A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Day 16

Dublin and surrounds

large_SAM_0731.jpgThis morning our priority was to get to Harvey Norman at Carrickmines to purchase a replacement charging cable for the laptop. The sat nav device unfortunately did not have this near new retail development and we needed an alternative. Ian obtained good instructions from a service station attendant and we found the Harvey Norman store without too much trouble. We purchased the cable and then found a café in the mall and had some brunch.
From there we headed south to Glendalough. This is the location of an ancient abbey and pretty hillside lakes. The abbey dates back to the 10th century. Near the lake a waterfall was cascading down the hill through the trees. The sun came out briefly and we got some good photos.
Upon leaving Glendalough we headed further south and drove through some beautiful forests to Avoca and then across to the coast at Wicklow. Wicklow is a typical Irish seaside village with brightly coloured and well maintained shops and houses. We found a seaside hill overlooking the town with the ruins of an ancient castle around a thousand years old.
From Wicklow we travelled back to Dublin to check where we need to go in the morning to catch the early ferry to Holyhead. After finding the way we headed back to the southern suburb of Dun Laoghaire where we are staying at the Royal Marine Hotel. With a large brunch we didn’t bother with lunch. We quickly checked the cable worked and then had coffee and scones downstairs in the hotel’s casual dining area.
After the caffeine recharge we walked the local streets and looked for dining options for later. We ended up with a choice of one within walking distance. It was actually warm enough for Ian to walk the streets in a t shirt. No coat required. According to the car it briefly reached 19 degrees on our way back from Dublin Port to the Hotel. That is the warmest we recorded in our week here. Ireland has lived up to our high expectations. It is truly beautiful.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 10:38 Comments (0)

Day 17

Dublin to Liverpool

large_SAM_0811.jpgWe booked a 6am Sunday morning wake up call to make sure we got to the ferry in time. Darlene was slow to start. She does not like early mornings. We hit the road just before 7 and arrived without incident at the ferry terminal and lined up. We booked the premium service which gave us priority boarding, disembarkation and a lounge with complimentary food and drinks.
The weather for the crossing was cool and overcast but light winds and slight seas made it a pleasant crossing once again. We have been lucky in that aspect. Both trips have been like being in Port Phillip Bay on a nice day.
We had a slight hiccup trying to leave the Holyhead port. We were behind a bus and followed it thinking it would leave the port. Wrong. We sorted that out and headed to Chester. We stopped in a quaint old Welsh village called Conwyn along the way. They had a village built inside and beside an old castle. We would have explored for longer but there was limited parking and too many steps from the car park to the village.
We continued on to Chester where there is a Roman wall around the inner part of the city. We found a parking space and walked some old narrow cobble stoned streets lined with shops in buildings hundreds of years old. It was a beautiful place, well worth the stop.
We put in the address of our Liverpool apartment (or so we thought) and headed off. We found Liverpool ok but the sat nav device wanted to take us about 30 km the other side of Liverpool. We turned it off when we realised we could not use it and we pulled into a petrol station to seek directions. The Indian guy speaking with a Liverpool accent was just too hard to understand so Ian bought a street directory. We found our way to where we thought the apartments were but we could not find them.
Ian called and found that we had gone past the laneway we needed by just 50 metres. However, to get there we had to go forward, do a u turn, go past the lane (no right turn permitted), do another u turn and turn into the laneway. Aarrgghh!!! We were not warned it would be so hard to find.
We got there in the finish and settled in to our 7th floor apartment right in the heart of the shopping district. We went out for a walk to check out local eateries and to find some milk and bread for our self catering apartment. The food court was very close but the nearest convenience store was too far for Darlene to walk so Ian set off and bought the groceries. We headed over to the food court around 7 and had dinner & wine. After dinner we returned to the apartment to put our feet up and take it easy after a long and sometimes trying day. Tomorrow we sleep in and head for the Beatles museum.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 01:02 Comments (0)

