Daydreaming about… Ireland

As we head into St. Patrick’s Day weekend (do you celebrate?) I can’t help but think about Irish countryside. Call me cliché. I was lucky enough to visit Ireland in 2011 by myself (!) and it was such thrill to travel there alone. It is SO green. Those lush, vibrant pastures were so peaceful, especially when dotted with grazing sheep. If I were to travel there again, I would spend more time on the western coast and explore the southern coast as well.

IrelandOkay, so that first image was heavily edited. Here are two of mine from my solo trip: IrelandIrelandNothing can convey the freshness of the air in western Ireland. It drifts in from the Atlantic and is salty and clean. I need to experience that again.

Seriously, do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? We normally don’t, but we are excited to get together with some friends this weekend to listen to bagpipers, eat corned beef and cabbage, and have one a couple beers. Being festive is fun.

In other news, I thought it might be fun to share some links that I come across during the week. Not sure if this will be a theme, but I will share when I think it’s worthy:

Which Americans have passports (and more so which ones don’t) is very telling.

Refinery 29 just did a sweet round up of Portland hotspots.

I need to throw a wine and cheese party immediately. Housewarming, perhaps?

Actually, I like the idea of a cheap beer taste test too. Funny!

This man is inspiring, especially since I have been pining for my stuff. It makes me realize how irrational I can be. (link via my favorite, Cup of Jo)

Have a great weekend, friends.



Monday Travel Memory: Dutch Countryside

Happy Monday, kids. Is Monday ever really happy though? It’s not a happy one for me. I’m sick. Again. Just got back from California on Saturday (can’t wait to share that trip with you!), and felt like I was log-rolling into another cold yesterday and it was confirmed this morning.

So. While watching terrible day time tv in bed, I was going through the few photos I have on this computer and came across these beauties. Jaro took them when he was on a boat ride with co-workers and you can clearly tell the higher quality of these photos with our fancy lens. I usually avoid hauling it around (it is extremely heavy), but after looking at these pics, I think I have to.

Doesn’t the Dutch countryside look so peaceful?

Dutch Countryside Dutch Countryside

Dutch Countryside Makes me miss living in Holland. If I ever move back, I want to live in that house.




Road trip: Route des Vins D’Alsace

I’m going to start this post with the assumption that everyone reading it (love you) has seen Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. We all know the opening scene where Belle walks through her town singing, “There must be more than this provincial life” and neighbors pop out of their shuttered windows singing, “Bonjour! Bonjour!” I know, you are all singing it.

I found that town. You’ll see in the pics.

After a brief visit to the Lorraine region, we traveled down to the Alsace region. With a little research (ie: reading travel guides in the car), we learned that there is a wine road that stretches through the region called the Route des Vins. It’s 170km long! That’s a lot of wine. Had to control ourselves and only drink at night when we were done driving for the day. So hard! We started from Marlenheim at the north end and weaved through the rolling hills of absolutely breathtaking wine country (The French win) to Colmar. That is not the entire route, but we had to move on. We easily could have spent the full two weeks here. Main stops were Obernai, Ribeauville, Riquewihr (Belle’s town, I swear!) and Colmar. Just lovely. Like a fairytale. I have few other words to describe it, hopefully the pictures do it justice.

One thing about the local food: We had a delicious lunch in Obernai at La Cloche‘s charming sideway patio. Have you ever heard of a Kentucky dish called a Hot Brown? Jaro has suffered through one before, and similarly, I should probably tell warn you that spatzle baked in munster cheese is the best worst decision of your life. Read: a French Hot Brown. Both the spatzle and munster are local specialties, so we considered that to be the megatron of Alsatian cuisine and as a result, we were all over it. While Jaro clogged his arteries with that, I had the not so much more reasonable spatzle with mushroom sauce. Could not get enough spatzle. Anyway, here are a few pics.

One other thing about food: This was my first extended time in France outside of Paris and something I immediately noticed was that everyone was carrying a baguette (or three). Under the arm, while riding a bicycle, poking out of the windows in their cars… so just plant that pleasant little image in your head. (Again, the French win.) But good luck trying to buy one after noon. Every shop, grocery, market, you name it, was sold out by then. Thankfully, our campsites sold them fresh every morning. Yep, that’s right.

So, I love France. Is that obvious?

Ahead: The Swiss Alps & why I hate Switzerland…