England, Ireland, France...
May 21, 2010
|England and South Wales, and then off to Ireland...
Our time in England was "brilliant", as the Brits would say! We stayed with Lisa in London, and had an absolute blast. After our amazing experience at Westminster Abbey, we spent several days just exploring London with Lil' Lise, and got to know some of the great culture and hidden treasures that city has. Some of those markets are incredible! And the pubs, the music, the fashion, the history...
We also went and visited our friends Catherine and Steve (and kids), who now live near Oxford. And another highlight was our trip to south Wales with Lisa...lots of laughs and beer and exploring!
Email sent from Dublin
May 19, 2010:
Shaun and Lisa and I spent the weekend exploring Bath (England) and then over into South Wales - Cardiff and the wee town Chestow - which had an incredible castle built along the cliffs of the river, and a delicious coffee shop with Tea Cakes and plenty of atmosphere...
We also had an amazing experience in Westminster Abby on International Nurses Day - I will write more about this soon, but just have to say that we got free front-row seats for the service, and were just a few meters from where the special guest speaker, ahem, Mr. Desmond Tutu spoke to us. It was a really magical moment, with the choir singing and the setting sun shining through the stained-glass windows right down onto our faces...as we are in that glorious cathedral. I'll never forget that.
Well, we are off to see Dublin and of course visit the Guiness Brewery. Shaun is pretty much giddy with excitement. Hee hee...
I hope you are well. We think of you often and send the biggest hugs ever.
Keep us posted on things in your neck o' the woods too.
Liz and Shaun
A heat wave struck Ireland, and we were given a taste of Ireland's best. The beach at Brandon Bay (Westcoast) was absolutely beautiful. The surf was high, and the water warm. We surfed into the evening that we arrived (I was on a paddle-board) and had one of the most memorable times of Ireland yet.
The following morning we awoke early and headed back to the beach. I ran barefoot the full length of the beach, while Shaun paddled in the gentle surf.
Cliffs of Moher
By mid-afternoon, we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher. We drove past the main parking area and tourist entrance, and parked on a small country road. We followed a foot path through cows fields and up onto the ridge. We walked several kilometers along the breath-taking Cliffs, with ocean and sea-gulls flying down far below. It really is a Wonder of Nature, and it was so incredible to walk the small foot-path and enjoy the private viewing, before joining the masses at the main castle area.
I now have 2 goose-eggs on my head; one from golfing, and the other from being pummeled while paddle-boarding. As awful as it sounds, we laugh a lot about this, and Shaun threatens to buy a helmet for me - to wear permanently!
For some reason, Shaun had it in his head that he wanted to golf 9-holes in Ireland. I didn't know he even liked golf, as he has not been in the five years I've known him...
Anyhoo, we were in Dublin and caught the local train out to a place called Howth. What a great place! We walked from the train station to the golf-course (about 20 minutes), and managed to get one of the most beautiful/ scenic courses in the world. There even was an old castle on the grounds...and of course ocean views all around.
The game was off to a bit of a rocky start. Shaun decided I needed a demonstration on how to drive the ball across the fairway (it was my first time ever golfing). We were at Hole One (visible from the Country Club and parking area). He demonstrated a beautiful swing, and when he followed through with the over-the-shoulder momentum, he heard a "konk". He turned around and to his horror found his wife (me) on the ground, holding my head.
I could feel the goose-egg start to grow (nope, it didn't hit hard enough to lose consciousness or bleed)...Shaun was laughing, and trying to appologize at the same time. I'm sure he felt bad too, but it was a funny scenario. I made him get some ice for my head at the restaurant. He comes back with a GARBAGE BAG full of ice!!!! Aiyaiyai...
So there I was, icing my noggin' and laughing so hard we actually were crying. I continued to ice my head during the first hour of the game, and the swelling came down substantially. We ended up having a really fun game, and finished the day by walking down to the wharf of the fishing village. We had lobster and seafood caught fresh that day, sitting on the doc in the bay.
We spent a crazy couple days in Paris. We didn't realize it was a National holiday the weekend we were there, and there were festivals and parades and craziness everywhere! Shaun had never been, and it was so great to see the sights and marvels of Paris (it was especially great to see where there Tour de France ends - Arc de Triumph -and a beautiful sunset over the city from the Eiffel Tower).
From there, we headed South-West, to the Basque coast, where we spent a week exploring. Did some surfing, riding bikes between the villages, and enjoying the food and the culture. I really enjoyed trying to speak French (though my grammar is terrible!), and am disappointed to be leaving a French-speaking region!
From here, it's back to London, then on to South Africa...