A Travellerspoint blog

Everybody's Just Getting By

That's how it goes in everday America

I had something brilliant I wanted to write about, but now I can't remember what that would be. Hmmmmm. . . . Anyhoo, I still really need to write about the vol trip up north, but that's going to have to wait for another day I think since I'm dead tired and am going to head to bed soon. Seriously though, in my "real" life getting up at 7:30 would not be a big deal, but here having to get up then or at (gasp) 7:00 seems horribly early. And since I've been on cleaning for a few days running (which means setting up breakfast) I need to get to bed at a decent hour tonight. Also, in my random jumble of thoughts, I was just on Facebook (I know it's ridiculous, but oh well, I've already succumbed) and when trying to update the "cities I've visited" I clicked on the U.S. and somehow ended up zoomed in on Africa? - interesting. If anyone can explain that, do tell. I'm going to get going now, but I should be back soon:)

P.S. I've been missing Walmart and Target - somehow that just seems wrong, but truly one-stop shopping has never sounded so good!

Posted by Wonkerer 11:38 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Where Do I Go From Here?

(do i tell you i still love you)

So, at this point I'm going to try to do a little more catch-up. Don't know if I'll be particularly successful, but I'm going to try anyway. Here goes . . .

The weekend after I returned from Italy I again made my way off the mountain, this time for the Tallaght Community Arts Centre's "Big Draw". Tallaght is the "subburb" of Dublin that is the closest to Glencree. The Big Draw was an event designed to involve the community in the arts and was comprised of about 6 different parts. Krystal, Kari, and I went from Glencree to help them out for the day in the beginnings of establishing a working relation between the two organizations.

Of the activities, the main one was a request from the community for credit card sized drawings which were then mounted on acetate and displayed in the windows. A really easy, yet impactful idea.

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This picture includes my drawing - any guesses?

Another activity was body mapping, which was basically a body outline or two filled in as you like, usually in a somewhat abstract way such as this

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Some of the other activities where more "artsy" including a collection of panels that were displayed a the mall throughout the week. Each day a local landmark was painted with transluscent paint and after people would sign it. The next day the panels were reassembled in a different order and then painted and signed again. This continued for six days, which left a really great layered piece that spoke a lot of the city.

One of my favorite activities was perhaps also the simplest at heart. It was a "magic carpet" mosaic made up purely of stencils and pastels. Here's a photo of Krystal and Kari working on it.

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It was a truely great day, filled with lots of enjoyable people, time off the mountain, and time being artistic - what more can a girl ask for?

To keep things in order, just after this is when the ceili and the trip to Johnie Fox's happened, but as I've already blogged about that no need for more random blabbing on about it.

The end of October and beginning of November were very busy for me. For a week, ending on the 4th of November we had a group of Sri Lankan Human Rights Workers here. They were a mix of lawyers, data collectors, and "activists" who were incredibly kind and wonderful, and whom are greatly missed. The funny thing being that they were gone to Dublin every day from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and yet I felt I got to know them much better than most of our guests. Of the group of eight only two were women. One of these two was a complete riot and always good for a laugh. She was a single mother of a teenaged son and quite the talker. Every day she dressed in beautiful saris with short sleeves. One day I mentioned that she must be cold as the weather was quite chilly and she told me no, she wasn't cold because she was so "mad inside" (aka angry) that it kept her warm:) The other woman was about my age and I got to know her very well during thier parting dinner on Friday night (even though they didn't leave until Sunday) when I sat next to her. We talked during most of the dinner and she told me at the end, that I was the only person she had a conversation with all week. Apparently she was worried about her English and thusly didn't want to talk. Strange as she is a remarkably fearless woman in her day to day life as she rides through town on her minibike taking documentation of human rights violations that have happened to people. Not at all a safe job. On Saturday at dinner, she takes me aside and hands me a beautiful bracelet as a thank you. It serves as a reminder to me that the little things in life can make a big difference.

At the very end of October I spent a day out and about with Ken and Megan J. (aka Canadian Megan) visiting some ancient sites around the area. We first headed off to Newgrange and Knowth which are both passage tombs dating way back to the Stone Age. They are pretty incredible and show how industrious, artistic and smart people were back in the day. Here's a photo of the outside of Knowth.

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Overall, these things are huge and line up astrologically so that at certain times of the year (Summer and/or Winter Solstice) the sun shine directly in and lights up the inner cavern. They also have a ton of interesting carvings on them including this one at Knowth.

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Next up is a photo of the entrance to Newgrange, which includes another carved kerbstone that is particularly special as it holds one of the two original trispirals. Very cool!

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If you'd like more accurate information on all of this please visit www.knowth.com as I'm sure I've thouroughly confused you at this point.

After these two sites our day was mostly gone, but we decided to try to fit in the Hill of Tara since we were already out that way. While I didn't know much about this site (and still don't, I really should do some reading up) it was completely intriguing and pretty cool. Apparently there's talk of destroying it to run a highway through there. Seems absolutely crazy (in a bad way) to me, but apparently it's not a designated historical site. While there we saw the main "attraction" the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny, which according to Megan is the most important stone in the world. Some might say she was a little too excited to see this rock, and a little too angry at the people who were nonchalantly leaning against, but so it goes. Here's a picture of it in all it's glory.

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On our way out I snapped a photo of the statue of St. Patrick located outside the church at the edge of the Hill of Tara, and since Ireland is pretty much all about St. Pat I thought I'd include that pic here too.

