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Archive for March, 2012

Tips, Tricks, and Reflections from Spring Break:

1. Paris is confusing. Their metro system is fantastic but they need to work on naming their streets or I needed  a better map! I was standing in front of St. Madeline which was on my map and one way was St. Madeline Boulevard and the other direction was St. Madeline Way or Place and neither of those were on my map. I stood there for quite a bit but I got it worked out.

2. Almost anywhere you go, trying to get back to the river is always a good idea if you are lost.

3. The plane ride from Paris to Dublin said 9:30 pm until 10:10 pm. Forty minute flight! Nope! There is a time difference between Paris and Dublin thus causing this to be an hour and forty minutes.

4. Sometimes it’s good to plan things or else it leads to it being 9:00 am and you realize you want to be somewhere at 9:30 am in a city that you have never explored using their public transportation system. This leads to literally running through the streets (but we made it!)

5. Soup is cheap but hearty!

6. People watching beats the majority of other activities. I think my favorite was people watching on Saint Patrick’s Day and seeing some guy walk past a police officer and seeing the police officer just lean over, take the beer out of this guy’s hand, and throw it away. I guess he was done for the day!

7. Sleeping in airports is a contradictory statement.Enough said.

8. Flannery is the best!

9. Edinburgh has a true elegance to it.

10. Internet in airports and trains – you have to pay for it.

11. Some places, like airports and train stations, have you pay for the bathroom. … Really?

12. Never underestimate the wonderfulness of your shower. I was all to happy to get back to the one here after our travels.

13. Same for beds.

14. Be mindful of differences in other countries.

Have a great one =)

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On to London!

London was an interesting experience and started off right with an excellent sighting.

There was quite a bit of flannery that went on in London because our hostel was a bit out in the boonies so Carly and I improvised! To start with, we had breakfast in the park.

Fruit and muffins started the day off right! Then we just poked around in all the cool little shops and came back to the park later to read and knit in the sun. We also hit up the requisite fish and chips for lunch!

Then Carly had a good spot and we found a bunch of vintage shops. Overall, it was quite the relaxing day and just nice to spend time like that.

The next morning, we left the hostel early so we could hit up our bus tour! We got to see a bunch of iconic sites.

Westminster Abbey …

Big Ben! I found out that the bells themselves are Big Ben while the clock tower is the Saint Steven’s Clock tower, which is something I didn’t know.

Such a cool bridge! I’m pretty sure there are Legos like this out there!

Obelisk which is reminiscent of the one in Paris.

Palace!

There was just so much to see and we definitely didn’t have enough time. I was able to get a taste and will definitely have to come back for more at some point =)

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Edinburgh!

What a wonderful bit of time in Edinburgh! After sleeping in the airport, we flew into Edinburgh around 9 in the morning. We took a very quiet day and just walked around Edinburgh for a bit.

Carly and I took some time together in a café during the afternoon. We ordered drinks and something to munch on and spent a while just sitting together and reading. What a wonderful friend to travel with when you can spend just an enjoyable talking as you can just reading in each other’s company.

We had to make the most of our day in Edinburgh. Carly and I started it out leisurely and went from there. We stumbled upon Calton Park which was lovely to visit. Another example that ‘Not all who wander are lost’ because we find the most amazing things when we just go. From there we headed to Holyrood Park. There is an extinct volcano there called ‘Arthur’s Seat’ and we climbed all the way to the very top!

There was so much wind but the trip up was so wonderful and just felt like real Scotland to me even though we were still in the city. I had some seriously wrong misconceptions about Scotland; my conception was a man in a kilt playing bagpipes on a green hill. Edinburgh was not like this at all in the best possible way =)

That night, Carly and I followed our noses in the direction of a really good smelling place to eat. We had some real Scottish food and both ordered haggis which was excellent. I’m glad we were able to have a chance to do that. =)

Also, Mom’s Traveling Sock made an appearance!

We also stopped and saw the outside of Edinburgh Castle which was really neat to see.

The next day it was off to London! We both  agreed to splurging on breakfast so we went to a place called ‘The Urban Angel’ which was very health conscious and organic and the food was amazing! I love getting tea and scones and it was such an excellent way to cap off Scotland before taking the train to London!

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Sorry to disappoint everyone but this is not a post about one of Colleen’s amazing adventures abroad. Colleen has once again been kind enough to invite me to guest blog for her (as she did when she posted https://nerdyknitting.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/the-amazing-darci-jones-and-her-10-foot-scarf/) so today you’re getting something a little closer to home.

I am sure you’re thinking “It’s more than a month after Valentine’s Day, why are we still talking about it?” and the answer would be the same if I were to ask you the question “Do you have any idea why I shouldn’t knit things for presents?” and that is I simply cannot get things knit in the time frame I think I can when I start the project.

Obviously I have very little experience knitting socks. In fact, I have only ever made one pair before, which Colleen had to help me with (if anyone remembers her telling people that I was scared when I received some sock yarn). So I decided that it would be wonderful for me to make my fiance socks for valentine’s day.  This turned out to be very wishful thinking.

My first mistake was buying yarn a little too thick. My second was buying a set of sock needles and finding out that they were a little too thin. In my mind a little too thin + a little too thick = just right. So I cast on anyway and started knitting away.

