Cuba Day 7

PineapplesI have to say up front that I had 350 images to sift through this day, more than any other day. I loved most of them and it was very hard to choose which to share.

manwfanWe met in the lobby of the hotel before breakfast to walk the five or six blocks to a traditional market where the meat was being butchered before our eyes and all manner of fruits and vegetables were for sale. Everyone was goingyellowboots about their business and not paying much attention to the crazy American photographers.  I think I have enough good photos from there alone for a show by themselves.

StudyBack to the hotel for lovely buffet breakfast then into the van for a trip to Ernest Hemingway’s house. I did not realize that he lived in Cuba
 for over 20 years. He left for Paris after the revolution expecting to come back but never made it. They havlivinge kept towerhis house as a museum just as he and his wife left it. The rooms are filled with books, and art, and animal head trophies adorn every wall. While they do not allow you to go into the house, all the windows and doors are open for viewing the rooms. At the top left is his library, below that the living room, notice the bull fighting poster and the well stocked bar. On the right is his tower room where he could go to write, take a nap or spy on the women at the swimming pool with his telescope.

CojimarWe then went to the village of Cojimar where Hemingway used to dock his boat and where he got the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea from an actual incident that happened there. We had a huge lunch which started with a honey mojito (by this point in the trip our slogan was “drink it fast before the ice melts” and I was already taking Cipro and Imodium to counteract an episode the night before, so what the heck). The drink was followed by two rounds of appetizers, a main course which included chicken, beef, fish, and lobster, vegetables, rice and beans. Rice pudding was served for dessert. I tried it but only confirmed that I stmusiciansill do not like rice pudding. Down at the waterfront we were serenaded by musicians. The old man in the wheelchair had a sign that said “I have ailment Parkinson’s,” possibly an asset for shaking the maracas. He still sang well though. We walked along
 the sea wall and sat in the shade for a bit then back to the hotel for a quick siesta.

CruisinAt 4pm we were loaded into three old convertibles. A pink Chevy, a red Ford, and a Turquoise Buick. I was riding in the Chevy which was probably in the worst condition but we had hands down the best looking driver.driver We went first to see the Christ of Havana statue. At 60ft it is the second largest statue of Christ after the one in Rio. Interestingly, the statue was commissioned by Batista’s wife in 1958 and was completed a week before the Revolution.
sunset1Next, we hopped back into the cars to visit an old fort built between 1763 and 1774 by the Spanish. Here we had a marvelous view of an amazing sunset and we even got to see a cruissunset2e ship leaving town. The cars dropped us off at another American café, very
 similar to the first (where we had lunch the first day in Havana) with a similar menu. Even though I wasn’t hungry I had a tuna sandwich, two beers and some cheesecake.

Cuba Day 6 – Transfer to Havana

On Wednesday we arose at 5:00am. I was prepared to forego breakfast but Lionel said “No, it’s paid for, they have to give it to you whenever you want.” Fortunately, my housemate had a translator on her phone because I would not have known how to say 5:45 in Spanish. We left for the airport at 6:15 and were all checked in with luggage checked for our flight to Havana and through security by 7:15 though the flight did not leavInglaterrae until 8:35. But at least it was on time. We were in Havana with luggage in hand by 10:15 and picked up by our new driver Lasero, who did not speak English, but who drove a very similar van to David’s and he whisked us away to the Hotel Inglaterra on the border between Central Havana (dating to the 19th century) and Havana Viejo (old Havana, dating Opera_houseto the 16th century). Our hotel was just next door to the very ornate Opera House and just a block from the national capitol building which was having its dome restored.

Havana is to Santiago as Portland is to Eugene, Seattle is to Spokane, Dallas is to San Antonio, Dublin is to Galway (sorry east coast people, I can’t think of any good analogies). Both are big cities but Santiago was much more intimate and manageable. The buildings in Santiago are mostly two stories, in Havana more on the order of four or five. The streets are wider in Havana and the traffic much, much heavier.

We arrived at the hotel around eleven and of course our rooms were not ready so we checked our luggage and Lionel walked us to a very Americanized café for lunch three or four blocks away. Though we were told to focus on walking not photography, I could not resist this woman putting out her laundry. At the restaurant, which we later learned is funded by Cuban Americans, they even had a menu in English,
which was good because Lionel abandoned us to go visit his wife. I ordered a tuna sandwichWomanwlaundry because it was the only one on the menu that didn’t say it came with vegetables. Unfortunately, it did anyway. It also had three slices of bread with about a tablespoon of tuna salad between each slice. I peeled off the lettuce and made do with my tuna flavored bread. 

