A Great Adventure



July 4th

I left Adelaide for Sydney and Auckland, arriving New Zealand on Sunday evening. Stayed over at a Youth ?? hostel, and then caught the Air New Zealand flight to Honolulu about lunch time. Arrived Honolulu the night before I left New Zealand.....does that mean I'm a day younger?????

Anyway, after a little bother roaring around Honolulu airport trying to get some money I eventually succeeded and got a bus to Waikiki where I stayed in another hostel. Had a dormitory bed with 6 other young ladies. Took a walk around Waikiki in the morning then had lunch with a cyber-friend. Went out that evening to watch the sunset over Waikiki then had dinner and went to bed early. There is so much more to fill in here, but time and space prohibit me from telling all. No I did not meet a man, but I must say I was sizing them up!!!

Left the hostel at 5.15 a.m. and took off at 7 a.m. We were 5 hours in the air and there at LA was Sherry with the biggest smile and a welcome board with Mimi on, and a heap of butterflies. Love that girl. We sorted luggage and took off north for Cas's place. She is a lovely redhead....for those fsf'ers who don't know, she is from the lo-carb board. We had a nice visit then had a nice al fresco dinner with Sherry's sister before heading south to bed.

We caught the local Independence Day Parade, (me wearing my Australia hat), and are about to go out again to meet Cas and go to Magic Mountain. I have given the idea of Disneyland away.....you just can't see everything and people are more important to me than places anyway.

Bless you all, next bulletin when I next get to a computer.

~~~~~~~ July 6

Up about 7.30 puttering around. Sherry made the best scrambled eggs for breakfast….had showers, did some laundry then caught some of the local Independence Day parade. Much the same as a parade at home….. decorated bikes, kids trolleys, vintage cars, scouts, gymnats, baton twirlers, local fire truck etc. Left parade and went home to get ready to go and meet Cas again. She had tickets for Warner's Magic Mountain….in the face of that Disneyland was abandoned. We arrived at Magic Mountain just after one after meeting Cas and Mark at a nearby shopping centre. Spent the afternoon there wandering around looking and putting Cassies kids on rides. We did a couple of water rides which made a welcome relief in the heat. Cas wanted us to go on a roller coaster, and although I think she was disappointed we opted for the carousel!!!!

My legs are now two inches shorter than they were when Sherry met me at the airport, and I anticipate being about 4’10” by the time I get to Carol’s place.

We got a stamped pass out and went to the Red Lobster for dinner. The service and surroundings were a big improvement on the take away we had at the park….that was the slowest fast food in the west.

A young bloke came and entertained the kids with making them animals from balloons…..turned out to be a butterfly for Emily and a scorpion for Chandler. We got a turn at wearing his Independence day hat for photos.

We went back to Magic Mountain which was just around the corner from the restaurant, in time to see the parade which preceded the fireworks display. The display was IMMENSE and was coordinated with patriotic music, which all in all was very rousing.

We got home after midnight to find her sister had beaten us home by just minutes. My body was really blissful finding itself horizontal at last.

On Thursday we got up late and went to brunch with Sherry’s mother and her friend Bill. Tina, (S’s sister) Mark and Brad joined us at the very lovely Mission Hotel at Riverside. Built in the Spanish style. Will say more about that later. Magnificent meal, wonderful surroundings……..In fact the whole district had followed the Spanish theme and really was quite beautiful…..probably more Spanish than Spain.

Sherry and I hit the road about 1.15. We bought some water and pork crackles along the way. Hey Sylv…..the pork crackles are ENORMOUS.

We got in to Parump about 5 or 6 o’clock, then went to Lakeside Casino for dinner, where we had Mexican buffet. No breaks with the programme.

Today we are off to Grand Canyon and will be back in time to meet Pookie in Las Vegas tonight.

Will post more another day.

Pictures later too.

~ mimi


July 7

We got on the road early yesterday morning (Thursday) and headed out for the Grand Canyon. We got to Las Vegas but did not go in, bypassing it an heading on out to Boulder City and the Hoover Dam. It is quite different from any dam I have even seen before in that it has a relatively narrow spillway and the surrounding walls are so very steep and lacking any green or effect from the water contained in them. I was also impressed by the zigzag of the road to first climb down then out of the ravine. I found Lake Mead very picturesque, and can imagine why it is such a great holiday destination. WE didn't arrive at the Canyon until about 3 p.m., and by then the weather had closed in and in had begun to rain. We took some photos at Mather Point then went down to the visitors center, after which we went for a bit of a look around then took some more photos from Yavapai Point. We decided that the weather was too miserable to do much more, so we turned around and started for home (Las Vegas) again, about 5 p.m. We arrived there around 10 and took a tour down the boulevard photographing the sights. I was taken with the water fountains that are co-ordinated with beautiful music. What an experience, and would you believe, the traffic actually starting moving before I was ready!!! Up until then it had been at a standstill often. We collapsed into bed having covered about 800 miles in the day. This morning we went for breakfast at Fitzgerald's Casino, a lovely omelet from the buffet, then went to meet Pookie who was at the Artemus theatre where her daughter was in dance competitions. We saw her dance, and shortly after said goodbye to Pookie.

What a delight to meet the people who you have been reading about and corresponding with, this is so exciting. We then went to a supermarket where I inspected the goods and their carb contents with a view to understanding better the comparisons between our countries and the recipes we exchange. One thing the cheddar cheese in America is really near orange in colour. You rarely see that at home.

I am going to try and make crisps out of it one day and see how it turns out. We got some money from the ATM, and then headed out on Route 15 for Salt Lake City. We haven't got there yet. We picked up some brochures on a wayside stop and have decided to stay in the St George area tonight and take a horse ride for an hour in the morning. I have only ridden once before but I'm not telling Sherry that unless I absolutely have to. It should be a barrel of laughs. We are then heading on to meet Trish (we hope), before we go on to Provo? (I hope that's how it's spelled) for the night. So, that's it, all up to date on the Australian in US story.

July 13

At St George in Utah, we pulled into the library and used the internet to post our last bulletin. When we left the library we booked into a nice clean, COOL room, and sat around reading and doing puzzles before having dinner out of our cooler box which Sherry had topped up with ice. I phoned the local church about Mass times but couldn't make much sense out of the recording. Lights out about 11 pm. The girl at the library was English and thought my accent might be from there too.

Sunday. We were out of bed, showered sand checked out by 8 a.m. Pretty good really. We have decided to visit Zion National Park and go for a horse ride through the valley, Arrived too late for the ride so I owned up to Sherry the truth about my horse riding experience.

We drove up to the pass a bit then came back to the visitors centre and caught the shuttle thru the canyon floor. The shuttle runs every 6 - 10 mins so there was hardly any wait at all. We saw all the points of interest.

Firstly the Virgin's temple so called because of the acropolis style formation on the top of a formation next to another where there is a niche high up the face of a cliff that looks as if the figure of the virgin Mary is inside.

We went on to the court of the Patriarchs, a so called by a Methodist minister, Three separate spires of sandstone named Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We saw deer between the lodge and the Grotto, where several walks are available. You can climb to the west rim or Angel's Landing - a flat topped pile of rock which is quite narrow at the top, with a 900 ft drop on one side and 1100 ft on the other. No thanks!!!!

On the other side of the road is the grotto, which is a natural cleft in the rock about 200 feet high.

Then on up to Weeping Rock where the water which has been collected for centuries finds its way out of the sandstone to run down the cliff face. There was a smaller waterfall on the opposite side of the road also. The water seeping out has been carbon dated to about 1600 years old. That's fine if you believe carbon dating is accurate...….that’s awesome

After weeping rock we came to Bid Bend (which bears no resemblance to Sth Australia's Big Bend except that it is where the river takes a turn) where there was a climbers camp perched up on the face of the .rock wall they were going to tackle that day.

the final part of the run took us to the Temple of Sinawava the run took us to the Temple named after a Pueblo Indian. From there it is possible to walk along the Canyon for ½ mile, then there is no path and you are forced to walk up the canyon in the river. We gave that a big miss!!!

We left the park about mid-day and had lunch at a truck stop a little north of Cedar City, replenished our water supplies and headed off up the highway.

After a little detour we traveled along a along a lovely river valley which we learned was the Provo River. We passed a couple of lakes and arrived at Nella’s house in Francis. Nella is not on the net, but she is a friend of Sherry's. She is a lovely lady and showed us true country hospitality.

Francis is 50 miles south of Salt Lake City and as we are a little ahead of schedule we have decided to stay with Nella for a while tomorrow before going into the town. and do a bit of sight seeing before going into the city.

Monday dawned overcast but not wet...…..we had a thunderstorm and quite a lot of rain during the night. We left Nella’s about 9 am and viewed an absolutely stunning river valley not more than 200 yards from her front gate. As we left town we passed the Park City turnoff, where the winter Olympics will be held.

We drove thru the Beaver Creek area where there were houses all along the valley between the river and the road, Mostly timber homes...…..there were a lot of trailer homes too...…..mostly expanda-wall models which are not half so plentiful in Australia.

We entered the Wasatch National Forest which is in the Mirror Lake National Park. We stopped for photos at North Fork and had a look at the Duchesne Tunnel outlet. The tunnel is 6 miles long and can divert flow from the Duchesne to the Provo if necessary. The Duchene's natural flow is into the Green River which in turn flows into the Colorado which in turn flows into the Colorado. The Provo flows into the great lake which is the lifeblood of Utah. All this is in the Uintas Mountain range which is one of the few in the world that run east-west like the McDonnell Range in Central Australia. The park is beautiful in the absolute - myriad lakes, waterfalls, snow spots on the mountains, some of which are 14,000 ft above. No wonder Sherry and I were having a little trouble climbing around and muscles were screaming as we came back up from the falls. There were tiny wild flowers everywhere.

We slipped over the border into Evanston, Wyoming, for lunch. We had a delicious Beef Stroganoff...…..just like home made. From there we made our way back to Nella'’s then headed into Salt Lake City via Park City where preparations for the Olympics are in full swing, to meet with Trish.

We spent an hour in the Salt Lake City Library catching up with mail, then booked into the Wasatch Motel. We arranged to meet Trish for dinner at Chilli'’s...…...…we were looking for "Chewies" - old ears or American talk to blame for the misunderstanding. We met Trish as arranged and her friend Janet...…...….they are great mates from school days and a perfect foil for each other’s personalities. We had a meal of Fajitas and beef and mushrooms - finally ate Mexican but balked at the Jalapenos. Sherry thought Aussies were adventurous, but I’m not that game!!!!

I must be putting on a bit of condition, my black slacks were a bit firm I thought. We are eating out a lot and not drinking near enough water.

Well Monday dawns and we check out a little late after having phoned and faxed home for a little injection of cash into my credit card. We set out to find the trolley to do a city circuit and after numerous enquiries AND directions and mis-directions, we were eventually told that the tram had ceased to run some two years ago!!!!

There was a lot of road work going on and we saw that they were installing new rails through the streets, so presumably the tram will run again.

We went back to the car and found the Madeleine cathedral, known for it’s stunning murals and stained glass windows. It has an enormous organ too,’

After that we took ourselves off to the Morman tabernacle to list to the organ there. There is a recital every day at twelve o’clock…..there are 1100 pipes!!!! The organist had such a wonderful touch on the pedals that the deep pipes were quietly vibrating so that it made you wonder when they had started, The power, the expert touch on the various keyboards, the lovely programme was stunning. I left there with tears in my eyes.

Our next stop was at the "Wild Oats" Health food market. We didn’t find a lot of lo-carb stuff there but checked out the various protein powders. Sylvie, our health store would fit into this one 10 times. On the way out we found De Lite’s lo-carb chocolate. The count is ok!!!!

Next we lunched at Tony Roma’s. They were offering two lunches for $10…..sounded like a bargain to us. We had BBQ chicken and Caesar salad.

At the heritage museum, everything is full size. They are actually presenting life as it was in the pioneer times. Everybody is in period costume doing the jobs that they would have done in those years, It was interesting to look over Bingham Young's house complete with many of his furnishings. A small church which is an exact replica of one near Georgetown. (I got to play the organ while the young lady attendant turned the pump handle). Cool!!!

There are already a blacksmith, a brick maker, a school, a spinners house, quilting, a horse driven taxi carriage….and they are adding all the time. Anybody with a day to spare would do worse than visit the village which is steadily growing as more and more projects come to reality.

We planned to leave SLC about 3, but is was 5 before we got away and headed for Twin Falls, where we tried the cuisine at Shari’s. We then took a run around town for a look, but it was too late to go see the falls.

We checked out by 8 o’clock and went to Target before having breakfast at Idaho Jack’s and hitting the road. We reached Pendleton just after 3 having stopped for lunch at a roadside stop about 58 miles before. We decided to push on and crossed the Columbia River deciding not to go all the way into Seattle, but to get reasonably close for a short run the next day. We found a little old motel at Yakima, of Clark Gable fame the manager/owner was pleased to inform us.

Our meal in Yakima was at the Outback where I had a little fun razzing the waiter. For you Aussies, it’s not very Australian, just has some Aussie names for American dishes….and the big insult was New Zealand lamb if you please!!!!

We got to Seattle without incident just before lunch having stopped for breakfast at Cle Elum.

Don’t forget this name even if you can’t pronounce it. Breakfast is a production……the meal was just the best and it is always crowded.


July 16

When we got to Seattle we got a message on my email about meeting Sharon (Sitka), and went to a local food store and bought a cooked chook (chicken) and some vegetables and cheese for dinner. I made a vegetable cheese bake for dinner which went down very well with a Rosemount Cabernet Shiraz.

Dinner was latish and Sherry's daughter and son in law came home even later. We sat and talked and relaxed until quite late.


On Friday morning, Sherry and I went to the library to get some cyber-time, but it was closed until 11.30 and we wanted to be on a bus by then

We caught our bus early and went into the Pike Place Market where we wandered around for a while looking at berries and other fruit and veg, then we found a wind-up toy place and had a bit of fun there. We checked out some crafts and flowers and bought some computer fairies.


We met Sharon at "The Pig" with our hats on for id. We were the only people within cooee who were wearing hats!!!! Sharon found us though. Later we found there were pigs all over the place so I'm glad we were at the right one. We immediately established a rapport with Sharon and spent a great couple of hours wandering the market with her and having lunch. We walked down to the ferry with herm then came back up the hill to catch our bus home. Sharon did a wonderful job getting from the ferry to our meeting place earlier...it's uphill and she did it in 10. It took us an hour!!!!! We stopped in a bookshop for a while, then at a coffee place, before getting back up to the market. We got home about 5.45 p.m. and a little while later we all had dinner at a Thai restaurant in the Capitol Hill district. That was followed by a tour of the University area, where we found more pretty pigs. All in all, I think we found 8 or 9 of them that day.

On Saturday we headed out with Sherry's daughter and son in law after lunch time. We were on our way to Vancouver.

At the border crossing they were all allowed thru but I had to go thru Immigration. That was ok, another stamp in my almost empty passport. We went past the peace arch which stands one foot in each country marking the longest border in the world between two countries. I believe 'em, but it would be interesting to check out the Argentina, Chile areas.

When we had established the whereabouts of the hostel, Lonny took us for a drive around Stanley Park. It is enormous and very beautiful. Beaches and trees and lawns. Horse drawn transport. We pulled up near a tea rooms and practically walked into a wedding on the lawns opposite. Down the beach there was another wedding. We took some photos and then went and booked into our room at the YHA hostel after which we went off to dinner at a Greek restaurant called "Characters" on the next block.

The meal was great, we all ordered lamb, I had Roast, and so did Sherry and Charlie (she had never tasted it before), and Lon had the kebabs. All served with a wonderful mint sauce.

We had a nice Canadian Pinot Blanc with our dinner and it all went down very well in an Alfresco setting. A real taste sensation after so much beef and chicken!!! The wine was very light on the palate, delicately sweet, but not too much so.

After dinner we went across to the pub on the other corner and had a couple of coffee cocktails and a cheese platter. It was a piano bar and the music was quite enjoyable.

After the trip up and a full stomach we were all pleased to drop into bed, particularly as Sherry and her family were going to travel again the next day.

SUNDAY I was awake early so got up and found the church for later, and got some Canadian dollars from an ATM, also booked a room at the YWCA for the next two nights as the hostel was full.

When the others got up and checked out, we walked down the street and found a quite nice breakfast at The Two Parrots restaurant in Davie street, after which Lonnie drove us up to China town and then the Gas Light area where we had another coffee and walked along the maple lined street looking at the wares. Here I was introduced to my first beanie babies. This was a very important event I believe??

After about 1 p.m. Sherry and family helped me check in to the Y and after an almost tearful goodbye and lots of well wishing, they set off to Seattle leaving me in a rain washed Vancouver waiting my train departure on Tuesday morning.

I spent the afternoon writing cards and thank you notes, in preparation for the Post Office opening tomorrow

The grill bar next door was closed so I wandered around the corner and found a pub to eat at where they served a nice chicken dish in an Italian lemon sauce. Very nice I must say. Went to Mass to and as I hadn't been for a couple of weeks it was a very emotional and exciting experience for me. The music was good....and they have a concert there tomorrow so I will go again tomorrow.

MONDAY I was going to Vancouver Is to have a look at Victoria, but have decided against that as it is cold and overcast and I am going to spend the day in an internet access shop. That's where I am now having a lovely time.....doing this bulletin and talking to friends in im chat as they come in. Good day I reckon.

Will go get some lunch shortly then at 4.30 am going back to the cathedral for a choir recital.

The choir is from New York....I am looking forward to it. There is a big folk music festival here at the moment and there are musicians from all over. An Indonesian group is checked into the Y. Well that's all for now, I'm going to the Greek place for roast lamb lunch and will catch the train to Calgary at 7 a.m. in the morning.

God bless you all.....thanks to those who have met with me already and I'm looking forward to seeing more of you soon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ JULY 20th- CHICAGO

From Dee on July 20th Well I met with Mimi today!

It is amazing that it took only milliseconds for Mimi & Dee1 to recognize each other at O'Hare International Airport. It is only then that a person realizes the power of the Internet and the FSF Board, when two people from halfway around the world seem to know each other instantly. (Thanks Krista!)

The first challenge of the day was to check Mimi's oversized suitcase at the Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Chicago. Driving into the City, it was hot and hazy. The temperature hovered in the mid-90's F. Because of the haze, a decent picture of Chicago's skyline was impossible.

Once arriving at the bus station a young man jumped to his feet, eager to help Mimi inside with her suitcase (for money of course). She gratefully accepted, since he helped her navigate through the maze of the bus station. Dee1 patiently waited outside (since there is never any place to park in downtown Chicago). She worked returning phone calls to clients and composing memos.

Next the two drove off the Greek town, dining at Rodities Restaurant on lemon soup, Greek salads, roast lamb and saganaki (flaming goat cheese - - Opaaah!) There Mimi and Dee1 discovered that they both dislike anchovies, which typically top Greek salads. Giggling like schoolgirls, they both removed the salted fish.

After Greek town, the pair headed west towards the United Center, viewing the stadium that the famous Michael Jordan played at for the Chicago Bulls. Then we wound our way south and east through Little Italy, stopping only to look at Mario's Italian Ice stand - - where people built a stand directly in front of their house. In fact it is so popular that people just stop their cars in the middle of the street and jump out for frozen Italian Ice. (We also just looked at the candy kitchens of Fannie Mae.)

Then it was on to Chinatown, pass the arched pagoda rooftops and stores with amazing sights and sounds. Even the street signs were in Chinese! Can you imagine? Driving toward the east, Dee1 passed project housing and even the famous Mayor Daley's townhouse! Pointing out the Harold Washington Library, with it's monstrous gargoyles on the roof, Dee1 suggested that Mimi could stop there later in the evening to access the internet---probably for free! Turning further eastward, now the beautiful Lake Michigan was in sight, with lots of sailboats and people seeking relief from the heat, along the shore. Suddenly Dee1 stopped the car in front of the most beautiful, large fountain (Buckingham Fountain). "Quick! Out of the car for a picture! This is a 'no-stopping' zone, so hurry!" Mimi jumped out of the car, and Dee1 sprinted out for a picture, and they jumped in before a police officer could issue a ticket.

Laughing once more, they headed north, past the Art Institute, and drove up Michigan Avenue, past embassies, and over the Chicago River. "See that white building with the clock tower? That's the Wrigley Building," said Dee1. Then they passed all kinds of fancy shops, of every type imaginable: Nordstrom's, Coach, Bloomingdales, Burberry's, Ann Taylor. Lots of places to leave dollars. Dee1 even pointed out where Oprah Winfrey lives. But Mimi was more interested in Dee1's other suggestion-a leisurely boat ride out on Lake Michigan. Unfortunately Dee1 had to get home in time for her children's camp bus. So as many wonderful experiences must come to an end……..she dropped Mimi off at Navy Pier. "Now this is a real tourist trap! Don't forget that," she added, with instructions on how to catch the tour boat, and go to the library, and get back to the bus station later that evening. "Don't forget to send me a postcard Mimi! I want to hear how the boat ride was."

Posted by mimi on 7/20/2001, 5:37 pm

Travelogue is in limbo until I can get to a better computer.....this one took 10 minutes to open.....

I am in Chicago and spent a lovely few hours with Dee who is such a really good ambassador for her city. She showed me sooo much of this wonderful place that I probably would not have seen without her. We have been to the Greek, Italian and Chinese quarters.......I will let her tell you about it. I went on the Shoreline around the bay trip....it was really nice and a lot cooler on the water.....trouble was there was a lot of glare.

I am now in the library and will have to leave soon, will somebody lift this and put it on the Good Health, Low Carb board please?

Cindylou, I will be in Louisville in the morning as planned and then in Lansing with kt the next day......I am so looking forward to meeting you all.

So far all these cyber friends have been really so kind and hospitable. I guess Sherry should be getting home about now too.....'owyagoin'mate?

right I'm out of here, and see if I have any mail.

Will right again later.

Well I met Mimi today! (long)

Posted by Dee1 on 7/20/2001, 6:01 pm


Well I met with Mimi today!

It is amazing that it took only milliseconds for Mimi & Dee1 to recognize each other at O’Hare International Airport. It is only then that a person realizes the power of the Internet and the FSF Board, when two people from halfway around the world seem to know each other instantly. (Thanks Krista!)

The first challenge of the day was to check Mimi’s oversized suitcase at the Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Chicago. Driving into the City, it was hot and hazy. The temperature hovered in the mid-90’s F. Because of the haze, a decent picture of Chicago’s skyline was impossible.

Once arriving at the bus station a young man jumped to his feet, eager to help Mimi inside with her suitcase (for money of course). She gratefully accepted, since he helped her navigate through the maze of the bus station. Dee1 patiently waited outside (since there is never any place to park in downtown Chicago). She worked returning phone calls to clients and composing memos.

Next the two drove off the Greek town, dining at Rodities Restaurant on lemon soup, Greek salads, roast lamb and saganaki (flaming goat cheese - - Opaaah!) There Mimi and Dee1 discovered that they both dislike anchovies, which typically top Greek salads. Giggling like schoolgirls, they both removed the salted fish.

After Greek town, the pair headed west towards the United Center, viewing the stadium that the famous Michael Jordan played at for the Chicago Bulls. Then we wound our way south and east through Little Italy, stopping only to look at Mario’s Italian Ice stand - - where people built a stand directly in front of their house. In fact it is so popular that people just stop their cars in the middle of the street and jump out for frozen Italian Ice. (We also just looked at the candy kitchens of Fannie Mae.)

Then it was on to Chinatown, pass the arched pagoda rooftops and stores with amazing sights and sounds. Even the street signs were in Chinese! Can you imagine? Driving toward the east, Dee1 passed project housing and even the famous Mayor Daley’s townhouse! Pointing out the Harold Washington Library, with it’s monstrous gargoyles on the roof, Dee1 suggested that Mimi could stop there later in the evening to access the internet---probably for free!

Turning further eastward, now the beautiful Lake Michigan was in sight, with lots of sailboats and people seeking relief from the heat, along the shore. Suddenly Dee1 stopped the car in front of the most beautiful, large fountain (Buckingham Fountain). “Quick! Out of the car for a picture! This is a ‘no-stopping’ zone, so hurry!” Mimi jumped out of the car, and Dee1 sprinted out for a picture, and they jumped in before a police officer could issue a ticket.

Laughing once more, they headed north, past the Art Institute, and drove up Michigan Avenue, past embassies, and over the Chicago River. “See that white building with the clock tower? That’s the Wrigley Building,” said Dee1. Then they passed all kinds of fancy shops, of every type imaginable: Nordstroms, Coach, Bloomingdales, Burberry’s, Ann Taylor. Lots of places to leave dollars. Dee1 even pointed out where Oprah Winfrey lives.

But Mimi was more interested in Dee1’s other suggestion—a leisurely boat ride out on Lake Michigan. Unfortunately Dee1 had to get home in time for her children’s camp bus. So as many wonderful experiences must come to an end……..she dropped Mimi off at Navy Pier. “Now this is a real tourist trap! Don’t forget that,” she added, with instructions on how to catch the tour boat, and go to the library, and get back to the bus station later that evening. “Don’t forget to send me a postcard Mimi! I want to hear how the boat ride was.”



So where was I? Louisville, Ky?
After the ablutions we went out to breakfast at Cracker Barell restaurant nearby and browsed around the shop there whilst waiting for a table. I saw some lovely butterfly and flower T shirts but they’re still there when I did the sums….and I have to carry them around with me and I have enough anyway. Some lovely angels and fairies that I just know Kerrie would love.
After breakfast we went tot Walmart and got a few things, then we went back to the motel and waited for Tammie and ……….. , and a short while later there was a knock on the door and they were there!!!
We went out to Bardstown and had a lovely lunch at a restaurant called Rio’s. Good food, good service, and then went looking for the high school so that we could catch the “Stephen Foster Musical” very good, the life, times and struggles of Stephen Foster who composed many of the old American songs….I think probably the father of “pop” music.
The costuming was very good, the lighting clever and the singing quite superb. A very professional provincial presentation.
It ran a little late though, so we were a bit late getting to the snowboard for a sunset cruise…so the other girls headed home…..a four hour drive!!!!!. And CindyLou and I headed home and joined her friend for a dinner a ……….Country Buffet. (CindyLou, please provide the name). Then we all went to the bust station. I caught a bus to Cincinnati and changed for Detroit. Charming you lady threatened to smash my face in for queue jumping when in actual fact she and her family had jumped me!!!! This bus system really is poor…it causes so much ill will….it brings out the law of the jungle!!!! There seems to be some trouble with my February dated Ameripass too….two officious women drivers reckon the thing is expired….21 days from 28th Feb. Trouble is I didn’t buy the thing until the end of June. The 21 days starts from when you take the first ride.
They still carried me though, and another official put the dates on the ticket and I haven’t had any trouble since. I took my rug out of my case this trip and was a lot warmer.
SUNDAY morning I had a ½ hour wait in Detroit and an interesting chat with the driver all the way to Lansing. He had asked me at the gate why the Australian Govt. was allowing our money to be so devalued. I told him how I thought the but system should work with seat allocations to avoid the fighting and agro with drivers when the coaches fill.
I disembarked in sunshine and met Wendy. She is a truly lovely young lady with long fair hair, a small build and two lovely kids.
We found St Mary’s and a Mass was about to start, so we went in, and later found the Ramada hotel which had been recommended to us by the lady at the church. She gave us a discount voucher too, so kind. We booked in but couldn’t take possession of the room until 3 p.m. I needed a shower so badly….I was tired and the heat was very oppressive.
. After having some lunch out near the university we went down to the capitol building and walked around the beautiful park surrounding it and took some photos, but it was too hot to bear and I was literally going to sleep on my feet and I was becoming so confused that I couldn’t read the map to get us back to the hotel. Poor Wendy….I felt so embarrassed. We got back to the motel and they let us in. I had a shower, Wendy a short kip, then we started looking at photos waiting for kt to come…which she did, with her three young’uns, Megan, Trevor and one other…..Sorry kt, I did say I was confused.

Wendy, kt and I and the three children took off in search of a restaurant to get a bite to eat after they all cooled down. Kt had come several hours from her sister’s place and the car is not air-conditioned…..poor love looked like a lobster when she dropped (almost literally) in on us.
We found a nice family restaurant and enjoyed an hour or so together talking and swapping stories. How pleasant it was…and watching young kids with healthy appetites and quite good manners, though I think the trip was getting to Trevor a little by the time we left.
After we got back to the motel the girls left to get home, Wendy had a fair few miles to make, and I was left alone. I abandoned the idea of going to the outdoor concert in the park or the river cruise which was on offer. It was just so hot and oppressive and I think I had a touch of heat stroke. I decided to go to bed, and it was only 8.30 p.m.!!!!! I was tired though from the overnight travel…..3 nights I think, so I literally died for 11 hours.
Normally if I’m in bed that early I’m awake about 2 or 3 in the morning.
My impression of Lansing is, in one word, “gracious”. Lovely parks and gardens everywhere, pleasant but stylish buildings everywhere, houses of an older era in lovely well-kept gardens….a place of tranquility where you could easily raises a family in peaceful contentment.
MONDAY I promised myself a swim in the hotel pool, but bed seemed so much a better less energetic proposition I stayed there. I made a move about 8 a.m. and found a hi-carb breakfast on offer which I declined. Took the hotel shuttle into the bus station and met the driver who had brought me in yesterday, so we had a quick chat before he took off, then my coach pulled in and my day’s travel was underway. There was no queuing in :Lansing!!! I went to Detroit, Cleveland and Canton which I noted at the time was so much more dignified. As I passed the Port Huron turnoff I thought of Melanie and wished I had been able to contact her on the telephone…I’m sorry I didn’t catch up with you Mel, but I have to move on.
Across the road from the Detroit bus station is a street number, 121.1/2.
I like that, it tickles my sense of humour.
Arrival at Canton was indeed gratifying. Two ladies there holding a large banner which said “Welcome Mimi”!!! Wow. Is that the VIP treatment or what??? Hugs all-round with Shelley and CindyLou, and we’re off to an Irish Pub for dinner, then we went back to Shelley’;s place where we chatted 90 to the dozen, swapped photos, and stories, and finally went to bed about midnight (or after). I was disturbed through the night a couple of times with a tummy upset…..probably the water I filled my bottle up with in Detroit as there was no water in the drink dispensing machines.
The next morning I cooked omelets all round for breakfast, and we set off to meet Bren in Dover. She took us into Sugar Creek in the heart of Amish country and we spent a pleasant time listening to her commentary and looking around this lovely hamlet. I saw a beautiful tapestry of the Last Supper I really would have like to take with me, but being strong and not too anxious to carry stuff all around Europe, and having done the sums, it is still there. We had lunch at an Amish restaurant and returned to Bren’s for a wonderful Strawberry dessert she has concocted……I am waiting for her to post the recipe. She has made it lower carb than it was, thought there are still carbs in it.
We left Bren’s around 5 p.m. d returned to Shelley’s where her dear man David was waiting for us. I repacked my stuff and we went to the supermarket for the makings of our dinner. I produced a beef parmigiana with fresh green beans and followed that with strawberry cheese dessert I had made the night before. Then it was time to rush off to the bus station, all in vain, the bus was to be an hour late, so we were forced to hang around there in what I felt was a less than salubrious end of town. The girls were great thought, they stayed with me until the bus came in and I was safely aboard.

Note on Blueboard from Cindylou:

You did forget to mention the "flowerpot incident"
in Louisville (Leweyville), KY, though. lol!! I've got your stuff all ready to go to the P.O. tomorrow


When we got back from dinner I opened the door for the others to come in behind me and back into a large bowl of flowers on and itsy bitsy stand. They fell over....kerflomp!!! I picked them up as the desk clerk came out to see what the noise was all about. We got a fit of the giggles amongst all the apologies and made our escape to the lift. After I finished zipping up my luggage we came down again to find him vacuuming the foyer!!!! We just broke up, but walked out with heads high, but when we got out the door......well you can imagine!!!!!!! ROFL in spades.
Thanks CindyLou. Let me know mate......I wil settle it, and when I get home will look for one of those travel rugs for you.

The trip back to Cleveland was uneventful and I changed there for Buffalo arriving at 5.15 a.m. What to do when you hit a town at that time of the morning??? I put my luggage in a locker and took myself and my handbag and camera off to Niagara Falls.
I had breakfast at the bus station there, some scrambled eggs and bacon and ham. Better than what was offering in the Buffalo station. It seemed an age since I had left Shelley’s but only last night. Must have been the changes in the middle of the night that made it seem that way.
I then wandered off towards the falls which were “only a short walk” away. Well it isn’t far for somebody without a crook hip, a and I made it quite easily. I was totally unprepared for the AAA experience I was treated to. Astounding, Amazing and Awesome!!!!! I took a cruise on the Maid of the Mist that goes right up into the Horseshoe falls. When you go on board you are issued with a raincoat. What an experience!!!! The spray of the American Falls was fantastic but only a foretaste of what was to come in the Horseshoe Falls. It was like being in a storm at sea except there was no swell or salt. It was so awesome going so far into the falls that you could see only the rim all round and wondered if the skipper really knew how far in there he could go……I am on the bow and if he gets too close I just might get the full force all over me!!!! He could see though, and he probably had radar telling him where he was and the imagined disaster never happened. My camera case and handbag got a soaking though.
After that I took a trip on the view mobile to Goat Island where you can view the rapids from the top of the falls and generally enjoy the aftermath and the surrounding area. My hip was too bad though by now, after walking and climbing up and down the steps to the boat that I felt I had better get out of the park and back to the bus/ It seemed a painful eternity until I got across the road, pulled some money out of an ATM and had some lunch. Then I started out again looking for a cab. Funny they are never around when you really want one isn’t it? I decided to go back to Buffalo and find an internet shop and try to find a walking stick. I caught a metro bus back to Buffalo and when I booked my luggage in for Boston they told me that they could put me on a coach in 50 minutes and that would save me waiting around for my scheduled coach at 8.30. Trouble was it meant a 3 hour lay over in New York., but at least I would be on my way and I wouldn’t have to walk anymore. I took it. It meant I would hit Boston 3 hours earlier than planned but what the heck, I could ring Suzie from New York…..no I couldn’t, it would be 1 a.m., I would ring her from Boston when I got in.
I got into Boston at 7.30 and Bill and Suzie's friend met me after I had had quite a nice omelet at the railway station.


I got into Boston at 7.30 and Bill and Suzie's friend Donna met me after I had had quite a nice omelet at the railway station. They gave a great commentary on the buildings we were passing on the way home.  I had a quick shower, put my blazer in to the dry cleaner then had a kip.  When I woke up it was 1 o'clock already and Suzie was home.  We chatted and had an enjoyable afternoon in each others company until it was time to go out again.  Suzie had tickets for a duck tour later in the afternoon, so I spent some time on the internet catching up until it was time to go.  We caught a train then had a short waddle to the duck pond - sorry just kidding!!!!

They have a fleet of old army ducks they do city tours with - a running commentary on the city, then they go into the river for a short tour of the lake,  It is mandatory to "quack" on signal and people on the footpaths quack at you as you pass by so naturally the signal is given and everybody quacks back.  It was a great tour and I'm sure much more interesting, informative and fun than the street car tours offered by various trolley companies.  We then caught another train and found a fabulous sea food restaurant on the red brick freedom trail.  It was a very old and historical building with a reputation.  Clams, shrimps, crayfish, lobster - yeo - good tucker - and I'm not a fish enthusiast!!!!  We caught another train home and all dropped into bed tired, full and thoroughly pleased with ourselves.


Suzie had to work so Bill and Donna  took me out to Concord where the first shots were fired at the British to start the rebellion which had been simmering away since before the Boston tea party.  They showed me the North Bridge where the trouble had started after the British had marched from Boston to seize the arms and personnel harboring them.  I also saw Louisa May Alcott's home and the school room in the back yard…and the lake where Emerson and Thoreau lived and wrote and philosophized with their friends.  We got home from Concord about 5 p.m. picking up my blazer on the way.

Suzie had cooked a wonderful New England meal of corned beef and vegetables and yes - I had planned on it - I had a little potato and carrot - fabulous meal made with love and affection for friends.  Some liquid grapes topped off the evening nicely.

SATURDAY we just pottered around, I did some laundry and Suzie and I went to the post office and did some mail.  We took a look at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica nearby and then we went out for a look at Boston Harbor where the tea party had taken place.  There was a tall ship there that they demonstrate the tea party on, and give the tourists their history lesson, and we went on to Constitution Dock and so old Ironsides there.  She is beautiful….no doubt about it…..a tall ship has real character.  We had planned to have lunch at the café on the wharf, but it was closed so we went back towards town and found a small café painted uggh!!, pink and red, and called Anthony's.  The food belied  the look of the place and was not expensive, but delicious.

Bill and Suzie then dropped me at the bus station where I had to buy a ticket as I had lost my Ameripass!!!!  There were only a handful of people on the coach and the trip was quite interesting. They played a movie which helped the time pass, and  we got into New York about 7 p.m.

I caught a cab to the hostel and checked in, then went for a walk and found a diner on Broadway (I'm uptown though, so don't get too excited about the address).  It is a diner like you see on the movies…..seats along a counter front and a few booths along a window…..aptly named the Metro.  I got back to the hostel about 9.30 and jumped into bed.  It was a noisy night though…..on a main out of New York route, a police station nearby and I suspect not far from a hospital.  There were sirens on and off all night and the trucks started rumbling the clean up effort about 5 a.m.!!!!

SUNDAY I was up and out of the hostel by 8 a.m.  I wanted to get the red bus for a tour.  I waited until after 9 a.m. and figured maybe I was in the wrong place, so I started walking down the other way towards the city where I had seen a red bus crossing the street earlier.   I was nearly there when I found a nice local church with Mass just started, Oh Joy!!!!!! so I dropped in, not being sure I would find St Patrick's in time anyway. 

After Mass the priest gave me directions and I eventually caught up with the red chariot, and guess what????  It went right by where I had been waiting earlier!!!

It took me first to the Episcopalian Cathedral of St John the Divine, which has been over a hundred years being built and still is not completed.  It is over two football fields in size inside!!!  Probably only one and a bit Aussie Rules fields though.  They have half the zoo roll up for a blessing a couple of times a year.  There are lots of interesting facts like the size and weight of each door etx., but I will fill all that in later.

The bus took us through Harlem, and we noted a lot of people headed for the myriad churches in the area….some of them across the road from each other, or on the same block, many of them the same denomination.  Our tour guide pointed out that many of the old buildings are being sold off by the city and are being renovated and reclaimed by the new owners as part of the condition of sale.  This old European part of the city is coming back to life with a renewed character and life.

Soon after we were on the museum mile on Park Avenue.  The opposite side of the street accommodates Central Park.  After the museums and still opposite Central Park comes the mansions of the rich and famous……Rockefellers, Kennedy's and the like, who live in 100 room homes.

AT South Central Park we came across the Hansom cabs.  It was still a little early so not many were in use.  I changed buses at 5th Avenue for the city (downtown) loop.

From there we traveled to Times Square and Macy's then the Empire State building.

A lot of people got off there to go to the top, but I stayed on the bus and was soon whisked through Greenwich Village and then Soho.  City Hall and the world trade centre were next and then Battery Park where we could look at the old fortress and catch a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Next the bus went past the shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American born saint.  At the South Street seaport we saw some more tall ships…standing gracefully in the harbor.  The trip then took us past the Waldorf and back to Central Park via Little Italy and Chinatown.  There were hardly any Hansoms to be seen by now.  I got off at the Rockefeller centre and found St Patrick's cathedral.  I had no film so wandered up the street for some lunch and a camera and went back to find there was an organ recital at 4 p.m.  I decided to stay.  WONDERFUL!!!!

I caught the last red bus and got back to the  bus depot  then found my way to the subway and miracle of miracles - caught the right train!!!!

Now What?????  Something to eat and into bed for an early night - what a waste of New York eh??? I could go back to the city and do the night tour, but it's been a big day - Tomorrow I will get my gear into a locker and do another tour and find my way to the Atkins Centre.

MONDAY I checked out of the hostel, gathered all my belongings and trekked down to the subway.  It was funny with all those people rushing off to work and me getting in everybody's way. .  I tried several times to ring Boston about my lost Ameripass, but couldn't get thru.  I tried to book accommodation in Baltimore too but the public phone system at the bus station is next to useless!!!! I checked my luggage in at the terminal and then wandered around for twenty minutes trying to find my way out of the terminal.  I was wandering around like I had a blind fold on, but eventually I found my way to the street and caught another downtown red bus.  This time I got off at Battery Point and got some photos of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, had a look at the fort and then caught the next bus into the city.

I had lunch from a deli self serve, and took my meal upstairs to eat.  Not bad…..I had chosen what I wanted and was able to stay on program.

Then I eventually found a phone and got the address of the Atkins Centre.  I was a bit disappointed, but then I didn't really expect much either.  I got some Atkins snack bats - 3 carbs each.  One of them will do for dinner on the bus.

I arrived back at the bus station and claimed my luggage and then left new York on an earlier bus than I had planned after having bought a new 7 day Ameripass.

After first stopping at Penn station where we picked up more passengers, we set off for Baltimore.  About 2 hours sough we crossed an enormous bridge into Delaware - was that the name of the river and the bridge too?  We had by-passed Philadelphia.

Just north of Churchill we came to another bridge not as impressive as the last but the river was lit us with the glow of sunset , with trees all round and an island mid-river in the distance.

When I arrived in Baltimore I had a little issue with a cab driver.  He wanted to charge me $12 to get to the motel - I reckoned it was only a $5 trip based on what I had paid in New York, and he hadn't put his meter on.  I told him I wasn't paying that much and gave him $5.  I said I'd tell the cops he hadn't used his meter.  Well I have to report that the fare back to town in the morning was $7.90 so I had ripped him off for $3!!!  My morning driver took $2 tip anyway.  It seems they work in $5 increments.  I would rather give the tip myself than have it taken….anyway overall I was $2 ahead and the first poor b…….. had missed out.

I wandered around the inner harbor and made a bit of a fuss by dropping my walking stick through the railings on the 3rd floor of the gallery!!!!  It clattered all the way down to the ground floor, where a policeman retrieved it just before I got there - I'm glad it didn't hit anybody!!!!!

I went in search of the cat shop for Suzie and found a dog and cat shop that had just 2 catnip cushions left.

I then got the subway back to Lexington Market and walked up to the library which let me play on the net for 1/2 hour……..I had just enough time to answer some mail and get a couple of messages out.  Then I had a look at the cathedral across the street.  It is quite a different style from the Gothic I have been seeing….neo-classic I think it's called.  10 beautiful columns stand  sentinel at the portico.  I learned about this place in school when reading of the life and times of James Cardinal Gibbons.

I made my way back to the bus station and got souvlaki at a nearby Greek restaurant.  I decided to take an earlier coach which apparently arrives about the same time as the later one but has a few stops.  My luggage has gone on to Atlanta already, so I have to catch up with it there before going to Gainesville and meeting Patti. 

While waiting at gate 4 a charming young lady driver offered me a ride to Washington and Charlotte, and assured me I would get to Atlanta quicker with her.  I hadn't planned on going to Charlotte so I accepted.  It's still going to Atlanta but I will have "stretch the legs" time as it is leaving earlier than the other.

TUESDAY The trip from Washington the Atlanta was punctuated by rest stops that were much longer than the driver had indicated and it was late arriving.  I rang Patti to tell her I was running late and would get the next coach out to Gainesville, actually back tracking.  I was an hour later than if I had traveled direct, contrary to all promises.

After dumping my stuff at Patti's place we decided to go to Stone Mountain.  It is the biggest monolith in the world …… over 1100 feet high and 5 miles around the base.  I think Ayers Rock is higher and deeper into the earth, but may not be as big around…..but I will get some stats and compare.  One thing I have found in the United States as every town has the biggest, the newest, the smallest, the shortest, the oldest, the most something in the world or in the United States…….it gets quite amusing as the tour progresses to find out what each place has the best of…

Anyway, Patti and I took our lives in our hands and went adventuring.  We took the sky-lift to the top, neither of us having used a sky-lift before we were both a little apprehensive.  The view from the gondola was stunning - but from the top you could see for miles even with a haze on.

We then found a train which had open touristy carriages pulled by a diesel locomotive.  They stage a little theatre "train robbery" on the way along the track near an historic? (old west) village and the rail workshops and shunting yard.  There was a wall along some of the hillside the origin of which is unknown to whites and Indians alike, and it is supposed to be some ancient fortification or protection whether from animals or enemy nobody is quite sure.

We made our way home via the super-market arriving around 6 p.m. and as it hat been quite warm, we were tired and had a short rest before Patti let me loose in her kitchen.  It's one of the things I miss most while traveling…..a constant kitchen and the other is constant access to a computer.

We had chicken parmigiana, fresh green beans and broccoli, after which I checked and sent mail while Patti and Kelly watched the ball game on television.  After two nights on the road, horizontal sleeping is marvelous!!!

THURSDAY.  After ablutions we headed into Atlanta To have a look at the underground shopping mall/market area.  A lot of small specialty shops and street stalls.  I bought a Last Supper statuette for Cherie (the young woman I am sponsoring into the church in Adelaide), and watched a young woman making decorative candles…….some were so gorgeous……I have never seen anything quite like these in Australia…..but then maybe I haven't been looking.  They are there for all occasions, 21st birthdays, 25th wedding anniversaries, weddings, or just home décor.

We had lunch at a nearby Bistro then headed across the road to the Coca Cola Museum, where we spent a couple of hours looking around and were rewarded for our patience with a freebie on the way out.

On the opposite corner was the Catholic church of the Immaculate Conception which is part of the heritage trail of Atlanta.  The plaque informed us that it is one of only five original buildings not razed in Atlanta during the civil war.  It is a red brick building with good sized bell towers, but no steeples. 

We met Kelly and had dinner, then Patti and he dropped me off at the bus station about 7.30 p.m. and I traveled overnight 9 to 9.30 am to connect with Carol.  The coach was 45 minutes late out of Charlotte and I worried that Carol would be waiting for ever at the bus station, however we arrived almost on time and Carol found me hanging up the phone from calling her.  We hit it off immediately as I just knew we would, having communicated for nearly two years.

Whilst we nattered away we made a path to her house where  I was treated to a lunch, a shower and a short sleep.  We bought a set of locks for my luggage (4th lot…I keep losing the keys and having the locks cut off……for those at home I know you are not surprised, it sounds just like me doesn't it?

We got some laundry done and mailed some stuff home, then it was time for us to go back into town and pick up Bill.  We all then headed out to "Serenity" having dinner at "The Outback"  on the way.  I condescended to eat NZ lamb this time, and shared some Aussie culinary tips with the waitress.

Carol took me on a tour of the house and for once I don't have any words.  The place is quite large with a wide deck at the back leading out into the trees.  There are big windows everywhere and raked ceiling,  The rooms are large, light and Carol is decorating in light, bright tones, with lots of glass around.  There are some timber lined walls and a large stone fireplace.  I don't know what I imagined really, but it wasn't quite this.  I think I thought it would be a little more conventional in design, but I love it and I can see why Carol is so entranced by the place.  The feel is of the outside meeting the inside and vice versa…..The woods are right there you can almost touch them.

Carol and I sat up late talking and alternately on line with mail and chat.

I very much look forward to Kiser company whilst I catch up on my travelogue, regroup and refresh before our return to Washington for the next round of sight seeing.

SATURDAY  Bill went off to golf (across the road) and Carol and I had a leisurely breakfast of omelet's and bacon, and more talk.  It is so good to be here.

When Bill got home we had a quick lunch of strawberries, cheesecake and cream, and went to Harper's Ferry for a look at the area where John Brown the abolitions and his brigands? attacked the munitions factory there and tried to confiscate weaponry for the coming fight against slavery.  The incident started the Civil War.  John Brown and his men were executed by the government and all hell was let loose.

Southern states seceded from the Union, and Harper's Ferry changed hands several times during the following conflict.  Many of the old buildings have been restored and it is interesting to walk around this living museum.  There are guides or presentations in most buildings and others have been converted to functional purposes behind the restored facades……..

This area grew up around the junction between the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers.  Both are quite shallow here and it was a place where crossings could be made before bridges, and therefore a town grew up here and agriculture and commerce flourished.

It was very warm and sultry and after a couple of hours and without seeing it all, we decided we had seen enough and set course for home stopping at the "Pharmacy" in Martinsburg on the way for a wonderful steak dinner which we topped off with a Lindemans Chardonnay on our arrival at the house.

We talked some more, and I did some of this travelogue before we both retired.

Goodbye America......hello England
Posted by mimi1 on 8/7/2001, 7:15 am

I just want to thank you all for your hospitality and your warmth. I have enjoyed your company so much and my fondest memories will be of the people I've met not the places I've been and the things I've seen. I have been able to stick pretty close to low carb all the way and hope I can do the same on the next section of my trip.
Hello England, I will be with you tomorrow!!!! It seems incredible that it has come so fast. Looking forward to meeting and seeing you.

God bless you all now and always

Posted by mimi on 8/13/2001, 8:32 am

TUESDAY 7th August....
Another early morning. Packed my stuff and used my new locks. I went to Mass across the road from the Office building while Carol consulted with computer techs and opened up her system, then we went down to breakfast, bought some stuff in the stationery store (I now have a quite nice souvenir, a new writing folder with the American Coat of Arms. We also had a quick look at the Capitol building.

Carol booked a seat for me on the ”Dandy” river cruise from the Old Town - Alexandria. The first cab I got had no idea what I was talking about but the next one put me at the dock about 10.15 am for the 11 am boarding. I took a walk up to the shops one street back from the river. It was a lovely area and I found a nice little book/music shop combined with an upstairs restaurant/coffee house overlooking the river.

I bought a book on Irish snippets of information and began reading it in a small park adjacent to the cruise dock, and was promptly attacked by very vicious fly type creatures. Fortunately the boat started boarding so I was able to escape. I finished reading the book just as the salad was served and the cruise got underway.

We passed the entrance to the Potomac canal system which goes up to Georgetown, and we passed an osprey nest on a river marker. The “algae” I thought was so bad is actually a water grass that has been cultivated, it is there to replace the original river grasses that were lost, and since it’s return, the bird life on the river has increased - particularly ducks and geese.

We passed the Naval Research Laboratory which specializes in radar development. They measured the distance to the moon before the first landings and their radar measures were exactly 9” out.

After the Naval station we passed quite a lot of housing - Air Force accommodation for staff at the Pentagon and the crews who man the helicopters which carry the vip’s around from the Presidential helicopter base.. The National Ronald Reagan airport was on the opposite shore.

We then came to James Point, and the park that was reclaimed after a malaria epidemic in the area. The channel for shipping was deepened and the silt used to create this beautiful park. Previous to this the channel was unavailable to shipping and other ports had to be used.

There was not as much haze that day so vis8ibility was much better. We went under a series of 3 bridges - firstly a railway bridge that every train going north or south MUST travel over. It was between this and the 14th street bridge that the airliner crashed some years ago. How lucky there was not more loss of life with these bridges so close together - if a train had been hit - it doesn’t bear imagining. It also crashed in a relatively shallow area.

The Pentagon next came up on the left hand side. It is presently closed to visitors while renovations are done - it will take ten years1

Near the Pentagon was Ladybird Johnson Park, named after the lady who was so responsible for the major project cleaning up the river and the country at large. Washington memorial is on the other bank.

When we got to Memorial bridge, the home of Robert E Lee and the Arlington cemetery were on the left and the Lincoln memorial on the right. There were gold statues on either side of the roadway on the city end of the bridge - these were gifts from Italy after World War II.

We were then able to view the John F Kennedy centre from the river and Watergate Hotel, of president Nixon fame. Senator Dole lives there, and Monica Lewinski used to. It has and is now the Washington h0ome of may members and senators.

We saw Washington Harbor - a new trendy address to have, where there would be no change from a million dollars to own an apartment there Key Bridge followed, named after Francis Key who wrote the National Anthem.....his home was nearby. There were several boat houses at that end of the river, owned by the various colleges. The Georgetown University is Catholic and run by Jesuits.

After the run back down the river during which I chatted with the skipper, I made my way back to the senate offices, wrote a quick note to Julie and we were on our way to pick up Bill and the go to the Dulles airport for my flight to Heathrow. we had a relatively trouble free trip and Bill helped me in with my luggage.

They started loading the plane at 7 p.m. for a 7.45 p.m. take-off. It was full!!!!

At 8 p.m. the captain advised it was 1 am Greenwich mean time, so change your watches. This means our 7.30 am arrival will be 2.30 in Washington - so not much sleep to be had, and that’s how it worked out. Two movies and a few shorts and we were having breakfast (I didn’t have any). Croissants, fruit, cereal, milk......all no-no’s for me.

Posted by mimi on 8/13/2001, 11:26 am

WEDNESDAY 8th August
We landed at Heathrow and were taken by coaches to the Immigration centre - both processes taking in excess of an hour. From there to the luggage area, a nice breakfast in the terminal and I was on my way to London by subway.
I should have taken the express which goes directly to Paddington, but I took the local service that went to Kings Cross. From there I had to change trains and eventually arrived where I was supposed to be. I stored by luggage for the day then found a bus tour which I could jump different routes on and which included a river cruise.

From Paddington the bus went to Marble Arch and I changed to the “red” service for the inner city tour. It took me thru Regent street and Piccadilly Circus, Soho and Chinatown. We went thru the Haymarket and Leicester Square. We passed Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s column, and Admiralty Arch. We saw the horse guards at St James, the Sherlock Holmes Pub, Whitehall and Downing Street, the Cenotaph and the Cabinet war rooms. Big Ben, and the houses of Parliament, |Hyde Park, Mayfair and the Shepherd’s Market. There was the enormous US embassy and little America.

Saw the London Eye and Covent Garden, then St Paul’s Cathedral, The London Dungeon and the Tower of London. I got off the bus here and took a ferry ride up river past Tower Bridge and back to the House of Parliament. From here I took the Green tour to Westminster and Buckingham Palace, swapped onto the blue tour and went past Harrod’s. the Victoria and Albert museum, the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace and gardens...then back to Paddington Station. I think I saw all of the “must sees”, but never investigated any of them. I will maybe find some time later.

I caught a train from Paddington to Oxford and by the time I arrived the rain had set in. I had a quite nice room at the hostel shared with two young ladies....one of whom was going to Ireland the other had just been, One was from Canada the other from Minnesota.

I was so tired from lack of sleep the night before...I dropped straight into bed and went to sleep whilst they were talking.

Posted by mimi on 8/13/2001, 12:06 pm

THURSDAY, 9th August.

Woke up to a went and miserable looking day. Well we can have that can we? Certainly not. Up and showered and out into the world for another bus tour of Oxford. I did not worry about going top deck though.

As it was so wet, I was the only person on the tour bus. Does that say something about my sanity or about my optimism|? The guide was very nice and I was able to ask questions as we went along. we saw many of the Oxford Colleges, including Christ Church (housing the City’s Cathedral), Magdalene and Queen’s College. We also passed the Bodleian library dating back to the 15th Century and the Botanic garden created in 1632, it is the earliest garden of it’s kind. (Shades on the US who have the earliest, the longest, the shortest, the newest, the biggest etc). we then passed the Sheldonian theatre designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the setting for University ceremonies, and the Ashmolean museum and the oldest museum in Britain. The Museum of Oxford tells the story of the city and the university using archaeological and college treasures. It has a Medieval collection including the town’s first charter of 1192.

The University does no lecturing or teaching. It sets, holds and marks the examinations and issues the degrees and doctorates. The colleges have no lectures and classes. Each student meets a tutor once a week
and discusses what he has done the previous week, any queries he has with it and his plans for the next week. Interesting system. He who works will prevail...he who doesn’t won’t pass. There are no assessments during the year, just the exam. Another interesting item....no further exam after getting your degree.....you are automatically entitled to a masters after two years in your chosen field.

It was still raining when the tour ended so I jumped on a train for Bristol, ignoring my plan of going to Bath, as there was no hostel accommodation available there.

I got to Bristol just after lunch and had a cheeseburger at the railway station....trouble was they forgot the cheese!!! When I suggested they give me some, they refunded my money and gave me the cheese as well. I think I like Bristol. Thank you!

I took a cab (a bus driver said that no buses went close) to the hostel which was almost in the centre of town. What I saw on the way convinced me I would like Bristol and when I got to my room and saw the view of the canal I was convinced.

I decided to take a stroll around t9own in search of a camera and some video film. I found both. As I approached the centre of town and at the head of the canal I came upon a set of steps with water cascading down. There was a lovely square at the top with water fountains in the middle. These fountains are irreverently called the cheese graters, but they are very nice. I later found out that this area is called the watershed. On the opposite side of the canal is a row of eating and drinking placed, with a wide sheltered verandah. I found an interesting lot of specialty shops along the main street, along with a theatre and the oldest Catholic church in the City. I also found the Christmas Steps.

I found the Clifton triangle which includes the university which I initially mistook for a church, the library (I had a few minutes internet access here) and the college green. Also the Anglican Cathedral is there next to the library.

I found the information centre and the Imax theatre in a very modern area which I later found had been a millennium project using some of the old area which had been derelict prior to the development.

I went looking for the Cabot tower but found the Corn Exchange, the Council Offices, Dental and Eye Clinics, the Children’s Hospital, the ice rink and the Watershed Medical Centre. Never caught sight of the tower, but by then I had seen a whole lot of Bristol.

I decided to go to the 5.30 Mass, and then went back to the library for some internet time. I then went to the Chicago Rock Cafe which was rocking when I went by.

My appetite was great, the wine was buy one and get one free, the meal was grilled chicken breast with bacon and mushrooms. It was deliver charred and dry!!!!! I ate what I could (left the fries) and then told the waitress that pick up the plate that I was unhappy and why.
She gave me a £5 discount which is a fair whack, but the meal was still lousy - they need to lift their game. Why does the name Chicago give me trouble - the only good thing that comes to mind is Dee - certainly not the bus station and Greyhound, and not this restaurant/pub.

I got back to the hostel about 9.30 p.m. to find some of my stuff on the bed rather than under my pillow? Did I leave it like that? My BritRail pass? I really don’t know.

I went down to the lounge to write up my notes and stayed playing crib until 12.30.

Bath time
Posted by mimi on 8/13/2001, 12:59 pm

FRIDAY 10th August
I woke up this morning and didn’t like to get up in case I disturbed my room mate. I’m never going to do that again....I missed breakfast!!!
I changed rooms so my gear had to go to the baggage room until I could get the new room key later. I then set out to walk to the station aided by the map I bought yesterday.

I boarded a train for Bath about two hours later than I had intended the day before. I will take another look at Bristol tomorrow - what’s left of Friday will be devoted to Bath even if I have to get a late train back.

Bath was wonderful - set in a valley of the Avon River and spreading out over the surrounding hills. A mixture of Georgian splendor and Victorian architecture. Lovely parks and gardens scattered around and everything built of Bath stone which looks to me to be a bit similar to Mt |Gambier stone and maybe it is - with Mt Gambier being volcanic.

In Victorian times a huge concave semi-circle of houses was built with a roadway and an enormous grassed area out front....the homes of the R & F (rich and famous). Royal Crescent. It is still a posh address to have. The area of the park is gated and the gates guarded by imperial lions.

We saw Queen’s Square which is surrounded by pillared Georgian buildings, which are much more ornate. We were shown several houses where Jane Austin is reputed to have lived, and the Jane Austin museum. One school, I think King Edward’s, dates back to 1552 for it’s charter. The cathedral is the last of the “straight” column churches built in Britain. There are a lot of people buried there so there are many memorial plaques lining the walls. It is known that there have been at least three other churches on that site, and it could well be more - even a Roman temple is possible.

We were given a nice view of the Putney Bridge and weir and then taken to the top of the North |Road where we were given a view over the seven hills of Bath and the city. It was lovely as the sun picked out the light color of the stone. We came back down into the city and I must say the tour had been very interesting....steeped in recent history, but the highlight was still to come.

The Roman Baths. It was quite a large complex with several bath rooms all ducted from the springs that are still running at an enormous rate. The ruins were discovered in the 1800’s when people began to complain about warm water seeping into the basement of their houses. The city engineer of the time began a little digging and found the system that was excavated and again put into use before the reign of Queen Victoria who visited the area as a child.

On entering the area the visitor is handed a personal guide which is an electronic device. |You key in the number you are standing near and you get a commentary about the area and the exhibits there.

There have been a lot of stone pieces recovered and they are indexed as near as they can be where they may have fitted into the original baths and temple. They have been able to reconstruct models of the area from these stones and from what is left of the baths themselves.
The water still runs from the Roman built reservoir into the baths leaving the tell tale red oxide of the iron deposits carried by the water. It took a good hour and a half to walk thru the complex and it was very interesting. Evidently the Saxons before them held the place sacred, but the Romans were really in aw and built a temple as well as dedicating the whole place to the goddess Minerva.

It is thought that if the temple didn’t just decay and fall down, it may have been destroyed by Christian who could not tolerate the pagan symbols in their midst. Some of the stones were built into other buildings later, even churches.

