Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson was my generation's (blank)

I, along with many of my generation, mourn (if even lightly) Michael Jackson's sudden death. As I drove to work today I started thinking about the impact he had on pop culture and music, across genres. True, much of influential work was pre-1995, but music changed a lot the 80's and 90's. Just like it did in the 50's and 60's....

So, I wonder, is Michael Jackson my generation's Elvis? I gave Mr. Lush a quick call, as he is an Elvis fan (but in the end he's a Beatles man, because you know you can only be one or the other) and asked him if Elvis was still recording when he died. (he said pretty much no, he was done) I tested the idea out on him; he seemed to think it was worth thinking about. (well, in truth he just didn't oppose the idea, but that's the same thing)

It doesn't have to be a musical influence, necessarily, it can just be an icon of some kind. Someone who shaped culture in general. Maybe Elvis isn't the best example and I also briefly thought about Princess Di - I remember everyone all over the globe was very upset when she died, however, I'm not sure if that's the best comparison either. Of course, we can't say he was our generation's Beatles....that's just sacrilege!! Anyway, you think about that, and if I see you this weekend, expect that I'll bring it up. No idea is right or wrong.... but it'll be fun talking about.

At 8am a Sirius station I listen to is going to have a MJ Tribute hour, and I'm sure I'll be listening to MJ songs on and off for the entire weekend, trying to remember which one was my favorite. I think I know then I hear another one and then I think I like that one more....I hope we all remember MJ for his music and not for what he was/how he looked at the end. (I know I saw too many freakish MJ photos on tabloids for my own good)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Irish beer humor

One of our stops in Ireland was a pub/brewery called The Porterhouse Brewing Company. They brew beers and serve other beers, but theirs is the only Irish beer they serve (aka NO GUINNESS). They have a very elaborate (and humorous) beer menu. I've included some snapshots. (funny part is at the end, but bear with me)

Cover page:



A few of their beers:


Here's some shots of their descriptions of other countries and other beers:





Very nice and informative, right??
Well, here's the description of the USA beers:


This Irish are funny ones, I tell ya. But really, in a country where everyone drinks Guinness like water (literally) can we blame them for making fun of American beer???

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More of Paris

Yes, we did see more than just the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We saw Notre Dame, which was huge and amazing, and made me miss my Grandma a bit, as she loved cathedrals and would've loved to see it. We were there during mass and as Mr. Lush noted, the choir was so beautiful it sounded like angels. (of course the choir should be amazing, but for some reason we were surprised...possibly because we don't frequent church services?) Either way, the architectural beauty was amazing:



We went to Pere Lechaise cemetery and saw Jim Morrison’s grave:
(not as impressive as I’d imagined – it was even sort of behind another one, and the bust was gone)

Another tip from Rick Steve’s book was to see the Rodin sculpture garden for 1 Euro instead of the Rodin Sculpture Museum (6 Euro). It was a good tip – there were actually many sculptures in the garden and the garden itself was lovely – many roses. We saw The Thinker, among others.




We did not see the Louvre. I know, I know! But, we just didn’t want to stand in that long of a line, so instead we went to the Musée de l'Orangerie, where Monet’s Waterlilies (Les Nympheas) are displayed. I had no idea they were so huge! They immerse you.



Honestly, Friday was such a beautiful day that we just did a lot of walking around and people watching in Paris, (versus Museum going) so we have a ton of random pictures of beautiful things, such as this statue in the Place de la Concorde, representing the city of Bordeaux. (it seemed fitting to take that picture, since we actually visited Bordeaux and were told it was a “mini Paris”.)

It was a great time. And yes, we took a ton more pics of the entire vacation - I just didn't want to overwhelm in the blog. But if you're a friend, watch out, you might get the "opportunity" to view a good 50 or 60 more!!!!! (just kidding, we try not to be "those people" who force you to look at each and every pic, but if you want to see more, we have them. I also plan on making a "Blurb book" of our entire trip.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sparkling Eiffel Tower

***WARNING: This entire post is about the Eiffel Tower. I know, I just had to do it. I couldn't help myself!****

Prior to our trip, I poured over travel books, travel websites, etc to find the "best kept secrets". Evidently the Montparnasse Tower is one of them. (details later) We went by the Eiffel Tower, hung out on the park area for a little bit and took some pictures.






