Europe Snapshots: Day 27 pt.2

Our European vacation has come to an end.  In fact, it’s been over for about a month.  I have trouble saying that it was a trip of a lifetime because I want to know that I’ll be going back someday.  The people were so amazing, the food was delicious, and the person by my side….the best.  Every experience was a little sweeter being with the person I love.  Plus she got me through the night that I went sleep walking, fell off the bed, and hit my head, but we’ll save that story for another time.

Thanks for going on this journey with us.  Although we might not be eating new strange foods or venturing into ancient ruins, life is always changing.  New and beautiful experiences happen each day if you look hard enough.  And we promise to document those things as they come.

Up, up, up!

Up, up, up!

House on fjord

House on fjord

Famine Walls

Famine Walls

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Hobbiton-esque

Hobbiton-esque

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

an interesting cone-shaped mountain beside a fjord.

An interesting cone-shaped mountain beside a fjord.

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Near Kylemore Abbey

Near Kylemore Abbey

Views on the way home

Views on the way home

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

A bit of a metaphore

A bit of a metaphore

One last picture

One last picture

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Europe Snapshots: Day 27 pt.1

Hey folks!  As many of you know, BreeAnn and I are back in the states and settling in.  Sorry for the long silence of posts, but life has been a bit busy around here.

Day 27 was one of my favorite days on our whole European trip.  BreeAnn and I took a tour to the eastern side of Ireland.  It was so beautiful that I’ll have to split the day up into two posts.  Enjoy!

Galway Pub- Photography by BreeAnn

Galway Pub- Photography by BreeAnn

Cathedral Window, Galway - Photography by BreeAnn

Cathedral Window, Galway – Photography by BreeAnn

Lynch's Window, Galway - Photography by BreeAnn

Lynch’s Window, Galway – Photography by BreeAnn

Spanish Arch, Galway

Spanish Arch, Galway

Connemara Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

BreeAnn and I at a bridge where The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne was filmed.

BreeAnn and I at a bridge where The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne was filmed.

Alley

Alley

Decorations

Decorations

Connemara Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Sheep off the side of the road

Sheep off the side of the road

Connemara Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Connemara Ireland

Connemara, Ireland

Follow the leader

Follow the leader

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Europe Snapshots: Day 26

Dublin was a bit chilly, but it didn’t stop us from seeing Christ Church Cathedral.

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Door at Christ Church Cathedral

Door at Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Inside Christ Church Cathedral

Inside Christ Church Cathedral

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Europe Snapshots: Day 25

I really enjoyed Dublin.  BreeAnn and I really enjoyed being able to go to so many local restaurants and shops.  The people were always friendly and since everyone spoke English, it made it easy to connect with the locals.

The top of Dublin

A view of Dublin

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Europe Snapshots: Day 24

After an early morning flight out of Madrid, we landed in Dublin, Ireland.  Like all of the cities on this trip, I had never been to Dublin.  With its green landscape, friendly people, and dark pubs I was excited to spend some time in this historic city.

Fish and Chips at Beshoff

Fish and Chips at Beshoff

Trinity College

Trinity College

Trinity College Grounds

Trinity College Grounds

Temple Bar Area

Temple Bar Area

Flags in Templel Bar Area

Flags in Templel Bar Area

The historic Temple Bar

The historic Temple Bar

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onward to madrid

we woke, packed, and grabbed some messy falafels on our last morning in barcelona, before rushing to the train station to catch a renfe train out to madrid. we barely got on the train in time, but once we were settled, it was a pleasant ride with classic spanish countryside views. we were greeted in madrid by our lovely host mary, and we walked over to her family’s apartment, where we’d get to stay for the next few days. they live in a great location, very central to a lot of the sights and sounds of madrid. after getting settled we got to meet some of the kids, and we went for a nice walk in parque del retiro. the park was bustling full of tourists and locals alike, and i especially enjoyed seeing all the people rowing in the blue rental boats on the man-made pond. we also got to see some peacocks showing off their feathers.

for dinner, we ate at a delicious restaurant called ginger, after a nice walking tour of some of the city sites and plazas. we were also amazed by the streams of color lighting up the sky after a beautiful sunset. at ginger, we enjoyed a few tapas and main courses. we walked home past the neptune fountain, illuminated at night, feeling enchanted by madrid, and feeling so fortunate to be able to spend some time with such a kind and generous family.

our first full day in madrid, david and i were indecisive for much of the morning about where we wanted to go. only having 1 day in the city was certainly not enough, but we decided to see 2 main art museums: the museo reina sofia (the modern art museum that holds picasso’s guernica) and the museo del prado. we set off on our journey late morning, after eating a yummy breakfast and playing a few rounds of guess-who with some of our new housemates. the reina sofia was interesting, but a little overwhelming in its size and layout. some of the art befuddled us, but some of it was amazing, especially picasso’s tour-de-force.

for lunch, we were feeling seriously hungry, and decided on a kebab/gyro shop on a whim. usually, we try to eat food local to our surroundings, but we were getting a little desperate. and, its a good thing we did, because it started pouring just moments after we sat down. we enjoyed our food along with a side of garlicy hummus, while waiting for the rain to stop. then we rushed to walk over to the plaza mayor and the royal palace of madrid to snap some photos, before taking the metro back over to the museo del prado (from 6 to 8 guests can enter the museum for free) so we could stand in line and wait for the free admission.

we loved the prado. we could’ve spent many more hours there, and we were so impressed by the likes of velasquez, el greco, bosch, and goya. it was an incredible space with so much to marvel at. our two free hours flew by, and we had to leave much too soon. then we headed back to a wonderful paella dinner made by mary, and we enjoyed a relaxing evening chatting with the family.

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a day on the sea

(day 20) our last day in barcelona was wide open, and we planned to walk and explore the neighborhood and the coast. we picked up some cubes of jamon for snacking (which ended up weirding me out, but david really liked it). our first stop was to get inside the catedral, which is a beautiful, neo-gothic church built in the 13th to 15th centuries, covered with gargoyles on its rooftop. we got inside for awhile and were impressed by the chapels, and amused by the little field trip classes walking around. then we sat on the front steps and watched an interesting animal rights protest unfold, while listening to a great street-busker play some bob dylan and other classic tunes. we loved how characteristically european the whole scene was.

next, we walked over to the nearby santa canterina market, with its wavy, photogenic roof. we wandered through, and then decided to get lunch at a popular sandwich spot called conesa. we both got grilled, panini-style sandwiches along with some potatoes on the side. then we continued to explore our neighborhood, finally walking down la rambla (passing a statue of colombus… and a street performing reenacting the statue of colombus) to the beach front harbor. we took in all the sights, full of locals with puppies or children enjoying the breezy, seaside air. we explored the neighborhood called la barceloneta, marveling at all the clothing drying, dangling down from tiny porches. we sat on the beach for a little while, before continuing our walk back to the apartment.

at our place, we may or may not have dozed for a bit before taking a long evening stroll up to casa batilo (after stopping briefly in the apple store), so that we could see it lit up at night. it looked even weirder and more distorted in the surrounding darkness. then we took the train up to a modern tapas restaurant called samsara. this place was the culinary highlight of our trip. rachel had made reservations for us, so when we arrived there was a cozy, low-to-the-ground table waiting for us. the decor was asian-influenced, and the small, local place had a hip vibe. the chef came out to greet us, and we decided to do a 7-tapas set that the chef would decide. brad and rachel met up with us, and we had a perfect end to our time in barcelona, complete with the most adventurous food i have ever eaten.

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