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That's all you get for today. More to come on the Big Trip up North!

Posted by Wonkerer 10:44 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Somebody's Watching

Congratultions Randy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My friend Randy, who is also one of the most amazing people I've ever met, was just ordained as an Episcopal Priest this weekend. Randy was just starting this process when I met him over 8 years ago. It's been a long process with many road blocks thrown in the way, but he's finally managed to make it to the "other side" and most definitely has Someone watching out for him. I just wanted to take the chance to pubically recognize this fact and if anyone else would like to throw in their congrats as well, please feel free to do so.

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Posted by Wonkerer 01:03 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

A We're Climbing a Stairway to Heaven

Picking up where I stopped off I'll start you off with a photo of the Maggi clan in Pisa, just recently uploaded for your viewing pleasure:)

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Getting back on tracke, Tuesday we decided to head back to the Cinque Terre, only this time by train from Lucca. So we drove the short distance to Lucca and then bought our tickets to the Cinque Terre via the city of La Spezia where we had been the day before:) We when got there everyone split up and I headed off to the north most city, Monterosso, with my mom, Gram, and Uncle Tony. We "toured" the city, which was gorgeous

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and then made our way back south stopping in the next city, Vernazza, where we had lunch. Lunch included an anchovie dish that Gram ordered as they are a speciality of the area. I'm not the biggest fan of anchovies (ie I don't like them), but these were really good. At this point I decided to split from the three of them and hike the trail between Vernazza and Corniglia. This part of the trail was reputed to be steep, but not too bad. That would be a big fat lie:) It was all stairs; stairs up, more stairs up, even more stairs up, and then almost as many stairs down. And these were not nice even stairs, but big uneven rocks. I'm glad I did it, but kinda wish I had known what I was getting myself into before I started. The significant other of one of my aunts, who hiked the whole thing, told me this was the hardest section (sadly not what the tour books had said.) However, if you ever go there, do some of the hiking because the views are amazing! This view of Vernazza would be one of them

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as would this view from near Riomaggiore.

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In Corniglia I got some gelatto (yummy) and looked around the cute shops where I bought a hand stamped T-shirt. It was just the kind of souvenir I was looking for; slightly touristy, but one of a kind:) From here I took the train down to Manarole. Unfortunately I arrived here during the Italian version of a siesta, but I did get a photo of a cute guy! Overall the group was on a mission, as Brittany's friend wanted a photo of her Italian "boyfriend" as a souvenir. Sadly, this is a photo I wasn't able to upload:( From here I decided I had enough time to hike back to Riomaggiore, the first town of the five. This was, as the tour books described it, a fairly easy and well paved hike. It was a beautiful stroll and my only disappointment was coming upon this plant

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and not having anyone to take a photo of me with it because you really can't get the scope of it through this pic. The thing was gigantic! My guess is that it was 9' high and could easily star in Little Shop of Horrors.

Overall, I would have to say that Monterosso and Corniglia were my favorite towns. Not too tiny and not too touristy. Would love to be able to go back to the Cinque Terre again and spend some more time there.

Around 6 we all met back up in La Spezia and got our tickets back to Lucca. Due to some odd ticket agents we didn't all get the same tickets, however we didn't discover this until some of us were getting off the train to transfer and others decided to stay on to transfer elsewhere. At the transfer station my Aunt Vera, cousin Brittany, and I went in search of a toilet and found pay ones, which were completely wet inside. Suspicious. As was the fact that everything required buttons to operate/dispense, even the toliet paper. Come to discover that everything is sprayed down inbetween used to "sterilize" it. One also needs to be wary of the emergency button next to the toilet paper button - wouldn't want to get caught with the door opening in the middle of things, as may have happened to one of my cohorts:)

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Since the one driver was with each group this worked out okay and when we got to Lucca we decided to head back towards the villa in search of food. (We were suppose to eat in La Spezia, however due to some "confusion" this didn't happen.) Since it was 9 p.m. by this point there wasn't much open, so we just went with a place that was. We had a waiter, who might also have been the owner, that didn't really speak any English, but was game for most anything. The food was all wonderful, though I think we might have been happy with most anything at that point. Some people also ordered desert which tasted like a dried fruit pie. We came to later find out that it was spinach and another green soaked in cream and sugar and baked with pine nuts - craziness! After offering to wash dishes instead pay (a universal idea apparently:) we headed home for some well deserved rest.

Wednesday morning we slept in a wee bit and then about eight of us headed off to inner city Lucca for the day. Lucca is another old fortress town with a huge wall all around it. However, you can walk on this wall, which we did before we left. Otherwise we walked around some of the churches and enjoyed lunch and gelatto. This was my favorite gelatto of the trip - I got some great pistachio and some rice, which tasted like Easter Rice Pie (a Maggi family tradition) and was wonderful!

After this we went back to the villa to pick up my stuff before heading to the airport. I took this time to wander around the villa, as I'd yet to see it in daylight:) Made it safely to the airport and safely back home to Glencree. A bit of a whirlwind experience, but wonderful!

I'll now leave you with a bit of photo essay - enjoy!

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Stairway to heaven anyone?

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A little bit of repair is never a bad thing.

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Stone steps - on and on they go . . .

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Do you really need to see the town? We'll have to think about that:)

Posted by Wonkerer 11:37 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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