Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cycling in Ireland

We spent eight days of our trip cycling.  This was our fourth cycling trip abroad.  Our first trip was to France and the Loire valley when Anna was seven years old.  We have also been to Germany and the Netherlands.  Two of the previous trips were self-guided; meaning that a company organizes the routes, accommodations and bike rentals.  We then get maps and have to get ourselves from point A to point B (no sag van or group to ride with). The company organizes for our luggage to get to our next destination. 

We thought we were signing up for a self-guided tour in the Netherlands.  But it was a guided bike and barge trip (no sag van). However, we talked the guide into letting us go on our own routes, by ourselves, for several days of the trip. We prefer riding on our own.

This trip was the first where we did it all "on our own".  We didn't go through a company except to rent the bikes for eight days.  We planned our own routes and had to find our own maps (Frank did most all of it using Google mapping system).  That also meant we had to carry our "luggage" with us as well.  I booked our accommodations through the internet.  It was a bit more adventuresome on our part.

Why do a cycling trip at all, some may ask? I really like this way of traveling.  There is something called the Slow Food movement.  Well, I like to think of this as the Slow Travel way.  I feel like we are really being part of the place when we cycle and are out in the natural elements.  It seems more like living there than just being a tourist. Also, you can only go so far on a bike.  Therefore, you really can only cover a small area as opposed to riding in a car, bus or train.  I think this lends itself to paying more attention to the details of the place you visit (i.e. flora, fauna, etc.).  It also is more environmentally friendly.  I hope I can continue traveling this way for a long time.

They talk about narrow shoulders on the roads in Ireland.  There are no shoulders, in my opinion.  Above is my bike stopped at a viewpoint pull out.  But you can see there isn't much shoulder further back and this was a two lane road.  Although sometimes the cars and buses had to get close to us, we really didn't encounter any problems with it.

In the above picture you see Frank and Anna eating "lunch" outside a small grocery store/gas station.  What you see on the bikes is all the stuff we had for eight days (the bike rental company was unable to get us front racks), including clothes, biking gear, rain gear, snacks, repair items and other stuff.  We washed clothes nightly in the sinks.

In this photo you can see the boat, with bikes piled in, that we took through the lakes in Killarney National Park to get to the Gap of Dunloe.  Frank is in the boat along with another person.  The rest of us had to get out and walk around this section of the river because it was so shallow the boat would have hit bottom otherwise.

Frank and Anna at the top of the Gap of Dunloe, looking toward the part we got to ride down.  I don't know why we didn't take a picture of the steep, switchback road we had to go up.  I guess our bodies and brains were fried just trying to get to the top.

This is me on the downhill side of Connor's pass, I believe, which we went over.  It was very windy, cloudy and cold at the top.  We were glad to get down into the sun again.

Beautiful lands and coast were encountered wherever we went.  The riding was challenging as we went up many hills over the course of almost 300 miles.  But we did it.  I also learned that I do much better with the long, slow climbs rather than the shorter, steeper climbs (that might have to do with always having to ride up Shaw Mountain road to get home, here in Boise).  Somehow, my legs managed both, though.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Irish Crosses

We didn't see too many cemeteries when in Ireland, just the ones that were next to some of the abbeys we visited.  Some people are fascinated by cemeteries.  I was more interested in the designs on the crosses and tombstones.  I know I read a sign at some place that explained about the High Crosses and the different parts of them.  But I didn't take a picture of it and can't tell you what it said.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ireland Pictures

I finally have my pictures on the computer.  Hopefully, you enjoyed the ones that Frank put up on the website.  I will try not to post any that look very similar to his.  We each take our own camera and have found that we usually have different views of things (although I think over time we have influenced each other in how we see). We rarely have pictures that look almost exactly alike.

We spent the first few days of our trip in Ireland with our friends, the Feekes (whom we haven't seen for five years). They were the main reason we decided to go to Ireland.  They currently live outside of Shannon and they took us to several different places in the area.

Mooghaun woods

Quin Abbey

Ian and Anna at Quin Abbey

Hermit cave at Dromoland



Dysert O'Dea castle

View from Dysert O'Dea castle

Bunratty castle
As you can see from the pictures, it is quite green, as you would expect.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Trip Summary

Frank has been working all weekend to get our computer back in working order, although not 100%.  Might be time for a new computer as this one is eight years old.

