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May 28, 2008

A Day trip from Galway (The Aran Islands)

There are three islands off the coast of Galway Bay, the most popular, the largest, and the one I choose is Inishmore. I got on the ferry somewhat early in the morning, rented a bike upon arrival and set out to explore the island for the day.

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(coming in on the ferry)

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Above is where 90% of people rent their bike, so I walked the extra 5 min to the next shop. As a result, my bike had better tires and was easier to pick out in a crowded bike park.

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(The ruins of an old church)

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The remains of the Seven Churches. Don't be fooled by the name, there were never seven churches standing here. Seven in a powerful number in the old Irish pagan beliefs. There are several old churches around Ireland named Seven.

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(When I found this cute guy on someone's front lawn I suddenly became sad that I never had a pet donkey.)

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Above is a beehive hut. These were built by monks as a private retreat and look much like an igloo from the outside.

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(The beehive from the inside.)

May 27, 2008

Adventures in Galway (part 2!)

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(graffiti artist at work)

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(Galway's much lauded Spanish Arch)

May 26, 2008

Adventures in Galway!!!

Man... I wish I would've gone sooner, but I'm awfully glad I made it over to Galway before running off to Rome. For those of you who don't know, I'm leaving for Roma in two days, (Thurs. May 29th). I've given up my Dublin home and will be following my nose for awhile.

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(Oscar Wilde, not quite as nice as this Wilde)

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(Eyre Square)

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(River Corrib)

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(Galway Cathedral)

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(Quay Bar)

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(Myself and my new friend Abbey)

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(Her friend Adam)

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(The toilet in SuperMacs... maybe there are better places in Galway to drink???)

May 24, 2008

Howth

To the north of Dublin and along the Dart route you'll find this lovely beach. There's also (apparently) and beautiful hike that time and weather did not permit me to do.

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May 20, 2008

LAX and beyond...

Aer Lingus non-stop flight EI144 from Los Angeles to Dublin. Flight time: 10 hours

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A hike in the Hollywood hills

Desni's fabulous friend Amy very kindly offered to allow me to tag along with her and comrades on the daily hike in the hills. So for my last day in LA (April 21st, in case your were curious), I woke up super early, borrowed a tracksuit from Des and headed into the hills with the gang.

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(Amy and company: Amy is the second from the right)

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May 12, 2008

The Getty Center (Part iii - The view)

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The Getty Center (Part ii - Pretty plants)

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(Do these cacti remind anyone else of the gooie pods from Aliens?)

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May 11, 2008

The Getty Center

I'm dividing the Getty Center photos into three entries. This entry focuses on the built structures, the next on the gardens and the third is the lovely view.

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The Getty Center is funded by the trust of John Paul Getty and designed by the contemporary American architect Richard Meier. The Center was created to become the cultural heart of Los Angeles, which is why it is a center housing many buildings rather than just a museum. Meier came up with the design while sitting in the hills that would become the home for the Getty Center. His designs rely heavily on the landscape that surrounded him and you can see patterns from the hills and the city repeating in the architecture. Actually all the design aspects repeat throughout the different buildings that make up the Getty Center so thoroughly that all squares blocks that make up the walkways, walls and frames would all match up in a perfectly divisible ratio, should you wish to take the time to do the math.

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Some of the community had concerns about the new massive Center that about to move into the neighbourhood. One of their concerns came from one of Meier's signature design elements, the brilliant white that he colours his creations. He is so married to this specific bright white, that the hue has been named after him, "Meier White". The community was very concerned that this luminous white under the bright California sun would become an eyesore, and so thankfully, he relented and painted the Center a much softer off-white. It was quite bright enough up there with the sun reflecting off the paving stones and the buildings, if he had gone with the Meier White I think it may have been a bit unbearable in the midday sun.

Another way in which the Trust was able to work with the community was by building the helicopter landing pad below. The base is filled with water so that firefighters can easily land and fill up their water tanks to fight fires in the dry fire-prone neighbouring hills.

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Below we see another example of of the symmetry that Meier worked so hard to incorporate. At the back end of the Center is a matching round structure, but instead of being used as a landing pad, this one is used as a garden.

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I thought about putting the next two photos in the upcoming Gardens entry, but these trees are such a good example of the kind of precision and thought that went into the design element that I had to include it here. You can see from the first photo that there are several trees in this line. but take one step to the side and you can see only one tree. Meier managed to created many different spots to test your perspective.

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May 10, 2008

Los Angeles

My friend Desni has been living in the States with her boyfriend for just over two years now. She has asked me to come and visit on numerous occasions and I had always been very disappointed that with all of my own travelling, I've been unable to. So, I was thrilled when I discovered that between seat sales on Aer Lingus and Continental, I could get to LA and then to Dublin for the same price as getting myself from Toronto to Dublin. With the promise of a free place to stay, a couple of dinners in swishy restaurants, the opportunity to finally meet Desni's illusive boyfriend, and the chance to eat Desni's amazing cooking, who could honestly resist? I didn't have long in LA (two and a half days was the most I could sacrifice from days when I could be working) but it was just long enough to do a few amazing things and get to spend time some much missed time with a friend.

I love the flight into LA. There are so many different types of landscapes to see in such a short period of time.

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On the ground:

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I had been wanting to visit the much lauded Getty Center for years. Luckily for me Desni was kind enough to take me there.

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What I really wanted to do at the Getty was take the architecture tour, and I did, but I'm going to put the photos of the buildings in another entry. For now, Here's a few pieces of art work that you will find around the center:

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This in not Getty Center artwork, but Desni and Carlos' adorable dog, Angus.

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++++++

P.S. When I go back through my entries days, weeks and month after publishing them I often find a zillion little errors. Typos, grammar errors, spelking (tee hee hee) mistakes, etc., etc. So, if you see any of these please feel free to let me know. I would love to hire my own editor, but as I can't afford one, I'll have to use my readers instead.

Thanks!

May 9, 2008

Up, up and away!

My flight to Montréal was on April 10th and although I'd lived in Montréal many many many moons ago, I'd never had the opportunity to see it from the sky. The city from above is stunning.

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My original plan for this most recent arrival in Canada consisted of wearing myself out by getting myself to Gatwick, flying across the pond, landing in Montreal, finding somewhere to feed and then taking the bus all the way to Ottawa. I was very very grateful when my Dad and his wife came up with the much better idea of them coming to Montreal to pick me up. The next 3 days were spent in Ottawa chilling, chatting, drinking, and dining with the Ottawa arm of the family.

The pictures below are from a trip to the sugar bush with Dad and his wife Rosemarie.

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(Dad, Rose and the dogs that temporarily adopted us)

I am constantly amazed every time I re-enter Canada at the breadth and scope of Canadian supermarkets. This probably seems silly to the rest to you, but after the smaller denser grocery stores that I get used to overseas it always seems so incredible the amount of things that we have access to and the way which big box stores manage to sprawl their contents out.

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Foolishly, I thought that four days in Toronto would be plenty enough time to see everyone, run errands and take care of all the business that needed to get done in my adopted Canadian hometown.Needless to say, Toronto time was insanely rushed and I'm very very much looking forward to the time when I can be at home with all the time in the world to see all my friends and family.

Graffiti from around the city.

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