Kissing Castles

Kissing Castles

DSC_0336Our jaunts on Ireland’s southern coast have revealed to me the secret of obnoxiously touristy attractions: People flock there for a reason.

We were happy to visit before the flock had migrated there for the summer, however. On a gray, drizzly, nippy Saturday, we shared Blarney Castle with just half a dozen of our new best friends: the brave and the few. Read the rest of this entry

Living to Eat

Living to Eat

Whoever disparaged Irish food can’t have spent very much time here.

Dublin/Skerries Highlights

Dublin/Skerries Highlights

DSC_0769After dividing our time between the capital city, Dublin, and the lovely coastal town of Skerries, we bid farewell to Ireland’s east coast today and headed south to Cork (home of the Blarney Stone). The Lord has blessed us with excellent weather these last few days. When we left the White Cottages in the morning, we met a mother on every block pushing her baby carriage; when we returned in the evening, we passed joggers and walkers on every corner. I wonder if the locals love fitness this much when it’s raining? Read the rest of this entry

Two Households in Fair Dublin

Two Households in Fair Dublin

DSC_0773Our second day in Ireland (Wednesday, 4/22), my parents and I parted ways: They caught the bus to the Guinness Storehouse, while I patronized the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The Irish playhouse promised me Shakespeare; how could I resist?

Romeo and Juliet has claimed my affection since my freshman year in high school, when I convinced my classmates to focus our group analysis project on Romeo’s Myers-Briggs personality type–but I had never seen a professional production until now. Read the rest of this entry

Arrived in Ireland

Arrived in Ireland

DSC_0265The morning of our second day in Ireland dawns; I open my eyes to white and light. It’s hard for a Bed&Breakfast to live up to a website that looks like this, but the White Cottages have not failed to impress so far! My parents and I are staying in Skerries, an idyllic coastal town separated by a 40 minute train ride from Dublin. When we arrived at the station with nothing more than an address and our aching feet, a tax driver offered us a ride to the cottages. Since he had come to the station to pick up his daughter, he refused to accept any fare. This vignette reflects how the Irish folk have treated us since our arrival. Read the rest of this entry

Photo Tour: Stonehaven

Photo Tour: Stonehaven

Surprised in Scotland

Surprised in Scotland

1-DSC_0018Yesterday I couldn’t have been happier to find myself in Scotland. Our train snaked along cliffs and coastline to deliver us to a pleasant apartment nestled near the Aberdeen’s heart. Early that morning, Daddy and I sallied forth to secure breakfast from a local bakery. The lady sold us meat pies and threw in directions to a cafe for free. Note that the Scots do in fact employ the word “wee” as part of their daily vocabulary.

The day’s drizzle didn’t faze me; rather, the granite peaks fading into the mist harmonized with my aesthetic. For lunch, my parents enjoyed the nostalgia of street-side bratwursts. “It tastes better because you’re outside walking in the cold.”

By late afternoon, my euphoria hit turbulence. Read the rest of this entry

Landed in London

Landed in London

1-DSC_0021The bus driver slid a glance at me. I had rooted myself in front of the exit door, ear tuned to the name of my street. After two hours of dragging my luggage through tunnels and up staircases with a page of directions glued to my nose, I refused to risk a misstep in the last leg of my journey.

 2-DSC_0024 (3)Thankfully, my host had warned me of every possible pitfall along the way. Armed with her directions and my experiences of the D.C. metro, I gained her doorstep without a single wrong turn or missed connection. She welcomed me with tea, of course, and showed me to a guestroom perched on the top floor of her townhouse.  The window leans over the bed to share a view of London’s gray ceiling.

 Her little boy found my name fascinating. Soon after making my acquaintance, he presented me with a “Hello Kitty” t-shirt.  “Look, two kitties!”

Back Again: Bizarre? Bazaar

Back Again: Bizarre? Bazaar

1-DSC_0409 Two years ago, a veteran from this trip advised those of us looking ahead to it, “Do something at the beginning and end of the trip together.” Whatever it was, he suggested that the revisiting the act would help us grasp the time and changes elapsed during the three week journey.

This year we lacked the cohesion to share anything informally, but gracious scheduling allowed it nonetheless. You may recall my reaction to the Grand Bazaar. Today we concluded our second visit to Istanbul with the Spice Bazaar. Read the rest of this entry

Day 19: Gallipoli

Day 19: Gallipoli

2-DSC_0302 The sky teared up the day we visited Gallipoli. So did I.

Cemeteries bloom from every hilltop along the shoreline where the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) dashed themselves against Turkish forces. “They died before they ever got out of the water,” our guide recounted. Once on land, they continued to die for eight months before the forces withdrew to Egypt.

One of the Allied Powers’ greatest defeats inaugurated the Turkish Republic’s greatest hero: Ataturk. Read the rest of this entry

Three Days

Three Days

08-DSC_0080Three days remain for the Turkey trip. I fought a losing battle to keep my eyes open on the bus today. As rich as this tour has been, I’ll be glad to sleep in the same bed for more than two nights –and even happier to see my family! We rendezvous in London before catching the train to Scotland.

Highlights from my second week: Read the rest of this entry

Antalya Revisited

Antalya Revisited

DSC_0125 “Hey! Hello!” We slung our hands back at forth, leaning over the ship’s railing. On the dock below, a trio of our friends waved back. I bet the tub’s owner didn’t regret relenting on the ticket price for us. I had threatened to walk away three times before he agreed.

All aboard, we gathered at the prow of the boat, rocking with the waves and admiring the city lights. Hotels and restaurants gleamed neon against the cliffs. After a day spent in Antalya’s Old Town, feasting on the sea’s fruit and exploring bygone bookstores, we had reunited with the harbor for a jaunt on one of many eager vessels. The wrangling Turk who had secured our passage sidled up to one of the girls. Read the rest of this entry

Photo Tour: Nemrut

Photo Tour: Nemrut

Day 12: Antalya

Day 12: Antalya

2-DSC_0098Our guide loosed us on Antalya for a day of unscheduled leisure. I trailed our professors into Old Town, where vendors assailed us from every street corner. One man captured our attention with free samples of his candied nuts.  Prof. B shrugged and allowed him to fill a bag for her. “How much?” she inquired.

“Tirty-fow.”

“…what?”

Read the rest of this entry