Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Dublin

Well, with nothing better to do for the weekend, Ellery and I took a quick trip to Dublin.

We left late Wednesday night, arrived in Manchester, UK for a short layover, and got to Dublin before noon. After dropping our bags off at our hotel -- nothing to write home about but serviceable and within walking distance of the heart of Dublin -- we took a short name and ventured out, first walking along the Liffey, where we caught sight of the new bridge by Calatrava, shaped like a harp, the symbol of Ireland.

Our first real stop was at Trinity College, and a visit to the Book of Kells. Um, OK, underwhelming.

Then it was Grafton Street, the main shopping area of South Dublin. All decked out in lights for Christmas, it was a wonderful introduction to the city. We explored a bit and had a quick Thanksgiving dinner of ... pizza and lasagna.

From there, it was onto the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, led by two actors who punctuated each pub stop with a scene from Beckett, a reading from Joyce, or a bit of wit from Wilde, all the while providing a lot of city history. And, as they prefaced it all by saying there would be a quiz at the end, Ellery took great care to learn all that she could and, sure enough, she tied for the most questions answered (with a little help from mom), netting a small bit of whiskey -- which we promptly traded in for an official Irish Literary Pub Crawl T-Shirt.

Friday took us to Merion Square and the famous statue of Oscar Wilde, the Museum of Art, to hop-on, hop-off bus, and the Kilmainham Gaol -- definitely one of the most interesting tours we've taken, and very much like the tour of Robin Island in South Africa -- tales of politics, prisoners, love of country and, eventually, freedom.

The afternoon sent us to North Dublin and "real" shopping -- for coats, as the temperature had dropped significantly and all signs pointed to snow.

On Friday evening, we went to see The Merry Ploughboys dinner show. While I'm not usually one for touristy stuff, as Ellery was too young to go to the pubs in Temple Bar for local music, we had little choice in the matter. I was pleasantly surprised, however, as the music and dancing were not only good, but so was the food, and the atmosphere really didn't feel all that contrived. All in all, it was a good way to squeeze in some traditional song and dance.

The snow eventually did begin Friday night, and by Saturday morning, it was a full storm. Hence, our planned trip to the Wiklow Mountains was canceled as the roads were closed. Instead, however, we took a trip to the medieval town of Kilkenny, with it's wonderfully restored castle and small streets and alleys.

The trip back to Dublin took us to the Rock of Dunamase, the ruins of a Twelfth Century castle, that we climbed about for a while before returning to Dublin.

As we had an early flight home on Sunday morning, we finished the trip with a relaxing evening in the hotel, watching the snow continue to fall.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back From Curacao

A few photos from our relaxing week in the Western Caribbean

First, from our hotel, the Kura Hulanda:

Beach and Boating:

Next, a few shots from around Willemstaed:

Finally, some shots from the North Sea Jazz Fest:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Washington, DC - May, 2010

San Francisco For The Weekend

Monday, August 2, 2010

You Are There (or, rather, We Were There)

That "Jordanian luxury hotel" is the one Ellery and I stayed in at this time 2 years ago.


Rocket kills 1, injures 5 near Jordanian luxury hotel

Reporting from Cairo —

A rocket apparently aimed at an Israeli resort on the Red Sea landed Monday near a luxury hotel in neighboring Jordan, killing one person and wounding five others in an attack probably launched by Islamic militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
Jordanian officials said a rocket struck in front of the InterContinental Hotel in Aqaba about 7:45 a.m. The attack was part of salvo of as many as five rockets fired toward the Israeli town of Eilat, which sits along the coast a few miles from Aqaba.

"The rocket was launched from outside the country," said Ali Al Ayed, the Jordanian minister for media affairs and communication.


Friday, July 30, 2010


Definitely one of the best contemporary galleries I've ever been to.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Planning the Next Trip - Curacao

Well, better late than never, summer vacation plans have been set. No big trip this year -- Greece and Turkey, New Zealand, and all the other places that had been in the mix will go back into the line-up. For this year, a simple week in Curacao.
Our hotel for the trip -- the Hotel Kura Hulanda. I think the website describes it well:

Hotel Kurá Hulanda Spa and Casino is a 80-room luxury boutique resort located within a village complex known as Project Kurá Hulanda an initiative of Jacob Gelt Dekker. This historic and environmental preservation project is funded by the Jade Foundation, which was established by Jacob Gelt Dekker and John Padget. Within this village complex are several outstanding properties in addition to the hotel, which comprise the project that spans 8-blocks. These properties include a 21st century conference center, the Museum Kurá Hulanda (a world-acclaimed anthropological museum), Spa Kurá Hulanda, and the Casino Kurá Hulanda.

The hotel boasts 80 guest rooms and suites, no two of which are alike. Every accommodation features hand carved furnishings, antiques and art, hand-painted walls, luxurious comforters and fine linens, creating an international appeal infused with modern touches such as flat screen televisions and high speed wireless internet.

Ah, but it gets even better, because we'll be there for the first Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. I know it doesn't sound like much, but the line-up includes Lionel Richie, George Benson, Simply Red, Natalie Cole, John Legend and Sergio Mendes.

Yeah, who knew Simply Red still existed?

Monday, April 5, 2010


While not our most "successful" ski trip ever, Utah again did not disappoint. And I fell in love with Alta ... I may never ski anywhere else again.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


It's been so cold and snowy here in Philly that I feel the need to warm up -- a photo of Petra in Jordan should do the trick.
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