Today started slowly – we had booked a taxi tour for 11am so we took it easy, and I blogged and we took time to do quiet things.
The taxi tour is about the political history of Ireland, Belfast, Britain.
I never really understood what the conflict in Belfast was about. Finally we understand! Dermott outlined what happened and where it is today. Black Taxi Tour included Shankill Road and Falls Road to see the murals of the troubles that occurred here. We saw the infamous Peaceline, a wall built to keep Nationalists and Loyalists apart and in the process divided the communities. Also, the women who were involved in the troubles – separate from the men.
Some tension remains but most people just want to get on with their lives peacefully.
The themes of most of the murals is human rights. The catholics support the Palestinians and the Protestants support the Israelis. The women who were imprisoned during the troubles used large handkerchiefs with notes written on them like letters from their loved ones who visited them. There are numerous examples in the Women’s museum.
A very enlightening and very thought provoking tour. Glad we did it.
We grabbed our car and headed north towards Howth 12 miles away – a fishing village. They take their fishing seriously in Howth (pronouced like growth)
It’s a lovely village on a hill down to the sea with charming stores and classic churches.
On the pier where the boats were moored, restaurants were unstacking their chairs at the numerous tables outside, in a very optimistic fashion. Twenty tables at one place on a day like this during the week?? Must be a lot of fish eaters around.
Next, we headed further north along the coast and saw some really stormy seas. There was a fisherman out about 750 metres from the shore. Must be either pretty keen or some fairly fantastic seafood to catch to endure the conditions today!
We stopped for morning tea in a lovely town called Malahide – it was raining and windy and cold so it was obviously time to eat.
Once inside, a woman, about my age at the next table, commented on how horrible the weather was. I agreed and she picked up my accent and said – “Oh, you’re a visitor, I’m sorry..” meaning you don’t want to talk to me about it – it was funny, and we did continue to talk about the weather and Malahide and what a great place to live it was. She then said and its the 1st of October (the significance of the date to her didn’t mean anything to me, however I did say) – and it’s my birthday – at which point she said ohhh, smiled and put out her hand to shake mine. It was a lovely moment. People can be so nice. We continued along the coast through Malahide and found some stupid young men (my assumption) fighting to right a windsurfer. Two in the water and one coming to help. Again – if you’re strong enough I guess the conditions could be fun, maybe.
We travelled the A1 for most of the journey north until we reached Newry. The significance of this city is that its just over the border into Northern Ireland and my great-great grandmother, as a 12 year old, Anne Simpson came from here as a free settler and travelled to Sydney, Australia by ship.
Spent a little time in Newry looking around and found the town hall and a lovely bridge over the river Newry. Newry River passes through the city of Newry and empties into Carlingford Lough near Warrenpoint.
We had lunch in Newry at a fun place with a huge menu of very interesting food. The place was Art Bar Funkel run by Aiden and Sinead @ 3 Monaghan St, Newry BT35 6BB. Recommended.
Food was hot, tasty and fast and the staff lovely and friendly.
We have a White Toyota Corolla Hybrid and its great. GPS included.
We have been here for about 36 hours and we have covered a fair bit of ground. We collected our hire car at the airport from the very efficient staff at #Sixt. They have a hire car compound 2 mins from the airport so after we did our paperwork we went downstairs and turned left and found the very large shuttlebus to take us to our car.
I have found our experiences of Ireland and the people here to be all positive – even the rain doesn’t matter when you are prepared for it.
The Dublin Spire is a stainless steel monument measuring 121.2 metres in height. Designed by Ian Ritchie and completed in 2003 and is the tallest sculpture in the world. Located where Nelson’s Pillar once stood which was destroyed in an IRA bombing in 1966. Info taken from Where Cards.
We walked a total of 5.5 kms yesterday and for the second half of the walk we were rained on. The rain gear held up well, but there was a little water in a sock or two by the end of the day.
We had lunch at the Wynn Hotel in Abbey Street after we left the tram. Then looked at some shops in Abbey St and O’Connell. Lots to buy.
We wandered all over the place first towards Temple Bar and were given the heads up about a tea place in the area called Queen of Tarts. We loved it.
We walked all over the place and managed not to get lost, and just enjoyed the buildings and sculptures and happened upon Molly Malone.
I have enjoyed the cobblestones as long as its not raining – slippery and the all the pubs with their brightly coloured hanging flowers. So lovely and fresh.
