Monday, July 31, 2006

Dublin Zoo

I forgot to put up the photos from our venture to the Dublin Zoo a while ago. There are some nice shots of the animals. Not sure how interested you all are, but at least it gives you something to look at! Some of the photos make it look like we're in the cages with them.

* On a non-family fun zoo note, there was a news piece in the paper a few weeks ago about a drunk teenager that climbed the staff fence of the tiger cage and stuck her arm in. Needless to say, the tiger mauled her. Only in Ireland would a teenager be drunk at the zoo. What was she thinking and why the hell didn't her friends stop her??!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Fisherman's Grove, Dunmore East (July 21-23)

I don't know if you guys remember, but the Kenney's were here for a quick visit while in Scotland for Cathy & Jim's wedding. When Luke and I went to meet them at the pub, we also met a great Canadian couple - Brent and Sharon. Well, we ended up hitting it off with them and meeting for a pint about 3 weeks ago and then ended up planning a trip to Co. Waterford for the weekend. Sharon works for a cottage rental company so she organized a 3 bedroom place and a rental car and the four of us drove down to Dunmore East.
We all had to work on Friday (Well, except Luke) so we agreed to meet in front of Pearse Tavern at 7pm so that we would all have time to pack and Brent and Sharon would have time to pick up the car and meet us. They arrived pretty much dead on time and we were all raring to go! We hopped in the car and made our way out of the city.
The drive wasn't too bad. Brent has had lots of practice driving so it wasn't too nerve wracking (Don't worry everyone, we obviously made it safe and sound). We drove for a while, made a stop for munchies and then realized that if we didn't boot it we might risk missing the last ferry at 10pm which would add another hour or so to the drive. Brent floored it (Reasonably, don't worry folks) and we pulled up to the ferry about 10 minutes before it was to leave (Which was lucky because we thought it was leaving at 10pm but it was actually leaving at 10:10!). We turned off the engine, got out to stretch our legs and waited. The ferry ride was interesting. It started moving before we were even parked so it felt incredibly weird driving on a moving ferry. The ride was only about 5 minutes long so before we knew it we were back on the road again, but not for much longer as we were almost there!
We pulled into Fisherman's Grove Holiday Villas and found our #23. It was a great 3 bedroom townhouse with big kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a living room, dining room and a backyard with a table and chairs. We dumped our stuff and cracked open the pints.

We kicked off the evening with a few rounds of pyramid (a classic drinking game) and then moved on to a few others before heading out to the beach with the frisbee to mess around. We tossed the frisbee around while attempting to find the beach. The actual walk to the beach should have only taken no more then 10minutes, but in the dark and after many drinks already, tossing a frisbee and trying to carry a bag of more beer it took us a lot longer then that. But as least we were in the fresh air. ;)

Once we found the beach we all decided to go into the water. Jess got the farthest. It was COLD. Really COLD!

Once we got our shoes on etc we went up the little hill and sat on the patio in the local pub. At this time the pub was not serving any more beer which really didn't matter cause we had our own bag.

We eventually made it home around 2ish or so and went to bed.


Saturday we got up around 11am and I got on the breakfast duties. I'd picked up all the breakfast stuff the day before from our local butcher. It was a good fry up - Irish style!

Once we were all ready we decided to go explore the town. (Oh ya quick update on my football adventure. It ended after 1 week of training. I turned oddly on my foot and have been limping and am sometimes in uncomfortable pain so walking with me takes longer. But what can you do...).

So we slowly made it to the town and it was nice. Very small Irish style houses with thatched roofs everywhere, brightly painted houses. Typical seaside Irish commnunity. We were trying to find somewhere to rent fishing rods or take a boat trip so we walked to the harbour. Unfortunately there were no fishing rental places and it was getting colder and rain started to come down, so we opted not to ask about a boat cruise. Instead we went and had a pint at a pub... cause thats what you do to keep out of the rain in Ireland.

We enjoyed a semi-decent pint of Guiness, I am always picky with the pints and put them all up against the Pearse pint. It wasn't that good.

So we had one and left. Then we went to another pub and had a better pint. We decided we were all pretty lazy and had no real plans to do anything too exciting. The conversation was good and we all enjoyed each others company so we stayed. The pints kept coming. We eventually got hungry and ordered some seafood chowder with chips (fries) and fish cakes. The chowder was to DIE for. Best any of us ever had.

After a couple of hours in the pub we decided we should hit the grocery store... to get more beer that is. And Brent and Sharon had some game they wanted us to play on the beach. It involved sticks, plastic cups, frisbee and yes, beer.

Like clockwork as we were walking to the beach and 6pm hit, the clouds and rain disappeared and bam the sun came out. It seems to happen everyday here - the 6pm sun.

We played the game for a bit and eventually Jess and Brent were brave enough to go fully into the water. After that it was time for dinner we walked along the main street looking at menus and it was all way over priced or just not that interesting.

Thank God we found a chipper. It saved us about 50€ and the food was pretty good too, for a chip shop. Fresh Cod, chicken nuggets, chips, the usual.

After dinner we sat around and eventually started to play more drinking games. And that is how Brent and I ended up in the ladies bikini tops. We lost... in a way. I hit the sack before everyone else. My foot was killing me and I was tired after a whole day of fresh air and drinking.

Sunday/Ferry Ride Home

Sunday Sharon made breakfast and we cleaned up and had to leave as we needed to be back in Dublin at 4:30pm to return the car.

