I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Ireland 2019: Killarney

We had such a restful sleep in Killarney last night after the adventure of trying to get to Ireland! When we arrived,  the skies were cloudy and it’s very cool,  which I understand is normal here.  We had a delicious breakfast at the buffet in our hotel, complete with a tray of honeycomb dripping with honey. The breakfast was amazing!! After breakfast we loaded into horse drawn buggies that look a lot like a surrey in New York’s Central Park. These are called Jaunting Cars here. We were taken for a ride through the beautiful Killarney National Park.  After our tour we loaded the bus to ride along the Ring of Kerry. This is a 111 mile circular tourist drive that has beautiful scenery all along the way. We also saw lots and lots of green, homes old and new and beautiful flowers. At times we dipped down toward the coastline. The bus pulled over for a snack and restroom stop and then also for lunch. We also stopped along the way to see beautiful views! I would have liked more scenery stops but this bus has amazingly large windows. Unfortunately I get carsick and needed to take some medicine for that. The medicine combined with bus motion put me to sleep shortly after the bus would start going so I missed a lot of scenery out of the windows. We also went to a working sheep farm to see a demonstration of sheep shearing and watch a sheep dog work her magic in rounding up sheep. I really enjoyed that! We were also on a time schedule as it is a tour so I had no control of anything we were doing or seeing. Sometimes that’s a good thing and other times it can be frustrating. The bus had us back to the hotel in plenty of time to rest before dinner. Dinner was at Rozzers Restaurant at The Killeen House which used to be a vicarage for an old Church of Ireland that’s across the street. The dinner was delicious!!!! After dinner the bus dropped off those who wanted a little time in town. We stopped at a pub and listened to some Irish young men sing and play some music. Travis got a Guinness beer and let Danny and me try some. Danny said it was better than what he had had before and I didn’t think it was bad at all! We walked back to the hotel after our entertainment just as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Ireland 2019: Travel Day

We are traveling to Ireland on American Airlines with Danny's brother Travis, his wife Christy, her sister Tracy, our friends Sandy (a travel agent who arranged the trip) and Greg, Sandy's mom, Greg's parents and more new friends.  We are connecting in Shannon, Ireland with a pre arranged tour with CIE tours. It is their Irish Heritage and Dromoland Castle tour. We flew out of Nashville and connected with everyone else in Philadelphia where we were to take our overseas flight to Shannon. We boarded our plane and flew away only to turn around after 20-30 minutes and fly back to the airport. There was an issue with something related to the plane and the pilot did not feel comfortable flying over the ocean with the problem. We were told that they would call in a mechanic and we would then be on our way. After sitting on the airplane for awhile, we were told that we could exit the plane and stay near the gate in the airport so that we would know when to reboard. After awhile, we were told to go to another gate I think because they were putting us on another plane. Then we were told that the flight crew we had were then over their allotted hours and a new flight crew would need to be called in. We were well after midnight at this point and apparently a new flight crew was either not available or just not called in because around 1:30 or 2 a.m. our flight was officially cancelled. We were told that we would be rescheduled, but after an hour on the phone and also at an agent desk all we were left with were empty plans and a hotel voucher. As we waited on the bus for the hotel, Danny managed to secure a flight sequence for the two of us that was quite involved and would mean changing airports in New York, but we would actually get to Ireland sooner than we had been told on our phone call . We slept with those plans but during breakfast the next morning, Sandy was able to organize a plan for her group and Danny managed to get us on the same plane with them so off to Ireland we went. Our flight this time was uneventful and we arrived in Shannon 1.5 days after we were originally to arrive. This was sad for all of us because we missed seeing the Cliffs of Moher! I suppose that one day we might be able to return and see it. Needless to say, American Airlines is on my bad list right now! We ate dinner tonight at our hotel and it was good. Either that or I was especially hungry!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Paris, France: Our Last Day

