Sunday, June 07, 2009
First off, I'm still alive and well. Outdoorsy Girl still loves travel and everything outdoorsy, but bad economy = less money to travel. I did make it to Ireland at the beginning of the year, though and a couple of little weekend trips here and there. I posted a little about them on my Facebook (so if you aren't my friend on Facebook, add me!).
Beginning this weekend I am going on my longest road trip ever cross-country. It will be incredible and beautiful but not without its challenges. Why you ask? I can sum it up in just a couple of sentences: I am going with my parents on their retirement trip. I have not had a real vacation with them since I was like 19. On that note, please remember me in your prayers.
Thought I would post a few photos and words on my Ireland trip before I embark on the next journey.
So Best Friend and I decided to go to Ireland at the most inopportune time of the year--the dead of winter, when the sun doesn't rise until nearly 9 a.m. and sets around 4 p.m. There is no high-noon. The sun never rises completely overhead. We had much to see and do and we only had four days.
Some doubted we would be able to see everything we wanted in such a short time, but I am pleased to say that not only did we see everything on our list, but we did it all while driving on the wrong (left) side of the road!
Day 1- After sleeping nearly the entire time of on the plane, we landed in Dublin and grabbed our uber expensive renal car. Poor BF was the first to attempt driving on the left side of the road through the roundabouts in traffic. She did it like a pro. After many tiny roads and tiny Irish towns and three hours later, we pulled into the town of Blarney. We visited the famous castle, kissed the even more famous Blarney Stone, and walked the grounds of the castle over to the eerie Rock Close, where the legends of the Druids and the Blarney Witch dwell.
After dinner at a pub, we made it to our Bed and Breakfast, the home of lovely, welcoming Ms. Ida O'Donovan.
Day 2- I took the wheel of car as soon as we could (sort of) see the sun rising and drove is through the town of Killarney and into the beautiful Killarney National Park where we saw enormous, clear lakes, mountain ranges, waterfalls, and moss-laden forests. We continued our scenic journey along the famous Ring of Kerry Drive which took us over Ireland's highest mountains, McGillicuddy Reeks and around cliffs overhanging the ocean. (All along narrow, potholed, bumpy, winding roads I might add.)We retired that night at Darby O'Gill's Country House Hotel and had dinner in the pub.
Day 3- A long drive again today to the Boyne River area, just north of Dublin. Mallow Castle in the town of Mallow was our first stop. It's ruins were interesting as were the white deer on the back of the rounds. Still, it paled in comparison to our next stop--the Rock of Cashel--in the town on Cashel. The castle, cathedral, and chapel ruins were incredible! On the grounds stands an interesting cross called The Cross of St. Patrick, where the saint converted on of the pagan kings to Christianity. During the prayer, St. Patrick unknowingly speared the king in the foot with his staff. The king kept quiet during the ceremony as he thought that perhaps this was just part of the painful process of becoming a Christian! He later mentioned it to St. Patrick.
We made out way, losing ourselves constantly on the poorly marked roads, to the town of Trim. Trim is the home of the Trim or King John's Castle--the largest Norman castle remaining in Europe and the castle that was used in the movie Braveheart! We visited it just before sunset and after a wonderful dinner in our hotel, the Castle Arch Inn's pub, we went out into the freezing night to take photos with our tripods of the castle, which was lit up in green, blue, and yellow lights. It was a sight to see!
Day 4- Heading still north before swinging back down into Dublin, we visited a couple of sites that were important to Ireland's history. The Hill of Tara was our first stop. Where as Tara is not that impressive of a site at ground level (It's aerial views are much more interesting), this hill is very important in history. It was the site of the high seat of the pagan kings and dwelling place of the gods. That is, until St. Patrick made a visit here. I'm sure we would've enjoyed it more if the gates to the top were open and we could've seen the Stone of Destiny and the Passage Tomb, but people in Ireland apparently, do not get up early, so we enjoyed views from the bottom of the hill and made friends with a sheep. Next stop was the impressive ruins of Monasterboice, an ancient monastery with the round tower still standing as well as a couple of ancient Celtic High Crosses.
Then we returned out car to Dublin and took the (slow) public transit around town after checking into the Tallaght Cross Hotel. Dublin, in comparison to other European cities I have visited, was by far the least interesting. Still, we enjoyed some of the sites, especially the Guinness Storehouse! After touring the brewery, we enjoyed a pint in the Gravity Bar upstairs, which was like a very short, small version of the Space Needle's top. You could see all of Dublin from there. After having beer, beer, and beer, we went stumbled down to St. Patrick's Cathedral. The we walked to the Dublin Castle, through the wild Temple Bar area (where some were already starting to celebrate New Year's Eve), and along the Liffey River to O'Connell Street, which was totally decked out in holiday cheer. We had dinner, went into a store, and not knowing what else to do to kill a few hours in the freezing weather, went back to the hotel, watched London's version of Rockin' New Year's Eve and threw open our window at midnight to see downtown Dublin's fireworks and the fireworks completely surrounding our hotel, and yelling to the people below who were singing and celebrating and yelling "Happy New Year" for 45 minutes.
The next morning, we were on a plane sitting next to some annoying kids on our way to Chicago where we caught our flight back to Atlanta. What a great trip!
Hoping to be posting happy notes about the road trip soon!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Once upon a Sunday (last Sunday to be exact) I was hanging out in Atlanta with my friend Red.
All of a dither, a bloody young man with weapons ran down the street screaming out a warning that zombies had invaded Atlanta. We thought it was a joke until we saw a mob of zombies lumbering up the hill behind him!