Then we turned left to go over the bridge towards Grafton St. Beautiful shops – all the labels. Then we went to St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre but not for long – was just on a mission to replace my phone case which was falling apart.
Tomorrow we are off to Belfast and places on the way.
Perth, Western Australia -Dublin, Ireland via Dubai
We flew Emirates Business, welcomed on board with champagne and enjoyed all the trappings of the Lounge in Perth and the beds onboard.
Still felt pretty tired on arrival but didn’t hit the ‘hay’ until around 2am Perth time. Trying to get insync with the local time.
So spent about 18 hours getting to Ireland via Dubai. It was nice to get off the plane and wander through the terminal. We didn’t need to transfer by shuttle or bus to another terminal, we stayed in Terminal A. Once we had landed and meandered into the building we happened upon a Shoeshine from Cameroon.
He has a degree in Accounting and is spending two years working in Dubai Airport before he returns to Cameroon to do Business. I find people fascinating and what motivates them to do what they do. He does a great job and I was happy to spend the 5 minutes with him, while he worked. My shoes have never looked so good!
So, we continued on, there was not enough time to go too far so we headed to the lounge and looked at the décor and had a hot chocolate.
Once on the next leg we were fed, as usual, and then a movie and then more sleep. I did sleep soundly, for a whole hour. Bottom line, great food, good rest and arrival without any issues.
We collected our car and headed for the Gibson Hotel – at The Point or near the North Wall. It’s a new hotel and right at the tram stop called The Point. The ‘Luas’ runs straight into the centre of town from our front door in about 12 mins. Very easy and very quick. There is a restaurant at the hotel and a convenience store 50 metres away, four eateries and its opposite the 3 Arena. More tomorrow.
We went to Monsterella Pizza tonight and had to book at 5:30pm. One of the reasons was that they open at 4:30 and its flat out from then on. We needed to be out by 7:00pm. No drama on that front, due to the fast service and yummy pizzas. We had two pizzas between three of us and it was enough. There is water, glasses, napkins and cutlery to be collected before you sit down.
The atmosphere is almost beachy, with clean black tables and a cushioned bench along one wall, which helps with the acoustics. In spite of the polystyrene panels stuck to the ceiling which may or may not help. It’s noisy, in a good way, but you can still have conversations across your table without too much drama.
The staff are efficient and the food is great. We had a Capri and a Milliano Pizza.
The pizzas are woodfired. Menu was very pizza oriented but there were alternatives such as pasta, salad and entrees. There are wonderful sweets and its very busy. Bookings are essential.
Pizzas were around $22/$24, for a large dinner plate size. Corkage for wine $5 beer $1.
There seemed to be a lot of staff in the kitchen, but it worked!
Went to Adelaide for a few days R & R. Caught up with some family and friends and stayed at #QuestPortAdelaide. I spoke to a woman from Adelaide when I got back and told her where I had stayed and she looked at me enquiringly – why? Seems the area has a dodgy reputation, but we found it to be family friendly and full of small eateries and old buildings and pubs.
There were some amazingly old – for Australian standards – buildings which have been looked after or restored. They are just fabulous. The whole area may have been less desirable, however it is becoming quite trendy and there are new apartments being built to prove it.
Adelaide has a similar feeling to Perth in Western Australia, that old country town friendliness. The population in Adelaide is 1.3 million. This is the fifth largest city in Australia.
Perth has an estimated population of over 2.14 million people, 4th Largest city of Australia.
We had a beautiful breakfast on our first morning at #TheDrummerBoyCafe at 132 St Vincent Street Port Adelaide.
We walked along St Vincent Street and found Port Mall. It looks like it hasn’t changed for a long time but the shops there are a sensible collection ranging from Newsagents, Cafes other eateries and Hairdressers.
We had a lovely time wandering around and shopping for nothing we needed. I bought an Organic Gardening book and some soft ‘lounge pants’ made of furry microfleece. There had been some very cold weather sweeping across Adelaide – an arctic blast – while we were there and we knew before we arrived, so brought appropriate clothing and beanie for my head.
There was rain and cold winds and a chill factor around 5 degrees celsius, but when the wind dropped, the sun shone. The temperature didn’t get above about 15C while we were there, but we didn’t care.
We had dinner at Crusoe’s at The Lakes Resort in West Lakes, with some very special friends from Adelaide. The food was lovely and service was terrific.
All wonderful and very much enjoyed.
