city

Galway

Stop #18:
Galway lies on the River Corrib near the Galway Bay. It is Ireland’s fourth biggest city. This city seemed to me an arts center with great nightlife in pubs and clubs with live music almost anywhere we went. There are medieval town walls, shops hocking Claddagh rings, and busy streets and sidewalks with lots of energy. We went to one bar called Tribeton, which may be the nicest bars I’ve ever seen. The pictures of the Spanish Arch are not that great because there are sand bags in front of the Arch because of all of the heavy rains in Ireland this winter.

Belfast

Stop #14:

I found Belfast to be the highlight city from our visit.  While the trip was focused primarily on landscapes and scenery, the cities definitely added to the experience.  And after long days of driving, Guinness was welcome in the many pubs each night.  Belfast seems to be one of the up-and-coming destination cities.  It has so much to offer.  I’ll definitely plan a longer visit at some point in the future.

If you love street art (not graffiti), then there is plenty to see (below is a panorama of one of the places I particularly found interesting).

And the pubs are incredibly interesting with some Irish themed whiskey or beer ads in just about every squire inch of the wall (and ceiling) space. Great photo opportunities!

A man I met at the front of the church pointed this out to me. Recognize these from playing cards? They are front and center on the Church of Ireland Cathedral…

Diamonds – Greed

Clubs – Conflict

Hearts – Love

Spades – Toil

Cork, Ireland

Stop#4:

Cork actually means “marsh”. With all the rains in Ireland this year, I can see why! The city is a University town split into a few islands by the River Lee.

Viking invaders expanded the area around 915, and Prince John, Lord of Ireland, granted the city’s charter in 1185. Like many European cities, Cork city was once fully walled, as you can see in some of the photos.

We saw Cork in the evening after a day packed with visits to the Ring of Kerry and various castles and we stayed at a very nice hotel central to the city. We also had beers at the Oliver Plunkett, where lively Irish music was performed in the background.

London – Off the Tourist Trail

At the end of our Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe Trip, we were lucky to visit with long-time friends Mark and Tom in London.  Apart from some fun times catching up, we visited the Tate Modern for views from the tower, had fish & chips in an old pub, slid down the gigantic new slide at the Olympic Park (one slide = GBP 22 or so!) , had dinner in Islington, spent the day walking around canals and Brick Lane, and reminisced about days in my 20s when working there.  There is a picture here of my old KPMG office (where I worked in 1997 and 1998) right next to Blackfriar’s Bridge (which is now a glass covered bridge but used to be open air).  The city is alive with construction everywhere and nearly as many cranes as double-decker buses!  Somehow, it always feels so good to visit that city.

Budapest, Hungary

Stop #25

This was my second visit to Budapest, with my first visit about 15 or so years ago.  The city is as beautiful as I remember it, but this time it felt like there were a lot more tourists.  I was probably too ambitious about seeing as much as possible in the day and a half that we spent there, clocking just about 22 miles on my iWatch in one day!  But I’ll have great photos to remember this city for the rest of my life, so it was a small price to pay!

There are three additional portfolios for Budapest and the links are below.  I wanted to capture more details of each because I remembered them being some of the most incredibly beautiful places from the last time I visited this city.

Highlights:

  • Hungarian Parliament – this was one of our first stops.  I got pictures just after sunset and during twilight and then returned the next morning for dawn pictures.
  • Buda Castle – now a museum, it is the building you see on the hill with the green dome in all the pictures of the Buda side of Budapest.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion – I visited early morning to beat tourists and then returned with Randy later in the afternoon.
  • Liberty Statue on Gellért Hill – we climbed this hill after I had already been walking around for miles that day, so I was a little pooped at the top.
  • Heroes’ Square in City Park – we caught this during the golden hour!
  • National Theatre
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica – we visited before leaving so I just realized that the photos are still on the memory card in my camera…oops.
  • Széchenyi Chain Bridge – the pretty bridge with the lions on each end.

Boston Visit

Our trips back to Boston are becoming less frequent.  I swear that every time I go back, a bunch of tall office buildings have gone up, my block in Southie has a bunch of new condos, and the traffic keeps getting worse.  But I never get tired of the gritty feel, the history, the pride, the beauty that makes Boston a special place where I lived for 20 years.  I always miss it.

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