A Travellerspoint blog

Long Time Gone

Maybe Someday, Someday I'm Gonna Settle Down

Since I've last written you life has been busy! I've been to London for a couple days, the Glendalough Valley for a weekend, Dublin a couple of times, and in between all that I've been working as well:)

Only a day after I last left you I took off bright and early for London. Just the week before my college friend Sarah, had let me know that she, her husband, and son were going to be there. Seeing as I had two days in a row off and had never been to London I figured I might as well head over.

I flew into Stansted on February 5th and took a bus into town. After a little bit of disorientation (which was to happen often during those two days) I finally found my way and walked over to Sarah and Geoff's hotel. The reason for the trip was that Geoff was there for work so I arrived to meet up with Sarah and little Luke for the day. Unfortunately Luke had been spiking a temperature, so we were off to the hospital to get things checked out. Upon being seen by the doctor Sarah found out they might be there for another 2 or 3 hours and thus sent me off to do some solo sightseeing. I snagged the opportunity to go to the British Library to see their Treasures Room, which was AMAZING! If anyone else loves ephemera then this is the place to go - wow. Their collection includes various versions of the Magna Carta, Shakespeare's first folio, the Gutenberg Bible, music manuscripts from the 10th century on, maps dating back to the 15th century, a large variety of illuminated manuscripts, and a case of Pinter's work which includes a letter written to him by Arthur Miller. It was brilliant and something I will not soon forget. Sadly I was unable to take any pictures in the exhibit, but I did take a few inside and outside of the building, which was built in a geometric contemporary fashion.

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Cool Lighting Fixtures

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Huge Sculpture

After leaving here I decided to head off and find my hostel before meeting back up with Sarah and gang for dinner and possibly a show. In my own London tradition I got lost again. Not completely lost, but in the way I came to expect, I was close to where I needed to be but just couldn't find it. In this process I walked by the British Museum. While I had the intention of coming back the next day to see the Rosetta Stone (I heard it might be moving back to Egypt) I thought it'd be cool to take a picture of the lions outside in the evening.

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They are just like every other lion in front of every other museum, library, grand building, etc. in every other place in the world:) But they are nice and stoic.

I finally found the place and checked in and eventually got back the Sarah and Geoff's hotel - whew! While Sarah and I had planned to go see a show that evening, betwix everything else we didn't get around to getting tickets and then with getting lost and all I got back a little late, so we decided to just nix the idea and go out to dinner instead - since of course we did need to eat anyway. As we were getting ready to go I snapped a photo of Luke in his standard stroller position with one leg up. How funny and adorable:)

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Coincidentally this also happens to be my only picture of Geoff (or his arm anyways) as it slipped my mind that I wouldn't see him again.

We had a nice dinner and some pub possibly named The Cock and the Bull or maybe The Cock and the Lion and then returned to the hotel for a bit of continued chatting. Luke, back to his very happy and silly demeanor after being diagnosed with an ear infection and dosed with antibiotics, was playing with the bathroom door. (Not to say that he was ever cranky or such, just not as very happy and silly.) Apparently this was his favorite past time in the hotel and he was awful cute while doing. Though I think he's pretty much always looking cute.

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This day in particular he also happened to be wearing a Mr. Mischief T-shirt, which was fun as well!

After a bit we said adieu for the evening and I headed back to my hostel for a good night's rest:)

In the morning, Luke, Sarah, and I met up at Covent Garden and then walked over to the Courtauld Gallery - my big pick for the day. They have a small, but awesome collection of Impression, Post-Impressionism, and Sculpture, which includes some choice Cezanne, one of my favs.

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Their collection included this Cezanne among others. Sarah got a photo of another really great painting, sadly I've yet to upload it. There were also some great torchieres greeting you as you walked into one section of the gallery.

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They're so cheery:)

The gallery was perfect, especially as we were just finishing up when Luke was getting a wee bit antsy - not that I blame him, probably not the most exciting stuff for a 10 month old and who really wants to be cooped up in a stroller all morning:) After we finished up there we headed back to Covent Garden to do a bit more peeking about and such. We strolled by the Opera House and through the open market.

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We also happened to see a man performing opera to a boombox (yes, I grew up in the 80's). It was some silly song and he got people to do all kinds of strange things including getting a lady to change shoes with him, which can be viewed in the pic below.

