Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sausages, Castles and Rain

Day 4.

We woke up to the smell of breakfast being prepared downstairs. When we came down this is what we saw.

An Irish breakfast. Eggs, sausages, bacon, white and black blood pudding, potatoes and mushrooms. It was delicious but definitely a meal that we could only try once during our visit in Ireland. It was VERY heavy.

We were also offered a variety of fruits and pastries. It was a great start to our day.

After breakfast we started on our way to Dingle but not before checking out Killkenny castle.

Of course, we could not get back in the car before stretching our legs and tossing the frisbee.

We were so impressed with the landscape when we arrive in Dingle. Dingle is a peninsula that stretches 30 miles into the Atlantic ocean. We had booked a B&B in Dingle because of the mountains and lush green areas that we had heard so much about. We were not disapointed and had a great time driving around the peninsula.

We arrived at our B&B, Ballymore House, met the owners and placed our orders for Irish breakfast.
After talking with Jenny and Bill we set out to find a little hole in the wall place to grab lunch. We found a great little dive called the Marina.
After two days of stews and chips I was craving some vegetables. I was happy to find that one of their specials was vegetable bake with ratatouille. It was delicious.

It had started raining heavily and the temperature was continuing to drop. We did a little shopping and then decided to head back to the B&B to get warm and dry. We found the game room, drank a few cups of coffee and played a few games of trivia and Jenga.

This is what I love about staying at B&Bs. So many of them offer games, great books, travel guides and maps not to mention getting the inside scoop on the best sites and eats from the owners. The Ritz was amazing but I would pick B&Bs when traveling because of all they have to offer.

Once we were dry it was time to head back out into the cold for dinner. We were told that Murphy's had great food and music which was all we needed to hear.

I ordered mussels and a side salad. These were probably the best mussels that I have ever had. They were so fresh.

I can not remember what Brian's meal was...but here it is.

The next morning we went downstairs to another delicious breakfast of eggs, toast, homemade jams, cereal and french toast. Brian was the adventurous one and ordered kippers, a very salty, very strong smelling fish.

It was great to get a warm start to our day before going out into the cold and rainy weather.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waterfalls, Driving and Store fronts

Day 3.

We were told that before leaving Enniskerry we had to see the local forests surrounding the hotel. Since we were still getting the hang of driving on the other side of the road we decided to leave our car and take a go kart.

The guys hanging out on the log.

After our ride through the forest we got in our car and headed to see the tallest waterfall in Ireland. I should add at this point that it took us a little while to get use to driving on the other side of the road. By us I mean, the guys. Both of us girls and Brian do not know how to drive a manual car so we were off the hook. They did a great job driving and returned the car with no damage. Great job!

Powerscourt Falls.

All of us gathered at the bottom in the chilly Irish air. It was beautiful.

We then jumped back in the car and continued on to our B&B in Killkenny. We had one more stop to make before we arrive, Guiness Lake.

Here is what we saw as we got closer to the lake.

We also came across a monastery in Glendalough. Glendalough is a beautiful area and is also that site where Braveheart was filmed.

Once we finally rolled into Killkenny it was dinner time and we were ready to find a place to eat. We dropped off all of our bags at Mena House, our cute little B&B just a short walk from the city center.

The rooms were beautiful. The wallpaper reminded me of a dress that I use to wear when I was little.

The highlight of Mena House is Katherine, the owner. She was so helpful in answering all of our questions, making suggestions and helping us feel welcome. She also gave us a great suggestion for dinner.

I love the store fronts in Ireland, bright and colorful. Here are several that we passed on our way to eat.

The restaurant she recommended. It was amazing!

My meal, more Irish stew with fried onions and mashed potatos.

Phil's meal, Fish and chips with mushy peas. So good.

We then went across the street to listen to great Irish music.

We were exhausted from everything that we had seen that day so we called it an early night and walked back to our B&B. We had placed our order for an Irish breakfast in the morning and we were excited to see what was involved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bears, a little Irish town and stew

We are now home, exhausted and laughing as we look through the 500 + pictures that we took while in Ireland. I still can not believe that we saw everything that we did in just 4 and a half days. I will try to break up the trip into several posts so that I can highlight some of our favorite spots and moments. I will also try not to make them too long but bear with me, there is so much that I do not want to forget.

Days 1& 2.

Our friends had arrived, details were being finalized and we were ready to get on the road. We were set to fly out of Munich on the 22nd and decided to take the train down the day before so that we could enjoy the city before flying to Dublin.

Phil and Brian hanging out with a Munich bear.

After walking around the city, doing a little shopping and getting a bite to eat, we headed to our hotel before our fight out the next morning.

Once we landed in Dublin we grabbed the rental car and then drove to our hotel in Powerscourt which was just south of the city.

It is always nice to have friends with connections. Our friend Brian has worked for the Ritz for 9 years and was able to get us a few rooms for our first night in Ireland. Not a bad way to start our time here in Ireland.

The hotel was beautiful and is located in Enniskerry

Our room.

The view from one of our rooms.

The pool/spa

After seeing the pool and spa area Malini and I quickly decided that we would be staying in and relaxing while the guys biked around the property.

After we all met back up we decided to drive into Enniskerry to explore this sweet town.

Great eateries and bakeries that serve fresh scones and chocolate filled crescent rolls.

We found a great place to eat and settled in for a relaxed night of Irish food and music.

Malini and me waiting for our food, fish and chips and Irish beef stew.

The food was incredible, probably my second favorite meal in Ireland. I think this was also the only meal that I forgot to take a picture of.

I would highly recommend spending time in Enniskerry. The locals were really friendly and the hotel was not too shabby either. The surrounding area was also worth exploring, which I will touch more on in the next post.

The next morning we said goodbye to the Ritz and headed out on our way to Kilkenny.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Exploring our Bavarian Roots

It was finally time for us to put on our Bavarian wear and introduce a good friend to our local festival. He was a great sport and purchased a pair of lederhosen two hours after touching down in Nuremberg.

Although rain cut our night short we had a great time celebrating with thousands of other Germans and visitors. We also talked about how fun it will be to bring our new outfits back to the States.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dirndls and Lederhosen

It is that time of year again. Bergkirchweih is here and in full swing. Over one million people gather every year to celebrate with games, rides, great German food and drink. One of my favorite parts of the festival is the music. There are several stages set up at the base of the mountain that host all sorts of bands from folk music to rock bands. They are usually dressed in typical Bavarian attire and sound amazing. Phil and I learned this early on when we met some friends to sing karaoke near our home. You put a mic in front of a German with a strong accent and all of a sudden they become Bon Jovi, with absolutely no accent. Needless to say we did not sing that night.

Ok, back to the Berg Fest. It is happening now until the 20th of June and is just a 5 or 6 minute walk from our flat. This is another highlight of the festival for us. I love being able to open our bedroom windows and hear the sounds of people cheering, bands playing and overall merriment. It is so German and I love it. Oh and yes, there are people dressed in lederhosen and dirndls as far as the eye can see.

Phil and I met up with his group from work and enjoyed a few hours of people watching and listening to a great band.

I will just share a few pictures with your since we plan on going back this weekend with our friends from the States and will be sharing more later. I should also mention that we have recently purchased a dirndl and a pair of lederhosen for the event. I can't wait to put on my dirndl.


The table beside ours.

Some of the food.

And of course the gingerbread hearts.

Festivals like this make me really happy to be living in Bavaria.
More pictures and stories to come.