Ingram Adventures

Newlyweds at large.

It’s been awhile… February 11, 2007

Filed under: Blogroll — ingrid @ 7:14 pm

As you know..on the last leg of our trip our trusty Toshiba laptop became not so trusty and crapped out.  Chris was able to hook it up to the monitor of his desktop PC and rescue all of the pictures, but shortly after the photo transfer the laptop sputtered to a grinding halt never to be resurrected again (well..at least by Chris).  So a few months have now passed and with a little help from our tax return we have just this week replaced the Toshiba with a new Dell laptop.  The Toshiba was passed on to our brother-in-law Al who we hear is making a good run at bringing it back to life. 

 Speaking of pictures…I know it’s been awhile and people have not really seen our pictures yet.  We went a little bit crazy when we were in Europe and came home with precisely 1530 photos.  They take a LONG time to go through but we are making progress.  We’re working on a hard bound photo book and I’m hoping to have it done before our next vacation.                 

So anyway..we’re back online!  Unfortunately, with no current vacation plans in place and no mini-trips on the horizon, we have little to report.  The one thing we have done this past Wednesday was go see this guy in concert…

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It was the first date of his US tour and he was FABULOUS!! Chris went into the concert enjoying his music and came out a fan.  I’ve  grown up with Billy Joel and for me it was kind of like the soundtrack of my life.  Really, it was maybe my favorite concert and I’ve been to a bunch….man, was he great.

Backtracking a little….Christmas was really nice this year. We did Christmas morning at Anna and Al’s house and it was fun watching the kids open their gifts, but sadly I think it was our last year with Santa.  At the end of opening all of the presents, Sommer (who is now 7) turned to Anna and said “who got me that?” referring to her new keyboard.  Anna said “well Santa did of course” , to which Sommer replied “no, for real, who got that?”   

New Year’s Eve was a date on the couch with the ball drop and a midnight toast.   February 12th Chris and I celebrate our unofficial 4 year anniversary.  It was the day we moved in together, 2003, and then of course Valentine’s Day is Wednesday which we’ll be celebrating with a little joint cooking here at home.  Chris has been doing pretty good at work, and work is same ole same ole for me.  I’ve found a new hobby in knitting that is coming close to obsession.  

So until next time, our best to everyone and I’ll post more soon. 

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Hi ho, Hi ho, to the Cliffs of Moher we go. December 14, 2006

Filed under: Blogroll,Honeymoon,Ireland — ingrid @ 7:23 pm

The next morning we woke up to wind but clear skies.  The wind however wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been the day before.  We had yet another great breakfast and ironically the entire little breakfast room in our B&B was filled with Americans.  Most notably a group of 3 older gentlemen who were apparantly from Florida, one of whom was from Jacksonville.   Also of note, at this breakfast I discovered another food, not entirely Irish, that I now love.  Meusli!  It’s all nuts and oats and raisins and dried fruit goodness with milk and I was thinking why haven’t I had this before!?!  So after my wonderous bowl of Meusli and Chris’ porridge, we headed out early and started our day at the Cliffs of Moher.  Now I know many people who’ve been there complain about how they are turning it into too much of a tourist thing, but even with that construction, it’s just a beautiful site to see.  It was very well worth the stop.  I want to point out..it was the wind blowing my hair, not some new, funky hairstyle.

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This picture of us was taken by a young American couple who was also happy to have someone take their picture with this amazing background. 

And again, Chris’ photography skills at work.  

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Which brings me to another thought, I don’t think I’ve seen half as many rainbows in my lifetime as I did in that one week in Ireland.  You see them sometimes 2 or 3 times in a day.  I was always amazed at how bright the colors were.  You see a rainbow not too uncommonly, but rarely can you actually pick out every single color or see a the purple as bright as we did.  

Anyway…we left the cliffs of Moher and headed northeast into the strange area of Ireland called the Burren.  In the Burren there are over 2000 different ruins of varying ages.  Lots of castle but even more interesting there are tombs and altars that date back to before Christ.  The most interesting was the Dolmen Tomb of Poulnabrone.  There have been skeletal remains found there, and they can carbon date those remains back to approximately between 4200-2900 B.C.   It was built before the Pyramids of Giza during the Neolithic or New Stone Age.  Super interesting and let me tell you, Chris was fascinated. 

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To tell you a little about the Burren, it’s a very strange wasteland sort of place that is covered with layers of limestone and big cracks between the limestone layers.  There is still vegetation but often you’ll see one tree growing out of the cracks.  It’s very desolate with not much civilization, and we spent about 2 hours trying to find places that weren’t marked.  As desolate as it is, I would love to have done some hiking to explore more of the ruins located there.  

Which brings me to yet another subject, getting lost in Ireland.  Now for the most part, the roads are very well signposted.  But you might see a sign at the start of a road and then nothing for miles and miles.  There aren’t road signs, more like signs that point you in the direction of something else.  It looks a little like this…

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You really have to learn to read fast!  We spent most of the day in the Burren and then decided to make the trek to our next stopping point in the City of Galway.  We would be staying in Galway for 2 nights which was great because it was a beautiful B&B.   Our room was that top left window. 

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Stay tuned…

 

..where were we?

Filed under: Blogroll,Honeymoon,Ireland — ingrid @ 12:10 am

Ok, I know it’s been quite awhile but here goes for the next update..where were we?

When I left off, we were staying at the Bambury House B&B in Dingle.  We spent the night listening to the wind whipping against the house.  When we woke up the weather was foggy, rainy and windy.  And I don’t just mean windy..on the radio the DJ said we were having gale force winds between 100 and 120 kph (60-80 mph).  Now for those of you here in Florida, you know that those are tropical storm to cat 1 hurricane force winds.  We conferred with our hostess and agreed that Connor Pass would not be the safest route out of Dingle.  So after a great breakfast to the tunes of Celtic Women we headed north to our first destination..Carrigafoyle Castle. 

This day was mostly a driving day so we didn’t mind only having one stop.  Carrigafoyle is right near the Tarbert Ferry, which was where we were heading, so we decided to make the stop.  We got out of the car and right away our trusty umbrella flipped inside out and the wind and rain were pelting us.   We did manage to get a few pictures…we would not be deterred!

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From Carrigafoyle we headed to Tarbert and the ferry which to our surprise, was indeed running.  For a mere 15 euro per car, we took a 20 minute ferry drive and saved ourselves hours of driving.  We got off the ferry in the tiny town of Kilrush and from there we headed north along the coast ready to find our next B&B.

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Truthfully, Chris was a little embarrassed that I was snapping pictures of our car on the ferry but I was excited!  It was my first time driving onto a ferry! 

So we headed up the coast and throughout the day the weather continued with the same fierce winds and rain.  We wanted to position ourselves as far north as we could so that the next day we could start our exploring at the Cliffs of Moher.  So north we drove past Milltown Malbay and Lahinch but the day was getting darker and I was getting really tired of driving in the weather.  We went through Lahinch keeping our eyes open for a B&B but we saw nothing close to the town that was either open or had vacancies.  We decided to press on to Doolin, which is supposedly the heart of traditional Irish music.  Well, we got into Doolin and stopped at the first B&B we came to.  We went in and a teenaged girl said yes, they had a room and she took us upstairs to see it.  It looked really nice so we said we would take it, but then she wanted the money up front because her boss wasn’t there.  We both thought it odd but I gave her the 60 euro and she left the room. The room was very nice, had 2 double beds in it and was nicely decorated, but we noticed right away there was no TV.  It was only 2:30pm and this place definitely didn’t look like it would have internet.  So, I’m a little ashamed to admit, we ended up asking for the money back so we could find a place with a TV.    So we got back into the car and drove to the next B&B which was located way at the top of a hill.  We went to the door, which was open, and went in.  However, noone was around!  There was a TV or music playing in a room somewhere, but noone ever came to the door.  So we snuck out of that house and again kept driving.  We finally settled on yet another B&B down the road that we were pleased to discover had a TV!  The room wasn’t nearly as well decorated as the first one, nor was it as clean.  It would do for one night and like I said, at least we would get to watch “I’m a celebrity..get me out of here!”   So we sit down, flip on the TV and you could hear the hiss of our balloon being deflated.  Yeah, it had a TV..unfortunately it had 2 channels and one was in Irish.  Thanks kharma. It was a long, windy night in Doolin. 

 

Home Sweet Home November 25, 2006

Filed under: Blogroll,Honeymoon,Ireland — ingrid @ 11:42 am

Hi again,

 Let me start by saying that once we left Dingle, we were out of luck for internet.  I was hoping to update once we were in Chicago on the way home because they do have internet, and we had a 4 hour layover.  Unfortunately our laptop did not travel quite as well as we did and it is now kaput in pieces on the floor in our office.   Luckily, Chris was able to salvage all 1200 of our vacation pictures and transfer them to our main computer before it breathed its last breath.  (You haven’t seen panic until you’ve seen Chris frantically trying to get the laptop to work knowing that every picture we had taken on our 14 day vacation was stored on that computer.)  

Since we’ve gotten home it’s been a bit of a whirlwind because like the true Christmas warriors the Stram women are, after dropping Chris and I off at home from the airport, my mom and Anna stayed up ALL night to catch the midnight and 5am sales, while I took a quick 3 hour nap and then met them at 5am for the doorbuster sales at Kohl’s.  Then yesterday was a mix of Christmas shopping and trying to stay awake enough to make it through the entire day so that I could get back on a normal sleep schedule.  I think Chris and I are still a bit jetlagged though because I was up at 5am and Chris was up at 6am and by 7am we were in the living room watching missed Survivor episodes.  (which I might add has been awesome!  this may be the best season ever, go aitu!!)

