Dublin, Ireland. Pt.2

Dublin, Ireland. Pt.2

One of the highlights of out trip was a guided tour to Cliffs of Moher and Galway. Not only is the scenery gorgeous, the fact that you can relax on a very nice coach is outstanding. It’s an earlier tour so be prepared to wake up at 5-6AM and don’t stay up late at the pub the night before. 

We booked this tour a day in advance and I’m so glad they still had a couple of spots for us. We met our shuttle in front Trinity Colleges’ gates, they make sure you’re in the right group since they offer multiple pick ups for different tours. Our guide was amazing from the minute we met him. It’s a pretty long ride to the first stop but he kept everyone entertained and happy with his stories, history of Ireland and local treasures. Plus, wifi and comfy seats didn’t hurt – if you must take a nap, you can. I might have taken a few. 

First stop oddly enough is the Obama Square (or something close to that). They have a little statue of Obama and all. As an introduction, you might hear a lot of Trump jokes which I’m all about. Sorry not sorry midwest. 

Then, off to the Cliffs we went. Driving through Irish countryside is an experience of it’s own. I don’t know how the driver managed to get us though all the skinny, windy road in a bus. Very impressive! Very scary! A couple hours later, we arrived to the Cliffs of Moher. Not going to lie, I cried a little. The most beautiful ocean side with magnificent cliffs going nowhere… Something you must see at least once in lifetime. It’s breathtaking and I could easily spend a day just starring at the view. The paths, just like the county roads are skinny and windy. Walking to the edge of the viewpoint is a bit scary, but worth it. Sure enough, there will be a plenty of brave soul taking photos all the way at the end.  

Another thing about the Cliffs –  be prepared for the ever changing weather. It might rain on and off every 20 minutes with a bit of sunshine in between. It’s romantic and makes for good photos for Insta. 

Once that part of the tour is over, it’s another 2 hour drive to Galway. We didn’t get much of the tour there just the basic facts about the town. It’s very old, quaint and picturesque. The tour guide suggested visiting the King’s Head pub which we did. After which, we decided not to take the bus back but find a hotel to spend the night in instead. 

We booked a hotel just off the main square and were happy to get another night and morning to enjoy this beautiful town. Just like Dublin, the food scene is amazing… Architecture, history, people. Worth exploring for a day or two. 

I know many people rent a car to get around Irish coast, but it you prefer to relax and be transported from place to place this tour is definitely a must. Warn the driver that you’re staying in Galway and he won’t have to worry about loose Americans not making the bus back. 

To get back to Dublin or keep traveling, simply buy a train ticket. Super easy to buy online (make sure to put in current date and time. Looking at you, husband).

Note from Shawn: I loved all of the stories that our tour guide sewed during our bus ride. On this trip we really learned that the Irish love to sing and tell stories. We learned about a highway that was diverted (for millions of dollars) to avoid disturbing the faeries. In Ireland their are faery bushes and it is said that any person that cuts down one of these bushes will be cursed to die within the year. The government had approved the plans for a highway and in it’s path lay one of these bushes. Nobody in Ireland would cut down the bush, fearing imminent death. Because of this the Irish government had to contract engineers and re-design a curve into the highway, allowing it to pass to the side of the bush. Crazy stuff. We also passed the castle of a goblin kings on the way to Galway, it was a real, tiny 500+ year old stone castle. Overall it was a very fun tour with lively storytelling and a funny guide, would definitely recommend.

Trip Advisor tour  https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g186605-d11464672-Cliffs_of_Moher_Tour_Including_Wild_Atlantic_Way_and_Galway_City_from_Dublin-Dubli.html?m=19905

King’s Head Pub – a must visit in Galway – 

https://www.thekingshead.ie/pub

Breakfast and tea – http://www.ardbia.com

The best Spanish tapas with an Irish twist   

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g186609-d4946141-Reviews-Cava_Bodega-Galway_County_Galway_Western_Ireland.html

 

 

Dublin, Ireland. Pt.1

Dublin, Ireland. Pt.1

Last October, I found an amazing deal – San Francisco to Dublin for under $300 round trip. Thank you again, Scott’s Cheap Flights. I told my husband to call the airline and book it ASAP. Panicking and rushing to get through the steps, we booked our trip to Ireland for late January. Dublin is a destination I’ve wanted to go to since I was little; I was born on Saint Patrick’s Day after all. Shawn (my husband) is part Irish and has a special connection with Ireland as well.

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Well, with the tickets booked I started planning our time in Dublin. Not even knowing where to start, I booked the main touristy things such as Guinness Store and Jameson (another post on this later), Trinity College, and a walking tour of Dublin leaving a few days to plan things on the spot. I’m so happy I saved a couple days to just rest. The jet lag was terrible. The worst I’ve ever experienced. One piece of advise – if you get seated in the back of the plane and have access to unlimited wine – DON’T DO IT.

Arriving in Dublin around 9am was painful. We dropped off our luggage at the Temple Bar Inn, found the only pub  (The Auld Dubliner) that was open nearby and tried to drink the pain away. To be fair, Irish coffee did make it better. So the first day there was a waste. We walked around the Temple Bar area, enjoyed the cute architecture, had our first “Irish Breakfast” (weird at first but I loved it). Finally, after we checked in and took a decent nap it was time to go find food.

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Full Irish Breakfast

We randomly walked into Bad Ass pub for a stew and were amazed by the live music. Apparently, they have open mic Thursdays. Seriously, I’ve never heard better voices especially in a  pub. Definitely going back! The food was great too if you go on any other day and the people were super friendly.

