Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ireland Part 4: Northern Ireland

The last leg of our trip was to Northern Ireland, which is where my grandmother is from. We went to Bangor to see where my grandparents met. We also did a day in Belfast, touring the city and seeing the house my grandmother used to live in! And one day all the way north at a place called Giant's Causeway, which had beautiful scenery! It was amazing!
Cliffs at Giant's Causeway
At Giant's Causeway, it was beautiful!! Sitting in the giant's chair!
There was this section on Giant's Causeway that had all this natural pillars. they were amazing!
Crossing a rope bridge!Donegal Castle near Giant's Causeway
In Dublin... all cities a little towns had a clocktower in their city center and a church, no matter how small the town. If you look closely, you can see that this one is leaning!
This is the house my grandmother lived in when she lived in Ireland. In fact this is the very house she was in during WWII when a bomb landed at the end of their street!
In Bangor, my grandparents met close to this clocktower! she was sitting on the sea wall when my grandfather first talked to her. Although the sea wall is no longer there, I was able to sit on a little wall by the clocktower! Do you see me? By the harbor in Bangor Castles... castles everywhere....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ireland Part 3: Galway

From Kilkenny we decided to drive all the way to the west coast of Ireland to a place called Galway. We stopped in Galway city for a few hours, just to walk around, then we continued our trip to Clifden which is a small town right on the coast. It was a gorgeous drive! There were mountains and rivers. Oh, it was beautiful. We only spent one night in Clifden. The next morning, we decided we wanted to climb one of the mountains/big hills, so we went to a national park that had a trail up one of the mountains. When we got there, it was overcast and there was a cloud over the top of the mountian, but we were determined, so we trucked all the way up to the top, in a cloud. It was lightly raining the whole time, and we could not see anything from the top. In fact it started raining pretty hard when we got to the top. On the way back down, the clouds started to move and we had a beautiful view on the way down! It was a fun experience. The rest of our day was filled with traveling. We drove all the way to Northern Ireland, around Belfast, where we would spend the rest of our trip. Galway CityHere we are in the ocean on the west coast of Ireland!!! There were tons of these stones walls all over Ireland. They would just stack-up stones to make a wall! The view on our road trip from Galway city to Clifden!

We had to watch out for the random sheep in the road. On the coast at Clifden.
The beautiful cliffs in Clifden
Our hike in the rain up the big hill/mountain.
I love this picture. You know how you make this big hike all the way to the top of a mountain and you take a picture together at the top, with the beautiful view behind you! Here is that picture. We are squinting so much because of the rain and my hand is up by the camera trying to keep it from getting soaked.Here I am at the peek.
On our way back down the mountain, the clouds started to move and were were able to enjoy the view.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ireland Part 2: Kilkenny

After spending 3 days in Dublin, we drove south west to a town called Kilkenny, where we stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast. Most of our day there, we spent at the Kilkenny Castle, taking a guided tour and just walking around their gardens and park. For lunch/dinner we had traditional Irish fish and chips!!! The rest of the day was spent just walking around the little town. It was a great day! Kilkenny Castle
It was a beautiful day!
You can't go to Ireland and not eat fish and chips! The little town of Kilkenny!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ireland Part 1

So, there is WAY too many pictures to share from our trip, but I will share a few. What I decided to do is just have 4 different posts about our trip, since there were 4 places in Ireland we visited. One post about the whole trip just seems overwhelming, so I am just going to split it up. The 4 places were Dublin, Kilkenny, Galway, and Belfast.
We arrived in Dublin, and stayed there for 3 days. The first day we just drove around the "city center" (for all you Americans "downtown") of Dublin and went to a museum. It was good, but tiring since we had just arrived from our 28 hours of traveling. The second day, we walked around the city center of Dubin, where we visited the Dublin Castle, Trinity University, and just walked around. It was a nice day, but ended up raining, which was ok except that I was wearing sandals. I was still in Philippine mode, wearing sandals all the time... however the temperature was a little different in Ireland! Needless-to-say, I learned my lesson and wore tennis shoes and socks the rest of the trip!!! The third day we decided to drive a little south to a medival castle, where they have actors that reinact the medival family that use to live there. When we showed up, there was a camera crew there. They asked us if it was ok if a local Ireland children's show could tape during our tour. So, I have never been on TV in America, but it only took us 2 days in Ireland to be on TV!!! After that we went to Powercourt House and Gardens. It was the most amazing gardens I have ever seen! We walked around for a long time! It was a a great day! Here we are at the Dublin Castle!
This is the medival castleHere is the crew filming the tour.
This is Powercourts House and Garden. It is beautiful!
The view from the house.
Some of the gardens at Powercourt.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in NOLA!

Well, we made it! We are back in New Orleans. It's fun and weird all at the same time. We were welcomed at the airport by 4 cute little boys holding a sign that said "Welcome home Rob and Tina!" as well as my mom, both brothers and sister-in-laws, and our newest nephew Eli! Very fun! We went to church on Sunday morning and were able to see some friends, although due to a really bad rain storm church attendance was really low. We spent Sunday with the family! Today we have just been relaxing, getting laundry done (I can't tell you how nice it is to have an automatic washer and dryer!!! Our clothes have not been this clean and felt this soft in 11 months!) We also took a trip to Walmart. That's enough culture shock in itself. It took us a while to pick out a tooth brush and toothpaste... it's amazing how many options there are!!! Tonight we are helping out with our church's Fisher 5 day club (basically a VBS done in a lower income housing area). I guess we are hiting the ground running. Rob has already talked to his old boss about doing some temp work there.
OK, I know... I know... most of you want to see and hear about the Ireland trip, and I don't blame you, it was amazing. I just need to sit down and take the time to write it out a post the pictures, I just don't want to make the time to do that quite yet. Too much family to see and things to do. But stay tuned... I will try to post them soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Holiday in Ireland

So, I thought I would have more time to blog while I am here, but there is SO MUCH to see and do... not much time for blogging. It will have to wait until we get back to America! But, I have TONS of pictures (as you can imagine) and would like to share them with you. There is only time for one... this is Powercourts House and Gardens which is pretty close to Dublin... It is absolutely beauiful (as is EVERYTHING here in Ireland!)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We've arrived!

Here we are, in Dublin Ireland. I still can't believe I am here! Our flights went well, for the mots part. Unfortunately, when we got to Manila to get on our international flight, we found out that we were only allowed to have 20 kilos per person of baggage (this is usually the rule with domestic flights, but international flights usually allow us more. Well, we found out that this airline did not!) Needless to say we had well above 2o kilosper person, considering the fact that we are moving back to America after living in the Philippines for the past 10 months. We ended up having to pay 37 USD per kilo over the weight we were allowed. I almost passed out when I saw that she was charging us 1130 USD for our overweight bagage! I am not lying! We really did not have any other option, we were in Manila and our flight was leaving 2 hours from then. We talked her, down a little bit, but still had to pay 1000 USD. I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about it. She did inform us that if we had bought business class tickets, we would have been allowed to check that much bagage. We asked if we could tranfer our tickets, but there were no available seats. The thing that makes me feel a lot better is that all the other plane tickets to Dublin from Manila were $700 more expensive than this particular airline. I thought it was too good to be true! That's where they get you, with the bagage. We still paid less paying all that extra money for the excess bagage than we would have had to pay for the same tickets with another airline, so when I think about it that way, I'm not quite as mad. I still think it is a rip off though... To some degree, it is my fault that I did not look into how much bagage this particular airline allows. If I would have known, I would have mailed a lot of our stuff home instead of taking it as bagage... Oh well, you live and learn. Ok, moving on, enough about the bagage. I think I just needed to vent...
It took us 32 hours of traveling to get here, but we made it in one peice! And the airline we did take was really nice. Both planes we took were very new, with all the latest technology, everyone with their own personal TV, the seats were a little bigger than normal, etc. It was actually a pretty plesant traveling experience. We arrived here in Ireland at 7:30 am, so we have planned to stay up all day. We rented a car. Rob has had fun trying to drive on the other side of the road. We ran into a slight problem trying to find the hotel we are staying at. Um, we printed out the directions, but Ireland does not beleive in having street signs, not sure why, but very rarely have we seen street signs on any street here. So, what was suppose to be a 20 min drive turned into a 1 1/2 hour drive! Not to mention, we were both tired. We finally found it! Crazy. The rest of our day we went to the National Museum of Ireland and just drove around downtown Ireland. It was nice, although I am not so sure a museum was a good choice to go to too when we are so jetlagged. Speaking of jetlag, I am exhausted. Sorry there are no pictures. I will try to post some soon. We have internet access at our hotel! I am just too tired to post any now, it's 7:30 pm here and we are going to bed! Good night all!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Goodbye Philippines... Hello Ireland

Well, we have had quite the adventure. There is no denying the fact that God has lead us here, and been with us every step of the way. I would not trade this experience for anything. The friends we have made here, the lessons we have learned, the culture we have been able to be apart of, it's all been amazing. I am not even going to begin to try and blog on my relections of ther last 10 months. I still need time to process the whole experience. Look for those blogs to come in the future...
Although we are so sad to leave, we are excited about the adventures to come. We fly tomorrow from Davao, Philippines to Dublin, Ireland. We decided to fulfill my life-long dream of visiting Ireland on our way back to America. We will rent a car, driving around the whole island for 10 days,ending up in Northern Ireland to see places like the house my grandmother grew up in and the spot where my grandparents met! I have dreamed of these places as a little girl and now I will actually get to see them! I am excited beyond words! I am not sure how much we will have internet access while we are there. I will try to post pictures, etc. during our trip but I won't make any promises!
On June 14th, we fly back to America! Wow! We can't wait to see you all! We love you and miss you! Ok, I need to go... have to finish packing and saying goodbye...