I’m going to go back and finish the story where we left off hopefully by the end of the weekend.  Thanks to everyone for reading the webpage, there is more to come.  With 1200 pictures I definitely have some picture posting to do! Hi goes out to Aunt Chris.  I talked to Karen last night and we’ll probably be down sooner than not visiting and we’ll be sure to bring our pictures with us.

 

A windy start to the day! November 19, 2006

Filed under: Blogroll,Honeymoon,Ireland — ingrid @ 3:33 am

Since Chris is being slow this morning (his words, not mine!), I thought I’d post one more while I can.  The plans for today include mostly driving.   We are going to be leaving the Dingle Peninsula and heading north now, towards Limerick and Galway.  Today is our “up in the air” day because we don’t have a pre-planned place to stay.  We are just going to drive as far north as we can get so that tomorrow we’re in position for more exploring.   We do have a few highlights for today though with the first being a drive through Connor Pass.  It’s another very narrow road that winds up through the mountains.  I’m a little nervous about that drive because the wind has been whipping against the window all night. We’re going to ask our hostess if it’s a safe drive when we go down to breakfast.   Once through the Connor pass, we continue our drive past the Stacks mountains and then  we’re taking a ferry at a town called Tarbert across the River Shannon.  Once on the other side, we head towards Kilkee where the cliff views are supposed to rival the Cliffs of Moher, which is a planned stop for later today.  At about that time it should be late in the day and just about time to bunk down for the night. 

I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures.

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Here in Dingle the sheep have stripes!

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Can I come out of the dungeon yet?

Time to go again.  Chris is ready, our stomachs are growling and breakfast is calling.  

Talk to you soon!

 

Down for the night in Dingle November 18, 2006

Filed under: Blogroll,Honeymoon,Ireland,Uncategorized — ingrid @ 3:53 pm

Hi again,  I want to start out by saying I can’t believe all of the people who are reading the page.  I really thought I’d be writing to myself! So when we last posted we were in Cahersiveen, halfway through the Ring of Kerry.   Let me first tell you about our adventures at our hotel in Cahersiveen.  For this trip we had planned on staying in B&B’s every night except for that one night.  For one thing, B&B’s are WAY cheaper in Ireland, unlike in the USA.  For two, they come with breakfast.  It’s a great moneysaver since we’re trying to stick to Rachel Ray’s $40 per day plan (tricky in Ireland and in Euro).  So anyway, we looked up the hotel on the internet and it looked very up to date, beautiful, fancy, and it was right where we planned on stopping for the night.  Let me first say, whoever did their website should win an award for advertising.  They found some good corners for the pictures because we didn’t recognize the place when we arrived.  Everything seemed ok when we got to the room to check it out.  But I knew we were in trouble when Chris pulled the door closed and the doorknob came completely off.  The halls also smelled of something like fried grease and … I don’t know, something.  But with the door closed, the smell muted some.  The next morning I got up first to take my shower only to find that the shower knob was stuck on scalding hot.  I made Chris get up but he couldn’t fix it either.  So I figured ok, I’ll have to take a bath then.  No can do!  I started filling the tub with water and had to drain it fast because the water was yellow.   gross!!  So that morning my hair got washed under the faucet and I tried hard not to fill the sink with water in case I would notice that it wasn’t clear.    We packed up and got out of there as soon as we could.  We left Cahersiveen and started towards Valentia Island.  The weather was freezing yesterday!  In fact, not only did it snow overnight, it sleeted and then snowed in the afternoon.  I drove in it all, on the left side of the road, on the right side of the car, on a one lane road (that’s one lane for BOTH directions, not each!), at 100 km/hr.  If you notice a few more greys when I get home, this should explain why.   Anyway,  as we drove around Valentia Island we were able to see the Skelligs, which was one of the things we were most anticipating.  They are 2 very rocky islands right off the Iveragh Peninsula and next to Valentia.  Here are a couple pictures of us high up on a mountain of Valentia Island.

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The next one is as close as we could get to the Skelligs but they still looked really cool.

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The monks lived on them even though there is almost no vegetation and the weather was extremely harsh. They were attacked several times too but still managed to live out there in almost complete isolation. 

So we drove the rest of the Ring of Kerry with our next stopping point in Kenmare.  Karen and David, if you’re going to research moving to Ireland, this is the town we want to move to (so far…).  We stayed at Virginia’s Guesthouse which was a B&B that was over a fancy smancy restaurant.  I think this is my favorite B&B so far because it had so much character and our host was really nice, and a great cook!  We had porridge with whiskey cream for breakfast..it was yummy.  Anyway, here’s a last minute shot of Kenmare early this morning, right before we left town.

