Day 155 of the Nowhere To Be Project took place in Wales. We began in Holyhead, a scenic seaside port town, as that is where the Viking Sky docked (we’re nearly a week through their British Isles Explorer voyage). The center of town has a stunning medieval church (St. Cybi) and is full of the most wonderful people. The residents love to chat about their Welsh pride and are so very helpful! We felt as if we left with a whole new squad of BFFs after spending just one morning in Holyhead.
Our afternoon placed us in another scenic coastal area, Beaumaris. The charming unfinished castle may be the main draw here, but the ocean breeze and lively historic streets should be the primary focus. We walked along the pier, enjoyed a pint at Bulkeley Hotel’s bar and found some interesting items in the boutiques. Wales is a treasure not to be missed and we will definitely return!
Day 149 of the Nowhere To Be Project was a “getting there” day. Living in the mountains is great except when it’s time to get to the airport. We rely on a shuttle service, Colorado Mountain Express, to transport us on the two-plus hour trek to the airport. Today’s shuttle was jam-packed and smelled of wet dog due to the fact that everyone (and their luggage) had gotten soaked on the first rainy day we’ve had in Vail this summer. The good news is we’re heading to London. The bad news is the rain is following us from Vail to Denver so we may end up with delays. Oh well, just an opportunity for an extended pre-flight happy hour, I guess!
On day 129 of the Nowhere To be Project we scheduled a tour of the original Jameson Whiskey Distillery in Dublin. We’ll be visiting Ireland in a few weeks and knew that it was an essential excursion. No matter where we are in the world, one of our favorite things to do is to seek out the local vintages, brews and spirits. We usually prefer to do it in local pubs because they usually provide an intimate connection to the culture of a place, but visiting distilleries, microbrews and vineyards offers unique opportunities for connecting more deeply with the libations of a locale as well. Some of our favorite tastes along the way have been the wines of France, the vodka of Russia, the Kölsch in Cologne, Germany Related Blog Post and the gluhwein of the European Christmas markets. We’re currently abstaining from alcohol as a sort of cleanse for the liver before the storm that will undoubtedly ensue on our upcoming British Isles Explorer voyage on the Viking Sky. If traveling tipsy is wrong, we certainly don’t want to be right.
If loving stroopwafels, Gouda cheese and wine is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I traipsed nearly twenty miles on foot through the streets of Amsterdam during my two days there, a monumental portion of this in flip flops. Not smart. Despite this ignorant oversight, I most definitely took more bites than steps, per usual. Gouda and stroopwafels, two delicacies native to the Netherlands, were my sustenance. These, of course, were washed down by wine and the occasional brew. However, the thing that struck me most as I was sampling my way through the city’s pubs and patisseries was the people.
Despite my glaring status as a gluttonous globetrotter, I was welcomed with kindness and grace around each corner. I kid you not. I did not encounter one putz or blowhard. The friendly tinkling of bike bells was used in place of profanity to warn me that I was in the way. Smiles and fond greetings were as abundant as Gouda and stroopwafels no matter where I wandered. Even when I cluelessly held up the line at the market as I fumbled to pay, not one eye rolled. To the contrary, the majority of those in the queue that I was inconveniencing offered to help! It was as if the residents of Amsterdam exist on a higher and more positive emotional plane. I know what you’re thinking… “it’s the drugs”. I beg you not to fall into the misguided trap of believing the negative stereotypes about this extraordinary spot. This sliver of the world boasts some of the most beautiful architecture and scenery, mind-blowing history, and is teeming with genuine and hospitable denizens. Alas, my time was too abrupt in Amsterdam. I’ll carry visions of sweet smiles, Gouda and stroopwafels with me until we meet again.