nelligen, another historic little township.

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Batemans Bay to Sydney

We started the last day of our Adelaide to Sydney roadtrip around 9.00 am, stopped for lunch and a visit to the craft shop at Berry, then at Bald Hill Lookout, before arriving at our destination around 4.15 pm.

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Adelaide to Sydney highlights continued

Broken Hill to Mildura

Before leaving Broken Hill we did a quick tour of the Pro Hart Gallery which was fascinating and we wished we had more time to spend there but we had to press on. We were going to lose half an hour when we crossed into Victoria later that day.

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We stopped by the river in Pooncarie for lunch.

Then it was on to Mildura where we appreciated the airconditioning of the Information Centre while they found us accommodation – it was 44ºC outside. The only cabin was a fair bit out of town, expensive and we had to make the bed ourselves. Not impressed!

It was too hot for us to even go for our walk so we just drove back into town, had a drive down by the river, then shopped for dinner before heading back to the airconditioning.

Mildura to Echuca

We drove to Swan Hill on the Murray River and ate lunch there before heading to Echuca where the only available accommodation was even more expensive but it was a beautiful fully equipped apartment with a spa and laundry.

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We had a look at the waterfront area where we were going to go on a river cruise the next morning and did the usual drive around town before shopping for dinner then heading home.

The lamb chops with baked potatoes and green beans went down a treat.

After dinner I decided to take advantage of having a laundry and did a load of washing, but when I went to get the clothes out of the dryer before going to bed I realised that the dryer had just been turning but not drying! I rang the host first thing the next morning and she offered me the use of the dryer nextdoor as there was nobody staying there that day. Needless to say, I took her up on that offer but it put our departure back by about an hour. We would have missed the river cruise but, as it turned out, the cruise wasn’t running that day and in any case it was raining  so we just got back on the road.

Echuca to Bairnsdale

Our first stop was Glenrowan, the site of Ned Kelly’s last stand.

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Myrtleford was our lunch stop when there was a break in the drizzling rain.

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Then we headed to Bairnsdale via the Great Alpine Way, a long twisting climb through the mountains and some astounding scenery.

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When we checked in at the tourist park in Bairnsdale,  I thought Brian had found religion because he asked if the local Catholic church was open. Then he reminded me that it was no ordinary church and we had visited it with our girls and my mother years earlier.

We visited St Mary’s the next morning. Its reason for fame is its frescoes painted by an Italian artist with a sense of humour, for example he painted some cherubs with their heads on back to front and modelled some of his subjects on locals.

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