Dingle Peninsula, Republic of Ireland

Nearing the end of the All Ireland Rocker trip with Busabout / Shamrocker Adventures. Today we explore the Dingle Peninsula, a stretch of land jutting out to the sea that like most of Ireland is breath taking and green. It should be noted that the ring road around the peninsula while 2-way is generally taken only in one direction by the locals and tourists in the know, that is because for most of the journey its a cliff-side road without a lot of room for modern traffic to allow for casual passing.

First stop on the ring road was a farmer’s estate where for a few euros you can pay to explore the Beehive huts (Clochán), the old farmhouse and pet baby sheep. Expecting a bit of a tourist trap I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty straight forward process. Pay to enter and explore at one’s leisure. The baby sheep where in one section and as long as you were gentle you could pick up one for a photo.

They don’t mince words… exactly as advertised… also historic Beehive Huts

But for a bit of culture I did manage to drag myself away from the cute baby sheep and check out the Beehive Huts that are another staple of the area history.

Next stop on the Dingle Peninsula is Coumeenoole Beach, first we stopped for another photo opportunity then headed down to the beach itself.

Overlooking Coumeenoole Beach

Its quite a trek down to the beach from the parking lot, I opted to grab some more photos and a awesome time-lapse using my iPhone and the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 which makes up my micro travel kit for photographers.

Next we headed out to the point of the peninsula, it got very craggy out there and the wind did start to pick up but was not unmanageable, again weather seemed to be on our side (fun note, the north side of the island was getting pelted by heavy rain so weather is highly variable on the emerald isle – I just got really lucky and I’m sure that luck with eventually run out… cough spoiler cough cough). The Devils Horn as the region is known is quite something, and looking out to the ocean you can see some islands which were used in a recent Star Wars movie.

At the start and subsequent end of our trip around Dingle is the small town of Dingle. Known for its dolphin Fungie that lives out in the bay I had to take a look and see if I could spot the elusive critter.

They even have a statue by the marina honoring their unexpected town mascot
Dingle Harbour / Marina
(J/K – Photoshop is my friend – But I fooled a bunch of people on the bus!)

We did stop for lunch in town, so several of us found a nice place called John Benny’s Pub to have some lunch at the recommendation of our tour guide Gemma. I had the fish of the day and chips, which came with peas as the veggies.

And that was it for the Dingle Penisula, a great day exploring a unique region of Ireland. Along the way we did drive by the famous “Rose Hotel” and stop in town for a rest break. I managed to find a rose bush and an old car to take pictures of… but otherwise short break.

Connemara Countryside – Republic of Ireland

The quintessential Irish landscape, endless rolling hills of green. It feels like we drove through the region for hours but with every new bend in the road was another breathtaking view. In a way it was good I was on a bus I didn’t control or I would of stopped over a dozen times in the first hour alone. But words can’t describe how beautiful this area in western Ireland is… and the photos barely do it service as well!

Its just so majestic, the landscape… not me 😛

Mid-way through our travels in Connemara we came across a small village nestled beside a shallow wide river. Here was our afternoon stop where we could try Irish Coffee or Hot Chocolate (both being mixed with Irish cream). I went with the coco and it was amazing.

Gaynor’s is our afternoon stop for a hot beverage!

The Gaynor’s field bar itself was pleasant nook which had a faint smell of smoke from the fire place and was full of locals in addition to the odd tourist that had stopped like us to grab a nip and use the facilities.

A final group image as we leave the Connemara Countryside, definitely making the “return” list.

The Rock Sculptures of Remic Rapids

The Rock Sculptures of Remic Rapids
Our last post of the Remic Rapids sculptures was Graeme’s video of the drummers and fire dancers who were performing there during his last visit to the rapids. Today, I had a business meeting in downtown Ottawa and decided to stop at Remic Rapids on the way home. I hadn’t really thought about the temperature when I left home so found the 4C temperatures with wind gusts of about 30kph coming at me from across the water a rather invigorating experience since I was only wearing a light summer weight coat with no sweater or suit jacket underneath. Not bad when the sun was out but certainly approaching cool when the sun went behind the clouds. Continue reading

Feeding The Deer – Old Quarry Trail

Weather was nice today. Above freezing , sun shining and limited wind. A couple of days ago, I had decided to go out on the Beaver Trail with sunflower seeds in my pockets to feed the many Chickadees that frequent that trail. Today, I decided to head over to the Old Quarry Trail to see if I could find some deer to feed. With both carrots and sunflower seeds in my pockets, I was prepared for both Chickadees and deer. I had expected the trails to be wet and slippery so wore my better, water-resistant, boots. I was glad that I did!
Continue reading

Another Snow-free Fall day – Kanata/Nepean, Ontario

Another Snow-free Fall day – Kanata/Nepean, Ontario

It was a nice day (-3C) to be outside in the fresh air as long as you found a bit of shelter from the wind. Unlike other parts of North America, the area around Ottawa has escaped any serious snowfall (so far!). Had a good rainfall this week though, so lots of puddles with coatings of ice and interesting ice patterns.

