castles

Austria and The Town of Cats

Austria and The Town of Cats

In the fall of 2016 we went to Austria for a conference, and took the opportunity to travel across the country by train, on the way (in a way) tripping into an alternate reality of our own. It’s been almost two years and half a dozen dive trips in between, and as an interlude before the next batch of Bonaire posts, we figured it’s about time to finish those photos…

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Going home, via many layovers

Going home, via many layovers

From here, it was back-to-back flights home, the first leg of which involved an overnight layover in Paris. It's been a while since my last sleepwalking (after a hefty dose of Benadryl, at the height of allergy season) tour here... I'd forgotten how much history and grandeur are written into the layout of every city block, and was surprised by how nice and understanding the drivers were towards the masses of tourists.

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Northern Ireland in 72 hours or less

Northern Ireland in 72 hours or less

We decided to try to walk some of it off by exploring the Mourne Wall along the nearby mountains, or slieves. Built over eighteen years in the early 1900s, The Wall spans 22 miles and averages about 4ft tall and 2-3ft wide, and was constructed, we were told, for the express purpose of preventing the sheep and cattle from sullying the enclosed water reservoir. The ubiquitous presence of walls in Ireland that demarcated every parcel of land was something that surprised us, especially when compared to Iceland where the concept of common land meant wide open spaces and free-roaming sheep. As Ann pranced up Slieve Binnian, I took a breather and sat on a portion of the Wall, where it became apparent to me that "the grass is always greener on the other side" is most definitely true, especially when there are sheep involved. 

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In search of Carcassonne, and some other castles

In search of Carcassonne, and some other castles

Looking out from the top of the keep, we were also struck by how the farms, churches, and roads below actually looked like the pieces from the board game. Somewhere in the distance we thought we caught a glimpse of a patch of red, so we decided to go and check it out. After driving around aimlessly for half an hour through muddy farm roads, we found what we've been looking for – a poppy field!

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Provence, here we come again

Provence, here we come again

This was our second trip to the Abbaye de Sainte Croix in as many years (with very, very belated photos from both). Just up the hills from Salon de Provence, the Abbaye was built in the twelfth century, but is now a charming hotel with restaurant run by a staff thoughtful and obliging almost to a fault. 

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