London was a blast! Our Swedish babes, Annika and Camilla, came to London as well, so we were a “full house” at Joe’s, where we stayed in Dulwich. A Top 10 of London can be found on theQuest blog, but here are my favorite highlights: South West Four! A crazy, muddy, insanely fun electronic music festival. Notting Hill Carnival: one of Europe’s biggest street festivals jam-packed with tons of people, DJ’s, lots of dancing, etc. Seeing Bruce as a very ecstatic guest on a British Sweet 16 episode. Mollie’s 22nd Birthday Dinner at Big Easy in Chelsea It’s always a blast to see friends in the countries that we go to. Our time in London definitely wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for them! We loved London, and hope to visit again very soon!
After our action-packed and exhausting Norwegian experience, we found ourselves very excited for some “down-time” at Bruce’s house in the English countryside. Since Mollie and Mallory have never seen this part of England, we persuaded Bruce to pick us up from London so we could spend two days at his really cute home in Tenbury Wells. After sleeping in for the first time in five days, we went into the cute little village for tea, and then spent the rest of the day hanging out with Bruce’s mom and helping her prepare a delicious dinner. Mollie found it hilarious that our “knickers” were hanging out on the line for everyone to see. Mallory helped pick tomatoes in the garden, and the boys played cricket and soccer in the yard. It was a great evening with lots of really good food—and the first time we had eaten vegetables in probably eight days! On Friday we went to the cute town of Ludlow where we went through Ludlow Castle and had a tour of the Mason’s factory before heading to Joe’s house in London. It was really nice to relax before our very un-relaxed, long, FUN weekend in London!
I would have to say that my time spent on the Antrim Coast is probably my most memorable moments from Ireland. County Antrim is one of the most picturesque places that I’ve ever been to. Rolling green hills dotted with sheep, turquoise waters, and colorful villages stamp the coast. Originally, we were meant to walk the Ulster Way, a 30-mile hike that we were meant to do in 2 days. Plans changed a bit, so we decided to drive the coast instead. Starting in Carnlough, we had lunch at the legendary Londonderry Arms, once owned by Churchill. Half of the fun is taking the scenic route and stopping along the way to just take in the view. We made stops in Cushendall and Cushendun (there is a goat that lives in Cushendun and he has been there, in the same spot, since the first trip I made to this village), and then headed to Ballycastle to find a B&B for the night (the owner of the B&B was so sweet, by the way, and made the best “Ulster Fry” AKA Traditional Irish Breakfast). The Central Winebar was the least bit Irish, but had one of the best meals we had our entire trip. Very modern, and not old and traditional how I like it. But the food was delicious, so all was good. Day 2 of our mini-trip started off with that amazing breakfast I mentioned, in the big sunroom of our B&B, looking out over the Glens of Antrim. Heading down to the dock in Ballycastle, we caught a 45 minute ferry over the rough waters to Rathlin Island. I haven’t spoken to one local who has been to Rathlin Island, and like many other marvels of Nothern Ireland, they are taking this treasure for granted. It’s hard to […]
I wouldn’t say I am big on museums. I enjoy museums, don’t get me wrong, but I’d much rather spend my time traveling out on the street; seeing, breathing, and feeling the culture and the environment around me. I guess most girls fell in love with Leo back in 2002, but I also fell in love with the story of the Titanic. I found it to be very, very interesting. Titanic Belfast is a museum like none other I have been to. It is very organized and interactive, and I was not bored a second after I set foot through Gallery 1. I could go on and on about all of the details, but even the highlights could end up being a list of 20. So I have come up with the Top 5 Reasons that Titanic Belfast should be visited—even if you despise tourist attractions. 1. Gallery 1 teaches a lot about the history of Belfast in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Even if you aren’t keen on history lessons, this was some of the most interesting stuff I have ever read. 2. The museum is very interactive, AKA it keeps your attention. Touch screens, videos, lots of changing images on the walls, etc. 3. There is a ride inside the museum! You hop on to your cart and it moves side-to-side, up and down, and around corners as it guides you through the “shipyard” to see how the Titanic was built. 4. One of the most incredible parts of this tour was hearing the voices of real survivors telling their story. In one of the galleries,survivor’s voices played over the speakers describing exactly what had happened when they heard the ship had hit an iceberg. 5. The tour concludes with an 8-minute video clip showing the […]
“Would you like a GPS or a map?” asked the guy at the car rental. “Nah,” replied my dad without even thinking. If you ever want the grand tour of Northern Ireland (I’m talking the traditional pubs, the most amazing country-sides, and hanging with the locals) then there is no better person to call up than Alistair Roden. Seriously. My dad can take you to any place you’d like to go in Northern Ireland, and that is what the first few days of our trip included. As we pulled out of the Dublin airport, we headed north to cross the border into Northern Ireland where my dad is from, and where my family still lives. So many Americans do not realize that Ireland and Northern Ireland are two separate countries. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and they fly the flag of Great Britain. So now everyone reading this blog has those facts straight. Every time we make this trip across the pond, we always make our way up to the Hamilton’s farm within the first 24-hours of being on Irish soil. My dad grew up with Andy, and his two sons—Joe and Bob, who are 14 and 9 respectively—have been good friends of my brother, Will, ever since Will’s first trip over. I can’t even begin to describe the Hamilton’s country house and their farm, which is filled with horses, chickens, pigs (and piglets right now), dogs, cows, donkeys, etc. Joe threw Will and I onto a buggy that he had a pony tied up to as soon as we arrived, and we went out onto the road (yes—the road for cars) for an evening ride. I don’t think you’d ever see a horse and buggy trotting down Newtown Pike. Joe and Bob are always out riding […]