We flew into Dublin and spent the last two days exploring the city. First, I had to drive from the airport to the hotel. I just had to make sure I was driving on the left side of the road. Once we got everything in our rooms, we headed for the center of town. It’s about a 30 minute walk to the center.
Naturally, we had a little bit of rain but nothing too bad. Dublin’s traffic is very slow and it can take a long time to get anywhere in the center of the city. You also spend a lot of time waiting to cross the street. I’m not sure how their traffic lights work, but you really don’t get anywhere fast.
We spent today visiting the Kilmainham Goal Museum and then went and the National Library to see the Book of Kells. We spent the rest of the time walking around the center and navigating through all of the people. I’m really glad we aren’t staying in the center since there are so many pubs. I’m sure I wouldn’t get any sleep if I stayed in that area.
Here are some pictures from Dublin. I like the colorful doors. One rumor is that everyone has a different color so they can find which house is theirs after coming home from a long night of drinking. The windows on a lot of buildings aslo start out big near the ground floor and get smaller as you go up. This was due to a window tax back in the 1600’s. The more light you had coming in, the more money you had to pay.
Off to Ireland I go with my parents. I’m sure the weather will be much cooler than home, but I did hear Ireland is experiencing a drought. I will probably be one of the few people who visits Ireland when it isn’t green.
We are spending a couple of days in Dublin before driving to the west coast. I’m sure it will take me a couple of days to get back on a normal sleep schedule. I’m always so jealous of everyone that can sleep on a plane.
I have done a quick outline of the cities we will visit in Ireland. I’m looking forward to visiting a new county that I have never been to.
We had a quick stopover in Iceland on the way home to breakup the flight home. With our one full day here, we drove to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The roads are always so easy to navigate here and the scenery is amazing. We stopped at a couple of old fishing towns and drove through a lava field to a bueatiful black sand beach. There was a ship wreck almost 70 years ago that has been left on the sand.
We were pretty lucky with the weather most of the day. The temperature was in the upper 40’s and the rain held up for most of the time. In a couple of places, the wind gusts must have been around 50 mph because it was terrible. There is still plenty of Iceland to see but it will have to wait until another day. Getting on a flight back home tomorrow.
We stayed the last night in a small Bavarian town right by Munich. It was very warm when we arrived there and woke up to thunder and lightning the next morning. The drive was very picturesque through the Swiss Alps.
We headed to the mountains yesterday with the hope of finding a little cooler weather. We had to take a couple of trains but we made it to the top of Monte Generoso. The views were breathtaking and we got to hike around. On a clear day, you can see across Switzerland and Italy. We were able to see Lake Como from the top.
The mountain is actually on the border of Italy and Switzerland.
Oh there are so many choices…how can I ever choose one?
We chose this one. It looked pretty flat from the top.
Why did we hike down…now we have to walk back up.
What a great day. I’m pretty sure I could hike in the Alps everyday. A farmer let their cows and sheep out before we made it back to the train. There might have been one cow that made me run in the other direction. They are a lot bigger when they walk right up to you. It was a perfect last day in Lugano.
Here are more pictures:
Here is a little extra video of some of the towns in Como as well as the drive to Como on the bus. (I didn’t realize the videos didn’t download before I posted the earlier video.) The bus ride was very interesting as the road wasn’t always wide enough for two lanes. The bus would honk every time we went around a blind corner.
We used Lugano as our base for four days to explore the surrounding areas. The city itself is a banking city and it is lively during the day and very quiet once the work hours are done. This has made it a little hard to find dinner sometimes. There was one pasta place that we really wanted to try but we weren’t here around lunch time and it always closed by 5:30 so we never made it there in time. Since Lugano is a little bigger than other cities we have stayed in, we were able to branch out and have other cuisines besides Italian food lunch or dinner.
We spent one day walking a long the lake for an hour and half to a very cute little village on the lake. It was a nice hike but it was very hot on the trail. I was happy to take a boat back. I’m sure we saw more of the surrounding areas than the city itself but I like exploring the trails and smaller towns.
We took a day trip to Lake Como from Lugano yesterday. It is only an hour bus ride, but it is mostly on very narrow winding roads. The bus had to honk anytime it came to a curve to warn the drivers coming the other way. I was happy to leave the driving to professionals today.
We arrived in Menaggo, Italy and took a ferry to Bellagio where we wandered the streets for a couple of hours. The villages are built on hillsides so I got plenty of climbing today. The weather was pretty perfect to walk in the shady little cobblestones streets. We then took the ferry from Bellagio to Varenna which was another cute town. I really don’t think pictures can really show how beautiful the towns are.
I don’t know a lot of Italian but haven’t had any problems getting around (unlike the first time I tried to visit Lake Como and ended up on a school bus heading the wrong direction for a couple hours). I do like hearing hearing Italian as I’m walking down the cobblestone streets.
We left Riva this morning and decided to take the scenic route to Lugano since we had time before we could check in to the next hotel. Good thing we left when we did as traffic was very bad in Riva. I can’t imagine how bad it would be later on a Saturday when people arrive for the weekend.
The drive was pretty as it was along the west side of the lake. There were a lot of tunnels but overall it was pleasant. We then took the highway around Milan and headed north to Switzerland. We had to pay a lot of tolls in Italy and then when you get to Switzerland, you have to buy an expensive sticker for your windshield that is good for the whole year. I was hoping that I would get lucky when I picked up my rental car but the windshield was clear of stickers.
We walked around the city a little this afternoon. There were hundreds of kids wandering the streets in groups. This weekend, all of the youth choirs from Switzerland are singing in Lugano so they are in every square and corner singing. I’m looking forward to seeing the city and surrounding areas in the next four days.
Riva has been a great base for the last 4 days. We stayed at a hotel about a 20 minute walk from town. They have a nice path to walk on right next to the lake. We had nice weather everyday and it has been very relaxing to sit by the lake.
We tried to go for a hike today but there were so many mountain bikers that it was too stressful having them fly down by us. (You can see the trail from the lake.)Here are some more pictures of the town.
And lastly, here is dinner from the last night here 🙂 On to Lugano, Switzerland tomorrow.