Saturday was a day free from any commitments so we had a sleep in and I went down to the wharf for some photos.
Came upon the vessel called the YELTA a steam tugboat. Very Cool.
Also the Port Adelaide Lighthouse.
This lovely pub is Adelaide’s oldest building. We had dinner here on our last night. THE most beautiful steak I have ever had in my LIFE!
It was a sirloin cooked medium on a wood fire with garlic and chilli green beans and crinkle cut chips and mushroom sauce. OMG to die for!
The next morning we drove to Christie’s Beach to see some very low maintenance mates who had moved from Queensland. Doesn’t matter how often we see them, it is always the same, a warm and generous welcome.
We met them not far from their home in O’Sullivan’s Beach at a lovely cafe called Flava Food and Coffee Cafe at Christie’s Beach.
After our lovely catchup, which was way too short – note to self – plan for more time, next time.
We headed east through magnificent scenery including hills of green and farmland. Our ears were constantly popping as we rose and descended over the hills and valleys to see my nephew, his wife and their daughter, my grand niece. Also, way too short, but at least we got to see them. I really miss that little part of my family, so far away.
Its really only 2.5 hours away by plane but sometimes its just too far.
Then we drove back to the airport and handed back our very interesting, but adequate hire car, the little white Skoda and caught the Jetstar plane home.
A nice little break from our normal, but comfortable routine. Until next time.
On our way to our stop in the south west for a party, we stopped for lunch at The Rose Hotel. A lovely old building with Art Deco touches and wrought iron lace around the outside of the well maintained structure.
We had lovely, generous serves of food.
Vegetarian and vegan options were on a separate menu as opposed to the usual way of just one or two options on the bottom of the menu. Good to see.
The interior of the hotel is Art Deco and charming. The staff are quick and strong and wear really short black mini skirts. The food is delicious and very filling.
Up relatively early today. Went outside and took some black and white pictures of the wonderful cottages which epitomise the accommodation which has been on the island for decades.
They are not flash but have everything you need. It is a very relaxing and an easy place to stay.
Before I headed out to the salt lakes I went north to see the lovely lighthouse. It’s not particularly special, it just looks nice. It looks well built and solid. The white walls contrast beautifully against the blue, blue sky. It never gets old for me, this classic shot.
Later in the morning, I ventured out, on the chariot, towards the salt lakes to photograph birds and habitats around there.
I found a small group of Pied Oystercatchers,
There are Bridled Terns and Welcome Swallows, zooming around so fast, I can’t photograph them. Some Welcome Swallows roost in our eaves in our accomodation here on Rottnest Island.
I also saw a Rock Parrot near the settlement.
There are also Ravens and Seagulls throughout the settled areas.
They are great scavengers and the seagulls, are ruthless. They ‘take no prisoners’.
A family of Mountain Ducks, and Fairy Terns.
For lunch we decided to go to Geordie’s. Cycled to the settlement and parked my bike in a rack near the general store. We caught the bus to the north side of the island to Geordie Bay. We ate lunch at Geordie Bay Cafe and Gallery. I shared fish and chips, and marinated Fremantle octopus.
Very yummy and the other dish was a sweet potato salad with grilled chicken – there were three eating!
Well here is a quirky, interesting and warm and friendly venue for eats, nostalgia, sculptures, prints, and art both new and old. The yard is filled with relics of the past and objects of great importance once – like a typesetting machine, an old till, a sculpture full of plastic from the sea. There is machinery so big, it makes one wonder how it was put where it was.
We usually book, in the winter, near the very efficient and comforting pot belly style firebox.
The whole place is interesting to look at and the staff are friendly, polite and well trained.
The food is reliable and tasty. We had the ‘carnivore’ this time and shared it for $23.90 Good value for two – plus a lovely pot of tea for two.
Once I was there when there was an Ella Fitzgerald fan, playing some of her music which was a wonderful sound to listen to during our meal.
Taylor’s has been there awhile and its owner and namesake Jude Taylor is renowned for her artwork depicting Western Australian wildflowers.
There are pictures, cards, clothes and other nick knacks laid out around the old house.
There are some wonderfully quirky things at Taylors, like the water tank around one of the tables, and the lovely door handle on the outside door where the toilets are.
Worth a visit if you are in the Swan Valley, and there is Whistler’s Chocolates next door. Also, the wineries for which the Swan Valley is famous, in Western Australia.