As I was driving along one of my unmaintained trails, I came to a spot where the rain had flooded a bit of the rutted road and decided to turn back. Couldn’t trust that the frost had firmed up the spot enough and certainly didn’t want to walk a mile to the nearest farmhouse!
Continue reading

Venice at Night

DSC_3790 - Venice Church At Night 2If you thought Venice was nice during the day, wait until it gets dark, then your looking at picturesque Churches, Cathedrals, and canals. All very pretty and very easy to Photograph without a tripod as there are plenty of walls and mooring posts for which to prop your camera on top of, sweet!DSC_3760 - Venice Docks at Night

I did wander around the streets and canals, it was getting dark and I tended to stick with routes I knew from the morning when I was checking out potential photographic points. It all seemed very safe and there was plenty of foot traffic.

DSC_3778 - Venice Canal at Night

And the Grand Finale shot before heading back to join my Contiki Group – the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.DSC_3787 - Venice Catherdral

Venice – City of Canals

DSC_3729 - Venice Catherdral in DayVenice, one of the cities I really wanted to see on this trip to Europe. For one reason, because of its unique canal structure and flare, and secondly its sinking. Although I’m not into all that hype about it actually going underwater in the Adriatic anytime soon, I’m sure at some point they will have to start to combat the problem and that could turn this iconic city into a construction zone for a while, best to get in before that happens.

DSC_3050 - Itinerary

I don’t normally post the itinerary for our Contiki Inspiration Tour, but for Venice I am because we aren’t actually staying in Venice itself, rather a road motel on the mainland, so your “free time” is more limited and you don’t want to miss the boat – quite literally (see boat below).

DSC_3390 - Boat to Venice

First stop was the  Piazza San Marco which due to the rain (that we escaped in Verona) ended up being quite wet. DSC_3460 Venice

Not Everyone on the tour was prepared for Rain in the conventional meaning, but one has to admit, garbage in the pocket does have a variety of uses and is lightweight and easy to carry. DSC_3666 - Make Shift Rain Gear

From the Piazza we went to our Venetian Glass Blowing Demo, where the glass blowing master made a glass horse from scratch (then proceeded to add a bit penis on it – sigh Contiki).

DSC_3443 - Venitian Glass Blowing Demo

After that we had lunch and wondered around a bit, the streets were easy to navigate and offered up numerous ways to get from point a to point b.

DSC_3431 - Venice Walkway

DSC_3447 - Canal in Venice    DSC_3549 - Venice - Sestier De S. Polo

Finally we regrouped for our Gondola rides, which was quite nice and rumors of being close to the water and it smelling awful did not come true (I guess that’s a good thing from the rain).

DSC_3661 - Venice Gondolas

DSC_3712 Venice Canal Bridge

Next was Dinner, as I had opted out of the dinner I grabbed a Calzone and drink (Cost 8€) and headed out to do some long-exposure night photography before meeting up with the rest of the tour group at the Bridge of Sighs.

The Chamberlains, Big Rideau Lake, Rideau River System, Ontario

The Chamberlains, Big Rideau Lake, Rideau River System, Ontario

When I am near to water, I enjoy photographing the reflections of clouds on the water as well as the shapes of the various lily pad leaves.

The Chamberlain’s wheeled dock.

Wakefield, Quebec and the Gatineau Hills

Every so often, when the sky is blue and the clouds are passing quickly overhead, I get an urge to hop in the car, travel across the Ottawa River, and spend some time wandering around the Gatineau Hills and along the shores of the Gatineau River. I usually end up at the Covered Bridge a bit upstream form Wakefield town center. This day was one such day.

Lac St. Pierre

Tent Caterpillars

Ruisseau St-Denis

One of the beaches at Meech Lake

Hay Rake

Wakefield Covered Bridge across the Gatineau River

Bridge Information: The Wakefield Covered Bridge was built in 1998 after a fire had destroyed the original Gendron Covered Bridge which had been at this site since 1915.  The construction of the replacement bridge was a community project utilizing 600 Douglas Fir boom logs salvaged from the Gatineau River when the logging practice of floating logs down the Gatineau River was discontinued. The bridge itself is 288 ft (87.8 m) long and 18 ft. (5.5m) wide and is 16 ft. (4.9m) above the normal river level.

I react to Poison Ivy so when I’m traveling on trails I have to always be watching that I don’t step in the stuff as I’m backing up to get the perfect shot. In a different language, the words might be different but the allergic reaction that I get is the same. This noxious weed knows no boundaries!

Another good day with no complications. Great to have nice weather.