A FEW AMAZING PLACES RIGHT NEAR MY HOME
If you saw my recent post about spending time in the Columbia River Gorge (click here to check it out), you’ll know I feel pretty lucky to live in a place as gorgeous as Oregon. Holidays don’t have to be this grand affair to faraway lands… and they don’t even have to last for days. A holiday can just be a simple trip to a place that makes you happy where you spend some quality time, even if it’s a short amount of time like a few hours.
I want to share with you some more Oregon adventures I’ve had just in the last few weeks. All of these places are just within an hour or so from my home and are a great reminder not to forget to explore the world that’s close by!
A BEAUTIFUL DRIVE UP TO NORTHERN IRELAND
Sunday, September 8th 2013
So before I begin this entry let me say a couple things about Northern Ireland before I get into the whole thing. First, “The Troubles” are long over and the province has enjoyed peace for quite some time. Second I was advised not to skip Northern Ireland as it is every bit as beautiful as the rest of Ireland and the people are just as great – both are absolutely true (minus one miserable, surly asshole I will mention later). Finally, despite the divisions in the society due to the past, Northern Ireland is a wonderful place and we can’t wait to go back – there’s so much we didn’t get so see, even a month there wouldn’t be enough… Northern Ireland truly is not to be missed!
OREGON IS A TRULY BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO CALL HOME
So taking a quick break from the Ireland adventure from 2013, I took a little mini-vacation with me, myself and I (always good travel companions) to the Gorge this weekend. The Gorge refers to the Columbia River Gorge along the Oregon – Washington border. It is a truly one of the most beautiful spots on earth. Check out www.columbiarivergorge.info for some really detailed info and photos. I’m including a handful of pics in this post, but a simple Google search of “Columbia River Gorge” and then click Images will show you what I got to see this weekend (here's a snap shot of the Google images search results).
THERE’S THAT CRAZY IRISH HOSPITALITY AGAIN!
Saturday, September 7th in Dublin, but heading south for the day
Having spent nearly a week in the city we were up for exploring the more rural areas around Dublin. I’d arranged for a rental car from Dan Dooley Car Hire, a local company I absolutely recommend. Not only were they the cheapest compared to the big US based car rental companies operating at Dublin International, but they were super friendly and easy to work with… plus we did a little damage to the car (you’ll learn about that in a bit) and they didn’t charge us for it when we returned the car. Now I can’t guarantee they’ll do that for you, but I still highly recommend Dan Dooley and will definitely rent from them again. And just to restate, we were advised not to rent a car while in Dublin, which we didn’t until the last day and that worked out great due to the public transportation options in Dublin. Plus, we were told parking was a pain, so only having a car for the last full day (the next morning we were up and off to Belfast) worked really well for us.
YOU CAN LEARN A LOT IN AN IRISH CEMETERY
Friday, September 6th in Dublin
Like every other day in Dublin, today was cool. I’d never have thought we’d end up where we did, but it turned out to be one of the most interesting parts of our time in Dublin.
To start we headed down O’Connell St. for breakfast and made our way to O’Shea’s. It’s a hotel and pub in the true Irish tradition.
THERE’S SO MUCH THAT NEVER GOT PHOTOGRAPHED
Thursday, September 5th in Dublin
As I look back I realize there is so much I didn’t photograph of what we did, and that’s cool because it was more about being there and being in the moment to enjoy Ireland than to photograph it. In fact, I got scolded by Robert on more than one occasion for taking too many pics and spending too much time uploading them on Facebook to document the experience, LOL… but I’m glad I did. These pics are still a source of great joy for me. Now onto Day 3 in Dublin!
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO???
Wednesday, September 4th in Dublin
So you’ve got a week in the biggest city of the country you’ve been dreaming of visiting your entire life… do you plan? Do you wing it? What do to, what to do?
JET-LAGGED, TIRED AND FED, WE GOT LOST LOOKING FOR MARTIN’S PLACE
Tuesday, September 3rd – arriving in Dublin
So we ate, killed time and were ready to head to Martin’s, now we just had to find the place. For some reason both of us suddenly became total novices at using our phone maps in a foreign city and had a hell of a time finding a house that was relatively close (less than a mile if memory serves???). We wandered up and down streets, made wrong turns, then finally got our bearing and made our way to Mountjoy Square – Martin had a 3-bedroom apartment in a nice Georgian building across the street from a nice little park. You can see on the map how close we actually were, but I guess when you’re tired and in a foreign city even something as simple as “North, right, left, right, you’re there” can be a challenge. Now once we got settled in that little walk was a piece of cake, but at the time we were hauling 3+ weeks’ worth of luggage – so that made it all the more fun.
Should have been an easy walk from the restaurant to Martin’s place at Mountjoy Square… should have been.
THE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG FLIGHT TO DUBLIN
Monday, September 2nd - Tuesday, September 3rd - an overnight flight
AIRLINES IN THE US COULD USE A BIT OF IRISH HOSPITALITY
The difference between flying the Irish airline and the US one was night and day. I don’t remember if it was United, Continental or American but the flight from Portland, OR to Chicago, IL sucked – as I expected. I’m not sure how US air travel has degenerated into the nightmare it is but needless to say once I stepped onto to the Aer Lingus plane it was like paradise… and made me dread the flight back to Portland at the end of the trip even more LOL.
AER LINGUS WAS A PLEASURE TO FLY
The Aer Lingus plane was spacious, comfortable, cool, clean and enjoyable. 7+ hours from Chicago to Dublin was tolerable because the plane was roomy, they had in-flight movies in the headrest of the seat in front of you and the staff was so nice. I know I am biased but when we sat down and started hearing those Irish accents, it was like the vacation had started already.
TO PLAN OR NOT TO PLAN... THAT IS THE QUESTION
Hard to describe how we planned this amazing trip… how to get there, get around, where to stay, what to do… wing it, plan it, so on.
First thing, we flew Aer Lingus – that’s a no brainer as it’s Ireland’s national airline and it’s actually affordable. We had to fly some crap US airline to Chicago, but whatever.