retread#35: county cork

Our third Irish port on our anniversary trip was County Cork, Republic of Ireland. We docked at Cobh on a decidedly gray day. It rained on and off until early afternoon but that didn’t much dampen our spirits!

Cobb itself is a lovely little city. Perfectly walkable and interesting in and of itself. I’d booked a tour with Helena through Tours by Locals to venture over to Kindle. We tooled around Cobh for a little bit, stopping by a beautiful and massive church viewable from the shop. Mass was almost underway so we didn’t go inside. Before long we were on our way to our primary destination, Kinsale.

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retread#35: dublin

I found Dublin quite delightful. My travel mates would likely say it was not their favorite port of call, only a step or two behind Liverpool — and everything else a mile ahead. I get that yet I still liked it a lot.

Dublin is a bit gritty. The waterfront area near the pier was under construction, every which way there were mammoth cranes and new infrastructure rising. It did not make for a very warm welcome. The cruise company ran buses through the mayhem to deposit passengers at the city center. Part of the price of progress, eh?

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retread#35: northern ireland

I was super excited that our 35th anniversary trip would take us to three Irish ports of call. Oh, my mercy, three! Both Ireland and Scotland have been on my bucket list, like, forever. Good on the Hubs for selecting this itinerary. In both, the remote northern regions were my favorite days of the trip.

We docked in Belfast, Northern Ireland.* From our stateroom balcony we could clearly see Cave Hill, inspiration for Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. The rock face was all but beckoning for a hike that would surely have to wait. We wouldn’t get very far into the local history of The Troubles today, either. To top it off, the mother of all Titanic museums was in plain view, a majestic structure rising like a ship on shore. I would have loved time to explore all of this and more.

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snapshot: edinburgh

DSC_0247We thoroughly enjoyed Edinburgh (catch up on details) and could easily have extended our stay. Someday, when it’s a bit less congested, we’ll go back. The Royal Mile was hopping with street artists and merchants and tourists in town for the Royal Military Tattoo at the castle, Fringe Festival or the international Music Festival, any of which would be reason enough to visit. Continue reading snapshot: edinburgh

retread#35: liverpool

_IMG_8143We expected Liverpool to be the low point of our itinerary. No offense to the Beatles or Liverpool itself, in fact. But after Amsterdam, the Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh and looking ahead to Northern Ireland, Dublin, County Cork and Bruges, Liverpool was a bit of a lull. I just can’t help but wonder if the cruise company gets a kickback on this port of call.

The redeeming factor for Liverpool was meeting up with nephew, Mat, who traveled in by train from Wales. Dr. Mat researches tiny organisms and other things I don’t begin to understand but I don’t hold that against him. He is great company! ;=)
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retread#35: edinburgh

Our second day in Scotland with Danny was almost as enjoyable as our first. I say “almost” only because it was damp and rainy and we were no longer in the Highlands. We had another great day, regardless. Once again, Danny fetched us at the pier bright and early; this morning, kilt hose pulled high against the damp. For all its charm the Scot’s attire is altogether functional. ;=)
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retread#35: northern scotland

IMG_7962Our 35th anniversary itinerary last summer included two ports of call in Scotland. Kudos to the Hubs for thinking that through. Scotland has been high on my bucket list for a long time — most especially the Highlands — so I was super excited about Inverness. No offense to lovely and historic Edinburgh or incredible Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo  or any of the amazing adventures this trip … but if I had to choose a single day to replicate, this would be it.

I’m quite sure our Scottish guide had some misgivings and if so, no doubt about me. I wouldn’t blame him! I contacted Danny in December, a full 8 months before we would travel. Over-eager, just? I prefer to think of myself as ultra-organized. ;=) Ours was a tenuous connection, to say the least. My cousin Sally’s husband Steve’s best mate Rod’s daughter Marcie’s pal, Danny, worked in tourism. Or something, it wasn’t quite clear. Rod, a native and resident Scot, assured by email that Danny was our guy. But, I wondered, would he go for it?

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