A little travel advice. What not to do…

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I like to think of myself as a relatively wise traveler.  I’ve watched Hostel, I know what can happen.  And, while being kidnapped and sold to a twisted, ‘Men’s Club’, isn’t, I hope, a likely scenario, I would still like to try and do everything in my power to prevent such an event from actually taking place.  All of this being said, on our most recent travels I must admit to doing something exceptionally stupid.  But, I will premise this with a story leading up to the stupid act in hopes you will understand why my judgement slipped and I agreed to something that could have potentially ended very poorly.

It was the final day of our most recent trip.  We had just stepped off of a nine hour flight and were getting ready for our final aviation journey which would take us home to our fuzzy housemates and comfy bed.  I was tired, hungry, and quite ready for our last stretch of travel.  Unfortunately the weather had other intentions. The snow was angrily falling from the sky creating chaos throughout the airport.  As expected, our flight, along with 250 other flights, was cancelled.  After waiting in long lineups of irate customers and warming my ear listening to elevator music, hoping an operator would tell me what to do in such a situation, we were finally granted tickets home for the following day and reservations at a hotel to spend the night.  Little did we know that not having toothbrushes or a change of underwear would be the least of our problems…

With new tickets and reservations in hand we headed outside with 2000+ disgruntled travelers, all attempting to squeeze onto one of the five eight-passenger hotel shuttles forever on their thirty minute loops, seemingly to never empty with each new circuit.  Needless to say, our situation wasn’t improving.  Two hours in the wet, stormy weather later and our shuttle still hadn’t driven by.  After tracking down a phone that would allow us to dial out, we were greeted with the information that we were expected to call for the shuttle to come pick us up.  Also, it was booked solid for the next two hours.  Fantastic.  At this point the $100 cab ride to our hotel was sounding extremely appealing.

Now enters the young backpacker we had been conversing with on and off throughout our evening.  We find out he has a reservation number for the same hotel as us and we agree to share a cab and split the fee. This should have been the first red flag but I was hungry, cold, wet, tired, frustrated and clearly wasn’t on the top of my game.  He only told us he was staying at the same hotel after we told him where we were headed.  Never offer information like this.  Ever.  Strangers do not need to know where you are staying.  I don’t know why we told him.

So together we call a taxi and wait.  And we wait longer.  Many other taxis pull up, but ours does not.  We have now been standing outside in a blizzard for close to three hours waiting for a shuttle bus that didn’t know we were expecting it and a taxi cab which was much less enthusiastic than it’s ten minute expected arrival time.  Somewhere in the mess of people, shuttles, and snow, we were separated from our new traveling-companion.

While scanning the busy lanes for someone willing to take us to a hotel, any hotel, our ‘friend’ pulls up in the front seat of a ‘taxi’ and tells us to hop in.  Red flag number two.  There is no hood mount or door decal on the car.  Of course, these things didn’t occur to me until I was already buckled into the back seat of the vehicle.

I make very concerned eye-contact with my husband but he doesn’t understanding where my horror-movie-driven-fear is coming from.  I send him a text so as not to say these things out loud, asking where the trip meter was and why there were fast-food wrappers all over the vehicle and why our camping-savvy friend is conversing with the driver as though they are long lost friends.  My hands are clammy, my heat-rate has quickened, and I am starting to worry.  We are in an unfamiliar city, inside a smelly vehicle driven by a man who I was quite convinced wants to sell my kidneys on the black market and there wasn’t a soul within ear shot.  In the distant I can see a convenience store and pondered if he would stop if I tell him I just got my period and needed tampons.  I assume not.  A man who is willing to perform bathtub surgery surely wouldn’t be put off by the sight of blood.  The 15 minute drive felt like 45 and even when we finally spot the street our hotel is on I am still convinced the two men in the front seat are plotting whose appendix they are going to put on ice first.

I’m here, weeks later with all of my internal organs so obviously we escaped alive.  However, this experience was a little too realistic for my horror-movie-loving self and I do not care to press rewind and watch again.