By the way, should you go to the Eiffel Tower, I would recommend bringing a picnic with some snacks and wine, we wish we would have and that's evidently the Parisian thing to do. The Eiffel Tower is beautiful up close, but the lines were sooooo long. (around an hour, at least) Plus I wanted a city view picture WITH the Eiffel Tower. So, we had a drink at a little cafe and took the metro to the Montparnesse Tower, which is a 56 story (with 59 total stories to the top observation deck) skyscraper. Not so pretty on the outside (think Sears Tower in Chicago) but with evidently the best view of the city. We hope for the good view and less lines- no time to waste on the 2 day trip.

LESS LINES? That's a joke. There are NO LINES. ZERO. We walked up, bought a ticket, went up the elevator, wisked up 56 floors in 38 seconds, and were greeted by a woman who told us in one minute (10 pm) the Eiffel Tower sparkles for 5 minutes. Really? AWESOME! From entering the tower to being at the top it was less than 5 minutes and I get to see a sparkling Eiffel Tower? Evidently I missed this part in the books so it was a great surprise. You do have to walk the last 3 flights but the view....is totally worth it.



And to my surprise....it sparkles again at 11:00.





So my new camera takes pretty good pictures, but the video is grainy. Can't be perfect, right??(however, the 6 seconds gives you an idea of the sparkling)


video
I won't say DON'T go up in the Eiffel Tower, because I haven't been up there so I don't know. I will say however, a trip to the Montparnasse Tower should be on your to-do list. 10 Euros for a view like this? Its a no brainer.

Burgundy recap

A little recap of Burgundy:
We arrive via train and take the bus (of course!) to Gevrey Chambertin. Its Sunday night, so we decide to grab a pizza from a mobile pizza station (I guess?) that we happened to pass. So yes, our first official Burgundonian meal was a jambon (ham) pizza. (good thing we did as NOTHING is open on Sunday)


FYI-evidently with sparkling (whether it be champagne or Cremant de Bourgone (dry cheaper sparkling from the region of Burgundy - can't be called Champagne unless it comes from Champagne - pictured below) they serve peanuts. I guess it makes some sense, since they say anything that goes with beer goes with sparkling...but still. Odd.



Wendesday night I got brave and tried escargot.


I was nervous...more about the "slippery little suckers" ;) than the taste...however, our hostess/waitress/bartender (small town) spoke English and told me how to eat them. They were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO goood. Oh. my. god. YUM.

Wait, what about wines we had??

We had a ton of barrel tastings. We had wine that had been aged in French Oak, European Oak, had undergone malolactic fermentation, hadn’t, grapes from this village, that village….tons of tastings. It got to the point that we actually hoped that we weren’t going to have another barrel tasting. I know, the HORROR of being taken by a winemaker to their cellar to taste their wines! While there could be much worse fates, we decided we prefer completely ready wine instead of “on-its-way-to-being-ready-wine”. All that being said, we learned a lot from the winemakers and their barrel tastings. We started off with a visit to Domaine Debray in Beaune - Michel was awesome. The wines were good and very reasonably priced. We got some information about their exporter to the US.


We went to Alex Gambal - an American who decided to move to France. It was ok. Unless you're dying for a clear English explanation of the process, I'd say skip it. Probably what turned us off the most is that I specifically said we came here to taste wines we couldn't get in the US. After the barrel tasting, he serves us 2 wines that he knows are distributed in Missouri. That's it. Nothing else, nothing special, just 2 low end wines we can get at home. Thanks.

On my birthday we went to Domaine Durouche...he was funny. Barrel tasting, not too much else (we got to pick one wine to taste) but it was fun and he gave me a bottle for my birthday. I do love presents. ;)


We had lunch at Domaine Drouhin Laroze. No barrel tastings, not really a tour, but they have a lovely enclosed patio overlooking a small vineyard and they serve lunch to a small select group of people per appointment (there was one other table) I don't really know what the food was, but one was a quiche with walnuts. Hmm. Walnuts just don't get a lot of action in the cooking department so I was thrown off. It was...different. Ok, but different.


We also had some sort of veggie app, cheese plate for after dinner (so much cheese!) and then a mousse/ice cream dessert. STUFFED. It was lovely and we got to compare some Gevrey Chambertins from different classifications so it was a great birthday treat.

One of the best wines we had was from a random stop by: Philip Leclerc. He is old school....stomps grapes by feet, hand applies labels.....and his wine is fantastic. FANTASTIC. Bigger than most Burgundies, and tasty. (Mr. Lush and I have a dispute if this person is the winemaker, as a younger person is on the website. (this guy didn't speak very good English) I personally think the younger person is the son, but whatever.)


In his shop was a cool looking metal artpiece - here's a close up of it....


