After spending 11 hours on a plane and over 3 hours on a coach, I arrived safely in South Wales, a town named Chepstow just over the river from England. The town itself is famous for it’s racetrack and is home to one of the oldest castles in Wales. After spending the night there we woke up at the crack of dawn to catch a short flight to Dublin (you can’t go wrong with a flight for 99p , gotta love Ryanair).
The weather was perfect in Ireland, sunny and warm but not too hot. The bus from the airport (5 euros each) took us to the main bus station and just steps away from our hotel. After exploring the city on foot we quickly discovered that , like London, it was a city full of tourists and foreigners. It is a bustling city , full of history and interesting landmarks as well as ‘the ‘spike’ that was the cities contribution to the millennium. Not surprisingly to anyone who knows me, had more than a peek in the shops. I love European cities with their shopping districts, imagine Robson street with no cars rather, old ladies selling fruit.
Deciding to venture out of the city on our second day we headed to the train station (also just minutes from our hotel) with the intent to head to a nearby town and walk along the cliffs to get a view of the city and the sea. An act of spontaneity lead us to hop a train to Northern Ireland instead.
Neither of us knew what to expect as pretty much all we knew about the area was from news reports growing up. The train ride along the coast was lovely and just over 2 hours later we were in Belfast. Leaving the train station we ventured into the city and wandered again. We came across some interesting buildings and monuments, including the Titanic memorial, picked up some souvenirs and enjoyed a nice lunch. Seeing as Dublin is reportedly the second most expensive city in Europe , it was a nice break on the wallet. Other than some graffiti on a few walls we didn’t see any indication of the north’s past troubles and didn’t feel unsafe walking about. Admittedly I don’t know a lot about the history or the conflicts but from what I hear it is vastly different these days as scenes of armed soldiers walking the streets used to be the norm.
That afternoon we hoped the train back to Dublin where we spent another night before heading back to Wales the following morning.
Wales post to follow…. stay tuned.
Last night Flickr
was down for a few hours. Anyone who went to the site at this time would have seen the image with the two black circles along with the explanation: Arrgh! Our tubes are clogged! Because this sucks we thought you might want to enter an inpromptu competition to win a FREE PRO ACCOUNT!
The instructions were to print out the page, colour in the two circles, take a pic of it, then once the site was back up, upload with the tag “flickrcolourcontest
So I printed out the page, thought about it for a minute and decided – yikes, I’m just not creative enough to come up with anything good. Then I think we ate dinner and watched Rescue Me.
Before bed I checked back and there were HUNDREDS of entries. Some were really impressive, I was just surprised by how many people participated but I guess Flickr is kinda sorta a popular site eh.
In other news, Canucks FINALLY sign Chouinard [canucks] but give up Brookbank. I’m seriously gonna have to look over the roster (once finalized) before next season. SO many new faces and so many are gone. I’m going to run over to Canucks Op Ed and see if there’s a current tally on our salary cap – is there more madness in store?
Walking home along the Sea Wall last night John
and I reveled at the marvelous view (seen here to the left). It was a clear night, which can be kinda rare here in the later summer months.
Drivers in Vancouver are now going to get the opportunity to help improve the local environment (even though it might be terribly inconvenient)
Myth: Turning your engine off and on uses more fuel than if you just let it idle [idlefree]
I’ve been spotting ads on the back of buses for a few days. The City of Vancouver has now passed a By Law stating those who idle their car for 3 minutes or more are subject to fines.
Sean Pander with the city sustainability group says the new bylaw is about encouraging people to reduce their emissions. “…..our hope is the public education works and people are aware again of the myths around vehicle idling that they’ll want to stop idling” [cknw]
On the news this morning it seemed like it was much more of an environmental issue than a money grab by the City. Since I sold my car shortly after moving downtown this isn’t so much a personal issue anymore but let’s break it down.