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Howth, Ireland

One of the very first times I dipped my toes in the ocean was on a trip to Prince Edward Island.  I fell in love with the water, the boats, the seafood, and yes, even the seagulls.  The scent of salt on the air was comforting and I, so desperately, wanted to call the East coast, ‘home’.

On our recent trip to Ireland, we planned a quick adventure out to see the ocean.  We spent the morning exploring the quaint little coastal village of Howth.  Seconds after setting foot on the damp pavement, I spotted a sign for a used book sale and knew it would be a great morning.  After feeding my weakness and purchasing many smelly old books I don’t really need, we wandered around the water’s edge and watched some of the fishing boats come in.  The breeze was heavy with the scent of fish, attracting seals into the harbor.  We have a fantastic video of the fishermen feeding the begging seals as they were unloading their boats.

We stayed in the village for an amazing lunch of fresh seafood before heading back to Dublin.  Our morning in Howth definitely tops the list of one of my favorite stops while visiting Ireland!

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The Streets of Ireland

I’m a sucker for details.   And, Ireland overwhelmed my desire to photograph details.  I loved every single piece of street art, the bits of moss growing between the cobblestone, the ornately sculpted designs above every door, all of it!  So today, I’m sharing a few of the hundreds of details that stopped me in my tracks.

*Nearly all of these photos were taking with my iPhone 4s*

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Glendalough, Ireland

As promised, I’m starting my posts from my adventures in Ireland!

I wanted to share the images I took while in Glendalough with you first because they are some of my favorites 🙂  I was shooting with my tilt-shift lens for the day and am quite happy with the perfectly imperfect feel it gives the images.

On the day we visited Glendalough it was chilly and snowing lightly, but the walk around the beautiful park and monastic ruins was breathtaking.  It was wonderful to step out of the city and into a country setting.  Later this day we were even forced to pull our car over and wait for a very large herd of sheep to pass!  I have a video of it that I’ll try to post at some point too.

After exploring the country sights we cleaned ourselves up and headed the Ritz Carlton where we had an amazing meal at the chef’s table in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, which was, undoubtedly, one of the highlights of our trip.

Hope you enjoy this first installment of my travels 🙂

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Greetings from Dublin!

My apologies for being able to hear the crickets on this page over the last week or so. I have a really good excuse, I promise! I have been exploring the cobblestone streets of Dublin, Ireland. The country is beyond beautiful and I have been soaking in every minute. My plan, for when I get home, is to do a handful of posts outlining my time here, so check back for that later this week! Until then, I have attached my favourite photo from yesterday. A seagull photo bomb taken in Howth, Ireland.

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Frida Kahlo – Clothing Exhibit

While in University working on my degree I was forced to take a second language as part of my degree requirements.  So, I signed up for my Spanish 100 course.  While I undoubtedly struggled learning the language, I was happy with my decision.  After completing my first Spanish course, I was presented with an amazing opportunity to travel to Mexico City for a few weeks.

I have always loved the culture and was beginning to learn the language making this trip truly a once in a lifetime experience.  Once I set foot on the streets of this magnificent city, my love for all things Mexican only deepened.  Before I left for my trip I had started to do research on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.  Her self-portraits drew me in and I quickly became obsessed with learning everything I could about her life and art.

Me in Mexico City in front of a very large statue of Frida Kahlo.
Me in Mexico City in front of a very large statue of Frida Kahlo.

When Kahlo passed away, her husband Diego Rivera ordered her abstract collection of clothing to be boxed up and locked away.  A few years later, Rivera also passed away.  All of Kahlo’s clothing remained packed up and out of the public eye.  Until recently that is.  La Casa Azul is now in possession of those beautiful pieces of, what I would consider to be, an extension of her art.  They currently have many of the items from her wardrobe on display for the public to view.  There is some more information about it in the video below…

Here’s the part that has me so incredibly excited and itching to head back to the city to see this exhibit.  They said that her clothes still smelled of her perfume and cigarette smoke!  There were remnants of paint on the articles of clothing she wore while creating her masterpieces.  This gives me goosebumps.  I can not imagine what that must have been like for the curators unpacking the clothing and setting up the displays.