After lunch, we walked back to the hotel and checked into our rooms where we were presented with not only a complimentary bottle of water but one of Rum as well. I never opened mine and feared to try and schlep it back to the west coast unbroken. The hotel was, no doubt, very grand in its day but that day had long since passed. Some of our group had stayed there before and said there were improvements but not enough to justify the doubling in price from two years ago. However, my room was clean and the plumbing and electricity, including the air conditioner, all  worked to my satisfaction.

I caught up on some photo editing then when outside to Central Park and photographed old cars as they were zooming by. They also had parking areas at each end of GreenChevythe park filled with old cars now serving as taxis so I did some detail work there. While there are some newer cars from Russia and China, in Havana the old American
cars are the norm.

A few words about the old cars seems appropriate. Though they are running, none of them seems to be running well. Some have nice paint jobs but the interiors are not necessarily intact. The fumes from
these cars, many of them older than I am are atrocious. One of our group members said he saw a man pull up, grab a screwdriver to open Buickthe trunk where he had a 20 gallon jerry can with hoses running out of it. Ron pointed to it and asked “Is that your gas tank?” The man grinned and said “Si, welcome to Cuba.” Regardless of condition, the old cars are considered a national treasures. Still, I have a hunch many will find themselves on boats home if relations with the U.S. continue to normalize.

Blue_DoorAT 4:30pm we were picked up by the van and taken to Old Havana for a walking tour which ended up lasting for 2 ½ hours. I was exhausted with sore feet by the end and it was too dark for photographs. Lionel saidLightwiron “You are photographers, you need to walk around.” Well, yeah, but in the light of day please and with a rest break every hour or so. The architecture was beautiful and I would be happy to return some day to photograph more… in the light of day.

Blue_ArchWe ended up at a restaurant where we were directed up a narrow spiral staircase to a private room. I had Ropa Vieja, a sort of shredded meat dish, in this case lamb. It was served with the ubiquitous rice and beans and some very tasty appetizers. I especially liked the fried plantain basket with seasoned ground beef.

Cuba Day 2 – Remembering Fidel

Saturday, December 3 was the day that the caravan carrying Fidel Castro’s ashes was to arrive in Santiago. Because of traffic and road closure concerns we decided to go with the flow and focus on people photography as the masses thronged to Plaza de Marte and Parque Cespedes to say farewell to Fidel.

TerraceFirst was breakfast at the casa. I went down at the agreed upon time and my hostess pointed back upstairs. I looked suitably confused and she called my host out and he said “Your breakfast will be served on the rooftop terrace.” So back up the narrow, steep concrete stairs; then up an even narrower and steeper set of metal stairs where I found this lovely view of red rooftops, the harbor, and the neighbChaguitoor’s laundry. I was served a variety of fruits, juice, cheese, tea and what they called an omelette which was really just flat scrambled eggs. I
was offered bread but was still deluding myself that I could stick to my diet and had refused. That didn’t last long, of course.

SonOur group congregated at 10 am and walked up a pedestrian street toward
the plaza. Mostly I photographed signs like this little guy who is apparently the mascot for some store chain as I saw him everywhere. I tried googling Chaguito but the answers all came up in Spanish. Son, I am told is the Cuban term for Salsa dancing so this place, it seems is a dance studio.

waitingThere were some crossed signals bElNinoetween our local guide and our photography guide and some of us spent a lot of time waiting for a rendezvous that never happened. I arrived at the Plaza at 11am. It was hot and shade was scarce. Fortunately, I had a hat and most people were lining the streets so seating was not that hard to come by. Many people were Iriswise to have brought umbrellas for shade. And yes, the people photography was exceptional. Though in truth, I am not a people photographer so I can honestly say this was without question my least favorite day of the trip.Umbrellas
The parade finally passed by around 1 pm and didn’t last long at all. It consisted of a couple of vans and an army truck full of jPropagandaournalists and a jeep pulling a little trailer with a box bearing Fidel’s ashes covered by a Cuban Flag. The national anthem (I guess) was sung and some people cried, some people held up signs saying Yo Soy Fidel which I later learned means “I am Fidel”, which I interpreted to mean theYoSoy spirit of Fidel lives in me. Some high school kids also had it painted on their faces. Flags were passed out and some brought their own.  There were also posters of Castro to be had. I kicked myself later for not grabbing one for posterity.

