December 13, 2009

Quote of the Post: "Take the LEAVE aNd enjoy the WORTH place to visit." - Quote about Leavenworth by Sachin Kumar Gupta

It is the city in the heart of Washington state; often known as German town. I was here in the month of December, so it was a bit cold here. Sorry, not a bit; Full Byte or can say in KB in terms of cold, and will increase as December ends :)

We decided to visit the Leavenworth this weekend. It is approx 3.5-4.5 hrs drive from Seattle. (Depends on atmosphere and road conditions) The 'throughout year lighting town' becomes in its peak during Chrismas timings. GPS really helped us a lot to reach the destination. We feed the source and the destination in the GPS system. GPS keep us pinging at time to time for directions, re-routing, and overspeeding.

During our journey, the sun was playing hide and seek game. Sometimes it hides behind the snowy mountains, sometimes within the clouds and at last it set for the day. On our way, We saw freezing river alongside the mountains. If you would be visiting this place during a sunny summer day, chances are that you can also have a glimpse of the reflection of the mountain in the river.

As it was 2-2 (My way of too much) cold, so we have coffee break (Extra Hot) at Cle Elum. We sipped it a to z. In the meantime, another sweet sipper volunteerly asked for our group snap. Thanks to her, because at the end, we realize that this was the only group snap throughout our trip.

Then we proceed towards our final destination, As soon as we entered, we saw some deer here and there. Twinkling lightings started as we entered to the city. Then all of a sudden we heard choiring some prayer. This is the most happening place in Leavenworth full of restaurants, shops with unique gift items, many events and activities all the time. All the current events and activities can be checked here.

It was the perfect time, People in Father Christmas and Santa's dress were roaming around, blessing and greeting people. Everywhere you can enjoy twinkling houses, shops, trees, banks and most of the places in Leavenworth. After roaming all around, it was time to have dinner. We got delicious (after a long time) Pizza served.

You also have a chance to see over 5000 types of nut-crackers - The Leavenworth Nut-Crackers Museum. It opens 2-5 pm ; May - October (Daily) and November - April (Sat & Sun)

While returning we thought that we would be the only owls on the way back in this chilled night covered with snowy roads. But we were wrong. There were many owls like us. If you are just away from the city, It seems like the colored stars are flashing just over the Leavenworth town. We were not relaxed during our return journey, seated upfront, As we need not to take the nap due to snowy night and road conditions with open eyes. So, upto some extent it was an adventure trip as well, As you never know, when the car can skid in the snowy roads.

On this Note, We finally leave the worth place to visit "Leavenworth", and back to Seattle.

November 18, 2009

So here continues the Dublin HOHO (Hop-On and Hop-Off) bus tour. For the previous first part, Please Click here. (If you have missed it.) The next stop is the most visited and most time consuming stop of the tour, but it is worth and not to be scaped.

Guiness Storehouse: I would name it - Dublin's Pourfect Pint :)
Guinness Storehouse is a 7-story building, symbol of the brewery history and offering this world famous beer. This home of Guinness introduce you the making of each and every pint. As the guide introduced us that this building is designed in the shape of a super-duper pint of Guinness that contains 14.3 million pints, if it is full. At the ground floor you can watch a copy of original lease signed by Arthur Guinness on 31st December 1759 for a period of 9000 years. So Guinness is celebrating its remarkable 250 years of its rich heritage.

We get to know the full step by step process of Guinness brewing. You will also get a chance to taste the pint in the Tasting lab. I do. At the 5th floor, We enjoyed many funny and innovative advertising campaigns of Guinness. When we reached at the top of the 7th floor, Gravity Bar, experienced the complimentary pint of Guinness. From here you can enjoy 360 degree view of the dublin city while relaxing. All the city's main monuments and buildings can be located from here.

Irish Museum of Modern Art: Hop On - Hop Off bus just took 5 mins from Guinness Storehouse. The museum is Ireland's leading national institution for the collection and depiction of modern and contemporary art. The entry to the museum is free. (Tuesday to Sunday). Several exhibitions, Museum's own collection, award winning education and community department are the museum's main attractions.

Kilmainham Gaol: The visit to the gaol includes a guided tour and audio-visual presentation. Though now a days it is a museum. Many Irish leaders were detained here. Many films have been shooted at this place. Also a music video for U2 have been captured in Kilmainham gaol. It holds Irish history in itself alongwith some hangings.

Wellington Monument: It is built in the memory of the Duke of Wellington, a Dubliner, who defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.

Phoenix Park: It is said that Phoenix park is the largest city park in Europe. Though most of the area is the sky-view grasslands. But It also covers the official residence of Irish President and Dublin Zoo within it.

The Spire: It is the tallest structure in Dublin city center, also known as Spike.

I couldn't get time to visit National Museum of Ireland, just have a look from outside. St. Stephan's Green Mall is always overcrowded due to shopping and on street shows within area. I have mentioned here the top-notch visiting points during HOHO tour. Other than that you can visit many places as per your likings and as per your tongue taste.

Have a look to "North Coast and Malahide Castle" tour in Ireland.
Majestic Tour in Ireland - Ireland West Coast Tour - Cliffs of Moher.
Dare to Tour - An unique Experience: Dublin Ghost Bus Tour.
Dublin City Center - Dublin Night Life - Dublin Cultural Night.

November 9, 2009

If you wants to enjoy the Dublin city in one day, then Hop on - Hop off will be the best option to opt. Just have the first round through Dublin double decker bus at the top sightseeing. The goodness of the tour is, you can hop-on, hop-off as many times as you wish during the whole day.

Tour started with the widest and most happening street in Dublin - O'Connell Street. You can watch the the Spire of Dublin, James Joyce statue, statues showing many Irish hero. GPO (General Post Office) also belongs to the same street with impressive Greek-Roman architecture.

Trinity College: Founded in 1592, Trinity college is the oldest university of Ireland. The college building itself represents the accumulated architectural riches of nearly three centuries. The college is guardian to one of Ireland's most treasured possessions, famously the 9th century "Book of Kells".

Temple Bar: It is situated in the heart of city center known as Dublin's Cultural Quarter. You can enjoy the great variety of restaurants, bars, live music venues, clubs and the greatest selection of Cultural activities in Dublin.
Dublin Castle: This castle built in 1204 by King John. The state apartments, undercraft and Chapel Royal are open to visitors and there are regular guided tours. The outer walls are impressive worth a look.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia and The Viking World: CCC known as Dublin's oldest building. It include the medieval crypt, a magnificent church treasures, and the tomb of Strongbow, leader of the Normans. The Cathedral is linked to the Dublinia and the Viking World. It is one of the city's most popular heritage centres which explores the history of the medieval city and Viking world.

St. Patrick's Cathedral: The National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland (Anglican) community in Ireland.
Remaining HOHO Bus Tour, in next part.

Have a look to "North Coast and Malahide Castle" tour in Ireland.
Majestic Tour in Ireland - Ireland West Coast Tour - Cliffs of Moher.
Dare to Tour - An unique Experience: Dublin Ghost Bus Tour.
Dublin City Center - Dublin Night Life - Dublin Cultural Night.

November 8, 2009

The very first thing to visit in Dublin is no doubt, the lively Dublin city center. The very first day after office, I catch LUAS (train from Sandyford to St. Stephans Green). Soon we covered the fashionable Grafton street, sweet Molly Malone, Trinity College, Parliament of Ireland, Liffey river, Bachelors walk, shopping street Henry street, O' Connell street within 2 hours.

Then the next day also we visited the city center. But Temple bar streets were the attraction of that night. If you come to Dublin, you can't escape this place, and enjoy the night life in the bar, pubs and restaurants with music and entertainment.

It is said about Ireland, that you wouldn't find any two bars with the similar structure or plot. If you are in, you will forget the time and can miss the LUAS. At the time when I was in Dublin, Guinness was celebrating its 250 remarkable years.

The best night in Dublin - Dublin cultural night: I was lucky enough to be there during that time. Though I was a bit late but still manage to cover many places during that time-slot. It includes on street shows and comedies, Original print gallery, lively Temple bar area, Art center, people choring within the cathedral, Irish Film institute, Dublin Writers Museum, National Photographic Archive, Dublin City Gallery (The Hugh Lane) and many more all across the streets of Dublin city. The most impressive thing was Francis Bacon Studio at Dublin city gallery.
Original Print Gallery, Dublin City Center
People inside a photographic archive during Dublin Cultural Night
Its not rubbish, Francis Bacon Workplace
Dublin Writers Museum, Dublin, Ireland
Have a look to "North Coast and Malahide Castle" tour in Ireland.
Majestic Tour in Ireland - Ireland West Coast Tour - Cliffs of Moher
Dare to Tour - An unique Experience: Dublin Ghost Bus Tour

October 5, 2009

Quote of the Post: "Some buses look pretty from outside, may scare you, when you are actually in." - Quote about Dublin Ghost Bus Tour - Sachin Gupta

Before coming to Ireland, I decided to visit world's oldest unique Dublin ghost bus tour. It was in my 'to visit' list after majestic Cliffs of Moher. I combined this tour with the Dublin Hop on - Hop off bus tour to save some euros. Ghost bus is the eye-catcher to all pedestrians all around. It is decorated suitably inside and out with dark and curtained window.
Let's make you all uncomfortable because you are entering the world of Dracula written by great Irish novelist Bram Stoker. As you enter the double-decker bus, You will be welcomed with ghost music and haunted tunes with mild light.
Before bus started, a skeleton pop out near the stairs of upper deck of the bus. The one who was nearest, screamed. Its good to have screamers to enjoy with the dark romance of the city of gaslight ghosts and chilling legends.
Our bus started, and a man comes with a rat that rounds over our face, that was our guide. It really on our skin goosebumps and some of us screamed again. It was a wizard feeling, though I know it was not a original rat.
Through the route, the guide told us about the origins of Dracula, Bram Stoker, and some famous Irish scary stories along with some quiz. During the tour we have two stops, where we saw body snatching at St Kevin's Graveyard and most haunted 40 steps.
St. Audoen's church and the 40 steps: This is one of Dublin's best kept secrets, few people get to pass through the ancient gates of this most haunted place. It is the place where the apparition of the "green lady" has been reported for generations. Though some people reported and claimed some strange images in their cameras as well.

During the end of the tour, lights go out completely and guide narrate another gruesome story. and then.. then.. a sprinkle of water, shivers our whole body with goosebumps.

Note: This tour is neither for children under 14 years and nor for nervous breakdown people.

Have a look to another adventurous Cyprus undersea walk experience.
Ireland West Coast Tour - Cliffs of Moher
Quote of the Post - "The one day tour that covers majestic mountains chatting with seashores, greener landscapes touching the blue sky, Burren karst area alongside Atlantic ocean, fauna and flora, historical castles, tranquil rivers, and through-out the tour eye-soothing views. What could be better than this." - Quote about Cliffs of Moher tour, Ireland - Sachin Kumar Gupta

Limerick, Cliffs Of Moher and Burren Tour From Dublin : Outstanding Natural Beauty
Cliff of Mohers, This place was in my 'to visit' list, when I was planning to visit Ireland. You can book this tour either by site or through I booked this tour online just 2 days back and secured my slot. The place is more impressive than you see over this site.

I reached the Suffolk Street Tourist office at the Dublin city center, from where the tour departs at 6:50 am. We found a funny guide-driver. Throughout the tour he keep telling Irish stories, Ireland history, and more about the tour places. The place was in the list of contenders for the New Seven Wonders of the world. We were also lucky due to the fact that we got the sun grace as well in the month of September in Ireland for such a long time :)

In the way we had our irish tea, breakfast, snacks and juice. We saw the Mel Gibson's Brave Heart battlefields. We pass through the Obama's grandmother village, where everyone is relative of Obama now, they used to say like that, as our guide told us.
Limerick City: Our first stop was King John's castle and then travel through the streets of this historic city on our way to Co Clare. We had a chance to see the Limrick city stadium in the way. The golf fields here are known as the most difficult zig-zag tracks.

Cliffs of Moher: We walked along these famous majestic landmarks. It is stretch for 8 KM and upto 220 meters in height above the Atlantic Ocean.
O Brien's Tower: This is the tower, from where we can have 360 degree views. The panoramic views to Golfs field to the city, Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop head to one end.
Doolin Village: While returning from COM, it started pelting and the environment was breezing. Then we proceed to scenic charming Doolin village for our lunch after an exhilarating walk.

The Burren Code: After lunch we moved towards the karst region of the Burren. We stroll the amazing flora and fauna that grows in this special ecosystem and nowhere else in Ireland.
Corcomroe Abbey: This monastry was founded in a remote village in the late 12th century.
Galway Bay: Alongside Galway bay, we have our group photo stop at Dunguaire castle in Kinvara. As the sun was setting, we departed back to Dublin city center.

I would say, This traveller friendly trip is not to be missed, if you are coming to Ireland for holiday.
Have a look to "North Coast and Malahide Castle" tour in Ireland.

October 2, 2009

Quote of the Post: "Castle surrounded by pretty gardens and wonderful views from the Howth summit is the speciality of the tour." - Sachin Kumar Gupta
It was a mixed cloudy sunny day. It was not a planned visit. I was planning to visit the Dublin city as holding Dublin city VIP Pass, but in the meantime I changed my mind and asked the driver for the Dublin North coast and castle tour. As the bus for north coast and Malahide castle will depart within 10 mins.

Before visiting the Malahide castle our bus roamed around the city center with live comentary. In the way we saw some georgian designed houses and many historical and famous person's buildings.

Guided tour of Malahide Castle: It was both a fortress and a private home for nearly 800 years and is an interesting mix of architectural styles. The house is furnished with beautiful furniture together with an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings, mainly from the National Gallery. It shows the lavish lifestyle of olden times. The whole area is surrounded by parkland and pretty gardens. The surrounding parks used for sports grounds, including a cricket pitch and several football grounds, golf course, tennis courts, and for modern children's playground.
Note: This tour includes the Malahide Castle entrance fee.

Coastal drive to the fisihng village of Howth: Then our bus moved to the seaside village - Howth, a fishing and yatching port. Following the Howth railway station, we reached the summit point known as Howth head, a huge rocky mass block, was our next stop. The panaromic views of Dublin bay and Wicklow mountains can be seen from here. The view is renowned as one of the world's great seascapes. A tiny island known as Irelands Eye can also be seen from here and just a boat trip away from here. I remember! I make all travellers wait for a while. Thanks God! I got another route back to the bus before the lady guide who went to search me.

North Bull Island: While returning back to the Dublin city center, we have glimpse of 5 KM long Bull Island. The island connects to Dublin city by a wooden road bridge. It is now a nature reserved and bird sanctuary area.

The whole tour was approx 3 - 3:30 hrs.

Tour Fee: Adult 25 Euros; Student/Senior 22 Euros; Child 12 Euros.
Daily 10 am and 2 pm.

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