July 27, 2012

When we left off

I was almost done with my trip posts.  Then I got distracted by shiny objects on the internets and never finished.  Sorry about that.  


The last 2 days we spent in England were in Birmingham.  Of course one doesn't think of Birmingham as a vacation destination unless one listens to the British Tech Network podcasts.  Because July 6th was the British Tech Bash and it was so much fun. 

They did several shows that day while the rain poured down. There was eating, drinking, and merriment.  Well worth the extra time getting there.  Especially since roasted pig was available along with some lovely wine, beer, and mead (although I don't like mead - ha).  It was fantastic meeting everyone.  And even the rain stopped by the end of the day (after dumping about 2 inches of the wet stuff on the party). 

After that it was time to head home.  But suddenly the travel gods realized I was on the road and they hadn't done a single thing to make my life more fun lately.  

We got to the airport on Saturday morning to find that the airline (Aer Lingus) had canceled our flight from Birmingham to Dublin.  After much much much debating back and forth of best options, the young man (who was nice enough but had no clue about things like time and distance driving places) finally got us on a plane to Knock, Ireland. From there they drove us across to Dublin (unplanned tour of the country)...where we were just in time to miss our flight back to Boston.  

They gave us a room for the night at an airport hotel.  The hotel was quite dreadful, had to change rooms at 11pm because a band started playing in the common area under our room.  We did go back into Dublin, but there was something happening down there and it was wall to wall teens packing the town, so after we ate, we went back to the hotel.  

Next day we got to the airport early and after some high anxiety moments, they got us on a flight coming back to Boston and even seated us in Business Class.  After a few glasses of wine I felt this almost made up for the fiasco of the day before. heh. 

And so ends the rather busy vacation.  I do want to go back again and see more of London. Now that I know the trains and such - it will be easier to do. 

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. 

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July 17, 2012

Observations of England

Oh let's start with the bleeding obvious… it rains in England… a lot. Ha. Say no more.

Windsor has a castle. A big castle. It's very impressive and looks fantastic. We didn't go in because we had limited time and they charge £17 per person which would likely be about double that in American dollars… no, not quite worth it for a 2 hour tour for us. Maybe next time.

Managed to get a short vid of the Changing of the Guard at the palace the second day we were there. I missed the first day because it's the first time I've tried to use the video feature on the phone and I blew it. ha.

Changing Of The Guard - Windsor Palace England from Teresa Hummel on Vimeo.

They use bomb sniffing beagles to check out the crowds watching the guard march by.

Windsor is a pretty city and the 2 days we were there were plenty. Cute town, nice river walk, now we've been there, done that.

We wanted to stay in London, but with the Olympics coming up, Wimbledon, and Ascot the hotels were pretty outrageous this year. We'll go back some time and stay in the city.

The trains from Windsor to London were excellent. Very smooth and very nice.

Luckily the rain held off and we did manage to get to London for a day. Walked all over the touristy area and some not so touristy areas. No we didn't go in anywhere. Tourists were crowding in all the places and we didn't want to waste time standing in lines to get in places when we had a chance to walk all over and see more things. We like walking around cities and watching people and looking at buildings far better than going inside museums and other attractions.

The only disappointment really was not being able to get into the Churchill War Rooms. We'll go back and see it sometime during the off season.

Walking around Windsor and London I noticed no discernible difference in the crowds there and the crowds in any city in the US. People are just as nice/rude (mostly rude) and approximately the same number of overweight, average, underweight people from what I could see.

In a moment of hilarity while awaiting the changing of the guard, a local police woman told a bystander she needed to move her baby stroller out of the road.

Police woman: Excuse me! Excuse me! You need to pull the stroller back off the road please.
Me to my husband: OMG - did she just say "Excuse me?" Really? Could you imagine a Boston cop saying something like that? No, it would be "Hey Lady - get that stroller outta the road now!" And that would be on a day when he was being especially nice.

I want to go back to London. I love cities. Chicago, NY, Boston, San Francisco - all great cities. London is too. I want to spend more than 6 hours there and see more of it.

However, I do not want to spend time on the bank of the Thames where they have the London Eye. Holy "let's everyone smash together and try to be arty" Batman. UGH.

London will be a complete mess during the Olympics. They already have the lane closure signs up and ready to roll. Considering the regular traffic - this does not bode well for getting around the city during the games. If you have to be in London then - I'm really sorry.

That's it for the Londonish story. Next up the British Tech Network Bash.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 02:02 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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July 14, 2012

My Sense of Humor...

