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?
Continue reading retread#35: dublin
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.
Continue reading retread#35: northern ireland
We 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
We 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! ;=)
Continue reading retread#35: liverpool
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. ;=)
Continue reading retread#35: edinburgh
Our 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?
Continue reading retread#35: northern scotland
The first leg of our 35th anniversary adventures started in Amsterdam. Have you been?
Red light sunset, Amsterdam
Love Lock bridge, Amsterdam
I’d visited briefly nearly two decades ago, a lovely day trip with the E’s. Amsterdam is nothing if not memorable. I recalled with clarity Anne Frank’s house, bicycles en masse, canals lush with spring foliage, a harbor boat tour, strolling through the red light district, taking shelter from drenching downpour at the Pancake Bakery, where savory pancakes and hot chocolate with rum are culinary arts. It was a wonderful introduction to another world.
I’m sure I was less intimidated by the prospect of a few days in Amsterdam than I might have been without this preview. However. My friends knew the city quite well. And they always make it look easy. On this trip with the Hubs and our travel mates, the G’s, Amsterdam was a blank slate. Admitedly, I felt some (self-imposed) pressure as NoCoGroup tour coordinator!
Continue reading retread#35: amsterdam