Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Our next stop in Northern Ireland was Giant's Causeway. We were lazy so we took the bus. In our defense, it is a pretty long walk, and I wasn't super excited about carrying Alyssa.

Alyssa is going through a phase where she doesn't like her picture taken.

The views are breathtaking. I don't really have much to say on this one aside from the fact that it amazes me that these hexagonal stones are naturally formed. From what I've read, it is the result of volcanic activity. There is a myth about Giant's Causeway, though, that it was a giant, Finn MacCool that was building a bridge to Scotland.

Alyssa was more interested in the flowers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland

Our first day in Northern Ireland, we drove along the coast to hit a few tourist sites. One of Jonathan's co-workers told him about this amazing rope bridge. I was a little nervous to take the kids, but it was amazing.

It's quite a walk to get to the bridge, but it was worth it.

Here is the crew on our way to the bridge.

There were so many stairs to go down to get to the actual bridge.

Here is a side view of the bridge. It's difficult to get a good picture of it when you're right next to it.

They were pretty excited to make the walk over. The board is pretty narrow so it's definitely a single-file kind of thing.

This photo is almost the same as the previous one, but I wanted to sneak in a little more of the views.

The boys enjoyed doing a little exploring.

Do you see those cliff faces?!? The mama bear in me was freaking out a bit. Stunning views, though.

Kobe wanted to be the first to go over on the way back. He thought he was pretty cool.

Here's Grandpa waving on his way back over the bridge.

The stairs weren't quite as fun on the way back.

Next up--Giants Causeway. Hopefully I'll get those up before the week is over (wishful thinking--I know). It was a good day for sightseeing. Both were incredibly impressive locations. I'd have to say that this coastal area of Northern Ireland, of all of the places I've ever been, is the most beautiful.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Taste of Ireland

Jonathan's parents came to Scotland to visit us this past week, and since the kids had a four day weekend, we took a trip to Ireland. It was an interesting experience taking our car over on the ferry. The ferry ride was only about two hours and it was a little unnerving as the water was a bit choppy that morning. Surprisingly it didn't affect the smoothness of the ride too much and we arrived without any motion sickness issues (Phew!).

After leaving the ferry, we drove along some winding and very hilly roads. The kids were enjoying the stomach dropping sensation and raising their arms as if they were on roller coasters. As we were making our way to our first site, we were driving along the coast and found a great place to stop for a picnic.

After lunch, the kids enjoyed roaming around the coast. Alyssa, Devon, and Grandma discovered a section that was covered with caterpillars. You had to be cautious of where you walked to avoid stepping on them.

The views were amazing. It was a bit chilly, but definitely worth the stop.

More photos to come in the next few days. We spent time in Port Rush, Dublin, and Belfast. So many pictures to share!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paris Day 3

For day three we made our way to the Louvre. You can't go to Paris without sneaking a peak one of the most famous paintings in the world. On our way we saw the Obelisk.

Below is our little crew before we got in the line for the Louvre. 

The line wasn't too long, but Kobe wanted his picture taken by the fountain in front while we waited.

Once we were inside, we headed straight to the Mona Lisa.

I'm glad that we went to see it. It's much more interesting in person. You can't get very close because it's roped off and behind glass, but I was surprised that the colors seemed to be more beautiful than the reproduced images I've seen. We had been told that it was really small, but it was a decent size. 

Alyssa had no clue what was going on, but we took her picture anyway.

After the Mona Lisa, we went to the opposite wing to see the Napoleon Apartments. Craziness, I tell you. It's amazing how ornate the decorations were.

After the Louvre, we went over to the Latin Quarter to get some lunch. We ate at a little cafe. Jonathan and I had french onion soup, and it was delicious. After lunch, we made our way over to Notre Dame Cathedral.

We all went inside and had a look around.

After touring the inside, we decided to wait in a ridiculously long line to check out the top of the cathedral. There are 400 steps up and no elevator. I ended up staying down with Alyssa. Our sweet little stinker girl didn't walk almost the entire trip and Jonathan and I took turns carrying her everywhere. The thought of carrying her up 400 steps was just too much.

The boys went up and Alyssa and I sat in the square and colored. The boys were able to see the gargoyles and enjoy the view from up top.

We had tickets to the Eiffel Tower so that was our next destination. I'm glad we bought our tickets a few weeks in advance because that line was looooong.

When we were at the first level of the Eiffel Tower, still very high up, we saw this sign. Haha! I just had to take a picture.

It was very cold at the top, but the view was amazing.

I used my zoom lens to get this picture of the sister Statue of Liberty. We'd seen it a few times while walking around, but I'd never taken a photo.

One more day to go. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Paris Day 2

Day number two in Paris was a little less rushed. We slept in and had a slow day wandering to different sites. 

After breakfast, we took the bus over to Napoleon's Tomb. We opted not to go in and to head to our next destination--Rodin Gardens.

You can't go to the Rodin Gardens without taking a picture in front of "The Thinker" with the famous thinking pose. Kobe and Alyssa weren't game. Devon looks cute though.

We made Nathan take one alone doing the thinking pose, but I'm kind enough to not post that one. You're welcome Nathan.

Above, my strange children are doing weird poses, while wandering around the Rodin Gardens. The extent of their goofiness never ceases to amaze me. I wonder where they get that? Note to my mother--do not answer that question.

"The Gates of Hell" is pretty amazing. It is so incredibly detailed and several of his other sculptures can be found within it.

It's a beautiful view of the Museum looking across the grass in the garden. It was obstructed by the scaffolding the day we were there, but I took the photo anyway. We learned that the Rodin Museum is the only one is Paris that does not accept government funding. It operates privately and raises funds by allowing the use of it's gardens for events. After the Rodin Gardens, we made our way through the streets of Paris to our next sight seeing destination.

We stopped at a few bakeries along the way. The croissants were heavenly--especially the chocolate chip ones. Poor Nathan purchased what he thought was a toffee eclair only to discover that it was a coffee eclair. None of us being fond of coffee flavor, it made its way to the trash.

Devon liked the chocolate chip ones too. I'm surprised he doesn't have his signature food 'stache because they were nice and warm with melted chocolate.

After getting a few sandwiches for lunch, we went to the Orsay Museum. No photography is allowed inside, but we really enjoyed looking at the art. There was a section of Van Gogh paintings that we enjoyed as well as several Monet paintings. The kids favorite was a model of areas of Paris that was shown under clear tiles that you could walk over. It was interesting viewing the art work with our children. Lots of nude work, and it made Devon a little uncomfortable.

For dinner we went to L'EntrecĂ´te. There are several called that around Paris. I think it's a style more than a chain. It has steak and frites (french fries) with a green pepper sauce. It was delicious. If you're ever in Paris, you have to try it.

After dinner we walked over to the Arc de Triomphe. We were hoping to go to the top, but it was closed by the time we arrived.

Underneath the Arc de Triomphe lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Wow! Day two is done and you didn't have to wait a month. Maybe my slacker days are behind me.