Sunday, January 31, 2010

I want more Moher!

**Please view the previous blog for some recent pics of farm life & the chalet**

Whew, what a day! Started off waking up to the annoying ping of the alarm and the relentless sun shining through the shades. A clear night resulted in a light frost blanketing everything as far as the eye could see. I knew it was going to be a great day.

Just the night before we contacted a friend living outside of Galway and asked if she would like to go on a hike sometime soon. The text response was quick and direct "How about tomorrow? Half 9? Need a pick up?" Yes, yes, and yes.

The question was "North or South?" After a quick look at the forcast, it was decided that we stood a much better chance of sun if we headed South. Beautiful, close, and hiking trails abound were the famous "Cliffs of Moher" (pronounced Mo-Her, strong "H") and The Burren.

After a brief attempt to enter the cliffs through the back side of the trails via a local farmers fence, we decided lets find parking closer. We refused to pay the 8 Euro to park in the car park and found an abandoned stone house about 1 Km from the entrance. As we walked into the Cliffs of Moher park, we somehow missed the gate and entered at no charge. Relax, I don't feel guilty. They have turned this beautiful creation of mother earth into a tourist circus, exploiting foreigners and locals alike by nickel and dime-ing them at every chance. This gorgeous place, and I mean magnificently gorgeous, is for all human kind to enjoy and my hard earned euros are not going to go to the Irish Gov in Dublin (who provided no funding for the park- it was all outside grants and donations, a lot of them American!) just so I can enter a natural wonder. Enough of that, we got in for free and it was worth every penny!

We then hopped a small fence that was hardly trying to restrict people, displaying in tiny print "No Trespassing" and "Do not enter." As we do this the rangers watch countless people do the same in search of even more magnificent views down the coast.

Needless to say, it payed off. The sun was shining its brightest among the friendly puff-clouds as the wind swept up the walls of the cliff, letting you know just how powerful of a place it truly was. I was impressed with Connemara, I might have been even more impressed with the Cliffs.

We continued to lazily walk along the path and take hundreds of pictures. Found a nice spot to eat our fruit and PB&J's for lunch. Oh yeah, I tried to push Curt off the cliff...

We were moving so slowly and staring out into the ocean, back to the cliffs, and around at the sun and bay to our backs that hours passed without us really even noticing. Not once did I get tired of staring at the same cliffs. I could have set up camp and stayed there all day.

As the sun started to descend lower and the trail had no new developments ahead, we decided to call it a day and head back. A very successful day. On our way back home, we took some back country roads that rival any I have every seen anywhere. We popped out on a slightly bigger road and stumbled upon a Dolmen (ancient stone structures believed to be used as tombs or for worship, circa 3000 b.c.).

As we were entering town, almost at our doorstep, we ran into a large rainbow. This wasn't your garden-variety (sky-variety?) "oh wow, lets move on" rainbow, this was a strong spectrum, full rainbow. We could see one end, the entire arch, and the other end. It was the first full rainbow I think I have ever seen. It was a magical ending to a very special day.

I share this with you,

thanks for visiting!

p.s. Curt and I have an idea for our next video! Stay tuned :)

Our first week Wwoofing: Farm, Chalet, and Market

This will be more of a "picture blog" than anything else. Just wanted to share with you where I am living and what my daily life looks like :)

The Farm: some polytunnels
Inside a polytunnel:

A view from our Chalet:

The Chalet!!

Our Kitchen/Livingroom/Shower:

A nice view of the country from our dining table:

The other half of the inside of the Chalet- shelves of clothes and books, desk with laptop, and one bed under the loft:

The other bed in the loft:

The market that we help with in Oranmore on Thursdays (Athenry on Fridays):

A cheers at the end of a hard day on the deck outside our Chalet. A fitting end to a great day:

We have such a great situation here. The work is great, the people are great, the food is delicious (and organic), the area is beautiful, and so far the sun has been shining every day. I am thankful for every moment that I spend on this earth. Thank you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We have arrived on the farm!
After a week and a half of waiting, we are finally here and happy. For those of you who I have neglected to update, Curt and I are now working on an organic farm in Athenry, Ireland. It is a small town about 20 Km outside of Galway. We could not find work, and decided that perhaps Wwoofing would be a more suitable option for us. We are really excited to have purpose, after a few weeks of basically being lazy bums and trying not to spend money.

We did have time to create a video postcard for all of our loved ones back home. It is ridiculous. Please be accepting of the horrible stereotypes that are presented in it and know that we portray them only to make fun of ourselves and not the cultures that they mock. We realize that none of these stereotypes are accurate. With that being said, enjoy Curt and I making asses out of ourselves. We mainly made this video to occupy ourselves for a week (well...less) and to show you around Galway and surrounding areas. All of the tracks were created using Garage Band, and we are sort of proud of the finished product. It was a lot of fun to make and to have an excuse to be goofy.

We plan to make a few more videos of our advntures, so stay tuned for video postcard theme?

Hope you all are well! I think this week we might attend a yoga and meditation classes in town with the couple that owns the farm. Maybe an Irish step dancing class too! Wish us luck :)

Love love love.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sayonara Connemara

After a week of job searching, Curt and I decided that we deserved a little time away from the city. We booked a day tour to the countryside known as Connemara. It has been one of the coldest winters that Ireland has seen in recent times. Each year Ireland gets a few days of frost in the winter, this year it has been frozen for over a month! As a result Curt and I got to see a breathtaking side of Ireland that few, including locals, get to see.

If you so desire you can check out two movies that were shot in this Mountain/lake/fjord district of west Ireland: 1- The Field circa 1990 and 2-A Quiet Man circa 1952. Both movies show this Irish landscape, and both towns (Leenane and Cong) still try to profit off of their past minutes of fame. The Quiet Man Cafe, The Field Pub, The Quiet Man Public Restrooms :)

We stayed in a Hostel out in the middle of nowhere, overlooking the never ending fjord (Irelands only fjord) and resting quietly between two mountains. It was great to be away from people. It was just me, Curt, and Jordan the guy running the hostel in the winter. There was no running water due to pipes freezing, but that only meant no showers. We enjoyed taking the mountain path 6 Km into town to buy our groceries for the next day, hitching a ride back, and spending the two days reading, watching movies, observing the stillness of the nature outside, and making meals in such a serene and undisturbed setting. Today I am refreshed and rejuvinated, ready to attack the job hnt once again...

About that job seems Ireland's economy has been hit just about as hard as any in Europe. January and February are the months of the least amount of tourism nation-wide (or is it republic-wide?). What this means is that it is so cold and miserable that people just don't go out and consume as much, which means that there is much less demand for workers. To add on to all of these odds stacked against us, our work visas are only valid for 4 months. Our competition, Canadians, Kiwis, and Aussies, all have 12 month work visas. Nobody wants to hire people only to have them leave right before the busy season hits. These are things we did not necessarily anticipate.

There are other alternatives and I will only briefly talk about them as we are going to give the job hunt one more week and then re-evaluate our situation. We are looking into WWOOFing - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Basically you volunteer for a certain amount of hours/week on an organic farm and they give you a place to stay and all of your meals as well as teach you a lot about their way of life. Many of these farms are also yoga retreat centers, bed and breakfasts, meditation clinics, etc. I think it sounds exactly like the type of experience that we came over here for, the only catch is that there is no pay. Right now though, room and board is about 90% of what we spend our money on anyways (I'll let you guess the other starts with a G and ends with uinness...). The other option is Help Exchange. This is a similar program but includes more hostel and accomodation type businesses. Some even have a little pay!

Welp, that is all I feel like typing at the moment. Enjoy the pictures, comment, and if you'd like me to give you a call soon email me an update and your telephone number. I use skype and it only costs me a few cents a minute.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Eve and Howth

New Year's: We left for Temple Bar (meh) with a handful of people from Lyon, France. Instead of paying for an overpriced pint in one of the "pub's" in Temple Bar, we decided to bring our own and lap it up with the rest of the drunkies in the street. It was a great choice. The hour before the clock struck midnight was filled with snow! Light, fluffy, fun snow. We we slip slidding away.

We made it to Christ Church Cathedral for the countdown and to hear the amazing bells from the cathedral. This was a gathering spot for all sorts of people- the Time's Square of Dublin, if you will...only much less people.

We then picked up a group of Italians and a few Americans and headed to a few pubs, payed for the overpriced Guinness, and danced our butts off to crappy American tunes like Ghostbusters, Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark, Footloose, and Men Without Hats. It was a blast.

I can proudly say that I woke up at 9 am, not hungover, and ready to charge the day. Curt and I took the DART train to a nearby coastal town of Howth and enjoyed some spectacular views.

We leave for Galway in 30 minutes. Love to all! Bon ani, buon anno, feliz ano nuevo, happy new year!


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