FidelI feel compelled to say a few words about Castro and Cuba at this point. I want to say up front that I do not have enough information to judge Castro, one way or another, and neither, my friends, do you. Churchill once said of Russia “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…” and I feel very strongly that this also applies to Cuba today. Cuba has free education, including college and it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Cuba has free medical care and it has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. At the same time, I saw people living in conditions that I can only describe as abject poverty. Not everyone but many. Buildings, in general are not well maintained. Cars are held together with bubble gum and baling wire. Our guide(Lionel, pronounced Lee-o-nel) was reluctant to tell us what average incomes are in Cuba. “Oh, it varies.” He would say. But he did say that if someone had a relative in the United States willing to send them $100 a month they didn’t have to work. He also stressed that money isn’t important to most Cubans, they value family relations and friendships. I have to say that during my time in the first casa I saw so many people coming and going I couldn’t keep track of who lived there and who was just visiting but they all seemed to be having a good time.

Popcorn_LadyI also saw many people in the streets hustling for money. Food carts were commonplace. Beggars with hard luck stories would hound you until you looked them square in the eye and said an emphatic no, and that might not be enough to get rid of them. I saw one fellow begging in the square and later he walked by me as I was sitting on a step. He had changed to much nicer clothes and he had the nerve to smile and wave as he strode purposefully by. They would give you little gifts and then reel you in for the kill to sell you jewelry or cigars. Free enterprise may not be the norm in Cuba but it is clearly not dead.

But getting back to Castro, what I have been able to glean from readingWomanwcat and listening is that probably many people’s lives improved under Castro from what they had been under Batista and earlier imperialistic regimes, especially minorities or oppressed majorities, i.e. women, and the descendants of former slaves.  I saw many people looking pensive or downright sad. Were they mourning Castro, worried for their futures or just reflecting on the past?

The economy of Cuba collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union and has never completely recovered. There appears to be a group of rich Cuban Americans with axes Socksto grind because they lost their property and position during Castro’s revolution who are lobbying to stand in the way of normalization of relations with the United States. A little American money goes a long way and things are changing rapidly in Cuba, as they should. Raul Castro will be retiring in 2018 and the heir apparent is of a new generation. I will be interested to see where they are in five or ten years.Boywball

After the event broke up our guide took us to a very nice privately owned restaurant for lunch. The food was good, the menu quite varied and the water was cold (hallelujah!). I had Shrimp and bacon skewers. Our guide had yummy looking pork chops. One person had a half chicken, others had
lamb. There was rice and French fries on the side.

After lunch I strolled back to the casa for a nap and to download pictures. Proving that life goes on SoccerI captured boys and girls of all ages playing with balls.

The group reconvened for dinner around 7pm. Lionel said nothing was open but the hotel and we just wanted a snack to tide us over after our big lunch so off we went. Just as we were getting there this guy comes along saying “Hey, you want cerveza? you want Mojito? You want rooftop terrace? Come with me.” So, we went with him and were taken to a restaurant on a back street. Up three flights of stairs we came to a rooftop deck and settled in and ordered beer, at which point the guy disappeared. We were told no, we couldn’t have beer unless we ordered food. We said fine bring the beer andSoccer2 we’ll order food. Reluctantly the girl brought us each a can of Cristal one of the two national beers. We still weren’t very hungry so we ordered some appetizers. No, this wasn’t enough, she was going to be in big trouble. I felt guilty and ordered an entrée. She refused to bring us a second beer. Somehow the owner got involved. Lionel had to turn on all his charm. Eventually the owner agreed to give us one more beer. The appetizers came and the girl came and told me they didn’t have what I had ordered did I want something else. I said I didn’t really want it in the first place just bring me a shrimp cocktail. Which when it came turned out to be shrimp mixed with mayonnaise, not cocktail sauce. All in all I was very happy to slink back down the three flights of stairs and be delivered back to Parque Cespedes for the short walk back to my casa.

Glendalough

Today’s field trip really put the icing on the cake for me.  I have been yearning to have a chance to wander around a cemetery and photograph old headstones and celtic crosses and today my wish came true. Glendalough is an ancient monastic site that was active from the 7th to 12th century. That’s 500 years folks.