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After this we took ourselves on a stroll through Trafalger Square

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and then down along the Thames past the London Eye.

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Luke peeking out curiously at Trafalger Square.

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Me in front of the London Eye.

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Sarah and Luke walking along the Thames.

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Sarah and Luke with his leaf - who knew a leaf could be SO exciting:)

Then of course there was Parliament and Big Ben and I got a fairly trippy picture of the second. Even more so in real life as the clouds were moving at an incredible speed.

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Then around to the side Sarah spotted this humorous gargoyle:
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Continuing our prelunch jaunt we passed Westminster Abbey. Wish I had time to go inside, it looked pretty spectacular.

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We then had a very yummy lunch at a place who's name I wish could remember, but can't. However if we were to go there together I could find it for you:) After lunch we headed to Buckingham Palace and took a walk through St. James Park where we had this spectacular view

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And then back to Buckingham Palace, of which all my pictures look kinda blah, so instead you get a picture of the circle in front of BP,

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And one last photo of Sarah and Luke before I left them

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They then took and stroll back to their hotel and I ran to my bus to the airport. All I have to say is that the trip back was kind of a mess one so many levels and I don't really care to rehash it. I did eventually make it back to Glencree in one piece and after such a great couple of days it was well worth it. I've still got more to fill you in on, but I'll give y'all and myself a little bit of time to recover from this craziness I call a blog entry:)

Posted by Wonkerer 07:39 Archived in England Comments (0)

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I honestly have to say that weather today may be the worst since I've been here. Gratefully it has cleared up a bit this afternoon, but it was definitely a day to stay in bed - cold, pouring down rain, gusty winds, power flickering, etc.) I've been decently productive so far though, considering I didn't get out of my bed until 11, and then just got food and boosted the heat, before returning to bed for another hour or so.

Tomorrow evening we've invited the new CEO over for dinner in our "home". Apparently he hasn't seen the building yet, and was waiting for our invitation. So I said we should invite him for dinner and offered to cook. I'm making lasange - yum! In preparation for this I've been trying to do a bit of cleaning, both of my room and of the main areas. And in preparation for my trip to London, I've been doing a lot of laundry. It will be good to have this all taken care of as well, because I think the next couple of weeks are going to be busy!

Yesterday, a bunch of us went to a Sri Lankaan Film Festival and Discussion in Dublin - I even got to drive - fun, fun. Unfortunately because of technical difficulties we were only able to see one film, but both it and the discussion were interesting. The conflict in Sri Lanka is interesting in its history and origins, and horrific in its human rights violation. As well, the way "other" governments have participated in it is quite disheartening.

I also wanted to let y'all know something that you may have already noticed - a small change in the layout of the blog. I've now set it up so you will view multiple entries at a time. Let me know what you think.

And now back to my laundry . . .

Posted by Wonkerer 08:08 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

I'll Learn To Get By On Little Victories

So this will be an entry void of photos, yet I feel it's about time to write:) Life on the mountain has been busy and seems to getting busier by the minute. Last Thursday Krystal and myself went into Dublin for the night to see a pantomime. We choose Beauty and the Beast as it's one the most popular and we had lots of good recommendations. It's a little hard to explain what a panto is but I will do my best. Basically you take a classic story, throw in new songs and lots of dancing, a little bit of vaudeville joke type stuff in between with much audience participation, especially from the children. You shout back stuff, you boo at the villan, you sing along and dance with the closing number. There were some original B&B songs as well as Mika's Grace Kelly, Summertime from High School Musical 2, and the Proclaimer's 500 Miles. All in all it was a complete blast, excluding the part where we ran to the theatre, and it was great to laugh so much!

Since then I've mostly been hanging out up on the mountain, taking walks when the weather is decent. This past week we had in a group of Swedish students who were joined by two of the volunteers from Corrymeela (basically a centre similar to ours in the North.) We had met them when we were up there in November and it was great to see them again (one of them was a Swedish student himself last year, thus their appearance with the group.) And I do have to say this was one of the best behaved school groups we've had here - so nice! We also have a group in right now from S.I.T. (School for International Training.) They are college students from back in the states and I've had a really nice time getting to know some of them. They head for their first home stays tomorrow and will back at the Centre at the end of the semester in May, so it should be fun to see them again.