And even agrier as they began to chase us down!
Everyone was turning zombie right before our eyes! Even the children were dangerous.. The situation became grim for us.
And then as the zombies took to the streets, we saw our opportunity to escape.
So we got into our car and hit the road...but we were spotted!
And then the zombies attacked our car! So we ran them over (picture not included due to its violent nature) and escaped to the interstate.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I also already mentioned Six Feet Under as a very cool restaurant across from the historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. It has very yummy food, particularly good seafood. But I guess clever name and views like this are what makes it on my Halloween Eateries list.
And anyone who has ever read this blog knows that The Vortex is an all-seasons favorite of mine. Still, any place that you can walk through a skull's mouth is a must-do Halloween experience. Plus they do add some Halloween decorations to the year-round skeletons inside.
This year, I even dragged my parents here. Yeah, they don't exactly fit in here, but they did have a blast!
Bone Garden Cantina. My friends and I went there last night to check it out and I have to declare that it makes my Halloween Eateries List! As soon as I saw the Mexican skeleton greeting me from the parking lot, I knew this would be a great place!
There were motorcycle ridin' skeletons...
There was a mural of the skeletons celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead.
And there were devil and angel skeletons who, apparently after throwing down a bottle of Tequila each, discovered that we can all just get along.
My friends didn't even need a bottle of Tequila to have fun together.
And here I am! Notice the skeleton of the Virgin Mary above my head. Is that baby Jesus skeleton standing at her feet?
Well, if Bone Garden Cantina is good enough for Jesus, then it is good enough to be added to my Halloween Eateries List.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Didn't you just love the chorus in the song?
Last year, Red and I went through a ton of horror movies while celebrating Halloween. We saw some really good and really bad ones. Our favorite discovery was Dead and Breakfast. It was a hilarious gore comedy spoofing a combination of horror movies! The best part was the narrator dude who sang the story of the six doomed friends who, weary from their drive to a friend's wedding, stopped in this one-horse town where the only place to rest for the night was a creepy bed and breakfast. He sang many (rednecky) tunes as the plot unfolded and became a fight against evil for their lives. The best song and scene of all is this one (complete with zombies doing the Thriller dance)!!!!
As if anyone couldn't tell, it's my favorite time of year again! Besides the typical reasons that people give for loving the Fall season--pretty leaves, cool, crisp air, college football (Go Dawgs!!), and Fall festivities, I would agree, but I have to say that October is the best reason. October is the month of Halloween!!!
Halloween rocks! It's the one time of year I can indulge in all the paranormal and creepy things I obsess about like ghosts, cemeteries, zombies, vampires, werewolves, horror movies, and just about anything else that is dark without people wondering what is wrong with me. It's easy to indulge without suspicions when all I have to do is flip on the TV and the History Channel is showing Haunted History, The Learning Channel has documentaries on the legends of Witches, Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and Mummy curses, and The Travel Channel is showing Haunted Travels all month long! Not to mention what the Sci-fi Channel does with horror movies!
Last October, I had some Halloween fun, but just not enough. I was preoccupied with certain things last year, but I plan to make up for it this year. Already, I've gone to a Halloween party at my brother's girlfriend's house last weekend. (It had to be the first weekend in October since it was the only weekend that UGA didn't have a game!) It was a great way to kick off the month. I went as a goth girl and I totally plan to use the whole goth girl costume again on Halloween proper--just gonna vamp it up a bit! (Pics. to be posted later)
This weekend's Halloween activity was a visit to Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta with Red. We topped if off, of course, with lunch at the wonderful restaurant across the street which happens to be appropriately named Six Feet Under! Mmmmmm! I love that place!
I think next weekend's Halloween fun will be going to see the latest zombie flick, Quarantine. No doubt, it can't be funny as Dead and Breakfast, but I think it will be good.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The town has been completely taken over by scarecrows! With 5,441 scarecrows hanging out, not only were curious people drawn in for their fall festival, but a record was set with Guiness--something a place like Hoschton is sure to be proud of forever.
Good for them, but I happen think it was a bit creepy. I mean, if you didn't know that thousands of stuffed people were hanging out along the streets, buildings, and yards of residents and you were driving through there at night, wouldn't that sort of catch you off gaurd? Maybe it's just me.
Or maybe it's the way they look like ghosts standing in the field with their old fashioned clothes blowing in the wind.
Or maybe because the "animated" scarecrows reminded me of the cheesy horror movies where the zombies take over.
Or maybe because these scarecrows, not only tried to take over the town, but they tried to start their own town--a wild west one at that!--complete with robbers. Hey, what's a town without a little crime?
Or maybe because Jesus even took on scarecrow form right in front of the church!
...and he loves all the little scarecrow children!
Or maybe it was because they tried to play football motionless!
Or maybe it was because they could take gigantic dumps!
Or maybe it is simply because there are so damn many of them!
Whatever the reason, they are creepy. So creepy in fact, that I couldn't help but think about the creepiest scarecrow of all times--the one from the Jeepers Creepers movies. That was one scary scarecrow! As I was thinking this and humming "Jeepers creepers, where'd ya get those peepers", guess what I came across? Yep, the Jeepers Creepers scarecrow himself!
I liked him much better than the Elvis, Wizard of Oz, Little Red Riding Hood, and definitely better than the scarecrows made to resemble the people of Hoschton. In fact, Jeepers was really cool.
Even if he was creepy.