Sunday, August 16, 2009

Todd learning to pour his own Guinness at the Guinness Brewery.

One of the lovely things about Dublin was that it was an incredibly walkable city. One day, we took the longest walk, from our area which was just south of St Stephens Green to the Kilmainham area to hit both the Guinness Brewery and Kilmainham Goel. We were both pretty exhausted by the end of it, but we got to see some interesting buildings.

A colorful door in Georgian Dublin. There were so many lovely colors around, I was tempted to take a picture of all of them!

Live music in the courtyard of O'Donoghues Bar in Dublin

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Next stop: Dublin!
Here are photos of our first Guinness pints, these from O'Donoguhes pub, recommended by Bryan and Desiree, who used to live in Dublin.

Crossing the street in London was sometimes a challenge for me since I constantly had to remind myself in which direction traffic was coming from. It was the signs that told you in which way to look that were so helpful. Though, as my Londoner friend, Erica, noted: if you don't read English, well, you're screwed.

Todd at Hyde Park, London, the broad walk

Todd with the awesome rhino at the V&A Museum

View from the South Bank, London

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Another amazing room at the V&A

Another beautiful chandelier in the V&A.

The chandelier at the main entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum (or the V&A). I adored this museum. It honestly may be one of my favorites that I've ever been in. It was a collection of neat *stuff.* Entire giant rooms dedicated to ironwork, ceramics, sculpture, photography, fashion, etc. I want to go back since it was giant and we only really scratched the surface of all of the stuff.

We did one of those hop-on/hop-off double decker bus tours on the Friday after we arrived, which was actually a pretty efficient way to see the 'main sights' of the city. So we managed to drive by Buckingham Palace, Westminister Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben without actually having to stand and walk in front of them. We did stop off at the Tower of London, though, which was huge and full of intrigue. Our tour guide who led an enormous group of us around the place was well-practiced in his speech and was a little hammy, and delivered on grisly details on executions, thank you very much. And there were a lot. I particularly liked the fat, giant ravens that wandered around the grounds. The myth goes that if the ravens leave, then the Tower falls. I found out later that their wings are clipped.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The bars in London, which closed surprisingly early. I loved the hordes of people gathering outside each of the bars, drinking their pints.

Thames River


First dinner of fish and chips and a pint of Guinness
Summer Vacation Report
So Todd and I returned from a week in London and Dublin last Wednesday. It was a pretty terrific week, mainly because both cities were pretty interesting and/or spectacular. Both cities were also extremely, extremely pricey. We didn't really shop, so most of our money spent was on food in restaurants. During the entire week, we ate at what I think are two really good, delicious restaurants frequented by actual locals, but the rest of the time we were relegated to touristy places due to our locations.

Mainly what struck me was how much history and age everything had. Hundreds and hundreds of years. You forget what it's like, living in the States.

I'll try to recapture the vacation to the best of my abilities here, mainly for my own recollection since I seriously doubt anyone is reading this blog anymore.

We left Chicago in the afternoon of a Wednesday and arrived in London on the afternoon of a Thursday. Pretty much one day was erased in travel. I do have to say that Northwest/Delta was a pleasant ride mainly due to personalized video screens with lots and lots of variety or recent movies to watch for free at your own discretion ("The Wrestler," "Sunshine Cleaning," "I Love You Man" among others.
Once we arrived, we took the London tube to the hotel, which was a tiny (cozy) place with excellent location. We were pretty zombie-like at that point, but managed only a nap before surging forth on the city, and wandered around Picadilly Circus and the chichi Mayfair neighborhood. Stopped for dinner and ate our first and last fish and chips of the trip.