Back in Ireland… Keep your rosary handy when crossing the street.

FullSizeRender 2I’m back in Dublin and I am THANKFUL for these messages painted on the cross walks. I almost got hit by a car. I forgot they drive on the LEFT side (wrong side) of the road! Or like a funny Pub goer said, “Depending on how many beers someone has they might drive on any side of the road.”

As you can see, they must have had this issue in the past with foreigners crossing when they shouldn’t, because they CLEARLY write, “Look LEFT” or “Look RIGHT.” This is full proof. Thank goodness!

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My daughter has been living in Ireland for 4 years, so she’s an expert at walking fast and just crossing at a moments notice. I find it amusing when she reaches the other side of the street and looks back at me with the expression of, “Mama, WHAT are you doing over there?”

THEN, like a true Italian, I give her a frustrated look while I move my hands pointing to this huge commuter train that could have smooshed me and that I was “trying” to STAY ALIVE! We both chuckle at that!

On a lighter note, here is a map of the main part of Dublin. I think you can probably enlarge it. Then you will see that I was exploring the Trinity College area.

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IMG_4415I was looking into taking the “Hop On, Hop Off” tour bus. As I was doing this, I heard Italians speaking. There was a big group of them. Made me think of my Mom. They told me they were from Milan.

Which reminds me. When I was at the airport there was a Spanish speaking woman in front of me. It didn’t look like she had flown before, because she asked me “in Spanish,” if I could help her. I spoke to her in Italian (some words are similar) and moved my hands to show her that she needed to take her shoes off, throw water bottle away, put her purse in her main bag, etc. She was sweet and hugged me. It is a bit stressful, even if we are a seasoned traveler, because we are trying to get through the x-ray machine at the same time our carry on comes out.

It feels good to help someone! That good feeling stays with us for a couple of days!

The week is not over… SHARE YOUR STORY of helping someone!

 

Summer camp… fun or horrible??

Boy embarrassed camp siteI’ve been listening to parents say they are sending their kids to summer camp. Some kids are excited and others reminded me of myself (WHY do I have to go???).

Here’s a funny story from one camp I went to.

Upon arrival, we were greeted and toured the camp. That night after dinner we were told how FUN our experience would be. We sang some “rah, rah” songs to build team spirit and then the Camp Counselor explained that every day we needed to check the board to see what our camp duties were. Taking care of the “camp site” was part of team building.

Inevitably, we all got KP Duty (Kitchen Patrol). That meant we were responsible for serving campers their food, cleaning the tables, taking the dishes/glasses to be cleaned, stacking chairs on top of tables, sweeping, etc. Anything to do with preparing and cleaning the dining hall, so it was left in “pristine” condition for the next meal.

I think we KNOW that when counselors say camp is going to be FUN, that is a code word for “be prepared” for “anything and everything” to possibly happen – good or bad!

My first night there I was on KP Duty. Everything was going fine when loud thunder struck. I heard banging on the tables, loud singing and a camper looking embarrassed and running around one of the tables. This was horrible, WHAT was going on?!

An older camper explained. The camp leaders had a song they would sing if they caught you eating with your ELBOWS on the table. BAD NEWS if that happened. A camper would be “innocently” eating their hot dog when suddenly at the top of their lungs, the camp leaders would point to the camper who had their elbows on the table and start singing this song:

“Elbows, elbows on the table, this is not a horses stable, but a first class dining table!”

(ROUND the table you must go, you must go, you must go, round the table you must go, YOU WERE NAUGHTY!)

As the poor camper was running around the table and being humiliated, the ENTIRE group of campers would be clapping, singing and poking at the camper.

This was considered, “FUN.”

Did I put my elbows on the table… by accident, YES! Did I suffer humiliation, YES!  Did I enjoy going to the cafeteria, NO! But admittedly, it sure did cure all of us from putting our elbows on the table, because we were too busy trying to catch some else at it.

AND to this day, I still remember the words to that song!

Summer camp — NOT FOR ME!

Come on… I KNOW you’ve got a story to share… the COMMENT section is waiting for you!

Let’s all have a laugh!

 

Are there any sharks? Boating in Wilmington, NC.

IMG_1546I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan. Swimming in a Lake is carefree. You might run into some minnows, or step on a big brick – YES, there are bricks at the bottom of the Lake, but you would never run into a shark.

So, when I get to an ocean, my first instinct is to dive right in UNTIL a warning sound goes off in my brain that says, “WAIT, are there any sharks?”  That’s what happened on my trip to Wilmington, North Carlolina. I soon overcame any fears as my friend jumped in without hesitation and started bobbing up and down in the waves looking like a fish. I followed.

As I was diving into the water, I was reminded of a time I was diving into the Lake with my brother. We had found a red brick at the bottom of the Lake in the sand bar area. My brother had picked it up and brought it to the service, PROUD of what he had found. We decided to play a game. We would throw the brick in the water and BOTH of us would dive in the water after the brick. Whoever got to the brick FIRST would be the one to throw it in again.

Well, this game was working out well until my brother, being extremely fast, dove in just in time for the brick to come crashing on his head. Luckily, this was not a bolder, but still, he came up out of the water with blood on his forehead. We immediately went out of the water. My mother was horrified and off to the emergency room we went for him to get stitches. So ended our fun brick game.

IMG_4493We also did a lot of boating on Lake Michigan, but I was not prepared for the boating they do in Wilmington. Wow – we went out on Saturday and there were boats everywhere. It’s “the” thing to do on the weekend. I felt like we were on a busy water freeway. The boats were very orderly, just like on a normal road, staying in their lane. Of course, there are always the “hot rods” even on the water.

IMG_4495There were the party looking boats with a lot of young people. They were doing water skiing and water tubing. There was a little island with a palm tree. As the day went on and the water started rising it covered the little island. We drove by a red Tow Boat, and later in the day hurried to dock the boat as we could see a storm coming in.

IMG_1547There have been a lot of thunder storms this summer. That day we could see the dark clouds coming in over the Atlantic Ocean. The lightning looked like fireworks in the sky, similar to this photo. Every few minutes behind the clouds we would see a flash of pink and silver. The thunder was incredible, so loud too. When I lived in California we had rain storms, but no thunder or lightening.

If you haven’t been boating or swimming in a while, it’s great fun, GO DO IT!  Be careful of those BIG waves though, they can knock you out… seriously, they can.

 

Irish Hat Designer: Jennifer Wrynne

image2IMG_1452While exploring Dublin, I came across “Powerscourt Centre,” off of Grafton Street, which was a very charming looking house that had been converted into a shopping center.

You can see an inside view of the building. It appears this must have been a courtyard and they added a window covering above.

Walking up the stairs the first thing I saw was the tall ceiling, staircase, open eating restaurant below AND this beautiful display of hats by Irish Hat Designer, Jennifer Wrynne.

The British and the Irish take their hats seriously. In the U.S. I think we only wear special hats to the Kentucky Derby, maybe I am wrong, but it is not as common for us to wear hats.

As I continued along in this building they had another small cafe on the second floor where we ate. They had wonderful pastries and a view into the courtyard.

Of course, my phone was malfunctioning while I was trying to take more photos with a message, “storage full;” otherwise, I would have had a few more photos for you. I would highly recommend visiting this place. They also had antique shops, a yarn shop, jewelry, flowers, a shop with housewares and wedding dresses too.

Learn more about Powerscourt Centre online.

 

 

SARDINIA: Neptune’s Grotto

IMG_1331We’ve all read or seen a pirate movie, YES?  In the pirate stories they usually hide their loot in a hidden cave. When I heard there was a beautiful cave in Alghero called, “Neptune’s Grotto,” I was curious to see for myself “how it feels to be in a cave” and “what it really looks like.”

Local fisherman discovered the cave in the 18th century. They named the grotto after the Roman God, “Neptune.” There are two ways to get to the grotto. Option 1: Park at the top of the cliff and walk down 654 steps and THEN walk back up 654 steps. Choose Option 1, if you want a good work out. Option 2: (which I felt was the better option) Take a boat ride to the entry of the cave.

The top photo is where the boat let us off in front of the grotto. Getting off the boat was definitely an “adventure!” Imagine, the front of the boat comes in to the grotto, and has a plank that they extend out to the grotto’s entry way. The waves were very rough, so when we started to walk the plank, which was jerking back and forth, we definitely felt like there were pirates behind us and if we didn’t hold on to the plank’s railing and move fast, we would fall into the sea and be eaten by the sharks!  ALL of us tourists were a bit shaken by the disembarkment.

IMG_1328The second photo is what we saw once we got off the boat. This is the entry way into the grotto. To the left are stairs that you start to climb, which bring you inside the grotto. Very beautiful you can see.

My camera was not cooperating “inside” the cave, so I found this next photo thanks to www.pixabay.com. When you are inside it looks like this photo, but it is ALL WHITE, not orange. You need to use a flash to take photo and this is how it turns out.

IMG_1337The tourist books say, “This is a place you want to see once in your lifetime.” There are many wonders to see throughout this world. For me, I have always wanted to see “inside a cave,” so I am happy to have checked this off my “bucket list.”

It was wonderful being on the boat for 2 hours round trip. The sea had the most beautiful blue color. Smelling the salty sea air with the wind blowing in our faces was just fabulous.

On to the next adventure!

Italy: The 2017 Mille Miglia auto race takes off in Brescia

It’s that time of year again. The Mille Miglia auto race just took off yesterday. I was there and captured this quick clip as the cars were speeding off.  It’s wonderful to be in Brescia and see 460 vintage cars around town all getting ready to compete in the race, which goes from Brescia to Rome and back to Bresica about 1,000 miles.

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My friend said to enter the race a card must have been made before 1957.  The race is not about being the fastest, it has to do with car performance. At each stopping point the car is checked for various things. It’s critical to have a co-pilot to help with this. Also, the drivers are going through small towns, mountains, etc., so they have their mechanical team close behind, in case assistance is needed. Cars do break down even before they start.

IMG_1254This is quite a race. Think about it… for each nightly stop they make, ALL the drivers/co-pilots, mechanics, race organizers, etc. must be fed and put up in different hotels for the three different nights. Also, there must be a big enough space for all of the cars, so that the mechanics can do their tweaking, testing, etc. of their cars at night, so car is ready to leave next morning.

Clearly, this is a passion these owners/drivers have for their cars. While most car drivers are Italian, there are many other countries entered to race (Holland, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and more).

The race finishes on Sunday!  If someone gets a channel and can post an update on the race, we would love to see progress reports.

Go Mille Miglia!

One thousand Buddhas in Montana! Where will your road trip take you?

IMG_1190America is full of amazing places to see. We don’t realize this until we decide to take a “road trip.”  I was planning a drive from Seattle to Chicago. My daughter told me about a website called, “www.RoadTrippers.com.”  I checked it out.

So glad I did, because I found this amazing place in Montana called, “The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.”  I decided that I was going to make that a stop on my drive. It was beautiful and spiritual. The site was built to be a pilgrimage for people of all faiths. The statue you see is of Tara. The story of “why/who/how” it was built is interesting and a bit long for me to explain. Visit www.ewambuddhagarden.org to read the story.  Here are some photos.

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At the site, they had different stones with sayings on them. This was a good one, which we should ALL think about.

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Stay tuned… I will share another site I visited soon.

HAPPY ROAD TRIPPING!