Monday, August 06, 2007


Sunset before a summer storm in Bucharest

I begin my walk by descending eight flights of stairs. There are great spiral stairs in my apartment building. I thought it would be fun to begin this Post with a photo of my stairs. I like the fact that they are wide. It is much faster to walk down the stirs than to wait for the elevator in the mornings. Below is a close up of the front door to my apartment building and next to it are photos of the apartment building and the house right next door.
To the left of my front door is a copy center, convient store and a pharmacy. To the right is a dress shop for preganate women and a great interior design shop. All of those buisness are on the street level of my apartment building.

Walking down the street towards the market you see This great apartment building. It is across the street. Directly across the street is this medical school. As you continue to walk down my street you see this beautiful home of the composureEnescu. It is on the other side of the street from my apartment building. There is music festival in Bucharest that began mid August and continues through September that is call the Enescu festival. I hope to go to some of the concerts. His home is now a museum with meeting rooms for composures and a small concert hall. Aren't I the lucky one to live on such a wonderful stree.
When I walk to the market I walk down this street. It is full of
Embassy's and great old homes. The photo below and to the left is the Nigeran Embassy. I am able to park in front of this Embassy when I can't find a space on my street. One day I accidentally dropped my car keys and did not miss them until I needed to leave for an appointment. I search the apartment and re-traced my steps serveral times before giving up and taking a taxi to my apointment. After spending a sleepless night I called my friend Pricalla and asked her for a ride to school. I didn't want to have to tell the school that, not only had I lost my car keys, but my classroom key as well. As I sat in my classroom dreading telling the administration about my lost keys I received a telephone call from the school receptionist. She asked me if I had lost my car keys. A kind gard from the NigeranEmbassy found my keys. He was able to tell that I worked at the American International school from my license plate and called the school. I am such a lucky person. Now all the Embassy guards know me and my car. I feel totally taken care of and safe on my block.

This is the house across the street from the Nigeran Embassy. It guard lets me part there if there if there is a space
Just before taking off for my summer vacation I went shopping. This hidden door is the front door of one of the three churches I pass as I walk to the market. It is the one closest to the market. You can hear beautiful singing if you happen to pass by at just the right moment.

Above is the open air market where I shop for fruit, vegetables and flowers. It is such a beautiful place just to walk through and take in all the colors and smells. Next to hte open market is this indoor one where I often find the vegtibles for less.

Acroos the street form the market is my bank and the health food store. They are on the street level of a hugh apartment building.

Just a block away is the drug store that I like to shop in. My first stop on this shopping trip was at my favoirate book store. It has a good size section of English books. It is in a old house and this is it's front door.
I was able to find two books for my trip. Next I stopped at Columbia Sportsware to look for a good jacket for the rain in Ireland. After living 28+ years in the city where Columbia Sports began and that is know for it's rain, it is beyond me to know why I waited until I am in Bucharest to finially buy myself a jacket for the rain at Columbia Sports. When I told the store clerk that I was was from Portland, she responded with a polite "Oh". I educated her on how Portland is realted to the company she is working for. I did find a great jacket for my trip to Ireland. It will serve me well here in Bucharest also.


Oh my! I hope I picked up a little of the Irsh blarny to help me discribe my trip to Ireland. Some that stand out are; MAGICAL, GREEN, FREINDLY, HISTORY, AND FUN.
My drive to the Shannon airport from Dublin took a little over an hour longer than planned. Driving on the left side of the road was not as difficult or scarry as I had feared. Finding my way out of Limerick was the chalagel of the trip. After one hour of driving in circles, recieving directions from four different friendly Irishmen, and a lot of Irsh luck I made it out of that confusing town and to the Shannon airport. I arrived in Shannon the night before Mother, Shirley. We were scheduled to join the CIE "Irish Welcome Tour" the next evening.

While waiting for Mother and Shirley to get to the hotel I went for a walk.I took the photos below on top a hill that overlooked the Bunratty Castle Hotel where I had stay the night before and where we would be staying that night.I zoomed in on the Hotel here. These trees captured my eye . My walk took me up a lane lined with Bed and Breakfast's and went up a hill into the country side which was full of beautiful flowers and trees.

This wall of fushiawas just up the lane from the Bed and Breakfast which entrance is in the photo to the right. This magical lane ended at the Red Door Resturant. It looked like a fun place to have dinner.

Our tour guide had made other arrangements for dinner so we will have to return to Bunratty, County Clare to taste the treats it has to offer.

Below on the left is the front of our luxary hotel, Bunratty Hotel where I was lucky enough to spend two nights.

To the right a view of the Bunratty Castel from the front lawn of the hotel.

This is view of the shopping area just down the drive from the hotel. We found Susie's table cloth and a few other treasures here. We also had our first lunch in Ireland there.
This river runs through the center of Bunratty. I took these pictures from this stone bridge that crosses the river.

Here we are at the the Tour's welcome gathering before leaving for the Kanppogue Banquet.

This is the door of the Knappogue Catsel. Once we walked through that door we entered the magical period of the 1500's and were invited by this most capable host to become lords and ladies for the evening and to enjoy our meal.

These Ladies not only entertained throughout the evening they waited on us.

This flag is one of many that hung in this old castle.The next morning we we began our Bus Tour of Ireland. As we passed through a small fishing village I took this picture.