St_KevinsHere is a picture of St. Kevin’s Church which was the main place of worship prior to the building of the Cathedral in the 12th century. And here is another view from closer in. The cemetery does not seem to be as old as the monastic buildings as many of the graves date from the 19th century and some further out are even from tSt_Kevins_withcrosshe 20th. One of the challenges today was the flat white sky.

Round_towerThe round tower was a bell tower and landmark to help visitors find the place. Occasionally when marauding Vikings struck it was also used to protect supplies but not, as was earlier thought, the people of the community.

A word about the Celtic cross. We had an archaeologist talk to us early on and express the opinion that the term was a misnomer as the Celtic period in Ireland dated from about 500 BC to 400 AD and the Celts were pagan so had nothing to do with the crosses which generally date from the 8th to 12th century. However, it has also been indicated that the whole idea of the Celtic Cross was to make Christianity less threatening to the pagans by adding a Crosscircle representing the sun to the Christian cross.

In any case, I have a fascination with Celtic crosses and Celtic inspired design and the notion of a brand of Christianity that is closer to nature and less dominated by imperialism. Some of the older “High” crosses date to the 8th century and may have been used by the monastics to mark their boundaries. But just because they were not cast in stone until then does not mean they did not exist until then. There apparently was a renaissance in the 19th and 20th century as the cross was embraced anew and became popular for grave markers.

I now have over 1800 images in my Ireland file so if you have been following along you know that you have seen only the tip of the iceberg so far. Not that they are all worthy of further consideration but there certainly will be more to come once I have time to sit down and work with the images. So look for at least one more posting on Ireland but not before the middle of next week as I have to travel home, recover from jet lag, and celebrate my birthday before I can finish editing my pictures.

Cork and Cobh

ButcherI have over 300 new images today and it has been hard to narrow it down to just a few representative shots. We started the day with some free time in Cork and I headed directly to the English Market which is a photographer’s (and foodie’s) paradise. I finally settled on this imagMusiciane of a real life butcher  but there are lots of other wonderful things I could have shown you. Fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cheese, fish, chicken, chocolates… and on and on.

Roaming around the streets of central Cork there was much to see as well. Colorful shops, murals, great signs and street musicians. This fellow with the concertina actually followed us from Galway. The challenge with him was getting the entire feather into the frame and still being able to see his face and the instrument.

In the afternoon we travelled to nearby Cobh (pronounced Cove). Cobh hasTitanic three claims to historical fame. It was one of the principal points of embarkation during the potato famine. It was the final port of call of the Titanic and it was also a destination of the Lusitania which was sunk just offshore.

After seeing the heritage museum and having a guided walking tour of the town we were experts on these events and their connection to Cobh. But what got me excited was strolling around town and finding some colorful fishing boats to photograph. I realized recently that I haven’t been doing anything very artistic with the Ireland images so I gave this one a Boatsgrungy textured treatment just to prove I still can.

There will be lots more good images to come out of today but it’s been a long day and I am very tired and I still have to pack my bags for our move to Dublin tomorrow. We ended the day by having dinner with a real Irish family. Fun to see how the people live and have a chance to sit and talk with them.  But I have to say, I’m still having trouble with the accent.

Killarney and Blarney Castle

StMarysIt was another lovely day to be in Ireland today. We had free time in the town of Killarney this morning so I set out to see St. Mary’s Cathedral. It is very impressive with lotsDawn2Dusk of stained glass and ornate mosaics. I was particularly impressed, though, by this modern stained glass
window entitled Dawn to Dusk. At the bottom it says “Why is there anything, instead of nothing?” I’m a little surprised the Catholic hierarchy let that one slip by.

OrganThen I swung back around to the Anglican Church which was nearer our hotel but not yet open when I set out. It was smaller but beautifully decorated inside. I had never before seen a painted pipe organ and this stained glass window was more to my taste than some of the more biblical ones.Window

After checking out a few shops and buying a few souvenirs I was all walked out but still had an hour before the bus was due to leave so I indulged in a horse cart ride through the National Park parts of which were donated to KillarneyNP2the country on stipulation that only foot, bicycle or horse traffic would be allowed. I got one last look at the McGuillycuddy’s reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland at around 3500 feet.

