Sunday, April 3, 2011
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Lions and oxen will sleep in the hay,
Saturday, November 6, 2010
My friends indulged me with a very early start to see the 'Mass Acension' at dawn on October 1, the first day of the Fiesta. One piece of advice for anyone who plans to do the park-n-ride is to go VERY early (people in the front of the line had to have been there by 5:00am because we got there at 6:30 and there were hundreds in line ahead of us...) We ended up getting turned away because the buses were stopping at a certain hour. And after seeing the lines of people waiting to get home from the event on the park-n-ride buses, I would tell anyone to just drive themselves. That's what we ended up doing and there was little traffic.
Once at the Fiesta, however, we found that the headache was well worth it. Hundreds of hot air balloons were in various stages of lifting off- from unpacking the balloon, to blowing up the balloon (it was all just air- no gas) and to lifting off. The public is welcome to mingle on the field with the balloon teams, ask questions, take photos, help set up, etc. I took over 350 photos in the 3 hours we were there. Here's just a sample...
After we were fiesta'd out, we hopped in the rental and started our drive up to Santa Fe, NM via the 'Turquoise Trail'. You can access this scenic by-way by driving I-40 East out of Albuquerque to Route 14 North. The trail cuts a rural path through the countryside, passing several tourist attractions, scenic stops and quirky small towns. One town we stopped in was Madrid, a mining town built in the 1800s. When the use of coal died down, the town died. But in the 1970s, it became a popular artist community. We parked our car on the side of the road and made our way to the various art galleries and craft shops. I would definitely recommend a stop here for lunch, although we continued on to Santa Fe for an early dinner.
Some highlights in Santa Fe include:
- The Palace of Governors- Local Indians line up here in the mornings to sell their handicrafts- you'll have trouble choosing which piece of jewelry to buy! The museum inside is one of the best history museums I've been to- it told a very interesting story of New Mexico, Santa Fe and the building itself, which has changed over time.
- Eating!!! Man, we ate a lot! Some of the restaurants we hit were: Cafe Pasqual's (pricey breakfast fare, but it was ok), Coyote Cafe (had a very good dinner on the rooftop cantina- and the watermelon mojito was good, too!), El Farol (great tapas restaurant with yummy sangria and has a bar attached that features live music nightly), The Shed (great tacos but get there early if you plan on lunch or you'll be stuck with an hour wait), and Il Piatto (good Italian). Wow- it's making me hungry again thinking of these places!!
- Georgia O'Keefe Museum- located downtown, it's an easy place to visit. The $12 entry is pricey for the size of the collection, but if you're a fan, I would recommend it as it featured pieces I never knew she'd done.
- The Plaza is great for people-watching!
- Shopping. You can find everything from designer clothes to kitchy tourist items, but one thing Santa Fe does not skimp on is shopping!
We never made it over to Canyon Road to visit the art galleries but we did do a scenic side trip up Bishops Lodge Road into the mountains (we climbed over 2,000 feet). I would tell anyone that Santa Fe is worth a good long weekend- especially around Balloon Fiesta time!!! If you'd like to see more of my balloon photos, click here: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=redhd2872&target=ALBUM&id=5525106115771947793&authkey=Gv1sRgCKGBnfq5z4e0FA&feat=email
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to return to this nice little country, but I hope so! And I will definitely plan a side trip to the Kruger National Park- one of the best game-viewing areas in Africa!!
Monday, September 6, 2010
I decided to start my week in Dublin with a visit to one of it's suburbs, Malahide. A 20 minute ride on the DART commuter train, Malahide might as well have been a village in the middle of the Dingle Peninsula. The train station is right next to the village, and signs tell you the way to both the village and Malahide Castle, which was my first destination. A 15 minute walk will get you to the castle itself, and the walk is enjoyable. Open to the public, the park consists of playing fields, picnic areas and a large playground. Because of the weather, families were out in droves and, though I had to dodge strollers and bikes, it was fun to watch them all enjoy themselves. I heard more than one parent say 'ok, then, we're walking away....you can stay if you want, but we're leaving.....' Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.
I caught this family playing a game of 'Duck Duck Goose' in front of the castle and I couldn't resist taking a shot. I just love this photo! I wish I'd had the foresight to ask them for their email so I could send them the picture, but they packed up and left before I thought of it.
I made my way down to the village and to the harbor, stopping along the way at a Farmers Market to, of course, buy some jewelry. I thought about buying some soda bread, but I'm glad I didn't, as that was all the hotel served for their 'Continental Breakfast' for the next four days!
Another area I explored in the city itself was the Temple Bar District, which I didn't realize was NOT named because of it's numerous...well....bars! Sir William Temple built his house and gardens on the land in the 1600's and his son, Sir John (evidently an early land developer) built a new sea wall, acquired more land and developed the area into something similar to what is there now. 'Barr' back then meant a 'raised sandbank'- usually meant for walking on. (or so the nice plaque on the wall said...) Nevertheless, the area is lousy with pubs and late night clubs now. It's a little rough around the edges- not as polished or touristy as Grafton Street. But it was a great place to people watch and take photos! If I were 10 years younger, maybe it would have been a great place for some other activities, too....
I was also fortunate enough to get a chance to see the U.S. Ambassador's Residence, located in Phoenix Park. It is legendary in my office and I've heard so many things about it. I learned that Winston Churchill actually spent some childhood years there, too! The grounds are beautiful- and all the views include the park, which itself is quite impressive as the largest park in Europe.
A wonderful trip, indeed. For more photos, click here: