Sunday, June 16, 2013

Scotland and Ireland with the original Joe.

Joseph and I met up in Glasgow, Scotland after I and Ruthiey split up in Amsterdam. She went to Prague and I went back to Glasgow. Joseph joined me for a two week trip. 
 We headed to the Isle of Skye, to a town called Portree that we stayed in for 3 days. We went on a hike called the Old Man of Storr. This rather forlorn picture shows the view after logging has taken place before the reseeded trees grow in.
 The brave mountain climber! This guy is the best to hike with, he is so gung ho. I had trouble keeping up with him even after all my previous hiking experiences.

 I couldn't help but feel that I was in an alien land with scenery like this.
 We went on another hike the next day called the Quiraing, which was suppose to somehow be a loop or have an exit somewhere, but we ended up blazing a trail across the moors until we hit the highway again.
We are going to call our book: Epic Self-Made Adventures of the Mapless Hiker. :P
 Joseph. :)
 The little lake below looks almost black from so far up. Or maybe it is a peaty bog of oil and coal that is highly flammable. :P
 This was my favorite hike on my entire trip, so beautiful and excellent. :)
 As we left the Isle of Skye on the bus, this crazy beautiful place will always haunt my imagination in the best way.
 We went back to Edinburgh, in the SUNSHINE, what a crazy thing! it was gorgeous.
 I got this puzzle ring, which comes apart into 4 interlocking rings that then fit back together into this thing. :) coolest thing I've gotten anywhere.
 Joseph's photography skills. Serious skills and a seriously beautiful city to practice them on.
                                          We got Froyo. :)  
And went to the park in Edinburgh to watch cricket and people watch after our Froyo. :) 

Then we went back to Glasgow and then flew to Dublin for a week in Ireland. We only stayed in Dublin one night and then left early that next morning by bus for Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher. 
 Joseph made an excellent pasta dinner once we got to Doolin, Ireland.
 The next day we set off on the same hike that Ruthiey and I did back in March, the weather now was absolutely lovely and insanely warm and calm. What a change from last time! If you didn't catch the shots of the terrible weather before you can find them here.
 We got an IRISH sunburn, go figure.
 My handsome and lovely brother, looking out from Hags Head, the middle point of our there and back hike.
 On the way back we trekked down to the surfing beach and went wading in the ocean. About 8 people followed our example and soon our deserted beach was no longer deserted.
 We decided to go sea kayaking, so got up early on our last day in Doolin to hit the water.
 Wet suits rock, even if you don't particularly need to be wearing them. :P
 Our guide, Patrick, who told us his life story about his Canadian wife and their cross cultural relationship issues and his crazy trips to Australia and Morocco for surfing adventures. Wow, what a life!
In Doolin, outside our hostel, having a relaxing tea time before our bus was due to arrive. We flew out the next day for Minneapolis. What an excellent way to end my adventures, I had a very relaxing couple weeks with Joseph. Thanks for coming big brother! 

Monday, June 10, 2013


After we said goodbye to Hannah in Amsterdam, Ruthiey and I took the train to Utrecht, Netherlands to visit our mom's cousin Marjanne and others of my mom's family here in the Netherlands. 
 We found this cool building as we walked to find our hostel.
 We spend the next two days with Marjanne. On the first day we went on a 60 km bike ride.
 Marjanne knew all the best routes and despite 2 flat tires and some sprinklings of rain the bike ride was a smashing success.
 The canals, the flowers and the fresh green of spring made this feel like the perfect weather for a bike ride.
 We stopped at a cafe at the halfway point and had traditional Dutch apple pie with whipped cream.
The next day we visited the farmstead where my Oma was born and raised. We had a good visit with my Oma's sister-in-law who still lives here. It was good to connect with our heritage by seeing these sites and meeting our some of our relatives for the first time. Thanks Marjanne for an excellent weekend!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


So we finally had a decent mid-morning flight instead of these super early morning flights. 
 Our last cappuccinos in Italy. The flight was about 1 1/2 hours long, and then we were in Amsterdam in the afternoon, and really hungry from having skipped lunch.
 So after we dropped our bags off we went to a Thai restaurant in Amsterdam. We got the mixed appitizers. Yum!
 I got the 'warm chicken salad', not what it sounds like it would be, it was really good. :)
 Apparently we were all really hungry. Lots of clean plates here! :)
 Ahhhh! So beautiful! This city feels familiar because I've seen so many pictures and heard so much about my Dutch heritage from my mom, Aunties and other relatives.
 So many bikes... We have to learn a new way of crossing the streets, considering the many bikes lanes.
 Tulip market!
 More bikes. Many of them are basically cars, with child seats, large grocery carriers, and extra seats for friends.
 Evening walks by the tram lines.
 And the evening light off the water.
From the public library the view of Amsterdam is amazing!
 We had to do a cheese tasting, so we got 4 cheeses, crackers, grapes, and cranberry juice to drink with them.
 We had photo sessions in the park.

And waffles for dinner. :P Mine had Smufen Ice Cream (Blue, Bubble-gum flavored) and whipped cream on it.