Plus sides: You will save on gas and this will hopefully reduce emissions leading to that ugly smoggy blanket you can see lurking above on those dry muggy days (which eventually gets blown out to the Valley and senior citizens & those with asthma in Chilliwack will suffer).
Down sides: I suppose taxis (who are not exempt) might be annoyed. As well as anyone just ‘running into the store really quick’ who doesn’t want to bother parking but puts on their 4-ways thus blocking traffic.
Edit: Beyond Robson has more info about this as well [br]
Last night John and I headed over to the Metroblogging Meetup in Stanley Park [met].
The potluck was yummy, the people were friendly and it was really great to see all these bloggers you’ve probably read but never met before.
Sometimes you think Vancouver’s become so plastic and fake (whether your nemesis be lululemon, snack dogs, poofy boots or some other ugly monsters [mg]) and it kinda gets you down. Then you attend a gathering like this, with people from all over, photographers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and unemployed – all with humour, humility, class and the one thing in common that brought you together. It kinda restores your faith in the people of this city.
There were a few of us “born n raised BC’ers” there and it was also neat to hear everyone’s story of how they came to be a blogger in Vancouver. One thing I’m taking away from the evening is that I am now determined to blog about that one GREAT restaurant in Surrey (for Ryan) just let me find it first.
Edit: John’s Meetup Recap [audihertz]
Edit: The PODCAST is now available [radiozoom]
My sister (the world traveller) is back today. I believe she’s covered 4 countries in 8 days including England, Wales, Ireland and Canada. She sent me some really great pics over chat, I had to post this one (also up on my flickr
I can’t wait until she’s safely on the ground and we can hang out this weekend and get all silly (flickr: sister
Although she did not write any posts for miss604.com while abroad, I’ll forgive her…. and give her another chance at writing a trip re-cap post. But ya know, no time frame really, I’m sure it might be slightly more important for her to spend time with her 3 beautiful babies at home before she sits down in front of a computer to geek out.
With 9 days to go it is a bit surprising to see there isn’t much blog coverage yet for the Celebration of Light [hsbc
] which kicks off July 26th and runs every 3 days after that until Aug. 5th.
It was nice to see that the Vancouverite [van
] made this month’s inaugural fireworks post and set the theme perfectly: Lots of people, lots of noise, lots of people. Did I mention lots of people?I’ve experienced the fireworks as a child. We’d drive out to Kits from Surrey in the family van and have a picnic on the beach. Finding that perfect rock to balance on and watch the display took a little time. And 10 minutes later the tide was in and my butt would be sore so I’d retire up the hill a bit to the blanket my mom had laid out. At that time it was put on by Benson & Hedges[wiki
] but since then it’s become taboo for a tobacco company to sponsor a family event such as this.
As teenagers we’d take the Skytrain [tl] out and stake out a square of grass right in the middle of English Bay[eb]. The show lasted 20 minutes but the hike back up to the train lasted several hours – then there was the lineup at the station – then the mosh-pit like atmosphere on the train. The crowds of drunks, the families trying to safely maneuver a clear path, the one idiot trying to drive his car down the closed street who will eventually piss off a drunk passer-by enough that he may just get a window smashed.
Last year I was in Kits and from 8pm to 4am there was a constant crowd, constant honking and drunken shouts. This year we are smack dab in the middle of the West End. In case you don’t know your Vancouver geography, to get from English Bay beach (the site of the fireworks) to any kind of public transit, you need to get through the West End [city of vancouver]. We fully anticipate the loudness, the inability to sleep soundly and the major pain of getting to the beach and back in (a walk that usually takes about 5 mins).
When we didn’t have the fireworks one summer the city was deemed “no fun”. If we didn’t have them now – they would be sorely missed. There are those who complain, there are the environmental issues, the crazy-mob-of-half-a-million-people issues etc. But all in all, this is just summer in Vancouver. 4 nights out of 365, is manageable. The businesses prosper, people get outside and down to the beach and yeah we DO have fun.
(flickr photo left: miss604) (flickr photo right: Hupaishi)