We slept a little later this morning because it was our last day and we have had some late evenings and early mornings. Staying at the apartment has been really nice because it has allowed us to wake up on our own schedule and eat what and when we want or for some, not to eat at all! There were several things we had not done yet and hoped to do today and we were successful. The most important thing was beautiful weather once again! The first thing we did was to go out to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Hallie had discovered this gem of a park on her last short visit to Paris and really wanted us to see it. It was beautiful and is now a new favorite place of Danny's. There is a gazebo located at the highest point of the park with a beautiful view over the city. There is also a manmade waterfall in the park which looks natural. It is a lovely surprise in the Park. After wandering in the park we took to the metro to the Arc du Triomphe. We had read that there might be an elevator there to take us up and to our surprise there was....but only for the moms. Danny and the girls had to climb the 280+ stairs to the top. Danny and planned to do it all along but the girls were quite surprised that they would be climbing as well. The views from the top were amazing and we took a lot of pictures. We had lunch nearby and then Danny left us so we could go back to Saint Germain and do some more shopping. We had fun wandering the street and popping back into a different H&M and a different Zara. We had supper at an Italian restaurant that we had visited a couple of nights ago that did not have room for us. The owner greeted us at the door and remembered Danny. He read the menu to us and we (not Danny) all looked at each other and wondered what we eat as most of it had goat cheese with it. We are not a fan of goat cheese but Danny was thrilled! The owner said he could make anything we wanted and he would make it without goat cheese. Caitlin ordered off the menu and got a veal ravioli in a butter and  sage sauce, Danny ordered the special off of the menu, I ordered another special which was pasta with asparagus in a lemon and butter sauce, everyone else got pasta or the ravioli with a meat sauce that he created just for them. It was a delicious meal and we will definitely go there again. This is our last day here in Paris as we will return home tomorrow. We spent the rest of the evening packing and looking at all of our pictures. We have a car picking us up tomorrow at 10 a.m. so we will not have an early morning tomorrow unless there is packing left to do. It has been such a wonderful trip!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Paris, France: Versailles

Today was another beautiful day! We awoke early to catch the RER train to Versailles. I had read that we needed to be there before it opened to get in line. We purchased tickets last night online and it wasn't until Danny had purchased them that he saw that they needed to be printed. We did not have a printer in our apartment so we decided to just wing it and hope we could get through with the receipt and the bar codes he had received when he purchased. We made our way by metro to the RER line. The RER train was a little too comfortable and we all fell asleep! I woke up when I heard some people talking about Versailles and realized we were stopped at the station! After I woke everyone up we quickly exited the train. Versailles is very close to the train station and we found our place in line. We were thankful we had arrived early as the line quickly formed into a long trailing line. We didn't have to wait long and we were thankful that they were able to scan each code and let us in! At Versailles you can pick up free tour recorders that play a description of what you are seeing when you press the appropriate number of what you are looking at. I thought this was a great idea and it was very helpful as we had no clue what we were looking at in the Palace. After touring our way through the palace we exited into the beautiful manicured gardens. Versailles is enormous and it would have taken most of a day to walk and see all of it. We decided to just visit the fountains that had a music or water show. We liked two out of three of what we saw. We also ate lunch in the gardens which was very convenient! After touring what we wanted to see of the gardens, we boarded a tram to take us out to the Petit Trianon. We didn't really have time to tour the Trianon as well. The Petit Trianon was really interesting to tour because there is a Hamlet there that was created under the instruction of Marie Antoinette. It was a little Austrian style mini home place designed as a retreat for the Queen and her children. There was a working dairy as well as many vegetable gardens. It was a stark contrast from the opulence of the Palace. After touring the Hamlet and then stepping inside of the Petit Trianon (her mini palace retreat), we boarded the tram back to the Palace. We were ready for a snack at this point and found a little ice cream shop in town before getting on the RER and going back to Paris. We had some time at home to relax and nap until dinner. Dinner was with our family Laurene, her husband Benjamin, their son Lucas and Laurene's mom, Cathy! Cathy came from Limoges just to see us. Laurene chose a restaurant local to them, and it was delicious! There were a lot of unfamiliar dishes on the menu and we weren't sure if we would like them, but everyone was happy with what they chose. The girls even tried Foie Gras! They could not convince their mother's to try it though. We enjoyed playing with Lucas, who we had not seen since he was a baby! It was such a great ending to a fun day!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Paris, France: Eiffel Tower and Impressionists

