Tag Archives: train

hello again, Seattle

last year was such a blast at the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon, we decided to do it again.  This morning we got on a Southwest flight to first Denver and then Seattle.  Southwest lets you stream Apple Music over wifi, for free.  Flying In the clouds with access to every song out there, what’s not to love? 

  
We watched Interstellar and munched on Barbara Peanut Butter Puffins cereal.  #happybaby

Always traveling with a Lululemon Infinity Scarf, and our Bose noise-canceling. Best headphones I’ve ever bought.

  
Arrive in Seattle, get to the Link Rail and take it down to the International Station to check our bags so we can explore.

  
We head to Pike’s Place Market. Pick up some pluots and admire the beautiful, super cheap bouquets of flowers. Mama, I wish I could send them all back to you! The photo will have to suffice. 

   
 
Panama Jack was craving roasted corn as we passed their stand. Of course we had to get an ear.  Corn is the new black, such a delicious summer treat!

  
We stopped at a cute, new spot on Jackson Street, called Intrigue Chocolate Co.

  
A dapper, bearded young fellow was behind the counter.  He asked if we had time for a tasting (they do those at chocolate shops?!), to which we happily obliged. The dark chocolate truffles were infused with Basil and Peppercorn, among other things, he poured us each a glass of chamomile tea to cleanse our palate.  All were delicious, and we grabbed a few for the road. 

  
   
 
We went to michou for a late lunch, incredible sandwiches and salads.  We settled on the Sierra turkey and a handful of dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice).  Excellent, so fabulous, we wanted a bite of everything!

   
   
Downtown Seattle has some great people watching, so we spent some time meandering and enjoying the beautiful sunny afternoon.

   
 
On our way back to the train station, we stopped at Storyville Coffee for an iced brew latte. That 4:45am rise-time is catching up to us.

   
    
 
An hour and some change later, we are back at the train station and ready to roll.  

I love, love, LOVE adventures with this man.  He makes my heart smile.  We are just getting started, and I cannot wait to leave a billion footprints all over this earth. 

  
Currently riding the Amtrak train, a la Harry Potter, along the coastline up to Vancouver. 

I’m enjoying a watermelon honey stick from Pike’s Place Market while Brett plays DJ as the sun is setting out the train window. 

   
   
See you in a few hours Vancouver!

Feeling incredibly blessed,

em j

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Heading home

Our last morning in Vancouver!  We showered and scrambled to get all of our clothes into our suitcases.  All that Lululemon took up some extra space we weren’t expecting.  Some Sitting on the Lid to Zip took place.  Finally, we were off.  Wheeling our heavy rollers down the streets of Vancouver once more.  It’s nice the train station wasn’t more than a quarter mile from home base.
We boarded and snuggled into our seats.  Part of the trip was giggling, the other part was playing our card game.  It felt like Harry Potter… the train taking us through the green forests of Canada thru the US border.  I hope’d there’d be a candy cart like in the movie series… but no luck.  We found our way to the food car and grabbed breakfast : bagels and coffee
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I didn’t take pics when we arrived in Seattle because I was too busy hugging my best girlfriends.  We departed the train and those with flights leaving caught the tram from downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac International Airport.  Kates and I had the latest flights out so we spent the afternoon downtown.
Downtown Seattle was bustling with activity.  We had a taste testing (i.e. hydrating) stop at DRY Soda whose headquarters are in Seattle.
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We found a tiny paper store on a corner called de Medici Ming – French for..?
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We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but of course I took one. A wall of wrapping paper, unique cards… we both got a journal and chatted with the little lady who hand wrote our receipts.
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We watched some music acts at Pike’s Place and sent a SnapChat to the ladies at the airport.  Filling them in on our adventures thus far.
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We grabbed sandwiches and seaweed wrapped rice rolls from Michou before we headed back in the direction of the tram.

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One more selife to complete the adventure.  The last two standing.  Waiting on the tram platform to take us to SeaTac.

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I’m going to miss Vancouver, Seattle, and all of the adventures we had.  Each girl’s trip weekend brings new conversation, memory making, and new culinary discoveries.

I’m going to miss getting coffee-to-go and dancing in the streets.  Giggling and taking the sights in.  Dayshopping in Gastown and sampling pastries at Nelson the Seagull.  Dining at The Lamplighter … Vancouver, it’s been real.

Seattle, you’re beautiful
Until next girl’s trip, two-thousand and fourteen…
xo
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Good Morning Sunday!

We slept like queens.  A deep restless sleep that only broke when the sun started to shine through the curtains.  We didn’t have much of a plan for Sunday besides enjoying our last full day in Vancouver.  A massage, food, and laughing.  That’s about as far as we got with our planning our day, typical girl’s trip.

A little research showed that a mile or so away was a great coffee shop, so we headed in that direction.  Wanting to stretch out our legs a little and get some fresh air, we decided to walk.  It was a bit brisk and somewhat overcast.

IMG_7307The cute coffee shop we headed to is called 49th Parallel

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They share space with Lucky’s Doughnuts – and why wouldn’t that be the case?  Good coffee and good doughnuts belong within whispering distance of one another.

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The branding catches my eye within seconds and we don’t leave the shop without a few tshirts, mugs and other 49th Parallel swag.

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We picked a few doughnuts to share- it was hard to choose – I wanted one of everything!  We found a circle booth and spent the morning laughing, gossiping, and reliving past memories.  Sipping on our iced lattes, hot coffee, and chai teas.

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What a nice morning.

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After a few hours at the 49th Parallel, we leave, walking on the overcast Vancouver streets towards a spot for brunch.  We had spent a few hours at the coffee shop.  We walked to our apartment, changed clothes, and headed in the direction of a spot we wanted to explore for brunch.  When Miss Molly’s in the group, we WILL be finding a brunch spot on Sunday.  She’s a brunch-hunting queen!

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This took place at a small, but incredibly busy restaurant called Fable.  This is one of your traditional fable to table hot spots (which I LOVE!) – whose marketing and design is also one for the record books.

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Talk about not judging a book by it’s cover.  That seems to be all I do.  A menu, a price sheet, art on the wall… it gets me every time!

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Inside Fable it was packed to the brim with patrons.  An entire wall was a chalkboard filled with doodles and designs.  There were backlit images of farm life.

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The light overhead was designed with pitchforks (hello, farm life!)

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And you know what we did at Fable?  While we sipped on our brunch beverages (mimosas and caesar’s [i.e. bloody mary])?  While we enjoyed a Sunday morning with wholesome individuals eating farm-fresh food.

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My favorite combination of the afternoon?  This one right here:

 

I ordered the Farmer’s Muffin [salad, rosti, sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar and tomato jam].  Divine and delicious.

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After Fable we started our trek towards the direction of a beach.  We didn’t have a lot planned, but knew we wanted to see some water, some mountains, lay in the sun, and get massages at some point.  The sun was shining and we were toasty warm.  Towards the beach we headed, and found our own little spot in the sand to curl up and sun-worship for a few moments.

 

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Halfway through our lounging.  We had to split up – half had massages at one time, the other half later on.  Meg & Moll took the first appointments.  Carla, Kates and I giggled on the beach for another half hour.

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We weren’t sure how long it would take to get to the spa we booked appointments at – so we gathered our tennis shoes and walked back to the main road to hail a taxi.  It drove the three of us to a little downtown shopping spot where Pink Lime Salon & Spa was located.

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It didn’t take as long as we thought, we had time to kill before our massages.  We meandered down the strip of restaurants and bars, searching for a little watering hole to grab a drink at.  The Distillery looked inviting, and we sidled up to the bar for a quick one.

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Our bartender was dressed from the prohibition error and held a conversation well while we picked his brains about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.  As you can see, we had the place to our selves and as always, enjoyed our time there.

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Our time was up and we headed to Pink Lime. We had three massage appointments and two masseuses available.  Unless Vancouver-masseuses had some magical technique where they could massage two people at once, it just didn’t add up.  Carla decided to sit this one out and headed to explore the other shops with Meg and Molls while Kates and I got some knots loosened.

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As you can see, the plush robes were nice.  I enjoyed them.  Kates and I hung out in the waiting lounge until the rooms were ready.  Our masseuses walked up and introduced themselves and led us both into the same room.  There were two tables there and candles lit.  Cue the romantic spa music.  When the masseuses instructed us to unrobe before they left the room to let us do so… we lost it. Apparently we’re getting a couple’s massage.  We shrugged and said, “whatever!” as we threw off our robes and hung them up behind the door.

Sixty minutes later, we gathered our clothes and settled our bill at the front desk.  The other girls were found noshing at a restaurant down the way.  They settled their tab and left.  We jumped on the underground subway in hopes we were heading in the direction of our apartment.  Only slightly turned around, we ended up walking quite aways.  Now the time is about 7:00pm and we are, surprise surprise, hungry.

That little spot located near our home base, Tap & Barrel, seemed as good a place as any to grab one last little dining experience.

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The sun was setting, the mood was positive.  We played another round of CAH while we sat on the rooftop and the day slowly turned to night.

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Our walk home  along the boardwalk of Olympic Village was gorgeous.  And humbling. We’ll miss this spot and all of our memories of Vancouver.
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Ciao,

xo

 

Listening to.

Dreaming of.

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hello, Vancouver!

Good mornnnnnnnnning, Vietnam!!!!!!!!! I mean, Vancouver! What an early morning. This apartment has many rooms and 90% of them are lined with windows that show off our spectacular view on the 16th floor of this building.

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We look over the ocean inlet of the Science World and BC Place, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Both monuments light up like Christmas trees at night – beautiful!

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We found that the large mirrors in the foyer turn out to be great group photo tools. And we all know I love photos.

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We searched for a solid breakfast joint and we absolutely found it. Well, it took a little bit of adventure on E Hastings Street. Slightly nerve-racking, more about that later.

Breakfast takes place at a coffee + waffle spot called Cafe Medina. It’s a spot where there’s a wait, always, and well worth it. There’s fresh waffles in the entryway window. We ordered coffees (lavender latte for me) and enjoyed the fresh air out front while we waited. Foam heart etched into mine. #lucky

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Half hour wait and then we’re in! The place seemed to have 15-20 tables and every single plate brought out from the kitchen looked fabulous. We perused the menu and decided on cocktails to start. It doesn’t matter that it’s 10am when you order your first cocktail when you’re on vacation. Moll had a Moroccan Mimosa while the rest of us ordered Medina Lemonades: sparkling water, lavender, gin and mint.

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You could order a single homemade waffle and unique topping. We ordered the waffle + white chocolate pistachio rosewater. And another waffle + fig orange marmalade. The rosewater pistachio was stupid good. Like, are you kidding? What is this stuff? Heaven??

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For an entree, Kate’s and I split the Saumon Fume: open faced ciabatta sandwich- fried egg, smoked salmon, caper cream cheese, sliced avocado, arugula, peppadew and artichoke salad. Yum.

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The rest of the afternoon, we wandered round Gastown and peeked in different boutiques. One called Meadow. Cute little gifts and baby things. This mug called my name – the quote speaks true to my life – always on the go.

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And there was a small white shelf of little stuffed handmade animals. I knew my mama woulda bought them all, cause she’s cute like that. They made me want a child immediately. JUST FOR A SEC

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We grabbed java at Smart Mouth Cafe – cute presentation and the creamiest chai teas.

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Different boutiques had necklaces, pictures, glassware, throw pillows. Everything was lit with shadows and modern lines. I found a horse print I wanted to buy my mama but thought $1,500 was a tad pricey. Sorry mama…

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A clothing boutique had a circular book stack for their dressing room. Really?? What a cool touch!

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After we thoroughly explored Gastown, we kept hiking and out front of Nelson the Seagull I realized I had to pee right NOW! In exchange for a bathroom visit, I bought a chocolate croissant.

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Apparently on Wednesdays they have free yoga in the middle of their cafe and afterwards, everyone has a big family dinner. How awesome? They make their own bread and the emptied tables looked as though the patrons had been there for hours and talked about the deepest of secrets together. What a great spot.

We jumped to a highly recommended place called Rodney’s for bloody Mary’s. I mean, Caesars… they use clamato juice and therefore their bloodies are called something different. We spent a good two hours there, quizzing the oyster boys and enjoying ourselves at the bar. Our bartender, Joel, even shredded fresh horseradish for us – divine!

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Megan made it so we paid and left. We hiked back to the apartment, and lounged for awhile at home. Dinner took place around 9:30pm at Tap & Barrel.

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Love these girls. And I love our memories.

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Tomorrow is Friday. A new day in ‘Couve
Xo

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a slower pace in Seattle

Molly landed next. Then Katie. And the three of us jumped on the Light Link Rail and rode the tram all the way to International District/Chinatown. The Amtrak station is located there and would hold our bags for a measly $4 while we explored downtown Seattle. The weather is stunning, sun shines and a cool breeze blows.

The first order of business was a drink. And soon. We asked a passerby where a good local watering hole is located and they recommended FX McRorys around the corner. We hightailed it there and found a spot at a high top. The bar was insanely impressive. I tried to take a pano but there was just too much. Any liquor you could ever want, in every flavor and infusion. There was a ladder to reach the top shelf bottles. A round of Long Islands were in order and truly appreciated.

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We anxiously awaited Carley’s arrival and when she showed up, we were that much closer to a full crew. Giggles, drinks, and a few too-garlicky apps were consumed before we blew that pop stand. There may have been a desperate q-tip session in there prior to departure. Sometimes it’s a seriously necessary action, even when smack dab in the middle of a Seattle bar.

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Off we went, walking blocks and blocks to Pikes Place Market. Fresh flowers, produce, and amazing pastries everywhere! We were on stimulation overload and slightly tipsy.

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There was a little ice cream place called Shy Giant Frozen Yogurt. The flavors were ridiculous. I settled for Honey Lavender and Pistachio. Both if which were divine. Totally worth the $6 price tag.

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A spot I stopped last year for cherries was still there, although no cherries this year. He did have some sort of plum grape hybrid that tasted a bit like coconut and greatness.

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We shopped more, people watched even more, and surprise surprise, ended up at Von’s Gustrobistro for mimosas and my randomly chosen vodka martini.

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Megan was due to get in any minute now. As we were paying our tab, she called and told us the airline lost her luggage. That is the worst case scenario for the situation we had since timing was crucial. She ended up spending the night in Seattle with some friends and waited for her luggage. In the morning she’ll jump on the bus and meet us in Couve’.

The time was getting closer to train departure so we headed towards Kings Street Station. Due to the fact we’ve all been traveling nonstop, we grabbed a little caffeine pick me up at Zeitgeist Coffee. Cutest condiment bar ever.

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The Amtrak Station was packed. The train was sold out. Not a seat left. We were late to the party (surprised?) and very near the back of the line. We waited our turn and by the time we got on the train, there was no chance in hell we would find four seats together. We split up and hoped to rearrange once the dust settled.

Half hour into the journey of a 4.25 hour train trek, we finagled seats near each other. We munched on farmers market finds, tried to sit comfortably, and giggled for a large part of our journey. Sometimes louder than our train car mates were happy with. Towards hour 3.5, I was so tired my eyes wouldn’t stay open. So while Molly and I tried to snooze, K and C were the responsible ones. They filled out (and forged) our Declaration Forms and signatures. (thanks mamas!)

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Arrival into Vancouver was as disorganized as ever, luggage stacked outside the train cars, wheelchairs everywhere, people moving like a giant mass towards border patrol and the special people with the stamps that make our passports look more like scrapbooks. We made it through, no strip searches this time. Our apartment was a five-minute walk from the station.

A property manager let us in, at midnight, and showed us up to our apartment on the 16 floor. Walking like zombies, we peeked at the rooms, divvied up the bedrooms and called it a night. The dark sky didn’t show us much of the view but there were shadows, and a cool breeze, and you could hear water, so we were optimistic….

Goodnight from ‘Couve!
xo

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A day of history in Belfast

We woke up with the intent to do a lot of activities, and we accomplished all of them. Yay! Breakfast at the hostel was your typical cereal and toast. We found a cute small cafe to get coffee from called the French Village Cafe and Bakery on Botanic Ave. I got an apple cinnamon muffin for takeaway later.

The first adventure was a Black Taxi Tour. Our driver, Walter, picked us up outside the hostel. The first few sentences with his extremely rough Irish accent had me concerned I wouldn’t understand 80% of what he said. But, turns out it was easy to pick up on. Chelsea and I were the only one on this tour (£15pp), flying solo was slightly more expensive. Walter took us absolutely everywhere. The 90 minute tour spent a lot of time explaining the turmoil between the Catholics and the Protestants (or as Walter said, the British and Irish… because that’s how most of the people living in Northern Ireland view it). There are Irish flags and British flags flying on their perspective sides. We drove along the “peace wall” that divided the two sides of the city. Chelsea and I discussed later on in the evening, how can a wall, 9 meters tall… separating two conflicting groups, be called a ‘peace wall’? Walter stopped at one part and gave us markers to sign our names. We noticed a Steve Jobs graffiti mark nearby.

There were murals protesting many conflicts, political thoughts, people in jail, hunger strikes, everything. A few that showed up quite often were the idea to free Marian Price and memorials about Bobby Sands, the first man to die while on a hunger strike whom was in jail for 14 years because a gun was found in his car… yikes.

Walter said the worst year for Belfast was 1972 when 1,370 bombs exploded and around 470 people died.

He was a wealth of knowledge and pulled the taxi over every now again for us to jump out and snap pics. He kindly dropped us off on the northeast side of the city. This was time and money well spent. To hear firsthand experience while viewing the actual locations was better than any travel book could offer.

Our next adventure was the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience called Titanic Belfast. This is a six-story, six month old, unbelievably awesome exhibit. Student admission is £9.50 and well worth the price. The level of interaction and digital multimedia was amazing – it was truly built to cater to our generation. Halfway into the exhibit was a gondola-style ride that took you thru a day in the life of a shipyard worker (recap: 63 hour workweeks, below minimum wage, paid by the number of rivets completed, death by falling into water/being hit by falling materials from above).

The extensive, real dialogue used by way of telegram was typed out on the walls from the moment Titanic hit an iceberg to when the power went out and there was no more communication. The air became somber amongst the exhibit viewers. I’ve never learned about the Titanic beyond the 21st century movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. There were replicas of the different first class, second class, third class state room on the Titanic. Examples of linens, flatware and carpet. They really detailed every bit of the ship itself as well as the passengers. Impressive.

One small part of the first floor had the actual outfits worn by those actors from the movie, on loan from Century Fox. And last week, the director James Cameron had flown out to view the exhibit. After about 2 hours, our brains were filled up with information.

We walked 20 minutes to the Victoria Square Shopping Centre. The only Apple Store in all of Ireland was located there. We just had to request a tour since we’re so close.

Lunch, in the mall, took place at wagamama, a chic noodle bar. I had the ebi raisukaree. Coconut and lime curry with grilled chicken, peppers, pickled ginger, yum!

The mall was a beautiful covered yet open-air multilevel facility. Many restaurants, a theatre, tons of shops that we explored. Six floors up at the tip top is a 360 degree dome that showcases a rewarding view of Belfast.

We walked towards the hostel and on the way, stopped at The Crown for a Guinness. During the taxi tour, Walter mentioned it was worth visiting. The Crown was packed with both locals and tourists. A small bar with wood ceiling treatment, gold fixtures, and small booths for being separated from the masses at the bar. We shared a small booth with a handful of locals and truly enjoyed all of our conversations. The Guinness was £3.75 and after one, we both counted the pounds and pence that we had left…. not much. We had to head out after we each had a brew.

Continuing in the direction of the hostel, we stop and buy a cheap bottle of red wine to split (£4.99) and Chelsea picked up some pizza for dinner. Back at the hostel, we drink wine out of hostel mugs while eatin some grub (me: leftover wagamama). Our conversation ranged everywhere from religion to love to travel to life and death and I realized, as I have before… I’m so very blessed to have a friend like Chelsea.

It’s not where you are, but who you’re with, that make experiences memorable,
Xo

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ready or not Belfast, here we come

Everyday feels like a gloomy Sunday here, with the rain. Except for us, it’s not gloomy, it’s an adventure. But, could you imagine living here? No sundresses, no skirts, no swimsuits. Pale skin pretty much year round. I love, love passing through but don’t think I could spend my life here in Ireland.

Today we woke up and took super hot showers which resulted in very foggy castle windows. #castleproblems When else are we going to spend the night in a castle? We had to make the most of it! Breakfast was much appreciated before we packed up and shipped out. We took one of the four local taxis to the bus stop where we were dropped off our first day in Collooney. It is on the side of the road, next to a stone wall. The bus was a tad late and it was raining, drizzle-raining that Ireland is so well known for. I passed the time by perfecting my handstands and wearing my hipKNOTies in strategic placement.

The bus arrives at 11:10 and we board. We pay the bus driver in Euros (€17.50) to get to Derry. We make a 15 minute pit stop in Sligo (super cool surfer town that I wished we had a chance to visit… next time!) and spend about 2 hours en route to Derry. In Derry, we really quickly find a toilet (not restroom, or bathroom, they call them toilets) and pee. Then even more quickly we buy our bus ticket to Belfast. This happens within 2 minutes as the bus leaves on time. The currency now has changed to pounds (£) and the fare to Belfast is £11, about $17.58 in US dollars.

The train ride is about 2 hours and the majority of it is spent passing very yellow fields. How are they so yellow and dried out when it is always raining in Ireland? Don’t get me wrong, there has been a TON of greenery here… I’m just shocked to see any dry grass whatsoever.

There are these billboards that say “Old age isn’t a problem, loneliness is” and it makes me want to cry for all the old Irish folk that are lonely. Then I see the many kegs set outside the local taverns and pubs and a string of lyrics come to mind, “I stopped by the bar at 3 am, to seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend” (“Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls). A therapeutic song, YouTube it.

I continued reading the only book I have loaded on my iPad, the second book of the trilogy series, 50 Shades of Gray… the lady a few rows up was reading it, too. Funny how those best sellers span other continents like that.

Finally, finalllllllllly, we arrive in Belfast. One of the bigger cities in Ireland. There are people everywhere, cars everywhere… it really has the hustle and bustle of city life. Urban life. We like it and we find our home at the Global Village hostel about 15 minutes walk from the bus station. I don’t know what has happened but apparently, my bag is bigger than it was. I’ll have to revise my packing strategy as I’ve only bought two tshirts?! The hostel is £55 ($88.00) for 2 people, for 2 nights. This is the way to see a country cheap people. Public transportation and hostel sleeping. You sleep in bunk beds and share bathrooms, but it’s extremely cheaper than a 4 star Hilton… and you meet other people from around the world!

We searched for a dinner spot and settled on boojum, a replica of Chipotle. But better, more eco-friendly, and their burrito bowls tasted very good. We hiked around the city and realized the Apple Store Belfast closed at 6pm. That’s a hell of a time to close?! Six!? How do they make any money? We plan to visit them tomorrow! And request a back of house tour. 🙂

The weather here is much colder than we expected. Between the 50 degrees and drizzling rain, it’s downright bitchin cold. My sweatshirt hoodie and two layers of long sleeves will have to do. A wise man once told me, “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing….”

Chelsea and I end the night sharing a bottle of wine, dark chocolate, and planning tomorrows adventures.

I got the chance to FaceTime the parents home in Minnesota and for the first time I had a pang of homesickness. It’s the people that make time for you, that I plan to make time for. Whether we’re in the same time zone or not. Technology is absolutely freaking amazing. I was able to iChat with them as I vacationed in Costa Rica a few years ago, and now as I adventure throughout Ireland.

I’ll end with a quote I read on the side of a building tonight that, for some reason, resonates with me… and very well may end up as a tattoo someday, in some form….

Today’s plan is already yesterday’s – the streets that were there are gone.

Seize the day people, you only live once,
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another day, another macchiato

Our two hostel mates (sisters from Canada) packed up loudly and left this morning pretty early. It was pretty rough trying to sleep while that went on so we started the day.

Another macchiato at the coffee shop to pair with our hostel breakfast. Fuel for a long days travel. We develop a secret code to use in case we need to dip out of a situation without offending who we’re around. (we would tell you, but then we’d have to kill you).

We pack all our belongings and hiked to the light rail. Before hoping on- we checked to see if ticket checkers were on board… nope. We rode free (scandalous!) like bandits fleeing the city.

The light rail brings us all the way to the Heuston train station. A one-way ticket to Galway (€20) and we’re off to platform 4. I looked everywhere for platform 9 3/4… nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, trains absolute rock. I love speeding past the countryside watching the rolling hills fly by. Dublin to Galway is clear across Ireland. Look it up if you’re curious!

Our trip takes about 2 and some hours. I plug in my earbuds to the iPad and the first song plays, “If I Die Young” – the Band Perry. This absolutely matches my mood. If I die young, I feel so blessed for all of the experiences I’ve had. It’s surreal to have that song play first as I’m rolling thru beautiful Ireland landscape. I can be proud that I’ve made this happen. I’ve worked hard to get here. I’ve accomplished dreams and made my life what it is. I wish more would make the most out of their time on this planet. *steps off soapbox

Halfway thru the ride, a lady rolls this giant 4-story snack cart down the aisle and I just about ask if she has any Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.

I fall asleep listening to André Bocelli’s “Por Ti Volare” and swear there is nowhere else I would rather be in the world right now.

*sigh*

We arrive in Galway and walk thru Eyre Square to Kinley Hostel. Judging by the clothes, we are rooming with two guys. The hostel is in excellent condition and highly rated throughout the world. We are very excited for our next few days here.

Lunch is at Cafe Express, we grab sandwiches before exploring the town. Grilled chicken sandwich (€5.90) on the freshest homemade ciabatta ever. Two thumbs up.

It’s pretty interesting, there is no tipping in Ireland. Waitresses and servers don’t go out of their way to be friendly, nice, or cordial because… they aren’t working for tips. It’s something to get used to- entirely different from America. They come over and say, “what do you want?”, and leave.

The wind was blowing like crazy but we wanted to continue our exploration. All thru downtown Galway were street performers. Fire baton twirlers, a harpist, but my favorite were these 4, standing on metal poles and playing old-fashioned guitars. They got the change in my wallet.

We walked and walked all the way to the ocean. There were rugby teams playing in the tall grasses, abandoned boats tied to the pier, and greenery as far as the eye can see.

After a few photos, and battling the wind (literally), to stay standing, we worked our way back. A little downtime, a little retail therapy, and planning the next segments adventures worked up an appetite.

We found an off the beaten path ecofriendly and organic restaurant called mixgreens. The food was locally grown, super fresh and reasonable priced. Penne pasta with grilled chicken and spiced olives (€8.50). We noshed before calling it a night.

Deeply tired, blessed, content,

Xo
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