Posts Tagged ‘Driving’

Limerick and the Cliffs of Moher!

May 14, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope all is well. Happy Mother’s day to the mothers reading this. Today was a fantastic day. I woke up early, but not too early (sometimes I get very aggressive about waking up early and didn’t want to go crazy today) to set out on a journey to the Cliffs of Moher and then Limerick.

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After a nice breakfast, I left the hotel at around quarter to 8 and arrived at the Cliffs of Moher just after 10. The drive was fabulous. The car is fun to drive and there were winding roads and beautiful scenery along the way. There were no big freeways on this leg.

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There are main thoroughfares, and every so often you slow down because there’s a town. At one point, a storm came through and it poured, then got sunny again. The cliffs were awesome as you can see from the pictures. The jumping pic is real!

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After spending an hour and a half walking around the cliffs, I drove to Limerick, to visit the headquarters of Limerick poetry because i love it. I had a nice lunch of fish and chips and cider, and walked around towards the “Limerick Writer’s Center” but when I got there saw nothing.

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I went to the Frank McCourt museum nearby (the Author of Angela’s Ashes). I saw Frank McCourt speak at my high school many years ago and read the book around that time. I’ll need to revisit the book because I was undoubtedly too young to understand everything. The museum is within Frank’s old school.

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In the museum I met the owner and founder, Una, an artist who knew Frank McCourt. I let her know that I had actually come to Limerick to learn more about poetry and rhymes! She recited some Limericks she knew, and I recited some of my own and she liked them!

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And then she called up the head of the Limerick Writers Association and I was able to speak with him a bit about Limericks. 🙂 I asked his advice, what’s the most important thing to think about if you are writing one… ssoooooo cool. He said that for a good limerick most important parts are the rhyme scheme, the wordplay, topicality, and funniness. Mostly, it has to be funny. By inductive reasoning, I believe Irish people value humour quite a bit. BTW that tent below in Limerick looks like a mini Khan Shatyr (the big tent in Astana).

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Then I chilled with this woman for a while and she took me on a tour of the museum. We ended up having a long discussion about languages and cultural terms, then politics, then religious extremism. I explained the American Electoral College, and why Hasidim wear those curls around their face.

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Una taught me more things about Irish culture, so between last night and today, wow. The word Flahulach, “flaw-ho-loch” is describes someone who throws around money, maybe buys everyone a drink at the bar! “Tight” means “mean” or stingy, not a spender.

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She also said that people in Ireland use Gaelic words in everyday speech. like if they want milk at the store, the Gaelic word for Milk might come out. That guy is flahulach! It’s kind of like the way we may use Yiddish words in every speech “stop kvetching.”

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That was all very special. then I drove another 2.5 hours back to Sligo, did some admin/housekeeping things, and had a nice dinner of beet soup (wonder if it will make everything a beautiful purple like those Trader Joes chips 🙂 : ) and chicken and vegetables. Tomorrow will be a day of work!

Here is one Limerick I wrote about Auchentoshan distillery. A Distillery called Auchentoshan / Has a great staff and marvelous potion / This Lowland supplier / Amended my tire / And set a fun Tuesday in Motion! Its not that funny, so I’ll do better to enter one into any limerick contests.

Love, Anniee

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Grimsby and Hello Ireland!

May 13, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are having a nice weekend! Wednesday I finished work in Newcastle, and in the afternoon drove to the next location, Grimsby, UK. It’s approximately three hours’ drive from Newcastle with an extremely different vibe. Grimsby is a smaller town with many people working at the refineries and the windfarms nearby. There are a TON of windfarms in northern UK and Scotland. I walked around the first evening around 7pm.

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Everything was closed and the few people walking around seemed very odd, unpredictable, pretty sickly. It was a little disconcerting. I visited a cocktail bar and was told not to take pictures of this ugly pace because it would break my camera! I ate dinner at an Indian restaurant, which was awesome, for the food and the cool employees. I ended up eating there the next two nights as well.

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Everything is inexpensive in Gimsby. I pay more for my small apartment in Boston than it costs for any of the rental properties here, including even luxury detached houses. On Thursday and Friday I worked. On Thursday afternoon I visited Cleethorps, which is the next town over and has a bit more going on, and a beach, which was under construction (?). Other than that, not much to report. I started a new book about Philosophy, was really productive work-wise, and wrote some raps and poetry.

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Also, it’s important to note that the people in Grimsby are really nice and welcoming, and the people observed on the first night weren’t a good representation. Now it’s Saturday and things have gotten way more exciting. I woke up at 4:15am, drove 1.5 hours to Leeds Bradford Airport for an 8:30am flight (in retrospect, booking the flight from Leeds was impractical and kind of silly… it looked closer to Grimsby on a map, even with driving directions, than it is in reality. Now I have the empirical evidence to really know that, so great… though… is it possible to really know anything? ugh, new philosophy book).

I said goodbye to the Ford Kuga, which I think got its flat tire back because the pressure alert came on again, and took a flight to Dublin. At Leeds airport someone pinned me as American and was like, “is it true, in America, they have burgers This Big??” with his hands like around an American football. So I said, “Bigger!” Ha.

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In Dublin I picked up a new rental car, and they gave me a white hatchback-kind of suv BMW as my “compact car.” Awesome! I made it a point to be extra charming and hilarious at the rental car desk, and to put on some subtle lip color before. It makes a difference. In line I met some businessmen who were super psyched to be starting a two-week guys golf trip all over the Ireland coast. They gave me the idea to go to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, which I’ll visit tomorrow.

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I was thinking of going to Belfast for lunch and chill before heading to Sligo, but decided to drive straight across to Sligo instead. It was a really fun drive — the car is smooth and fast with a far superior sound system AND a built-in nav system, which is really easy to use.

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The hotel in Sligo is great, and my room is huge! Larger than my apartment. At check-in, they let me know about an event tonight, stand-up comedian Tommy Tiernan! I had no idea who that was but love standup so got a ticket.

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I got ready to go for a hike but then it started pouring so I drove to Rosses Point, and walked around in the rain. It was beautiful even in the rain, and then it got sunny! And then pouring again. So I had a coffee at a nearby hotel and walked around some more, then back to the hotel for cocktails and dinner and Tommy Tiernan, who, it turns out, is a pretty big deal, and hilarious, and a great performer.

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There was no assigned seating and I had a seat in the fourth row centre so was able to really observe his motions and way of working the stage. I feel so lucky to have seen this show! What a lesson in Irish culture, and about the reputation of Sligo county!: I’m driving in a cool car, NOT a “sweet ride” because in Ireland if you say “ride,” that means sex. If someone offers you a ride, you can say “i’ll take a lift,” unless, of course, you want the ride. Also, if a man is erect, that’s called a “horn.” I was also surprised that religious reputations, catholic v. protestant, play a role in daily life and assumptions about people’s personalities.

Love, Annie

 

Northumbria and Scotland

May 10, 2017

Hi Family and Friends,

Monday and Tuesday were nice. Monday I started work early and had a meeting in the afternoon. Then I went for a drive to Alnwick castle, which is in some Harry Potter movies. I took the coastal road back, which was beautiful.

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It’s one benefit to having a GPS, you can kind of “wander” and see where the road goes, yet it still calculates the route back. At one point I got out of the car to get fresh air and had a private beach! For dinner I ate at a restaurant specializing in muscles.

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Today I took a day trip to Scotland. I woke up at 5:45 and was on the road by 6:30 because the first stop was the Auchentoshan distillery, which is just west of Glasgow. Even with the GPS I got lost so I couldn’t make the 10am tour. Fortunately there was another at 11.

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I was in a tour with a family from France with an adult and his older parents. The parents didn’t speak English and kept speaking to me in French as if I understood. I had to keep telling her (unfortunately) I had no idea what she was saying, but i got the sentiments from body language. I told them aside from hello, goodbye, please, etc, I only know one word “travallier” which means “to work.” It’s kind of true and they thought that was moderately funny. The tire pressure gauge on my rental car was on, but I had decided to ignore it because it wasn’t “red” it was just “yellow.” But one of the staff members at Auchentoshan noticed I had a flat tire and they had a great tire pump that plugged into the 12 volt socket in the car so they helped me fix it. The staff there was so nice.

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For lunch I visited the West End neighborhood of Glasgow to a restaurant that came recommended by the distillery guide. It was a special meats place so I had a hanger steak which isn’t something I would normally order but was very delicious and extra exciting because I had literally eaten just peanuts for breakfast.

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Then I drove to Edinburgh, which is about an hour away. By the time I got there it was almost just after 3 pm. I put an hour and a half on the parking meter and started wandering. It was a lucky day and lucky parking space. I had no idea Edinburgh was so cool. Everyone was outside hanging out in the sun below the great buildings. I could appreciate the beauty of the situation but to be honest I felt terribly lonely and sad walking around there. It was an instance I would have liked to share.

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Then I started the drive back. There was some traffic getting out of Edinburgh but not terrible. I started to feel better when the roads became empty, and winding up and down the hills. With the kind of tight turns that are very thrilling and you want to take fast. And “blind summits” of hills that if you take fast, it’s super thrilling because you’re not sure what’s past it, maybe the car will fly away. I’ve felt this skiing. The bulk of the drive on the first leg was major highway but the drive back was all windy roads. The border of Scotland and England was especially cool. Driving today was a big loop. Total distance was just over 350 miles or 560 km. That was pretty aggressive — not as much as the 500 mi (800 km) trip between Klaipeda/Riga/Kaunas last may,  but up there.

For dinner I ate at a different Indian restaurant from the one on Sunday. Now, back to work.

Love, Annie