On the road again we proceeded through county Tipperary, seeing more Blarneyhorses and dairy cattle than sheep now, to County Cork and on to Cork City with a stop at Blarney Castle. Even if the cruise ship had not just dumped thousands of people on the place I would not have stood in line to bend over backward and kiss a rock. It’s a little too late for the gift of gab to do me any good anyway.

The Burren and the Cliffs of Mohr

Today marked the midpoint in our tour of Ireland. With seven days behind us and seven days ahead we had perhaps our best weather day so far. I think it is the first day it has not rained even a little bit.  We loaded up the coach this morning for our transfer from Galway to Killarney.

Burren1Along the way we picked up guide, Shane Connolly, who had quite the accent and quite the sense of humor. Some of us thought he might make it as a stand-up comedian in the U.S. One thing about the Irish is they are very savvy about American politics and like to poke fun at both sides in the current election.  But Shane was also very knowledgeable about archeology, natural history and geology and gave us an expert walk through the Burren, a rocky, desolate landscape. He insisted though, that it is of the best land in Ireland for raising cattle because the grass stays fresh in the winter and farmers bring their cattle up here where the limestone covered hills absorb heat from tTombhe sun so stay warmer than the valleys below.

While still in the Burren we stopped (along with 5 other busloads of
people) to see a megalithic tomb called Poulnabrone Dolmen. This site dates to around 3000 B.C. and marks the burial of 33 people. We had lunch at a pub called Vaughn’s where we were served Irish stew with a side of, you guessed it, mashed potatoes. Tea or coffee is served after every meal but I find myself longing for a nice glass of iced tea with lemon.

CliffsAfter lunch we headed out to the Cliffs of Mohr which Patrick tells us is the second most visited site in all of Ireland. The first being the Guinness storehouse in Cork. The crowds are well managed but it does put one in mind of such over loved national parks as Grand Canyon and Yellwostone. I have to say it was quite different from my last visit to the cliffs when it was so foggy you could barely see your hand if front of your face, let alone the cliffs.

And that was the end of our visit to County Clare. The rest of the day was on the road to Killarney where we are now ensconced in the nicest hotel to date with another full day of touristing on the agenda for tomorrow.

Connemara

Yesterday was a long full day so I apologize that I did not get the blog posted last night. We got on the bus at 8:30am and did not return to the hotel until 8:30pm. Fortunately, I did get the photos processed and we have a little free time this morning so I can catch up.

ConnemaraOur destination yesterday was Connemara. A beautiful, rugged and somewhat desolate peninsula on the west coast bounded by Killary Harbour on the north and Galway Bay on the south. We only had one photo stop in the morning so I tried to take a few shots out the bus windoKillaryw to give you a sense of the terrain. Along Killary Harbour, which is actually a fjord we saw boats out tending mussel farming operations.

And this sheep gave us a nice demonstration of his (or her?) thick wool cwooloat. Our guide, Patrick, talked some about sheep farming. He said that it is
no longer economic to raise sheep for the wool. Though they do shear the sheep and sell the wool to textile manufacturers in China and India, it is not very profitable. On the other hand, Ireland is a major exporter of mutton and lamb to the tune of $230,000,000 Euros. The primary buyers being Great Britain and France.

Kylemore abbey, our primary destination, is a manor house built in 1866Kylemore which was later purchase by the Benedictine order and used as a girls school. The school is now closed but the Benedictines seem to be doing a good business in tourism. I had visited Kylemore back in the 1990s on my first brief visit to Ireland but the gardens had not been restored at that time so it was a delight to get to see them now. We had a voucher for lunch at the cafeteria where I chose quiche and a salad, at least slightly Gardensless rich than the usual fare and possibly my first meal in Ireland without potatoes! By the time I had seen the gardens, had lunch, toured the mansion, and explored the gift shop our allotted three hours was well aIrish_Coffeend truly spent.

Next we proceeded to the Logh Inagh Lodge for a taste of Irish coffee, a
magic elixir which makes both coffee and whiskey more palatable than either in their native form, at least in my humble opinion. The scenLough_Inaghery at the Lodge was amazing and I could see getting lost in Connemara for a few weeks, or
months, or years.

