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Archive for the ‘European travels’ Category

Dublin is one of my favourite places to visit. Its quirky, and colourful albeit dirty and home to one of my least favourite aspects of street life; the Dublin oyster ๐Ÿคฎ

But I love the street art and the humour – the Irish are adept at poking fun at themselves, and that is a very attractive trait.

Dublinโ€™s ability to poke fun at itself

Amongst others, you’ve got; Molly Malone – The Tart with the Cart. The Hats with the Bags. The Stilleto in the Ghetto, the Queer with the Leer, the Ace with the Base.

Promoting the Tart with the Cart
The Hags with the bags
The Stilleto in the Ghetto
The Ace with the Base

I captured these scenes while in Ireland for my sister’s 50th birthday ๐ŸŽ‚ ๐Ÿฅณ ; a fun and unexpected trip.

Street art

Whether you look up, sideways or down, you’ll be bound to find something somewhere…

Just a random bird ๐Ÿฆ
A snail ๐ŸŒ
A bull ๐Ÿ‚
An elephant ๐Ÿ˜
A location to be avoided me thinks!!
Temple Bar – preparing for Christmas in October ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช
Famous figures- James Joyce
The King’s Inn – where James Joyce frequented
Accommodation and traditional Irish music are not a good combination for a peaceful night’s sleep ๐Ÿ˜ด
How to stand out in a crowd!!! Can’t imagine what shade of yellow this is described as
Pink and Blue will never do…
Yup. We got it! It’s….Korky’s
Down a side alley, The Icon Walk in Bedford Lane, is this gorgeous confection of coloured glass (or plastic)

You may think that Dublin is dull and grey, but you would be mistaken.

And amongst the garish, a more sedate type of street art.

We actually stayed in Temple Bar, which as it turned out wasn’t too noisy, but then I’d never seen it so underpopulated…it’s usually heaving, day and night. I guess Covid-19 is still keeping patrons at bay.

In the thick of it…Temple Bar looking rather empty

I’ll share another post in a few days, featuring some of Dublin/Ireland’s people and history ..

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I arrived home last night, after a 4.5 hour journey, from a week’s booking in Salisbury. As much as what I really enjoyed exploring the city, and learning more of the history and her green spaces, it was wonderful to be back home.

You cannot underestimate the sheer joy of coming ‘home’ to your own place. It may not be much, but it’s got my stuff in it, and I’m home.

My own duvet…magic

After I’d dropped my bags off, I grabbed my walking poles and immediately set off for a sunset walk to the harbour

Absolutely stunning
A Royal harbour
Can you see the moon?
The sun setting in front of me

and then along the lower promenade

The snow moon rising behind me

before climbing up to the clifftop and a walk to Pegwell Bay.

View of Pegwell Bay from the bottom of the cliffs
From halfway up the path to the top of the cliffs

It was quite dark already by the time I reached the hotel, so I stopped there for a few photos and then walked back along the clifftop.

View from Pegwell Bay hotel
A bit of fun with the moon and the hands and molecules sculpture
One lone boat still has its Christmas lights on

A magical walk with no pressure to get back within 2 hours, and 9.9 kms added to my 2021 Conqueror virtual challenge.

I’m going to start the Ring Road Iceland virtual challenge on Monday 1st March. I’m so looking forward to the postcards, should be amazing. My daughter and I had a fantastic 4 day trip to Iceland in 2014, so I’m really keen to see the information that comes with the postcards.

The Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sรณlfar); a sculpture by Jรณn Gunnar รrnason

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I was researching some carvings on the portico if a church I visited a couple of days ago and came across this article. Absolutely love this story. Clever man ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

An Art Historian Discovered a Cheeky Self-Portrait That a Stonemason Left as an Easter Egg Inside a Famous Spanish Cathedral 800 Years Ago

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-historian-discovered-secret-stonemason-self-portrait-800-year-old-cathedral-spain-1920189

If you’ve walked to the Cathedral in Santiago you’ll know why this is such a fascinating find….

If you haven’t walked to the Cathedral in Santiago…..why not!!! Start planning ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

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I’ve been invited to participate in theย 2020 Travel Challengeย by fellow travellers and Camino pilgrims http://wetanddustyroads.com Thank you ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

I’m honoured to be nominated and will do my very best to live up to the challenge!!

May

The Travel Challenge involves posting one favorite travel picture for each day. Thatโ€™s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations, without any explanation. If you take up this challenge, then you also need to nominate someone each day.

Today, on the 5th day of the challenge, Iย  nominate https://ericotrips.wordpress.com

You’re under no obligation to accept, but if you do…..

You can post any of your favorite pictures from 2020โ€ฆenjoy and happy travels!!

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I’ve been invited to participate in the 2020 Travel Challenge by fellow travellers and Camino pilgrims http://wetanddustyroads.com Thank you ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

I’m honoured to be nominated and will do my very best to live up to the challenge!!

March

The Travel Challenge involves posting one favorite travel picture for each day. Thatโ€™s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations, without any explanation. If you take up this challenge, then you also need to nominate someone each day.

Today, on the 3rd day of the challenge, I nominate http://theredphoneboxtravels.com

You’re under no obligation to accept, but if you do….