At the Cliffs of Moher we went through a great indoor display about the Cliffs and did a bit of shopping in the gift shop. I picked up a lot of post cards. This is where I got the one with the birds on it that I sent you Taylor. Next we walked along the costal wall up to the tower at the right. Thissels like the one below lined the wall.
Standing at the wall in front of the tower you have a breath taking view. The photo on the left is what you see to the left and the one on the rught are the cliffs to the right of the tower. I could have spent hours just looking out at the Atlantic. This was my first view of that vast ocean.

My travel partners standing in the towers arch and at the wall on the cliffs of Moher.
We board our luxary bus and head to Killarney.

We arrived in the Village of Listowel late in the afternoon. Our next stop was Killarney were we would spend the next two nights. This is the living room of our Killarney B&B/

After getting settled into our Irish family bed and breakfast we drove to the Gap of Dunloe to Kate Kearney's Cottage. I was more than ready for dinner and an evening of entertainment.
This talentled young lady was one of two traditional Irsh dancers who entertained us at Kate Kearney's Cottage.

We were also treated with the musical talent of an traditional Irsh trio, who I am hoping will come play at my school in Bucharest. I have offered them rooms in my apartment. I will let you know if they do.

We left Killarney and headed to the Blarney Woollen Mills and the famous Blarney Stone. I walked up to the top of Blarney Castle to kissed the Blarney Stone. In order to kiss the stone you have to lay on your back and lean backwords over the edge of the castle wall. If you reach the stone with your lips you turley deserive the skill of Blarney.

I tooked the photo to the left looking down the center of this roofless castle. The photo below is of Mother and Shirley looking up from the walk below the castle. They made the wise chose to wonder the grounds rather than climb up to the top of the castle. After I decended the castle
steps we went to the woolen mills where I bought a great sweater and where Mother and I found scrafs for Gail and Laura, plus a cap for Jim and many other treats.

Our next stop was the town of Cobh where in 1912 the White Star Line tenders picked up Titanic passageners. The author of TITANIC TRAIL "A Heritage Journey Across the Mists of Time", Michael Martin gave us a walking tour of the area around the port.

Here Michael is talking to us in front of the White Star Line Office, where passagers purchased their tickets. Behind it is the dock where they boarded the ship. The photo below shows the remains of the dock.
Below is St. Colman's Cathedral which overlooks Cobh. It is build in the form of a Latin Cross, and is named after St. Colman (522-604) who is patron of the Diocese of Cloyne. It is architecture style is Neo French Gothic. This beautiful church took 47 years to build (1868 to 1916). The carillon has 49 bells.

The town of Cobh is full of charm along with it's history. I tried to capture some of it's charm in the photo to the left. They young man is a local who just looked interesting to me.

Next we headed to Waterford. On the way we took a break from the road at the Marine Bar just outside the coastal town of Dungarvan. At this great Irsh pub we were served our beers and/or irsh coffees by Christy O'Neill. After serving us Christy treated us to a few Irsh songs while he played his guitar. He use to play with the group the Chiftans, which some of you might remember as a famous Irsh group.

This if a cartoon I found on the wall at the Marine Bar.
To the right is the wall behind the bar which gives you a feel of it character and charm.
Our tour of the Waterford Crystal Factory was very imformative and a treat for our eyes as we viewed beautiful pieces of crystal.

The gentelman to the left is attaching a handle to the pitcher. The pictures below are of cutter at work and then holding the bow he had just cut with our Waterford tour guide.

I am afraid that my photography skills and little cannon were not able to do this amazing piece honoring the rescuers of 911 the justice it deserves. I hope you are able to get an idea of it's complex and delicate consturction. It was very moving to view it and apparent that the Waterford artist created it from their harts.

From Waterford we headed to Dublin where we were given a bus tour of the city. Our first stop on the tour was the Guinness Storehouse. I was surprised to discover that I loved the free pint of Guinness we were served at the top of the storehouse. Here is Mother waiting for her Guiness.

In this photo you see the view from the top that shows the Wellington Monument. It is the tall steble in the back ground left of center. It was built in memory of the Duke of Wellington, a Dubliner, who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
From the Guiness Store House our tour took use to Trinity to view the Book of Kells and more. The Trinity College campus is beauitful with amazing buildings dating past the 15th century with more recent scupters. The photos below are of the campus.
Mother and I took a bus tour of Dublin while Shirley took herslef on a walking tour. It was a tour you could get on and off when ever you wanted to. The buses were double decker buses. It was a bit tricky walking up their spiral stair cases. We got off to stop and have lunch before continuning the tour. On the second bus we decided not to climb the stairs. It was one of the days when the rain would pour down at times. Lucky for mother and I, we were eating lucnh in a pub during the worst of it. Shirley on the other hand got a bit wet. I took the picture of this fun stain glass window from the bus.

All three of us toured Dublin Castel together. The day we were there they had up a show of Children's art. The pieces were selected from the winners of a national contest. There were amazing paintings in the show. I really enjoyed these two.

Our time in Ireland was wonderful. I wish it could have last for

at least one more week. One the reason's it was such a great tripwas our great tour guide, Tony.
He not only drove very safely, but he kept us throughly entertained with his warm Irsh humor. I wish that, like one of our fellow travelers, I had written down some of his great jokes to leave with you.
I am going to close this post here with Tony, but before leaving I want to thank Shirley for making all of the arrangements for this wounderful trip. We were very lucky to be traveling with someone who had great travel experince. Thank you Shirley.
My next post will be filled with pictures and thoughts about the second half of my summer vacation. I spent it in Germany. What a lucky soul I am to have the opprotunity to work and travel such interensting places.