Kinlay Hostel and Galway, Republic of Ireland

Finally after a long day of travel from Londonderry we arrive in Galway and get dropped off at our Hostel for the evening… a perfect fit for a day of almost zero exertions… you like stairs right? The reward was one of the nicer hostels on this trip, and as we were staying two nights a chance to do laundry!

Welcome to Hostel Living… sometimes it not pretty…

So after we got our luggage up to our rooms some of us took to the town to look for food and take in the sunset golden hour.

Spanish Arc

Shamrocker Adventures (and Busabout) offer several tours in Ireland, and there is a combination that is very specifically setup so that the main four Rocker tours (North, South, Western, and All Irish) all meet up in Galway and here we join into one large group for Galway and the Aran Isles portion of the trip. Now while the logistics of this feat is notable, it is also why all the tours have funky travel days. So if you were ever wondering why 7/3/3/3 day trips were offered, its because of that 10 day rotation (with downtime for staff before the next rotation).

One of the bars we visited during the night

However, and I hate to be critical of what was already quite an enjoyable trip, but the “ice breaker” event that Shamrocker has set-up for everyone is an optional pub crawl through Galway with a contest to steal potatoes from eachother… what sounded like a fun game quickly got ugly competitive as soon as alcohol was thrown into the mix, with each bus group vying to win it for their “team”. After having my potatoe stolen, and stealing back another and a pinpong ball (?) the thrid bar we went to had a band playing in the other section and I left the pub crawl and enjoyed the rest of my evening…

Local Irish Band Playing at the Third Bar
I found out there was more than three flavors of the Cider I liked back in Ballitoy

Montreal, Quebec – The daytime view from Mont Royal

After a breakfast/lunch/brunch at Eggspectation in Old Montreal, we hopped in the car, left the cobblestone roadways of Old Montreal behind, and drove to the parking lot atop Mont Royal. The walk from the parking lot to the viewing area required lots of attention and an adaptation of the ‘duck walk’.  A combination of warm temperatures and rain and then freezing temperatures had turned the pathway into a good imitation of a sloped skating rink. I must be getting older. I’m beginning to notice such things. The young joggers pranced by seemingly impervious to the cold breeze and the slippery conditions underfoot. Then, there were the x/c skiiers with their skiis making that grating sound as they made their way along the icy trails bereft of any new snowfall to provide any grip.
Continue reading

Verona Italy

DSC_3331 - Verona BannerWelcome To Verona! A city by any other name would still be the setting for which Romeo and Juliet was based. We rolled into this small but tourist crowed Italian town on a cloudy day, fortunately staving off rain for our visit.

DSC_3339 - Crop We had to walk towards Juliet’s Balcony, the end-goal of our short stop over. Across cobble stone roads and past coliseums and quaint buildings. DSC_3375 - Verona Streets - Cropped

Juliet’s Balcony is in a small courtyard off a merchant street, and it is buzzing with tourists, its nice balcony with only a view of the court for which its located; due to the high nature of all the surrounding buildings. Not 100% sure where Romeo was suppose to hid out here to meet with her in the play, but alas I digress.

DSC_3346 - Juliet's Balcony - Verona

After the balcony, the other tourist activity is to line up to touch the statue of Juliet; rub her bosom to be exact, an apparent local culture task for luck in love.

DSC_3353 - Lady Juliet - Verona - CropOn our way back we pasted by some additional sculptures, it seems people riding horses continues to be a popular theme in European road statues.  DSC_3337 - web

Finally we had to wait on the bus for our pick-up, it did sprinkle a little bit but tall buildings and being on the protected side allowed up to stay mostly dry.

DSC_3363 - web