Anyway, he has posted a "Cliff Notes" version of our trip on our website.  Take a look here. He did a good job of summing it up.  I will get my pictures onto the computer and share more with you very soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

We're Back

We have been in Ireland for the last two weeks and finally made it home yesterday morning (we were suppose to be back on Wednesday, but that's a long story).  I didn't want to leave you hanging for two weeks, so I pre-posted some things for you on the blog. 

I know you won't believe this, but I actually got sunburned in Ireland.  We had lovely days for our eight day cycle trip.  We spent several days with some old friends and we met up with my high school friend, Teresa, and her family for a morning as well.

I hope to share more with you and some pictures in the upcoming days.  But while I was trying to get caught up on my email yesterday, something happened to Windows on our computer.  It seems to be corrupted.  Hopefully, Frank will be able to fix it and I can get the pictures on the computer and start getting caught up.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I know I am not seeing things as they are,
I'm seeing things as I am."
Laurel Lee

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Here's some more purple-ish inspiration for the purple and yellow Twelve by Twelve challenge.  Unfortunately, I don't think I will get around to completing a "play-along" quilt in time for the reveal, this time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Live and work, 
but do not forget to play,
to have fun in life
and really enjoy it."
Ellen Caddy

Monday, June 14, 2010

What Is It?

This is the first time we have seen this mushroom thing in our yard.  Can anyone identify it?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010


Our wet spring has been very good for the plants.  Everything is going crazy, including the weeds.  However, some things have been slow to bloom.  Some of the shapes of the flowers before they open are very interesting.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good News

I have found out that my artwork Winter Birches was juried into an exhibition at the local Art Source Gallery.  The show will be up in July.  I am pleased to have a piece accepted.  I also had a piece, which sold, in the show last year.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Some people didn't realize that the photo I put up of Frank and me on our anniversary was from 2001. I guess I made the label too small.  That was nine years ago and, of course, we don't look like that today.  We look much better (ha!).  We don't have many photos of just us two. So here is one from last year of us with Anna.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I've been neglecting my blog duties, but have been a bit busy.  Friday, we finished installation of the Audubon prints exhibition at the museum.  They are original prints and mostly birds.  It's quite timely as we have had many birds around this spring probably because the weather has stayed cool and wet. 

I have seen a large number of Tanagers this year, along with the usual birds.  Frank thought he saw a lazuli bunting in our yard.

This pix is from

We also have a couple of humming birds hanging around. We usually do.  I really like hearing the birds on my bike rides. And when they fly along beside you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Big 2-0!

Yesterday was our anniversary.  Yes, it's been 20 years that Frank and I have been married!  Hard to believe he has put up with me for that long.  We didn't do anything special as we were both working yesterday (but we have big plans ahead).  I did pick up some Belgian chocolate for us to share.  Here's to many more years!

Frank and Lisa 2001

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  We had one nice day on Saturday that was near 70, mostly cloudy but no rain.  The other days were cooler and rainy.  I rode my bike four days in a row. 

You might remember when I went for my bike ride on Wednesday last week and had to take a picture with my cell phone because I didn't have my camera.  I told myself, "You should always bring your camera no matter what." 

On Friday when I was getting ready for my bike ride, did I listen to myself?  No.  I thought I wanted to have a quick ride as I had lots of other things to do that day and didn't want to be stopping to take pictures. And it was still rainy and cloudy.  So, of course, I discover a "new to me" place (Oregon Trail Reserve in Columbia Village) with great views of the river and downtown.  I'll have to go back another day and take some pictures for you.  The rest of the weekend I listened to myself and brought my camera, but did not take any pictures.

It is still unseasonably cool and rainy here. . . which brings me to this.

What is it?  It's not a snake, nor a slipper for an elf.  It is a ear warmer that you put over the straps of your bike helmet to keep your ears warm.  I found the free pattern on the internet.  The "pocket" part goes over the straps and then the long part goes inside the helmet over your head and then on the other end will be another "pocket", which I still have to knit, to cover the other ear.  I am using up some wool I already had to make this one.  I hope to make one for Anna, too.