We woke up to sunny skies today and left our umbrellas at home. We went straight to Musee D’Orsay and there were NO lines. We were so thrilled. We went straight up to the 5th floor to take pictures in front of the giant clock before taking in the Impressionist art on the same floor. We specifically were looking for Degas ballerina art and sculptures. In years past the Impressionist and Post Impressionist art have been on the same floor. The post impressionist art has moved to a lower floor and that is where we found the Van Gogh art. We left the museum and planned to go to the Eiffel Tower but stopped for lunch first. We ate at Le Bosquet over near the Eiffel Tower and it was delicious. Their macaroni and cheese has quite a following and after eating it understand why. It is all cheesy and creamy!  After lunch we stopped for ice cream and that was when the zero percent chance of rain became 40% and we decided to go back to the apartment and wait out the rain showers. After a little rest time there, the skies dried up and we were able to go to Trocadéro for a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower. Lots of photos were taken before we left the area and began the trek down. It always surprises me how huge the Eiffel Tower is. We stopped along the way for a delicious crepe. There is construction going on around the Eiffel Tower so you cannot walk under it to get to the other side. This was really disappointing but we made the best of it. We walked all the way to the other end of Champs de Mars and went in search of our dinner restaurant. Before we found it, we stopped in to Rivoli Art Studio to see which artists were in and what they were working on. We were in for a treat because the artist we visited with on Maddie’s trip was still there and was in the building! He did a little drawing for Caitlin and the girls enjoyed visiting with him. We were getting hungry and we wanted to try a nice Italian place that was highly rated on Trip Advisor but we ended up needing a reservation as they were full. The next place we found was the same way but we got lucky on the third try. We did not get to eat Italian but I had the best hamburger I have eaten in a long time. After eating we jumped On the metro and made it out to Trocadéro just in time to see the Eiffel Tower twinkle. It twinkles at the top of the hour beginning at dusk every hour and the twinkling lasts for about 5 minutes. It’s one of my favorite things to see! Tomorrow is a trip out to the Palace of Versailles and I certainly hope that the Zero percent chance of rain is accurate. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Paris, France: Shopping And Family

We were excited to see sunny skies this morning! Today was a shopping day in Saint Germain de Près. This is my favorite area of Paris. Perhaps it is because it is an old part of Paris or perhaps it is because all of my favorite chocolate and macaron shops can be found there! I left the apartment early to make a trip to City Pharma, the discount Pharmacy where I purchase my lotions and potions. Everyone else met me in the neighborhood after I was done. They had hoped to have a crepe while they waited but couldn’t find a crepe stand open. We spent the morning traipsing all over in search of mine and Danny’s favorite chocolates, cookies and caramels. We stopped for a quick look in Saint Sulpice cathedral and then on to Bon Marche department store to see the beautiful escalator and make a bathroom stop. Danny left us to take our purchases back to the apartment and to pick up his phone, which he had left behind. We met up again for lunch and then went on to find the St Michel fountain. We also located the narrowest street in Paris. We wandered over the Seine to tour Notre Dame and then walked on Ile Cite to get some Bertillion ice cream for some of us and also crepes at a nearby crêperie for those that still wanted one. It was all so delicious! There was a colorful little street, Rue Cremieux, a short distance away that the girls really wanted to see. Apparently it is a frequently instagrammed street of little colorful home-fronts. We took some time taking pictures there and I noticed there were several people walking through and also taking pictures on this little hidden street. We were quite tired at this point and had very sore feet so we went back to the apartment to rest before dinner. We went to dinner at Vincent and Sophie’s and were so excited that ALL of the children were there including Axelle! Preparing a meal at their home is truly a family affair. Vincent made amazing stuffed mushrooms, Sophie and Augustin prepared our meal of Magret de Canard (Duck breast), a roasted vegetable medley of Eggplant, Zuchinni, and tomatoes and also scalloped potatoes. Oh it was so yummy!! Sophie and Albane prepared our dessert of apricot tart and chocolate mousse. No one left the table hungry tonight. We had such fun conversation. The highlight of the evening was the news that Augustin (with tutoring from Axelle) had passed his exams and also a mini concert from Albane on the piano and the guitar. We did not arrive home until very very late but everyone agreed that tonight’s meal with family was a highlight of the trip! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Paris, France: Rainy Day and Shopping

Today we woke up to rain and decided it was a good idea to visit a museum. Apparently everyone in Paris decided to do the same thing. After standing in a very long line for what we thought was the line for tickets and entry (with our umbrellas), we discovered that we were only in the line for entry. Danny went to stand in the line for tickets and the line was so long and we were just standing in the rain so we decided to bail on that plan and go to Galleries Lafayette. We enjoyed visiting and shopping on the different floors. Danny visited a couple of cafes within the store while we were shopping. He said he had some delicious hot chocolate! We left Galleries Lafayette for lunch at a pizza/Italian spot nearby that was delicious! After lunch, Danny picked up some things from the grocery store and ran a couple of errands before returning to the apartment. The ladies spent the rest of the afternoon shopping at Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. We have a favorite restaurant in Paris, Les Relais del Entrecôte and that was what was on the menu tonight! We hopped on a metro and met Danny at the metro stop near the restaurant. Dinner was delicious!!! We were glad we made the call to abandon the museum and just go shopping. We stayed dry and had a lot of fun! Until tomorrow...