Well I’m sure you can imagine the plethora of problems that I ran into. Using yarn that is too thick for the needles you have is not a good idea and makes knitting much harder. At one point I dropped a stitch while decreasing and did not realize it until what I thought was a gap got a little bigger each time I went around. I also simply did not have the same amount of time to knit as I did in school. Between work, planning a wedding, and all the intrusions of everyday life I was not making progress as fast as I planned. I even knitted everywhere I went. I knit on my breaks at work. I took my knitting to the restaurant when we went out to dinner (as shown by the poor quality picture from my phone). I knit on car rides and I even knit at my marriage prep retreat. It simply still was not enough time.

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I do fully admit that a big part of the problem is the number of projects I think I can simultaneously work on. I believe right now I am at three, and I feel that all of them have equal importance (except for the making of my wedding dress which has complete precedence) so it is hard to shelve one to focus on another. I did much better focusing on projects when I only had one set of needles.

Needless to say my fiance got Reese’s Cups for Valentine’s Day, seeing as giving him only one sock wasn’t really an option, and if he is lucky maybe he will get a new pair of socks for a wedding present…two months is enough time to knit another three inches and make the toe of the second sock, right?

(I would also like to thank the wonderful Colleen for her patience and apologize for how long it took for me to post for her after she asked me to write about the socks. Despite how long ago that was the second one is still a work in progress, and I’m sure Colleen will let everyone know when it gets done.)

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

It was absolute craziness in Dublin for Saint Patrick’s Day. I was told there were a half a million people in Dublin for it! There was most definitely green everywhere as far as the eye could see!

Everything was decorated with green, white, and orange, and everyone was quite in the spirit of it all. Carly and I decided to go to a few of the events they had during the day. The first event we went to was a harp ensemble that was in the National Museum of Ireland. The music was so beautiful and such an awesome way to spend some time.

After that, we headed over to live music (we had a thing for music =) ). Everyone who performed was great! Surprisingly enough, I actually didn’t know any of the songs that were played. I found out that a lot more Irish songs than I realized talked about drinking whiskey. Everyone was into it and madly dancing in the square.

We really needed dinner after this and trying to navigate the area with that many people was incredibly insane! But we eventually made it through and got dinner. We capped off the night by hanging out with friends and it was definitely a Saint Patrick’s Day for the books =)

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After we had gotten back on Wednesday, Carly and I plotted out a trip to Galway/the Cliffs of Moher for the next day. This involved getting up at 540 so we could catch a 645 bus. We found the bus and enjoyed a three hour ride out to Galway. It was stunning to ride through the countryside on the bus. When we departed from the bus, we were graced with more examples of true Irish hospitality. A tour bus company asked us if we would like to go with them for the day, and offered a ride back to Galway for free. What an excellent deal! So we took them up on it. We got to see a bunch of cool different sites.

However, the main attraction was when we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher. Despite the slight mist, the sight was still beyond stunning. I actually think the mist added quite a bit to it overall. As someone else described it – magnificent.

We arrived back into Dublin late and just spent another night in.

Friday, involved so much walking it was unreal. Carly and I didn’t have a real plan but rather things we wished to see. We had some typical Ireland weather and it was misting/raining all day but we did find Trinity College …

Dublin Castle …

And Saint Patrick’s Cathedral!

All quite by accident too. We had some of the best luck with our wandering. We did decide that after that, we needed to stop for some tea and something warm. And what a better to knit then in an awesome café! Hi there, Mom’s Traveling Sock!

I ordered tea and a scone. The tea came in something that looked like a big tea pot but you actually took the top off and the bottom was the cup. The scone was scrumptious with raisins packed in it and served with butter, cream, and jam. It was exactly what we needed to keep going. We walked over to an Antique part of the town only to find out, they were legitimate antiques. We kept walking thinking we were completely headed in the right direction to go back for the day. However, we eventually stopped to ask for directions and found we had wandered off the map! But we made our way back eventually =)

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Our first complete day in Ireland was a bit of a whirlwind. We realized at 9 that we wanted to head out to the Irish National Stud for the day and the bus to Kildare left at 930. We ran around like mad – literally ran through Dublin trying to catch a tram to take us to the bus that would take us to Kildare. We ended up making it in plenty of time but only because we were blessed with some of the kindest and most wonderful people who helped us as we tried to figure out what to do. The bus ride out to the Irish National Stud showed off some of the fine countryside of Ireland. There were sheep everywhere and I loved it!

Then we arrived at the Irish National Stud.

We started out by walking around the Japanese gardens and they were stunning. It took you through the story of a man’s life as you walked around the garden.

After that, it was off to see the horses! We literally got to see a foal that was born two minutes before we arrived. We saw stallions and geldings. They are quite incredible to behold up close. And I actually petted a horse!

We also walked around St. Fiachra’s Gardens. St. Fiachra was a sixth century Irish monk who is the patron saint of gardening. While in those gardens, we met up with a lovely older Irish gentleman who talked to us for a long time and gave us advice about what to do with our time. I love being able to tell people my name is Colleen – I get the greatest reactions =)

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