Day 18


large_SAM_0883.jpgWe had a more relaxing day today starting with breakfast in our apartment. We chose not to pay the exorbitant web connection charges on offer at the apartment. So, after breakfast, Ian went to the local McDonalds to use the free Wi Fi and upload the latest blog. Ian endured a very ordinary coffee in order to get the job done. The things we do…
We then took the short walk to Albert Dock to visit the Beatles Museum. On the way we passed the local Ferris wheel. Liverpool can build one, come on Melbourne, it can’t be that hard…
The Beatles Musuem was one of the highlights of the trip. We have way too many photos to upload but will put up a few. We left after the obligatory stop in the souvenir shop and headed for Mathew St where the Cavern Club used to be to finish the Beatles experience. Along the way Darlene commented how much she likes the weather here. This is her kind of climate. We visited a few more Beatles souvenir stores and photographed several store fronts with Beatles themes. Ian leaned up against a John Lennon statue for a photo only to later see he unintentionally adopted a very similar pose.
After another lunch in Pret A Manger (someone should open one of these back home) we shopped in and around Liverpool One. After several hours in and around the shops we had had enough. We brought some meals at the local Tesco Supermarket to eat in for a change. We purchased a package deal of a meal for two including dessert and a bottle of wine for just ten pounds. It was so cheap. We are on our second glass now and relaxing ahead of our drive to Glasgow tomorrow.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 00:35 Comments (0)

Day 19

Liverpool to Glasgow

large_SAM_0889.jpgAfter breakfast Ian made another trip to McDonalds for the free Wi Fi (and a cup of tea). He uploaded the latest blog entry and checked email. We then checked out and headed out of town. The Sat Nav helped us to the highway and then we switched it off and followed the signs.
We headed off the M6 at the A590 and headed up into the Lake District. We visited Ambleside and Great Langdale then went to Coniston for lunch at a café. The scenery was pretty but the narrow road had stone fences on each side right at the edge of the bitumen and it was treacherously narrow at times. After lunch we returned the way we came and took the A6 north from Kendall and eventually re-joined the M6.
We continued north and stopped for an afternoon break about 30 miles south of Glasgow. We put the Sat Nav back on and it had us drive through a truck only petrol station and out the other side (!) but it had the desired effect and we re-joined the highway north.
After our troubles with the Sat Nav fining our hotel in Liverpool we called ahead for directions and got some helpful advice that brought us straight to the hotel. We had the Sat Nav on to see where it would send us. Interestingly it was telling us to turn right when we had the hotel in sight dead ahead! David needs to update his software on the Garmin.
The room has a Mac PC that doubles as a TV. That is a first for us. In all the hotels we have visited we have not encountered a Mac PC before.
We have been advised Glasgow is not very safe so we will not venture out this evening. We can eat in the hotel and have a quiet night in. The car park is open to the public but has video surveillance. The hotel booklet advises guests not to answer the door, even if the person knocking claims to be a staff member.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 10:14 Comments (0)

Day 20

Glasgow to Isle of Skye

large_SAM_0983.jpgWe slept badly on what was apparently a new but very, very firm mattress at the Hilton Garden Inn. The up side is that we were up, showered, breakfasted and out of there early. We navigated ourselves to the A82 out of town. We encountered a few unplanned one way streets and as a result went around the block a few times.
We found a few banks and hung around to opening time to exchange some more currency. That done we headed out of town and encountered some spectacular scenery in Western Scotland along the A82. We had lunch at a pub in Glencoe where we had a scenic view of a lake and distant mountains.
We continued along the A82 to the A87 and on towards the Isle of Skye. We stopped at Eilean Donan Castle for afternoon tea and Ian did a quick tour of the castle. We have lots of great photos.
We continued on to Skye and to our hotel overlooking the ocean. What a spectacular setting. We are in an elevated position overlooking a natural harbour. We had a late afternoon glass of wine at a table on the lawn overlooking the water and distant hills. There was barely a cloud in the sky and just a gentle breeze and an air temperature of around 15 degrees. Well, you cannot have everything. For Portree, in northern Scotland, it is a spectacular day.
Our room also overlooks the water and is luxurious. It is perhaps not as large at the one at St Elizabeth in Plymouth, but is equally impressive.
We have been very lucky with the weather today. With mostly blue skies we have seen some wonderful scenery, superior even to that at the Ring of Kerry. What a great day!

Posted by IanDarleneUK 13:16 Comments (0)

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