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Before we left, we went to see this really cool “Druid Circle”.   It sits up on a mound and is a set of large stones in a big circle around a dolmen tomb. The dolmen is a really heavy (like in tons) rock that is balanced up on little rocks.  The whole thing can be dated back to the Bronze age with was 2000-1000 B.C.   Can you imagine?  

We drove out of town and back towards Killarney and finally left the Ring of Kerry.  We saw a lot of really interesting sites, but it was time to move onto the Dingle Peninsula.   Again, the landscape changed from beaches and sloping hills and water to cliffs and mountains, Mount Brandon to be exact. Mount Brandon sits right out toward the end of the peninsula and is the second highest in Ireland (first highest is another one we drove around in the Killarney National Park).  Here are some pictures of our adventures today.  Incidently, today the weather was much milder..cold but very tolerable.  Yesterday was bitterly cold.

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It was a tough day having to look at scenery like this all day…just kidding! One of the first places we stopped was another fort that was created out on the edge of a cliff.  Chris really loves those forts and really gets into exploring them…literally.

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They were able to radiocarbon date this fort back as far as 560 A.D.   It was so easy to imagine a family living inside with the walls surrounding them for protection.  There were little rooms built into the walls and walls on the inside where the little house must have stood.   What was even more amazing was that there was no mortar used to create the walls, it was just great engineering, and here they stand 1500 years later. 

Next we visited some beehive huts that within another fort.  They’re called that because of their shape.  After the huts we just continued along the scenic Slea Head drive which takes you out along the cliffs.

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We stopped at this point at the same time another American couple stopped here.  They took this one. 

One of the last things we saw was Kilmalkedar Church.  The church dates back to the 12th century and along with the church was a large stone cross, a hole stone with an ancient alphabet carved into it (called an ogham stone) and an ancient sundial.  We were there late in the afternoon and you can see how awesome the light was as the sun was going down.  You can see the hole stone and the stone cross in front of the church.

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After that we stopped at a place called Brandon’s Creek and then headed back to our B&B in Dingle.  And that’s where I’ll stop for tonight.  Again, I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to post again but I will as soon as I can. 

Before I go, hello to Sissy, Kim, Betty, Andy, Robin, Christina, John, Victor, Freddy, Jo-Bob, and Suzy-Q.  Thanks so much for joining in and reading the page.  Hi to Chris’ parents, we can’t wait to talk to you when we get back.  Cathy, thanks for stopping in too.  We were sad to leave but no worries, we’ll visit again, we had a ball!  Karen, Kenmare is the place! 

A few fast facts…1)  Irish people make the BEST chips (that’s french fries in Irish!).  2) It can go from Sunny to rainy to sleeting to hail (painful when it hits you in the lip..I know from experience) and back again within an hour.  3) The X-Factor is almost as good as American Idol..but not quite.  Leona is going to win it.  4) In Ireland, there is one very small faucet for cold water on the right, and one very small faucet for hot water on the left.  Everyday I want to shout to the world…”ONE KNOB IN THE MIDDLE…WARM WATER!”

Night everyone!

 

Another quick one. November 17, 2006

Filed under: Blogroll,Honeymoon,Ireland,Uncategorized — ingrid @ 3:48 am

Well it’s 8:20am here and Chris is in the shower so I thought I would squeeze in one more post before we leave Cahersiveen.  I’m not sure when we’ll get to another place that has internet so I’m taking advantage of it now.  

Today we’re planning on driving to a town called Portmagee where we’ll take the bridge over to Valentia Islands.   The is where you can go up to a lookout and see the skelligs. The skelligs are a set of islands where centuries ago a group of monks lived.   There are some monastic ruins at the top that you can see from Valentia.  You can go there by boat in the summer but it’s off season right now.   Speaking of off season, it has been snowing in Northern Ireland overnight!  We looked outside and one of the mountains out our room window now has snow on it!  No snow on the ground thankfully, it’s still green. 

After we leave Valentia we continue along the Ring of Kerry and go through Sneem (we’ve been there..it’s another we got lost story), Killarney again and on to our next stopping point of Kenmare.  We’re staying at “Virginia’s B&B” while in Kenmare and I’m hoping to be able to do some laundry.  Our clothes are holding out ok but we’re both down to our last 2 pairs of socks.  

Before I go, I’ll post a couple more pictures. 

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Pink sheep in the Gap of Dunloe. 

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Ross Castle..yep, we really took this picture.  

Ok, Chris is done so I need to finish getting ready.  We have to get an early start because it gets dark early. 

A few more hellos to Jodie and Susan.   Susan, I’m so glad you were able to find it!  Mom, glad you guys like the pictures.  I am dying to call but we don’t know how!  Anna, I’ll keep up the page as best I can.

Talk to you soon!