Vienna & St. Patrick’s Day

C0299072-2A7E-43AD-8C19-91F87F19D97DThis past weekend my daughter and I met in Vienna. St. Patrick’s Day was on Saturday and look what we found on our walk – AN IRISH PUB! My daughter had just flown in from Dublin. She said it was touch and go getting to the Dublin airport with all the street closures preparing for the St. Patrick’s parade, but she made it!

Vienna was beautiful, a bit cold though. It snowed on Saturday, but we still were out and about. Here is a view from our hotel room.

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We were in a great location, right next to the market place (green buildings in photo). I need to read about the history of Vienna, because there is a strong Asian influence there. Many Asian restaurants and grocery stories. We bought two Asian pots, mine was blue. I think they were meant for sugar, we weren’t sure.

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We were only there three days, so it wasn’t enough time to go to museums. We decided to take the Big Bus Tour, which was an excellent idea. We drove around Vienna listening to the tour guide and had a chance to see ALL of the main attractions. I would have liked to go to a Strauss concert, but that will have to be for the next visit.

We had wonderful Viennese meals, my daughter took pictures. I told her it was going to look like all we did was eat! The food was delicious.

I was in love with the architecture. Take a look at this beautiful street.

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We have to go again when the weather is warmer. Getting to Vienna from the airport was super easy. They have the CAT train, which took 16 minutes to the downtown area. I didn’t realize you could take a day trip to Budapest.

Vienna – We will be back!

Artist, Bordalo II, honors the endangered “Red Squirrel” in Dublin, Ireland

IMG_1633When I sold advertising, I was always canvassing the San Francisco Bay Area for “prospects” to call on. If I was not scanning through magazines for new advertisers, I was in my car sitting in traffic writing down “potential advertiser names” from trucks that would go by (flooring, landscaping, security systems, Google delivery, and more). You’d be amazed at how many potential advertisers you can find just sitting at a traffic light. Finally, I NEVER forgot to look at “billboards.”

Once something is taught, it stays with us. Even now, years later, I STILL find myself looking at advertising. I enjoy a great ad.

You can imagine my wonderment, here in Dublin, when I looked up to see a billboard of a HUGE Squirrel! Clearly, this was made out of trash from the junk yard. What kind of advertisement was this?

Here is a close up of the squirrel, so you can appreciate the details. Look at the squirrel’s fingers, his whiskers, his legs and tail that match in fuzziness, and the detail in his eye. BUT what is he carrying or trying to eat? I can’t figure that out.

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My next thought was… WHO created this? Google to the rescue.

Artur Bordalo (aka, Bordalo II) is an environmental art sculpturist/street artist from Lisbon. He uses paint and trash (chicken wire, tires, appliances, car parts, toys, plastics and more) to create his 3-D masterpieces. Through his art, he wants to bring awareness to waste, how it’s causing pollution and harm to our planet and the animals he creates.

For sure, we are noticing Bordalo’s street art, it is on such a grand scale. I “hope” that we go beyond just “smiling” though and actually do something to help the environment.

IS ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH HIS WORK?

FOUNDATION? – I could not find anything indicating that he has a Foundation where we could support his global environmental mission. His art is still new, maybe a Foundation will come in the future. If you know of anything, please share with us.

View more of Bordalo’s work on Facebook. His sculptures are around the world, i.e. a rat in Paris, a snow leopard in Russian, a turtle in Canada, a frog in Italy… it’s endless. Each one spectacular!

A little bit of Paris in Dublin!

IMG_1653Today it was late afternoon and I was looking for a place to take a break, rest my feet and get some tea. I looked across the street and felt like I was in Paris when I saw “Le Petit Parisien.” You know a place is good when you walk in and it is vey crowded.

They had different desserts to choose from, I chose a lemon meringue. Here is what arrived, lovely and delicious. I’ll have to ask my Seattle Blogger friend, “Travel-Gourmand,” how this bakery compares to her write up on Seattle Bakeries. If you are headed to Seattle, you’ll want to see her post, “Seattle Bakery Recommendations.”

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An Irish fellow Blogger (Hope I can find her name and thank her.) recommended I try a place called, “Queen of Tarts.” I tried to go there, but it was raining and people had taken shelter inside… good plan!

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There are a lot of wonderful cafes/bakeries to go to.

Makes me wonder, if there is ONE FOODIE BLOGGER out there who has focused on visiting/writing about different cafes around the world. I’d love to see a Blog focused on that.

Anyone have cafe recommendations for Vienna? It’s on my Bucket List.

By the way, I looked up “cafe” to see if it had to have an accent or not. Sounds like BOTH work. What does the Chicago Manual of Style say?

Now, how do I find that specific cafe Blogger? Does this Blogger exist?

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!

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.

 

 

Halloween Birthdays!

Happy Birthday MauraI‘m dedicating this post to my College roommate whose birthday is on Halloween!  Yes, I am doing this to make up for the years I forgot to wish her a Happy Birthday.

How could I forget a Halloween birthday…? It happens!

But not this year! I’ve got a black cat for you.

So, Maura, if you’re reading this post, I hope you are smiling. 

Thanks to YouTube for the Happy in Dublin video!

Have a FANTASTIC birthday this Saturday!!  Celebrate Irish style in a Pub and start dancing the jig!

Becoming Irish!

Fighting IrishI started learning about the Irish when I met my roommate Freshman year at Saint Mary’s College. She came from a big Irish family in upstate NY. She had freckles, strawberry blond hair, great sense of humor, real prankster and enjoyed drinking beer. We were in luck that her brother was a senior at the University of Notre Dame that year. I had just graduated from Miss Porter’s School and suddenly my world went from Daisy Chains to the Fighting Irish and a Leprechaun mascot!

Now, my daughter is going to the University of Limerick and we are getting to know the Irish even better. Last year on an interview with a book publisher, I found an Irish cookbook. The other day I was driving home, no rain, but there was a rainbow on the skyline – no leprechaun though, trust me, I looked.

The Irish have had their influence on my daughter. She now eats biscuits, not scones. She drinks tea, not coffee. She said sugar goes in before the milk and no Irish house is without a tea kettle. She said she’s learned that to “shift” means to “make out.” The term “crack” means to be happy and a black person is not an African American (grin).

She’s learned patience and time management (see sheep photo), enjoy the beautiful countryside, there is no rush! Embrace driving on the “other side” of the road. Oh, and Dublin is now becoming a magnet to American companies as their European headquarters.

Irish Sheep

Irish Sheep

Do you see where I am going here? We have the potential of becoming Irish. After four years of College, my daughter might have an Irish accent and decide to stay there.

Irish beer clinkingAfter watching the film The Quiet Man with John Wayne, I thought the Irish have the temperament of the Italians (my background). Fiery one minute and toasting the next. Irish / Italians – this could work!

So, here’s to becoming IRISH!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!