Elf’s afternoon in Dublin

It has already been a week since our adventure to Ireland began. I cannot begin to describe what a wonderful place Ireland is. So friendly and so lush.

We start in Dublin with our solitary half a day to explore before we head off to the country side. So where to start? With a free walking tour of course. Everyone that knows us, knows we love a free walking tour. Just to explain a little about the idea…it’s not free. You can find this idea all of the world, sometimes run by independent companies or individuals and sometimes a company charges a marketing fee to the freelance tour guide. In all cases it is a pay what you think situation. If you think the tour is great, you pay up more, if it’s okay, maybe a bit less if you hate it…perhaps you slide off half way though.

So we joined up with a free walking tour and explored the city. We head through the streets, stopping to listen to lots of history and stories. The TempleIMAG3551 Bar area is interesting in that it is named after a sand bar that used to run through the area and the Temple family who helped to develop the area. It is now a theatrical and nightlife centre of Dublin.

Another highlight is the Dublin Castle where there has been a building since 1200s! The Record Tower is the only surviving part of the medieval castle and is at the heart of the story of Red Hugh which is well worth looking into if you don’t know it already.

The Gardens behind the Castle are a beautiful kept secret and I recommend having a look. It is peaceful and surprising to find.

Next we head to Trinity College where apparently you can sit your exams with your sword by your side.

We finish up in the early evening and wander back towards our hotel, stopping of course for a Guinness on the way. For dinner we find a pub close to us that is very popular and we share a table so that we can eat some of the best stew I have ever had!

And that’s all the time we have for Dublin this trip as the next morning we are up early and in the car to head off to Co. Meath.

 

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Dublin we’re coming

So here is a bit of James Joyce in anticipation.

 

“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today.

I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”

 

– James Joyce

 

Autumn

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”

John Donne

New Elfdom

There are many different adventures in life. Some of them are exciting, some are inspirational, some we embark upon because something is missing from our lives, some because there is too much of something in our lives.

Our newest adventures has been moving home.  Having been in our Clapham flat for 4 years (possibly one of my longest addresses) we have decided to move on.  Not far, but on to a new area of London (I know! Weird right!) and a new house.  We’ve a garden and everything now!  It has been a big change and a bigger move than we had anticipated.

For one thing, our box labeling game, it turns out was very poor. “Kitchen” is not sufficient.  Also our packing skills…whilst very good in terms of space saving was fabulous it was creative in the combinations of items we deemed sensible to pack together at the time.

In any case, we are in.  We’ve not enough storage outside the now huge number of cardboard boxes that we are surreptitiously trying to sneak out with the recycling.

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Mowgli’s moving must haves:

  1. Blanket in full access at all times.
  2. Food at normal times.
  3. Lots of cuddles and love on demand.
  4. Explore all the new walks together.

Berlin Love

“Berlin was charismatic in the roguish way of a love… It was a lover who was a little dangerous in ways that didn’t always show, keeping you a bit on edge, a bit in love and endlessly forgiving because he made her feel that she was exactly where she was meant to be… ”

– Whitney Otto, Eight Girls Taking Pictures.

Berlin in one day

I’m in Berlin but on a tight time schedule, I still want to experience some of what this city has to offer.  So this is what we did.

I’m lazy when I arrive at Tegal airport and opt to taxi to the hostel.  I know…lazy.

After ditching the bags, we head to Checkpoint Charlie via the U ban and S ban.

Stop 1: Checkpoint Charlie is a must for your trip to Berlin.  Head into the black box and read about the history of the boundary and the people who lost their lives here.

Stop 2: We walk 10 minutes to the next point, the Topography of Terror.  This is a centre of history, we spent our time at the outdoor information point about the history of Berlin “Between Propaganda and Terror”.  This is very well worth a visit.  We don’t have time to go inside the building but I will definitely add it to the list for a longer visit.

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Stop 3: 15 minutes on foot we arrive at our next stop, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.  This is a stark and striking memorial, like nothing I have ever experienced before.  I walk amongst the stones… it makes you feel small and very human.

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Stop 4: We head on to the next stop on our walking whistle stop tour, is the Brandenburg Gate.  The Gate has been restored and attracts a crowd.  The area around the gate is lovely, and the wide road leading away from the gate is boarded by a beautiful looking park.

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Stop 5: The Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building.  The Reichstag is topped by a glass dome which has a full view of the city.  I would recommend booking tickets in advance if you visit in summer.

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Stop 6: The longest walk of our foot tour, 30 minutes of strolling through the city and we arrive at our next and final stop.  Berlin Cathedral, its full name is: Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church in Berlin.   Its 7 euros to get inside and 4 euros for an audio guide.

 

And we are done.

Well not really done.  Obviously there is so much more to Berlin.  We have’t stepped inside a gallery or museum.  But with limited time, I feel like we managed to get a fair amount in and it was light on the budget as well.

Also, if you come across Woop Woop ice cream…try it.  It is worth it, very yum.

 

live

“To live is the rarest thing in the world.

Most people exist, that is all.”

 

Oscar Wilde