I posted this pic yesterday. It auto-posted to facebook.  In a moment of bemusement today I realized that the pic had not roused one comment or even a "like". 

I thought it was hilarious. 

This makes me wonder about my sense of humor.   

****
Posterous is having issues...

While posterous is down, you can find the pics over at my instagram feed. Luckily gramfeed creates an easy to look at page for each person.  Mine is here.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 10:36 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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July 12, 2012

Bells are Ringing

Nearly forgot!!! While I was in Ireland I visited my dear friend Joey who moved there a few months ago.  It was wonderful seeing her and her adorable kids.  (OMG they are so cute).  Anyhow, she took us to the local cathedral for a tour. We just happened to visit on the weekend when they were having a festival in town, there were so many people and so much going on. Fun!

While we were visiting St. Flannan's Cathedral  and having a tour, they took us up in the bell tower.  Here's a link to my pic of the bells up there. 

Then one of the young men played the bells for us.  He was so very impressive.  Joey got a vid of him doing the ringing.  He makes it look so easy! 



BTW - the link to Joey's blog has lots more pictures (along with the vid I'm posting).  She makes me feel so lazy... good heavens! 


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Observations of Ireland

It rains in Ireland - a lot.  Of course we happened to visit when Ireland and the UK have had the wettest summer for about 100 years. Timing - we got it.

We should have gotten an extra night on the hotel room so we had somewhere to go when we arrived in Dublin at 8 in the morning.  Dumping our luggage and wandering around the city until 2pm made for a really long day.  

There is no one out and about in Dublin until about noon.  This is because everyone is out at the bars until closing time (3am) and then getting a bite to eat from "The Chippers" until about 4:30am.  

As a corollary to this, make sure you get a room at the back of the hotel when staying in Dublin. Unless you are out there with the rest of the bar patrons at 3am, it's a bit difficult to sleep if your room faces the street.

Irish/English style bacon gives me a migraine.  Now I know.

Restaurant/pub service is very very slow.  Not impolite, just slow.  Do not go to a restaurant to eat if you are pressed for time.  Just sayin'… SLOW.

The Irish call themselves "Paddy" both when speaking and in newspapers. I had no idea.

My husband tells me most of the people in Ireland are just like my father (personality-wise). Upon consideration I do believe he is correct. My father's parents were born in Ireland and he inherited the full on Irish personality.

I love the tea over in Ireland and the UK.  I only had one serving of "bad" tea - by which I mean bitter.  That was at Shannon airport.  I was very annoyed that I paid for it.  But all the hotels and restaurants where I had tea to drink all were very good.  I only drank coffee one day (the migraine day) and that's it.  

The drivers are very good over in Ireland and the UK. I was especially impressed with the bus driver in Ireland.  That huge bus, those tiny roads and blind turns, it was an amazing thing to watch him drive.  He also did a 3 point turn in one town. He did it with that huge bus far better than I can do it with my tiny car. I was very impressed.

The train system is awesome in both Ireland and England.  The only thing that compares in this country is the AmTrak Acela between Boston and NYC (that's the one I was on - not sure about the rest of them).  Oh yeah, and Ireland has free wifi in trains and buses, the UK does not.

I will never travel again without a working phone.  Wifi alone does not cut it. Airlines will only contact you via text message if there is a problem.  Apparently email is not good enough.  When the iPhone 5 comes out later this year - the international version is mine.  Yes it is.

Oh, and if you don't like children, do not travel to Ireland. There are many children and they are everywhere. I don't mind, but I know some people do. So consider it fair warning.  

And last of all, much as I enjoyed visiting, I don't think I could live in Ireland.  I'm too much of an American.  It's a lovely country and the people are nice. There are good things about it, but I do like America when it comes down to it.

Next up - England.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 05:23 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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July 09, 2012

Vacation

I have been on vacation.  I want to post about it but I've been so dratted busy since we got back yesterday I haven't had the time or the energy.  We did 3 days in Ireland and 3 days in England... or something like that.

We were supposed to be back on Saturday but that turned into Sunday (details later).  However Friday July 6 was the British Tech Network Bash.  Great fun was had by all.  Much drinking of spirits and consuming of pig products.  Oh yeah... and the shows were all done live from the back yard under tents and while it poured down rain.  Fun times. 

Of course having looked at the vid from the The Big Show Bash, I can say that - damn I need to do something about these contact lenses... I blink way too much.  heh. Yes that was me hogging the mike for the Windows group... they needed some help because the Apple group were huge.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 10:01 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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