I've also been planning a trip to London for next week. Completely crazy I know, but my friend Sarah just found out that she will be there with her husband and son. Since I had two days off together while they'll be there I figured what the heck and booked a ticket. It will be a short trip, but I am really excited! Then, shortly after I arrive back my friend Megan and her husband Joel will be coming through Dublin. Should keep me busy as well as keeping me from spending too much time on the mountain.

I also have to note that I have just finished watching/re-watching the first three seasons of House on DVD courtesy of Trish's sister. However, that's all she has:( If anyone would want to send me what there is of season four I would be forever grateful!

Posted by Wonkerer 10:56 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

We're Better Off For All That We Let In

As I think back on the three weeks since I've been back at Glencree it seems as though so much has happened. And realistically most of that has been in the last week or so! We're getting broadband here - yeah! - so I've been waiting to upload photos. However, while it was supposed to be installed two weeks ago, it has not yet happened, so I finally made the trek to Poppie's in Enniskerry to take care of the pictures. Somehow I feel like I can't write a blog if I don't have any pictures to put up. Maybe this is the fault of Matt A. or maybe I'm just a visual person, who knows:)

When I first got back here things were dead. Time was passing very slowly and between thinking about the fact that my awesome roomie Yukari was back in Japan and that I have no idea what to do with my life after I leave here, I was a bit bummed out. However, I decided to take advantage of the momentary lack of work and get out a bit more. On my first weekend back I headed down to Bray to do the Bray Head Walk leading from Bray to Greystones. I've always wanted to do it, but just never have gotten around to it. While a bit windy it was a decent day and so nice to be out amongst people and enjoying nature. This is a picture as I started the walk
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and this is a picture as I was reaching Greystones
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It was a gorgeous view, even if I did come across a tree that looked like something out of a scary Halloween type movie
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The next evening I was back in Bray with a bunch of the other vols/interns having a drink at the Harbour Inn Bar, which a funky little place that looks pretty normal from the front. They also had great music! Since there weren't many other people there we made ourselves at home and had a fun time dancing and pretending to sing on the stage. And while we weren't at Glencree I guess the ghosts followed us and appeared in this photo
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We've also had a couple of "snowfalls" up on the mountain, though none of them have lasted longer than overnight. A good dose of the rain (that has been almost nonstop lately) tends to take of that. And how can anyone be too sad when looking at this view - amazing!
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So the second weekend I was back in Ireland I decided to take advantage of again having two days off together and went to spend the weekend in Dublin. I got in about 5 and decided to check in to the hostel before meeting up with some TP folks for dinner. As I walked up to the building I was amused to realize that, completely coincidentally, this was the hostel we had stayed at when in Dublin in 2000. A little bit later I met up with Nikki and her boyfriend Arjan for dinner in Temple Bar. I had met Nikki for drinks once before and since they are now moving to the Netherlands thought it would be great to see her again before they left. After dinner
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we headed to a great bar called Bruxelles off of Grafton Street. Upstairs in a regular old Irish pub, but downstairs are two separate areas, one with a biker bar and the other a nice alternative bar. It was a lot of fun and a cool atmosphere - I'll definitely have to go back. I then headed back to the hostel to get in a semi-decent night's sleep.

Sunday came and I got up to be out of the room by 10. However none of the museums in Dublin open until noon, at the earliest, on Sunday so I spent some time just strolling around. First I headed through St. Stephen's Green where I saw a man trying to feed the ducks, but being much more successful at feeding the pigeons
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Then I wandered until I was closer to the National Gallery (my pick for the day since all the other museums didn't open until 2) and Merrion Square Park. I took another stroll and came upon this cool sculpture
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as well as a father trying to herd his four young children to the play area. The two or three year old was quite happy with her lazy pace, while the older two were excited to get to the jungle gym. Dad ended up with the baby in the front pack carrier and trying to carry the toddler as well:)

The atmosphere was fun as it reminded me of a diluted version of the Met with all the artists and their paintings along the outside of the park, which is located directly across from the museum. The museum was fun, though sadly the National Portrait Gallery was closed for the day. However there was a really interesting exhibit of Polish artwork.

Instead of getting the Dart (train of sorts) to Bray I just took the bus back to Enniskerry and was delighted to see that the Christmas lights were still up and lit on the buildings. And while it's hard to capture the charm and beauty I did try
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It was a great weekend and when I got back to Glencree it felt as if I had taken a trip rather than just going less than a hour away!

Posted by Wonkerer 11:12 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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