We had a 4 hour drive from Galway to Dingle yesterday. Of course there are always differences between the GPS and signs. When you decide to pick the signs but then go back to the GPS route, it will take you down some interesting roads. Fortunately, I only had one tractor come at me and one guy walking his dogs.
One of the highlights on the island was visiting a prehistoric fortress. I can’t imagine how long it took to build all of the perfect walls, not to mention how heavy some of the stones must have been. The van gave us two hours to walk up and explore the fort and the stunning views from the top. There were no railings to keep you from falling over the cliffs so you just had go as far as you felt comfortable.
Not sure I will ever understand how they built all of the rock walls around the island or how they don’t fall over in the harsh winters but it does make for a beautiful backdrop.
We took a ferry over to the Aran Islands for the day. We visited the largest island which is 9 miles long and 3 miles wide. However, they have over 7,000 miles of stone walls. Most of them were created to build the plots of land and for farming. They don’t have many sheep on the island but they do have a lot of cattle. They also speak only Gaelic on the island but they all know English for the tourists. It was pretty misty out in the morning which meant I had to sit inside on the ferry. We took a tour in a van…the other alternative was horse and carriage. The driver was a local who also is a cattle rancher.
Of course the sun came out when we were getting ready to leave the island. It was nice to see the sun for a little bit and sit outside on the ferry ride back. If you see a small house next to the house that looks pretty identical to the main house, that is the house for the leprechauns.
We arrived in Galway on Sunday evening. We are staying a little out of the center of city but is an easy walk into the city. Galway is a lot bigger than I thought it would have been. It was full of people on the streets and a lot of different music street performers. The streets were so crowded that it was pretty hard to even get pictures of the buildings due to the large gatherings of people watching musicians. We arrived too late to see the fish market but they are supposed to have a big outdoor fish market in one of the squares.
We drove from Dublin on the east coast to the Galway on the west coast on Sunday. The drive was very easy and not much traffic. There also weren’t a lot of towns. It was pretty much just green and rocky scenery the whole drive. Since we were going to be very early to check-in to our next accommodation, we decided to drive a little north and see a couple of sights.
The first stop was at a castle. As you walk up to it, it doesn’t look like something you can really go in but you actually were able to climb in the main tower. Then we headed on to Clifdon which a a cute small town. There is a road in Clifdon which is called the Sky Loop Road. It is a narrow road that winds around with breathtaking views of the Atlantic. I was able to enjoy the views but really was more worried about cars coming at me because there wasn’t a lot of space to pull over and let a car by. There weren’t any pullouts to take pictures but it was well worth the drive.
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: