To Brazil

Thursday, Feb 19th, 2015

 

You know how it goes. The trip that seems so far away one day seems entirely too close, closing in on the possibility of getting what you dreamed of done before walking out the door.

Well, the blog isn’t caught up. We are theoretically stuck somewhere in Cambodia.

It will be. One day. But definitely not today or the next two weeks.

Why? Because we are getting the hell out of Seattle and back on the road and I can’t be bothered to dig through terabytes of images.

How did we decide on Brazil? We didn’t. The dice did.

James was pushing for the Middle East. While I agree with him that it’s one of the most interesting parts of the world and it’s entirely easy to surrender to that curiosity and our absolute favorite cuisine (hello falafel), I wasn’t interested in being beheaded on the beach. I was pushing for green hikes, palm fringed beaches, and anywhere with the opportunity to pretend our first adventure never paused.

With a few and too many other destinations pulling at our interests, we decided to narrow it down to the number of faces on the dice.

1. Cuba

2. Brazil

3. Peru

4. Middle East

5. Think about it one more day, shared with diving in Carribbean (because realistically there needs to be another face on the dice)

6. Nowhere- save money and be boring

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I rolled a 2; James rolled a 5.

So we slept on it, thought about it and the following day booked flights to Rio.

Getting a visa costs more than we were previously comfortable spending in 3 weeks. I ordered it through Travel Visa Pro and now that my feet are beyond immigration I can say with confidence they are a legitimate company that can decrease the pain-in-the-ass process of obtaining a Brazilian visa.

Judith donated her morning off to taking our butts to the airport. Our plane departed at 12:20 p.m. and we were in Houston 4 hours later. We decided to change over some money, but realized it would cost $25 to change $100 US to Brazilian Reals (R$). We passed on the exchange and instead opted for a quick stop at Ruby’s Diner before jumping on the long haul to Rio.

Our flight was delayed because the toilets on the plane weren’t working. Luckily the United Airlines moron behind the counter decided to announce to everyone that we would be flying at “60,000 feet” to makeup time and to encourage the shitter to work. I’m no flying genius, but isn’t that nearly double the average flying altitude? Sure hope their oxygen masks work if their toilets don’t.

After checking on Seat Guru and James memorizing the interior of every Boeing plane ever assembled, we were a bit surprised when our seats were crammed into a corner, non-reclinable and smashed up against the toilet. The stinky non-working toilet that would magically return to working order upon reaching those magical 60k feet.

“Oh boy, we are definitely tapping into that free alcohol so we can sleep on this thing” announced James.

No, actually we wouldn’t be drinking at all. United charges for booze on international flights.  They also only allow one cup of water for your 10 hour flight.

Just like the smell of the plane the entire ride, their onboard entertainment is pretty crap. They brag about their extensive selection of 109 movies, but it’s actually 11 movies in 10 different languages.

At least I managed to find something half-funny.

Each time the attendant passed we begged for water. She hesitantly poured an inch, rolled her eyes and announced each time that she wouldn’t have enough for other passengers. Those inches eventually made a full cup.

At one point I think we may have actually been at 60k feet because it was freezing. The woman next to us pulled out a down jacket and a beanie. To say it was a crap start to a good vacay is pretty accurate. Thanks United. We will definitely not be flying the sober, water-rationed “friendly skies” with you any century soon.

Dingle, Cork, Dublin

Friday, September 6, 2013

We spent the entire weekend doing absolutely nothing and it was absolutely perfect. We needed to be planted on our feet, to be safe, and reintroduced once again to the comforts of home. So we setup camp in Neptunes Hostel and made dinner, read books, and streamed the Cougs and Hawks at awkward hours in the early morning. It was a perfect couple of days.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Due to a marathon, The Ring of Kerry and Dingle roads were closed. So instead we ended up walking to the impressively preserved 15th century Ross Castle. 

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We then went to a chic cafe to get some coffee to fuel up for the long night ahead.

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We then walked over to St. Mary’s Cathedral and had a look around inside.

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We retreated to our spot on the couch at Neptunes and proceeded to have a mellow evening, until about 3 a.m. when we were up watching James’ cougs kick butt.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Despite that the weather was crap, we weren’t sure when our last day in Killarney would be before moving on, so we went ahead and jumped on a bus tour to Dingle.

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We stopped first at Inch Beach. Once again we were impressed at how the rolling green hills spill right into the turquoise waters.

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The early afternoon was spent stopping along some pretty cool viewpoints during the ride around the peninsula.

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One of our favorites was Dunmore Head.

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We also stopped at a visitor center and museum before arriving into the town of Dingle.

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Although incredibly touristy, we liked the small fishing town (less than 2,000 people actually live there). We spent a good hour wandering through the streets and docks.

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Unfortunately, Fungie the dolphin wasn’t out in the harbor during our brief visit.

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We were back to the hostel around 5 p.m. and lounged around until it was time to watch the hawks beat the Panthers at 6 p.m.

Yep. Things were really starting to feel like home again and we were really starting to annoy the security guard on nightshift.

Monday, September 9, 2013

We spent the entire day hanging out by the fireplace and walking around Killarney.

It was a perfect, nonproductive day. According to this blog, I seem to be excelling at those lately.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We took the bus from Killarney to Cork. After a good five hour journey we checked into Bru Bar and Hostel. We walked around and explored Cork. Cork is fine, it’s just a university city with nothing sparkling to gaze at, but it served as the perfect transition from Killarney to Dublin. We did manage to stumble upon a market, which of course I was pretty thrilled about.

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We returned to the hostel and quickly decided we were bored. I announced that I was headed to an evening yoga class, and somehow James agreed to join me.

We went to Himalaya Yoga in downtown Cork and nervous James chose a Level 1 class, claiming that he was new to yoga and didn’t know anything. Hey, whatever. I was just happy I had a yoga bud.

We enjoyed the class, James clearly knew exactly what he was doing, and afterwards we ended up chatting it up with the owner.

We walked back to our hostel and enjoyed a chill night talking about our plans through the live music in the bar before calling it a night and retreating to the closet-sized dorm.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We took the bus to Dublin. The ride took nearly three hours and was more than enough time for me to get extremely frustrated that I was actually reading Fifty Shades of Grey, inarguably the WORST way to spend a second of your life. I think E.L. James should be sentenced to a life of planting trees just for wasting paper, polluting book stores, making Seattle look like a disturbed city, and calling herself an author.

Hey if anyone has some GOOD book recommendations please send them my way (think Paulo Coelho, Osho, happy and inspiring or teach-me-something worth knowing stuff!)

We spent the day in the all-too-familiar Dublin cruising around. James got some amazing Mexican food and with a happy belly, we ended up going out to the bars and making one last go out of Dublin.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We hopped on the bus to Belfast. After a two and a half hour drive we arrived in Belfast.

James picked out the coolest hostel ever, Vagabonds. 

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We walked around Belfast and checked out Victoria Square Shopping Centre, got some Starbucks, and then saw City Hall all nice and lit up.

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We spent the night at Vagabonds and finalized our plans for the next few days exploring Northern Ireland!

Peace out Ireland!!! Thank you for letting me reset my Visa!!! 

Homecoming

Sunday June 23rd, 2013

After a long night of partying after the wedding, on Sunday we had a relaxing day in Gourock.

Johnny P took us on a walk along the waterfront and showed us the “swimming pools” he used to swim in as a kid. These “swimming pools” were actually just concrete pits that filled up with water when the waves from the River Clyde spilled into them.

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After our saunter along the river we headed into a local coffee shop for a drink. This was another place Johnny P used to frequent while growing up.

Apparently things in the cafe had changed. I assume this means there are now cars parked outside instead of horse and carriages and there are light bulbs  instead of oil lamps lighting the place.

After our quick coffee break we hurried home and headed out to a day-after-the-wedding barbecue. This Scottish barbecue didn’t actually involve any barbecuing, but was rather just an outdoor dinner.

The good news is we were introduced a new Scottish dish called Stovies, and damn was it good.

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With our bellies full we left the barbecue and called it a night early, exhausted from the wedding the night before.

Monday June 24th, 2013

On Monday morning we took the train into Glasgow to check out Scotland’s largest city.

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Our first stop was the Glasgow School of Art where we took a tour of the main school building, which was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

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After touring the Glasgow School of Art we headed over to Glasgow City Chambers.

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Next we headed to Johnny’s old stomping ground, University of Strathclyde.

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He gave us a special alumni tour of the campus.

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Apparently Strathclyde used to have the largest student union building the UK with six bars. Since dad and his friends are no longer there drinking the place dry, there are now only two bars.

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Before we left campus I picked up a grey University of Strathclyde tee shirt to wear with my crimson Coug shorts.

With the campus tour behind us we did a little bit of last minute shopping before meeting up with Johnny’s sister Beth and her good friend Flora.

We had a quick drink in the train station before heading just down the street to the Blackhouse Grill for an amazing dinner.

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We spent literally five hours in the restaurant eating and chatting before catching the train back to Gourock at about 10:45 p.m.

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Tuesday June 25th, 2013

On Tuesday morning we said our goodbyes to Johnny and Jude, and Oliver, Tarynne and I  headed to the Glasgow Airport for our short 40 minute flight to Dublin, Ireland.