Our little town (seriously 2 miles from one end to the other, not including vineyards):


Some other misc Burgundy pics:








We didn't even get a chance to taste stuff from the place we stayed at - he was never open. We learned a lot about Burgundy, mostly that while staying at a Chateau in Bordeaux was totally worth it, its not quite as cool in Burgundy - most winemakers have little plots of vines all over Burgundy so its not like you're sitting next to the vineyard that makes the wine you're drinking. Most are also negociants as well as have their own vineyards (they buy grapes as well as grow their own). So its really more about getting to know the winemakers, which you can do from any hotel / B&B.
We learned enough about Bugundy wine to know that I need a stinkin topography map to know anything about where the wine comes from and there is a huge difference between classifications and where the vineyard is located. Also, language was more of an issue in Burgundy in general than in Bordeaux. Most people we encountered spoke fairly good english in Bordeaux....not so much in Burgundy. A few spoke "OK English" but that's about it.
Good time, overall. Oh who am I kidding?? A GREAT time and it was fantastic to spend my birthday tasting wines I loved.

Public Transportation in France

Ironically, the first real public transportation snaffu happened in a part of the trip where public transportation is readily available - Burgundy. There’s a bus system that takes you from town to town, within town, etc, and its ,90 Euro per person per segment. (a new “segment” occurs every 2 or 3 villages) Well, the snaffu happened Monday on our trip to Beaune. The bus ride should’ve been 3,60 Euros each (around $5) but because of poor planning / failure to check the bus schedule before going to bed, we missed the bus and had to take a cab….which was like $50. Ouch. (I know, Lucy, how could I plan so poorly!) But, despite being told we “Are really brave” and comments such as “Wow, really? No car?”, the public transportation route worked out for us- even with the language barrier.

Yes, that means lots of walking. At least 10,000 steps every day (5 miles), even on travel days, with some days being closer to 8 or 9 miles. My walking sandals (I purchased a pair of Eastland sandals) are thoroughly worn in. Thoroughly. This is what they looked like new....they really are comfortable...
So, while the public transportation route was easy on our pocketbooks, it was not easy on my feet….I guess I should add $30 to the cost of public transportation for my much needed pedicure when I get home. I think they may have to break out the sander to rid of the calluses on my heels. :)

PS- Mr. Lush hates me for not bringing tennis shoes - at the time I thought it was a good move, only having 2 pairs of shoes (walking sandals and nice sandals); it took up so much less space. However, walking a mile in the rain in sandals is not fun. Not one bit. *sigh* I guess he is right and I should’ve brought another pair. Or at least found a way to purchase the ever popular Chucks. (really, about 80% of the under 30 crowd wears Converse here- which I barely qualified to wear them, but I still qualified ;) (I know, past tense- I DID qualify. Not now.)

More updates soon…..sorry for the multiple posts at once, finally got internet again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

She said/he said take on St. Emilion

Ok, where did I last leave off? I know, its been a long time!!! I think it was last Thursday night, when we arrived in Saint Emilion. I’ll fill you in and Mr. Lush and I will do a “She said/He said” version of this post. Of course, Mr. Lush will get the easy part, I’m sure throwing humorous commentary to my otherwise painstakingly detailed blog entry, but I will allow him this luxury - he has been wonderful on the trip, caring most of the luggage, tending to this and that. ;)

FRIDAY:
SHE SAID:
We had our first appointment at 10am with Chateau Puy-Razac, a Grand Cru. (Real quick for you non wine drinkers - both wines in Bordeaux and St. Emilion are called “Bordeaux wines”, named after the general wine region in France. They are classified in quality, which is what this Grand Cru business is all about.) I had planned on walking but we didn’t get up as early as we had hoped and it was a lot hotter than I planned, so we took a taxi. However, the taxi had NO idea where this place was…. (keep in mind, I purposely booked small scale production wineries for a personalized experience). Eventually we found it and he did discount the taxi fare, although I think we still got ripped off, but whatever.

We got there and Catherine, the winemaker and owner, was very excited to see us. (It appeared that she didn’t often get visitors.) Her English was a bit choppy, but she put forth a great effort and when in a pinch, the Lingo (electronic translator lent to us by Mr. and Mrs. D - thanks guys!) came in handy. She took us through the winemaking process, showed us the concrete vats (she’s pretty old school, most use Stainless Steel for the fermentation process, but concrete vats were previously used) talked about how she ages her wine, how many times she re-uses the oak barrels and - how she tried American Oak and doesn’t like it. (most French prefer French oak - it had a less strong flavor) Then she let us taste wine that was currently aging (2008) out of the vat, out f the barrel and let us also taste the 2007 that was still aging in the American Oak.









It was interesting to compare the tastes and the American Oak had a strong cigar aroma in comparison to the wine aged in French Oak. We had the 2006, the current vintage for sale, while chatting with her in the garden about her family and her life. We purchased two bottles and she drove us to the town of St. Emilion (maybe a mile away, but it was nice to be driven). We had a quick little pizza and a soda at a place close by, since it was 11:30 and we hadn’t had breakfast and were starving.

We piddled around St. Emilion, took pictures, had a glass or two of wine while waiting for our 5pm appointment with Chateau Gaudet, a Grand Cru Classe. (he’s the one who randomly found my blog and suggested I come visit)
Here’s a few pictures of St. Emilion:




Vincent Lignac walked us through his family’s history with the Chateau, the Chateau’s history, his winemaking process, etc. He was informative and his English was excellent due to a couple trips to the US and to Australia for winemaking, but the underground cellars stole the show. They were from 1791 and were just awesome- they had tons of older wine, some were theirs (oldest was 1914) and he had a few bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild from…1889. Wow. I asked what would qualify as an occasion to drink such a wine- he laughed and said “whenever you feel the time is right”. He said you have to take the bottle back to them every now and then and have them re-cork it and if you drank it you would have 15 minutes tops before it became undrinkable. Good to know, should I ever have a wine that’s 120 years old. ;) We had the 2001 and 2005, ended up purchasing a bottle of the 1998, a half bottle of both the 2001 and 2005. We would have purchased more, but we just couldn’t find a way to ship things back.




For dinner we went to a place he had recommended, L‘Envours du Ecors (which turned out to be a well recommended place by all locals). We had a foie gras appetizer- the server suggested we have a sauternes or semi-sweet wine with it. I ordered the semi sweet and Mr. Lush ordered a richer white wine. I was little surprised with the foie gras came out - last time I had it it was a sautéed pice of duck liver, this was more of a paste. It was good, however, and the semi-sweet wine went very well with it. For dinner I had fish and Mr. Lush had duck confit which was rather overdone. Afterwards we tried to call a taxi as it was a couple miles back to the Chateau, but no one answered and so we broke down and called Phillip, who came and got us. We tried, believe it or not, to not take advantage of Phillip’s generosity, but it just happened to be that we had no other choice many times or the timing worked out. As it worked out for this time, he was dropping off a couple women in Saint Emilion at the same exact time, so we were happy to know we didn’t totally inconvenience him.

HE SAID:
Yep.
Just kidding: While “piddling around” I walked up a gorgeous bell tower where the view was amazing! (see pics) Vincent our guide said on a clear day in the morning you can see Bordeaux (45 mins away). One thing I would say about going in the shops beware of the workers who ask the year you were born. They are just trying to get rid of some old wine. Yes it is cool to have a label from 82 J but 40 E is not worth it.

She said: "82" my arse! Is that what year you graduated high school????

SATURDAY:
SHE SAID:
We hung around Chateau Monlot while Phillip took us on a tour with his friend who was visiting, then we went and saw some limestone underground caves, then Phillip dropped us off at Chateau Mauvezin, another Grand Cru. The Chateau owner, Olliver Cassat, greet us and told us the Chateau had been in his family for 400 years. Wow. Anyway, he also took us through his winemaking techniques, but here we received an excellent explanation of terrior (the differences in ground/soil and how that effects the wine). He owns vineyards on 4 different terriors, and in the end we purchased the terrior sampler pack (his 4 wines, same year, made from grapes grown in different soil types).









We did end up shipping it back- he recommended a wine shop that would let us ship his stuff, along with wines purchased from them (which we tasted a few of them first). It was a bit expensive, far more than I wanted to pay, but we certainly can’t come to France and not come back with SOME wine. That evening we just sat around and ate some sandwiches (had to make up for the money spent on wine with a cheap meal, ya know) and enjoyed sitting the garden.

All in all, we had a great time in St. Emilion. I had hoped to try a Bordeaux as old as I, but it wasn’t in the cards. I did my best to plan, but I did overestimate the availability of taxis….I had planned on walking some and when we were tired or far away, the plan was to take taxis back. However, we found there isn’t a lot of taxi availability in the evenings. (which also was a surprise for the 2 London women who didn’t rent a car) We had been fine thus far in our trip using a combination of walking and public transportation, and Burgundy has a very nice bus system (it appears we are about .14 miles from a bus stop) so hopefully we’re ok there, but in St. Emilion there just isn‘t enough taxi availability and no public transportation. Without Phillip we probably would’ve been a bit SOL, so next time I suppose we‘ll rent a car.

HE SAID: The tour of Monlot was cool it was nice to run by what we half heard (our bad for not speaking French very well) at other tours to a person who spoke perfect English. These “oh yeah underground caves” were flippin awesome. They were built for 100 year war. She may post pics of these. The caves reinforced the limestone soil stuff that we heard so much about. After visiting the caves we went to a graveyard. While this may seem weird to say, it was pretty.


A good time was had!

Bordeaux Photos

Here's a few photos from Bordeaux (the city).
















Monday, June 15, 2009

In Burgundy

B&B has no internet - boo! At internet cafe now w/only 3 minutes. We're ok....promise to update soon!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Having great time...

Sorry for the lack of updates....having a great time....hopefully time to fully update with pics tomorrow!!!!
(travel day Sunday- from Bordeaux to Burgundy)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Planning and letting go in St. Emilion

**note I had to post 2 posts at once so go the one before and catch up***

So today Mr. Lush and I were discussing if we know of anyone else who would take this particular type of trip....the kicker is what was going on at the time of said conversation....

We were at the Saint Emilion train station, waiting for a taxi that might arrive/might not, depending on if he checked his email that day, while having another number as a backup. So basically, we were in town, but didn't know if we had a ride or exactly when we should give up on the ride, so we were hanging out at the train station letting time pass. The weather was beautiful and we decided to give our maybe taxi driver about 10 more minutes. During said wait, we started talking about who would take such a trip, with the combination of planning and yet okay with the unexpected....you have to do a lot of research to do the public transportation route, but really, public transportation and all the stuff that goes with is (as evidenced in previous posts) a bear and doesn't go as expected. As much as I like to pretend, I'm not really "totally okay" with the unexpected.....today we had an appointment at Chateau Pape Clement - their directions were poor, we got lost, missed our tour, and weren't given another one. I was devatstated.... feeling I had messed things up royally and had failed us. Mr. Lush, being the kind considerate man he is, assured me that I didn't mess anything up and it was the Chateau's fault for giving bad directions and HE didn't consider the day wasted at all.

Ah-yes, he is wonderful, isn't he???

I digress....after we chatted about this, I noticed a call. Low and behold, it was our B&B- Chateau Monlot. I called them back and was quickly transferred to someone who spoke ***PERFECT*** English. Oh, I was excited right off the bat, but even more excited when he (Philip) said he could come pick us up. (woo hoo saved money) I told him we are the only people sitting in the parking lot with luggage so we should be easy to find - he arrived within 10 minutes and we were at the Chateau within 15. It was great!!!

Evidently, Philip is from North Carolina and is here studying wine....and happens to be doing an internship at Chateau Monlot. Not only did he pick us up, he made us dinner, shared with us some wine - including some rose that couldn't be labeled because you can't make St. Emilion Rose- and has offered to take us on a few trips here and there if needed. He is great- absolutely great- and we really lucked out in the fact he is here, as we enjoy his company AND appreciate his knowledge! We suggested we should give him some money for eating all his food, drinking all his wine, but he said it "would be an insult".

So my question to you - what should we give Phillip? Bottle of wine- or would that be odd since he's here? Ignore what he says and slip him some money when we leave? Ask him to accompany us to dinner and buy his dinner?

And....would YOU be up for a trip that required planning, yet an acceptance of the spontaneous factor?

*heck, I'm don't know if I'm up for it...but we're here so I'm making it work!!!*

Adventures in traveling

After a late night at the Dublin pubs, we drug ourselves out of bed to start our day of traveling to France. We started off early and took the airport shuttle to the Dublin airport, only to find that our flight was delayed 45 minutes, so not only was getting there early was not really necessary, we were also tight on transfer time. Our flight was to arrive in Toulouse at 3:55 and our train was departing from Toulouse at 6:10, so that extra 45 minutes was our "cushion time". We arrived in Toulouse at 4:40 - close to an hour late, and of course our luggage was one of the last pieces off the airplane, as we checked in really early. Based on my extensive research of public transportation options, I knew there was a shuttle going from the airport to the train station, with about 4 stops along the way. I asked the driver if he spoke English, luckily he spoke enough to tell me that yes, this was this shuttle. It was 5:15 and we were on way. It would be tight, but we could make it.

Then, on the way to the train station, I heard a scraping as we passed a car …and indeed the shuttle driver had side swiped a mirror. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!??? As the shuttle pulls over to handle the accident, we instantly panic but then it seems like it's a not a big deal - the other passengers weren't upset, the driver wasn't upset, really the only person who thought it was a big deal was the girl who's car got swiped (understandably so). The whole ordeal only delayed us 5 minutes….so we got to the train station at 5:50. No idea where to go we just took off and figured it out, arriving at the train "gate" with a few minutes to spare…only to find out it was also running late. *sigh*

At least we weren't rushing, right?

The train arrives and we have no idea how to find our seats - we chose for this ride to be 1st class (there is 2nd class, 1st class, and Premier class) and we has assigned seats. Of course, the train station "attendant" doesn't speak English, but we think we figure it out, but then almost miss getting on the train because our car is the very first one and we were at the very last one. But, we made it - the train ride was nice - the seats were very comfy, the ride was smooth, all was ok. We arrive in Bordeaux St. Jean, fumble around and find the tram station, take the tram and viola, are about 2 blocks from the hotel. Whew!

We check in and then head to a restaurant for our first meal in France. We have a nice white Bordeaux with our entrees (which are really appetizer like); Mr. Lush had toasts with goat cheese salad and I had a pastry with smoked salmon and cheese. The wine went perfect with it. We figured the portions would be small so we also ordered a Plat (the entrée); Mr. Lush had steak and I had the duck. *Both came with French fries* We were actually incorrect - both were actually quite large, so we were stuffed. With dinner, we had an even nicer red Bordeaux. (the wireless connection sucks at the hotel, so no pics) We lucked out and our server spoke English, although he wasn't around much after our food was ordered, at least he was there when it counted (during ordering and available for questions). All in all, it was a crazy hectic day, but we were happy we managed to get around and figure things out thanks to some pre-planning on my part and some patience on both our parts.

We are looking forward to our first full day in wine country.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dublin, Day 1

Upon arriving at Drury Court Hotel (no relation to the Drury we know in the US) we were allowed to checkin early (which we ended up switching rooms - bit of a modly smell in the hallway of our original room- 2nd room was very nice). We took a baby powernap and then went a walkin to Guinness Storehouse, where our free tour pases awaited(Courtesy of Bill, the BEST Scotchguy ever).
On our way, we saw some sites.....

Dublin Castle:


Christ Church....

We stopped at a random pub (after getting a bit lost- details on Dublin's streets later) to have our first Authentic Guinness in Dublin. True to tradition, the bartended poured 2/3 of the pint, let it sit for 5 minutes, then filled the rest and we took our part in tradition and waited until everything had settled. It was yummy - although I will admit that I am not quite the fan that Mr. Lush is.
With our Guinness we had some soup and potato pancakes, a sample of a local made just for that pub beer, and went on our way.
The Guinness Tour.......
was not that impressive. Our passes were FREE and we were dissapointed - actual price is 15Euros. The tour is through a 7 story storehouse, with screens and pictures and its SELF GUIDED. No actual production facilities - video screens try to simulate production, but its not very effective. Of course, we compared the tour to that of AB(InBev) but it didn't even compare to Boulevard in Kansas City. It was overall anticlimatic. The Gravity Bar at the top, does have a lovely view, but the immediate surroundings are rather industrial and bleak so its not even that great. They didn't even bother painting the Guinness Production facilities with any zest or beauty - just bleh.

All that being said.....it was a nice time and more of piece of a nostalgia for Mr. Lush, as he is quite the Guinness Lover. A good tour of the website and a nice pint of Guinness at a local pub will do just fine - otherwise your love for Guinness must make it The Graceland of Beer.

It was sprinkling so we took a cab back to the hotel - it was a good 2 mile walk - we went back and took a nap, went to a local pub for some non-local fare (Penne Carbonara and a Ceasar salad), a Smithwicks and a Bulmers (which ended up being a hard cider - a good one, just not what I was in the mood for). We then hit a local brewery, called Porterhouse, who's beer menu is both fun and informative (we brought one back....shhhh), had a couple half pints and then headed back the hotel.....for some blogging before bedtime.

Note about Dublin streets - hard to navigate - signs are not consistently at the same place. Makes for long walks and I can only imagine how frustrating it would be driving on the wrong side of teh road not knowing if you should turn or not. Also, it was like 10:30 before it was dark and most pubs closed a midnight! Huh????

Yawn...having some tea now...unwinding.....it was a long day. See you tomorrow.