CottageNext we proceeded to a heritage center called Cnoc Suain. Not at all the commercial enterprise I had envisioned, here a couple has taken it upon themselves to preserve what they can of Irish culture. They have restored some old cottages out in the middle of the bog lands. We had a demonstration of Gaelic speaking and singing, the making of Irish soda bread (along with a taste, yum), there was a peat fire and we had an opportunity to taste some seaweed. Hoping I never have to rely on that for Firea food source. Next we went to another building for a fascinating talk and demonstration on the peat bogs and how peat is harvested and dried. The sphagnum moss which makes up most of the bog vegetation is actually a great carbon dioxide sink so the burning of peat for fuel is now being discouraged. In the third cottage we met a musician who demonstrated the Irish version of an accordion and a variety of tin whistles. Then some of our group learned an Irish dance.  All in all, a fun and interesting stop.

Finally, we headed to the town of Spiddal on Galway Bay where we were served fish and chips (at least the potatoes were fried for a change). We were all quite satisfied and then they proceeded to bring out a huge slice of apple cake with ice cream. Somehow I am still managing to get into my smaller pants, I suppose it is all the walking, but I’m afraid I am going to have to start saying no to the sugar, the cream and the ubiquitous heaps of mashed potatoes. I may also have to buy new shoes as the ones I bought just before leaving are already starting to come apart.

Derry to Galway via Drumcliffe

I really don’t have a lot to show you today as we spent most of the day on the bus making our way from Derry in Northern Ireland to Galway on the west coast. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the art installation at the border. It is called the five giants or “Let the Dance Begin” There are five oversized figures playing musical instruments in a roundabout where the checkpoint crossing from Northern Ireland used to be. The figures were built from the scrap metal that resulted when the checkpoints were dismantled. Yet another celebration of the peace now prevailing on the island.

YeatsWe traveled through countryside that gives meaning to the word bucolic with cattle, sheep, cottages, stone fences and even the odd potato field. We did have a brief stop in Drumcliffe to visit the graHigh_Crossve of William Butler Yeats. I found myself more interested in the Celtic crosses in the cemetery including this high cross dating to the 9th century.

We had a guided tour through some of Yeat’s favorite landscapes, including a short hike to a waterfall near this lake. Though he was born in Dublin his grandparents lived in County Sligo which is considered to be his spiritual home. After hearing some of his poems read and recited I would like to hear more and will be looking for Lake_Glencara book of his poems to bring home as a souvenir.

We proceeded to the town of Sligo for a hearty lunch of Sea Bass with the requisite mashed potatoes. Vegetables were served family style and we nearly had to fight for the broccoli and cauliflower sprinkled in amongst the carrots and parsnips. We are now ensconced in our new hotel in Galway and tomorrow promises to be a big day exploring the Connemara Peninsula.

Armagh and the Cathedrals of Saint Patrick

We started the day today with a lecture which tried to stuff the history of Ireland into one hour. I gained more insight into the troubles and the Scotch Irish immigration to the U.S.  Our lecturer agreed with my driver Seamus that Northern Ireland would probably someday join the Republic “but not in my lifetime” he said. He pointed out that the Catholic population of Northern Ireland is outpacing the Protestant and eventually they will become a majority allowing for a referendum to leave Great Britain and join the Republic of Ireland. Meanwhile, everyone seems shocked and and confused about how Brexit might complicate already strained relations.

Then we traveled about an hour south of Belfast to Armagh which is the home of not one but two cathedrals dedicated to St. Patrick. One is Catholic, the other Anglican (or Church of Ireland as they like to say here).

Exterior_CatholicWell it was raining a little heavily when we got to the first church (the Catholic one) so my outdoor pictures leave something to be desired but I tried.

This cathedral was built between 1840 and 1870 and is very ornate inside with many stained glass windows and mosaic tiles on all of the floors and walls.Stained_Glasswall_StPats

 

Floor_StPats

 

The next church was much older, dating from 1268, witExterior_Anglicanh updates and changes since then of course. This church was less ornate but had stained glass that was more to my taste and seemed a little brighter. There was also a lot more statuary in this one, including this reader that Stained_Glass2I especially liked.Reader

 

 

 

 

Upon returning to Belfast we had some free time. So I went shopping, having heard nothing from the airlines about my bag. I scored a new bag, two pair of jeans, a sweater some shirts and underwear, and an electrical adaptor so I can keep taking pictures and posting blogs. What won’t be so easy to replace are the charging cords for my phone, Nook, and Fitbit. There is probably a message in here about what we really can live without.

I also had my first Guiness this evening, well and my second too. And with that it is time to bid you good night.