Next morning we booked a guided walking tour of Dublin. You can find many different ones on TripAdvisor based on your interests. We did the architectural tour, it was a great intro to Dublin and Irish history. Some of the main stops are the Trinity College, Dublin Castle and Temple Bar neighborhood. Our guide was very knowledgeable and proud to be Irish. The tour took about 3-4 hours which was a perfect start to the day.

If you find yourself hungry, I recommend checking out the Parliament Street area by the City Hall. Small eateries and upscale restaurants – good options for every taste and budget. We had lunch at The Oak and loved it. It’s an elegant and charming gastropub which offers Irish classics such as stews and fish and chips as well as very unique sandwiches and small bites. Booths with large windows make it a great people watching spot. 

https://www.instagram.com/theoakdublin/

 

Next step – check out the Trinity College Library. What an experience – millions of books and statues; the atmosphere…. very Harry Potter like. I loved it! This is a rather quick excursion and can be done on any day. Short walk from Temple Bar with other beautiful sites on the way.

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More tips on what to do in Dublin coming soon.

Travel Bucket List. Revisited.

Travel Bucket List. Revisited.

It’s been over a year since my last post about traveling. It’s time to revisit and see if any of my plans came to life.

Here’s the list I posted in 2018:

  1. Greece. Already booked for 2019. Did it! Honeymoon was amazing! 
  2. Ireland. MUST go like now. Did that too! January in Dublin did not disappoint. 
  3. Iceland
  4. France. Booked for March 2020 – taking my mom too, for her birthday. 🙂 
  5. Japan
  6. Portugal
  7. Croatia
  8. Germany
  9. Argentina
  10. Brazil
  11. Peru
  12. New Zealand

Well guess what?! 2 countries down and 1 more booked for 2020. I think that’s a pretty good pace. If you’ve heard of Scott’s Cheap Flights, you know how addicting and exciting it is to find a new deal. For my next international trip, I was able to book a round trip to Paris for only $275! Crazy! I’m so excited to cross another destination off my list.

Funny story. Before I actually booked the flight to France, I saw so many great deals that I had to write the destinations down and draw from a bowl. Paris won!

Fisher’s Wine and Cheese Bar

 

It might not be a brand new spot but it is my favorite wine bar in Marin. Located in the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, Fisher’s Wine and Cheese won me over with the warm decor, changing wine selection, and amazing food.

Wine: selection changes every 2 weeks and the wines are picked by their wine buyer, Carter. I was able to find a rare Greek wine, local wines from Sonoma/Napa that are not sold in stores as well as other limited releases.

Food: traditional California eats. With a twist. I recommend meatballs, Mac and cheese, and cheese platters. Everything is made in house and available for lunch and dinner. They offer a sandwich of the month which is always popular and is usually sold out by lunch time.

Atmosphere: small wine shop with cozy decor. Small selection of gifts, cheese and meat for sale, wine for sale, to go lunch boxed, etc. I love sitting outside on their patio with live music and bay views. They always have fresh flowers for the table too.

Fisher’s Wine and Cheese is a stylish spot for wine, California eats and gifts.

 

Spring Honeymoon Destinations

Spring Honeymoon Destinations

I’m so excited to share what we have planned for our honeymoon! 3 weeks away from work, responsibilities, and life all together. I’ve never been away from work for more than a week and now we’re taking A MONTH off to get married and travel in Europe. It brings tears to my eyes to think about all the  amazing experiences we will have… gorgeous sunsets in Santorini, architecture in Rome, food in Florence…  Romantic trips all over Italy and island hopping in Greece.

 

Rome, Italy 

Hotel: Waldorf Astoria

Santorini, Greece

AirBnB: The Studio

Mykonos, Greece 

Hotel: GrecoPhilia

Athens, Greece 

Hotel: Hotel Grande Bretagne

 

 

 

Travel Bucket List

Travel Bucket List

Being able to travel to a new place at least twice a year has been my goal for a while. Starting now I hope to be able to explore the world even more and book a trip to a new country at least once a year. To get some ideas going, I put together my travel bucket list:

  1. Greece. Already booked for 2019.
  2. Ireland. MUST go like now.
  3. Iceland
  4. Japan
  5. Portugal
  6. Croatia
  7. Germany
  8. Argentina
  9. Brazil
  10. Peru
  11. New Zealand

Wedding Planning. Pt. 1

Wedding Planning. Pt. 1

It’s been 5 months now since Shawn and I got engaged so it’s probably time to share my experience with wedding planning, vendors, and other stress that comes with weddings.

First of all, I’m always the one making plans, booking trips, and organizing our free time… So naturally, the day after we got engaged I jumped right into the planning phase. Since we live so close to wine country and love spending our free time there it was not a question that we will be getting married at one of the wineries. But which one?!

We scheduled tours at two of our favorite places: Brasswood Bar + Kitchen and Cline Cellars.

We discovered Brasswood on one of our getaways and fell in love with the atmosphere, food and location.  On our tour, Karen was amazing and showed us all parts of the venue that we would be able to use for the ceremony, reception, cocktail hour, bridal suite, etc. We were in love with the place already, however, after receiving the quote for the venue rental itself it didn’t make sense to go “wedding poor” and spend all that money plus more on actually food, drinks, flowers, and other necessities.

Or next stop was Cline. To give you a little background on this venue  – one of our first dates happened there, Shawn proposed to me there on our second anniversary… Many, many amazing memories have been made at Cline. After taking the tour with one of their planners, we realized that it was just meant to be.

The venue represents our style and taste, and holds a special place in our hearts. I hope our guests will see that and enjoy our special day with us next year.