All in all great Canadian weekend. Good times with good friends!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's been 1yr since we left Ottawa

Luke here. Here are my thoughts, in a very random order!

As of today we have officially been away from Ottawa for 1 year. We had some slight ups and downs in the last year(break in's, job loss), but in the end all that matters is we are happy and strong together.

As you might have been following, we have been through many places in the last 12 months so lets recap:

Poland - Warszawa, Krakow, Zakopane
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Belgium - Brugge
Czech Rep - Prague, Cesky Krumlov
Austria - Vienna, Salzburg, Lake District
Hungary - Budapest
Germany - Berlin, Munich, Hamburg
Italy - Venice, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terra, Pisa
France - Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Cannes, Antibes
Monaco - Monte Carlo
Spain - Seville, Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Salamanca
Portugal - Lagos, Lisbon
England - London, Liverpool
Ireland - Dublin, Cork, Belfast (and coast), Letterkenny, Moher, Derry, Mallon Head
Croatia - Dubrovnik, Kolocep, Lopud

After 15 countries and 45 cities, we are not even close to seeing all that we want to see. We have been bitten by the travel bug.

We have learned a lot about life and eachother and how to be very happy and live without things that we were used to having... like a car for example. We walk more we eat better, we feel better (I've only been sick once since we've been here - a bad cold for 3 days last February), we feel healthier.

We try to get as much out of living here as we can. We have seen more of Ireland then most Irish people we talk to. Any long weekend (if the price is reasonable) we try to just fly somewhere new, trips to places like Liverpool and Hamburg. This weekend we're going to Co. Waterford to stay in a little town called Fisherman's Grove.

It was a scary thing to do - pack up, sell everything, give my CD's to Mike (maybe I'll actually get them back one day haha) quit our jobs, quit the band and leave our families - it all happened so quickly. I remember Jess mentioned once that "We should live in Ireland, I've always wanted to do that" (that was way before we went to Poland for the 1st time, stopping in Amsterdam and Zurich). Going to Poland, etc, made me realize how much is out there and how different and exciting things are. That was it for me, seeing all these new things when we went to Poland, the decision was easily made and after that it just happened....

I think this was the best thing we have done... the best thing for us, a newlywed couple. This trip (It's still a trip, it's still a holiday, we just have to go to work) has really defined us. Made us what we are and how we will be. I fell more in love with Jess over this time. She is like a part of me. I hate being away from her -even for a night. I hate going out without her (she's my best friend too) we have fun together and she is not a girly girl and can come out and be one of the "guys" at the local. That's what I love about my wife - She can kick your ass if need be but when it's just me and her she loves me like no one else and is a real woman! She's HOT too! :)

So we're happy BUT not content staying here forever. We are planning to live in as many other interesting places as we can (learn some languages while we're at it) before we come back to Canada and settle - yes eventually we will be back in Canada -when the Sens win the Stanley Cup, so it will be a while!

We are thinking Paris, or small town Italy somewhere near wine fields and the ocean. Greece is part of the EU so why not? And Jess convinced me that I'd like Australia. These are just ideas and plans but so far everything we set out to do we have done! So who knows where we'll end up next?

Jess Here.

One year. It's flown by. I can't believe we're still here. I think it's official -We pulled it off!

I agree with Luke, that this was the best thing we could have done. Our relationship is stronger than it ever was, we've seen things so many things together in the past year. Sistine Chapel, Statue of David, Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, The Colloseum, Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc, etc. We did in a year what I thought, if I ever saw it all, would take years of one week vacations from Ottawa.

As you know, we also recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary. It's incredible. I feel as strong, no, stronger for Luke than I did before we left. We've seen and done so much together, we've formed a bond that I didn't know could exist. We've truly become best friends. After having only eachother to confide in and to whinge to over the last year, we've had to step up the friendship side of our relationship, which I think it one of the best things about being out here alone, together. I can't tell you how surprised I was that it had already been a year since we were all dolled up and celebrating with all of you. It truly was the best day of my life. I'd like to thank my parents for throwing us a beautiful, fun, wonderful wedding and I'd like to thank Luke's parents for bringing in 'the Polish connection' as my Mother would say. It was a terrific blend of Canadian and Polish traditions and I think that it was a complete success. I couldn't ask for better parents and parents-in-law.

Being here has really made me think about my relationships with my family and friends and I've come to realize the importance of these relationships. I'm 27 years old and I STILL feel homesick for my family. I talk to my parents every Sunday but that just makes me miss them more. My friends are another thing. I've made some female friends here, but it's just not the same as at home. I hope you girls know how important you are to me, and how much I miss the comraderie. You know the ins and outs of me, the good and the bad, the serious and the silly. I'll never be able to find anyone like the bunch of you - the motley crew. I wish you would all move here!

We'll be in Ireland for some more time, mainly due to the band that Luke is in. Not sure what the plan will be, we have to wait and see what happens, but we'll definitely be moving on at some point. Not sure where we'll end up, but I'm sure it will be another exciting adventure.

Our love to all of you for your support, encouragement and good wishes. WE MISS YOU!

(Thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how we've changed since we left..... Pretty hilarious - and embarrassing!!!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ty's Photos from his visit to Ireland

We meant to put this up a looooooong time ago but never got around to it.
These are just some photos that were taken with Ty's camera while he was visiting in April. Most of them were taken by Ty except for the ones he is in. Obviously!