You can post any of your favorite pictures from 2020โ€ฆenjoy and happy travels!!

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I’ve been invited to participate in the 2020 Travel Challenge by fellow travellers and Camino pilgrims http://wetanddustyroads.com Thank you ๐Ÿ˜

I’m honoured to be nominated and will do my very best to live up to the challenge!!

April

The Travel Challenge involves posting one favorite travel picture for each day. Thatโ€™s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations, without any explanation. If you take up this challenge, then you also need to nominate someone each day.

Today, on the 4th day of the challenge, I  nominate http://wanderingexplorer.travel.blog

You’re under no obligation to accept, but if you do…..

You can post any of your favorite pictures from 2020โ€ฆenjoy and happy travels!!

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I was reading through some Instagram posts this morning and a post by one of my favourite ‘grammers’ caught my eye.

She commented about having encountered some ‘yompers’ on a trail she was recently walking, and how their speeding ahead made her feel a bit inadequate. I’d not heard the expression ‘yompers’ before, but I do remember seeing them whizzing by when I walked the Camino in 2017.

Their faces set, backs straight, poles thumping the ground, they stride steadfastly ahead, looking neither left nor right, they whizz ahead at speed…. I often wondered why!!

They miss the scenery, they miss the little treasures along the wayside, they never (from what I saw) engaged with the locals, or visited a church to sit down and absorb the tranquillity- mostly they entered a church to get their passport stamped, and out again…once more to yomp ahead. I really would love to know why…..??

Is it a matter of finishing the route as quickly as possible, do they have a limited time to walk, is it about clocking up miles the fastest, getting to the albergues first to secure a bed, or perhaps they just add each route completed to a check list? Done this, done that, no t-shirt.

I’m classified as a ‘slow stroller’ – although my family would disagree ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคช

Walking for me is about the freedom of being outdoors, about the scenery,  the little discoveries I make along the tide line or on top of cliffs, about visiting the important landmarks enroute, and often going completely ‘off-piste’ to visit some place I’d seen on Google while planning my trip. I don’t always reach my destination (unless I have a confirmed booking) but oh my, how much I enjoy just looking, enjoying and absorbing while walking.

The yompers can yomp, I prefer to absorb my environment and actually remember what I’ve experienced…. and of course to take as many photos as possible ๐Ÿ˜‰

Which is also why I mostly walk alone; going solo I can stop whenever, wherever I like, take photos every 5 seconds, have a snooze under a tree in a graveyard, or a shady stand of trees….sit in a pub and enjoy a beer, or cup of tea….I’m not holding anyone up, and I’m not annoying anyone because I keep stopping…

And having said that, I really must get myself a good mobile charger. The battery on my latest Samsung (2018) is crap and despite closing all background apps, the battery fizzles out after 6-8 hours. I stress about taking photos because the camera uses a lot of power, so invariably I spend money in pubs along the way while I boost my phone. Its tiresome.

I’ve tested one or two models, but they don’t do the job and I end up returning them to the store…. something small and powerful would be useful please Universe ๐ŸŒŒ๐ŸŒ โ˜บ

Meanwhile, I’ll keep strolling….and the yompers can yomp!!

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19 years ago today, 08/10/2001 I embarked on what was to be a life changing event, and the adventure of a lifetime.

A few months earlier a number of events converged and conspired to change the course of my life.

The company I was working for in South Africa went into liquidation in July, and although I worked for the liquidators for 3 months, I was officially unemployed from end September.

In August, my daughter reached the grand age of 21….in South Africa, this is a milestone birthday and she was now an adult for real, and I gave her the ‘key to the door’. This is a symbolic key, and really means that now she was entirely responsible for herself and her life….

My younger sister, who was at the time living and working in Ireland as an IT Specialist, with her husband, was about to reach a milestone birthday too….the grand age of 30 in October!! โ˜บโ˜บโ˜บ She asked if someone in the family could fly over to help her celebrate, and since I had no responsibilities, I said YES!! I’ll come…

And so it came to pass that on 8th October 2001, just one month after 9/11 I flew from South Africa to Ireland.

I almost didn’t get to fly over across the seas to Ireland as the airline I was due to travel with; SWISSAIR had their planes grounded due to financial difficulties. Fortunately South African Airways aka SAA was linked to SWISSAIR and they made accommodation for all the stranded passengers and I was lucky enough to leave at the exact time of my intended flight.

Leaving South Africa on an overseas flight for the first time in my life was both thrilling and terrifying….would I find my way around the airports – we flew overnight into Zurich where I had to change flights…terror LOL. But I managed alright and even found time to have a hot chocolate and pastry…and Swiss Chocolate ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

I sent a postcard to my daughter from the airport and I remember walking past the postbox 3 times before someone showed me exactly where it was, it was green – I was expecting a red postbox. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ I have learned so much since then.

From Zurich we flew over Europe and I cried nearly the whole way….as someone with a keen interest in history and particularly WW2, all I could think about was what had happened in those skies 60 odd years ago, and in the cities below. It was heartbreaking.

Finally we arrived at the City of London Airport where I had to take first a bus to a tube station and then the tube to Heathrow….my mind was expanding at a rate of knots ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช I can’t tell you how much I learned in those first few hours. I had to ask, absorb, remember and retain, and follow more information in a short period of time than I had ever in my preceding 46 years…

On my way to Heathrow on the Piccadilly Line, I remember exiting the underground near Hounslow and seeing all the houses and the chimneys….as a huge fan of Mary Poppins I was immediately smitten by the chimney pots and the tall houses and thought to myself “I could live here”. And now I am….to my everlasting surprise. I never in my life imagined ever living in another country other than South Africa.

I flew from Heathrow to Dublin and arrived in Ireland on my sister’s birthday ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Lots of hugs and kisses and high excitement ensued.

Loved Ireland. So much so that when the time came to return to South Africa in December, I didn’t go back. I stayed on for another 2 months till justbeforemy visa expired, then returned to London, spent a week there obtaining the relevant paperwork that would enable me to obtain my Ancestral Visa….I had already decided by then that I wanted to relocate to the UK/Ireland.

The 6 months I spent in Ireland were some of the happiest of my life and I wanted more. We had so many amazing adventures and travelled the length and breadth of the island visiting so many wonderful places.

I flew back to South Africa in March of 2002, and by 22nd April 2002 I was back in Ireland having sold my car (to my daughter) put my house on the market for sale and my possessions into storage. My daughter moved in with her then boyfriend once the house was sold and I settled into my new life in the UK….and I have never looked back. I have never had a day’s homesickness or yearning to return to SA.

In the 18 years since I’ve lived here, I’ve obtained my British citizenship, travelled extensively in the UK: been to just about all the English counties, Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and a number of UK islands, innumerable times to Ireland, America 4 times, Iceland, France: Paris, Versailles & Calais, Italy: Venice, Verona, Pisa, Florence, San Gimignano, Lucca and Sienna, been to Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels and Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain.

I’ve walked on fire, climbed halfway up Mount Snowdon, flown over London in a helicopter (a gift from my daughter for my 60th birthday), had a flight along the Kent coast in a Spitfire in 2018 (another birthday gift from my daughter ๐Ÿ˜) – the same year I got the wonderful news I was to become a Granny ๐Ÿ˜Š. I’ve taken part in the Tudor Pull, travelled on the Trinity Tide, travelled through Paris in a soft-top convertible (a gift from my daughter for my 50th birthday), enjoyed numerous steam train journeys, explored 85% of the streets, lanes and alleyways of the City of London, attended all the major London annual/traditional events and commemorations, travelled on the Eurostar to Paris and a ferry to Calais, I’ve become a long-distance walker with 4 named walks behind me: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, St Augustine’s Way, the Portuguese Camino and the Pilgrim’s Way, and yesterday I walked across the top of the White Cliffs of Dover – so now I’ve seen the cliffs from the sea, the air and walked across the top!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve visited 146 places named in the Domesday Book, and hundreds of churches, and participated in an archaeological dig in London, and obtained my British citizenship in 2016.

My current goal is to walk the full England Coast Path and the Welsh coastline (a long term project I started on 22nd September this year) – it’ll take about 6 years to complete.

Because I had been to so many places I set up Project 101 with the goal of visiting or seeing 101 different categories.

Best of all my beloved daughter joined me in the UK in 2003 and is now happily married and has a baby boy – so I am now a Granny….the ultimate.

Always believe

I’ve learned how to blog ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช, built a small business and an app, wrote a book and had some poems published. I learned how to create videos and use YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter…although I’m no longer on the two last platforms.

I’ve been on protest marches and attended the 2012 London Olympics, voted in elections, voiced my opinions about the government ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ and the weather….always a good topic of conversation, and tonight in celebration we had a right proper British meal; fish and chips ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

When I first arrived in 2001 I hardly said a word to anyone, especially strangers, now I talk to everyone and anyone….wherever I go and as a result I’ve met some wonderful people, many of whom are now close friends.

3 events in 2001 conspired to send me on an unimagined path and the adventures of a lifetime. Happy 19th anniversary of a new and very different life to me ๐Ÿฅ‚๐Ÿพ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽˆand of course a very happy birthday to my sister ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅ‚๐Ÿพ๐ŸŽ‚ you know which one you are ๐Ÿ˜‰

I wonder what adventures await in the coming years!! Oh, and next year I get my bus pass….hopefully ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

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My daughter sent me this quote last night. I absolutely love it…..

In future I shall ‘saunter’ on my pilgrimages to holy places.

I do wonder though what he would have to say about ‘slow strollers on the Camino’?.

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Whoo hoo, my Camino map arrived. It shows all the different Camino routes in Spain and from beyond the borders ; its stunning.

Looking at the map I’m made aware of the fact that despite having walked 240kms from Porto in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, my route really was just a very very short distance in comparison to many of the others.

Wise Pilgrim's Guide map

Wise Pilgrim’s Guide map

My daughter joked that I should walk them all ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Uhmm, yes, I’d need a 2nd life to do that!!!

Here’s the website if you’d like to buy a map or one of the guides. This is not an affiliate link

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