The place is really fascinating whether you’re a history buff or not. I eventually got some breakfast/lunch about 1.30 in the afternoon and then caught a train back to Bristol. I caught a bus back to the city centre which isn’t that far from the hostel.

I then went out to the canal and took a river ferry ride down to the SS Great Britain. The first steam ship built of iron in the world, and built here in Bristol in the mid 1800’s to play between Bristol and the United States. It was too big for the high tides and the small river though, so it spent it’s time sailing from Plymouth I think, before it was put on the Australia run, where it broke all records, Plymouth to Melbourne in 53 days.

The trouble was it couldn’t come up the river. I had a bit of internet time at the hostel but it was expensive and slow, so I gave it away.

Bristol to Birmingham
Posted by mimi on 8/13/2001, 1:23 pm

SATURDAY, 11th August.
Next morning I booked a hire care which I wasn’t able to pick up until 1 p.m. I went to the camera shop and exchanged the video film I bought earlier then I went to the bus stop and waited for the town tour.

Much of this tour I had already seen by foot, but I saw the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Clifton village. I saw the old city and the indoor markets, the Bristol zoo, and the canal system that defeated the tide fall. We went to the Galleries and the Wapping Wharf area. ST Mary Radcliff and also saw a bomber out church with the steeple still standing with a 5 foot lean. Evidently it had the lean before the bombing.

After the tour I went to pick up the car, and found they were just closing. !!%@@##! They had no record of my booking, and wouldn’t let me have one of their small cars as they all had to have new number plates before they could be left somewhere else. I could have one to drive around Bristol!!!

I wanted to take it to Birmingham via Malvern and Stratford on Avon, and was already three hours late. Now it was too late to get one anywhere else either. So.....by the time I got back to the hostel (two cab fares for nothing) and then got my luggage to the station I was even later and surprisingly calm.

I caught a train to Great Malvern which involved a change at Cheltenham where they transported us by taxi to Worcester. The station there is quite near to the Lea and Perrins factory. At Worcester I boarded a train for Great Malvern. I took a cab to find a bed & breakfast, tried several without luck so I rang Brian to see if he had any ideas. Had hoped he might invite me for a coffee and a chat and we might continue the search by phone. He was unhelpful so I got the cab to take me back to the station and I caught a train for Birmingham.

I got to Birmingham about 7.30 and got a cab to a bed and breakfast. He dropped me off at the Dormy Hotel. A nice quite little private hotel in Edgbaston about 3 miles from the city centre. The people were nice and friendly and the hotel was cosy. The room was small and clean and had it’s own shower. There was a cooked breakfast available for the price of the room. No argument.....I booked in. I was glad to settle in after such an up and down, uncertain sort of a day.

The pub was having a barbecue tea in their quite lovely back yard, and I was invited to join them, which I did. I could stay there a few days, nice people, comfy feel about it, but.....

Posted by mimi on 8/13/2001, 2:03 pm

SUNDAY, 12th August
Guess what? It’s raining again!!!! No brolly, I have left mine in Bristol at the hostel. I wanted to find a Mass today then go to the station, but I couldn’t find out where to go, or how far away, so I phoned a cab and went back to the station.

I wasn’t able to book my luggage in until after 11.15 so I was forced to carry it around with me. I got a cab to the Cathedral of St Chad and piled it up near a pillar, and sat next to it. Never heard of St Chad before, but I was able to read up on him a bit. He was a Celtic bishop of the 7th.8th century. Nice church, but rather plain to look at. Inside is an entirely different matter. It holds a reliquary above the high altar, and the area is beautifully decorated, and the stained glass behind is also rather stunning with the weak sunlight behind it.

I went back to the railway station and decided to go to Liverpool early.
Had some lunch and looked in my book for Julies phone number so I could let her know. Couldn’t find it so I had to go to the internet station and look up her email. When I logged in to hotmail, guess what? Julie was on line so I was able to tell her direct, without phoning. Talk about ESP, that was the first break I had for the day.
I was able to say a quick hello to Kerrie and Suzanne who were also on line at the time. It must have been very late where Kerrie is.

I had an Atkins bar waiting for the train and bought a bottle of water for the trip.

The train left at 13.53 not 13.27 as I told Julie. The first stop was Wolver Hampton, then Stafford.....these are places I’ve read about and heard about all my life - it seems incredible that I am really here traveling through this countryside seeing these places.

At Runcorn the train passed over a very high bridge which spanned a wide shallow river. It looked tidal, so I will have to refer to my map and see what it’s name is. I found this interesting.

Soon I was in Liverpool, and as I walked off the platform I saw a young woman with two small children and her husband. I guessed immediately that these were Julie, John, Aiden and Amelia.....my hosts for the next day or three.

We jumped in the car and arrived at their place 10 minutes later. It was nice to stop again and know I could really stop.

We had a crust less quiche for dinner with a green salad, and then sat about looking at pics and watching TV.

Posted by mimi on 8/14/2001, 2:34 am

I have changed my itinerary. I am not going to Holyhead twice....I will save a days travel which will give me an extra day with Julie. I will be with her on 27th to 29th. Will get to Ireland a day early as I'm going direct from Glasgow.
And speaking of Glasgow, I am heading there today and will be there about 5.30 p.m.
Hey everybody, have a super low carb day.

Posted by mimi on 8/15/2001, 5:33 am

MONDAY. After breakfast Julie and I went shopping – we both needed an umbrella. We then went to the supermarket where we picked up stuff for the next couple of meals. (a beef stroganoff and some chicken drumsticks, a bottle of wine and some cream cheese and jelly for a dessert).
We went home and cooked everything up, had some lunch and I started on the computer to catch up my notes. By the time that was done and everything was posted it was time for dinner and that wine. We watched television, alternately answering the computer as people came on line to us. That day I chatted with Kerrie, Sherry, Carol, Patti, Checky, Cas and Suzanne. What a great computer day!! I’m getting over my withdrawal symptoms…

TUESDAY 14th August Julie and I went to see Norm’s parents. Norm is a music student at home. Harry is 85 and Dorothy will be 90 next month. They were so sweet and I think genuinely pleased to have visitors. Their family is getting so large and drifting away all over the place, they hardly know the grand children and great grand children – or who is who among all the nieces and nephews and their offspring.

They told us they go walking about 300 or 400 yards every day, and he certainly will not let her go out on her own. She told us she used to be in a rambling club when she was younger and loves her daily outing. When they walk the neighbors come out to chat as they pass by. They like that. He told us he doesn’t mow the lawn anymore and the next door neighbor does the front for him. He was telling us that they have three pubs within walking distance and they occasionally go out to one of them for a meal and a couple of drinks. What lovely, “with it” old people. They allowed me to take a couple of photos of them for Norm and when we left insisted on seeing us off at the door.

After we got home I made a bit of lunch and we all piled into the car for the ride to the railway station, John and Julie pointing out some significant buildings on the way. I will have a better look at Liverpool when I get back here at the end of the month, but I really did need that rest day yesterday.

When I caught the train at 13.30 for Wigan, it stopped at Huyton where Jules and John live, about 10 minutes later. I’d like to bet I was there before they were!!! There was a 20 minute wait at Wigin before the Glasgow train came in, then I was really on the way to meet Ross and Sarah.

Sarah met me and we wended our way through the peak hour traffic home to freshen up. They have a second floor apartment that overlooks the city. A really lovely 180 degree panorama with the hills behind. Sarah is more beautiful than I remember, seems to have more colour about her. She is still at university and has another year to go to get her arts degree. She is working in organizing arts events and tutorials. Ross is following his calling in community services, and is working with a community of poor, under privileged and hopeless around the city. It was so lovely to see him when he came in from work.

We went to a hotel/restaurant which has recently been refurbished and upgraded. Here we had a quite pleasant meal in a very nice atmosphere.

When we got home we checked out each others photos of Fregon, kicked some memories around and updated on our lives since Fregon.

My cold was annoying me so I took a Panadol and went to bed…..after midnight I might add.

Posted by mimi on 8/15/2001, 4:49 pm

I had a most interesting day today. Ross and Sarah both took a day off work to show me around Glasgow.

We started with the oldest house in the city, used to belong to the Provost Lord who was a bigwig with the hospital that was next door. The house is enormous, and quite large even by today’s standards. Wonderful old mediaeval furniture has been collected to display there too.

We then went across the road to the St Mungo Museum. Named after the cathedral across the square. It is all about religion from early Celts, thru Catholicism, Protestantism, Jewism, Islam, Ba’hai, The whole gamut. Excellent exhibits.

Then they took me to the cathedral where St Mungo’s tomb is, and following that out into the country side to see Bulloch Castle on Loch Lomond. We also saw Ben Lomond whilst we were there.

The next stop was Stirling Castle. This place is set on a high cliff face right in the middle of the plain where William Wallace won his battle against the English (Braveheart). There was a statue of him in the town and a memorial on the battlefield.
This memorial can be seen all over the countryside. There was also a statue of Robert Bruce in the park out the front of the castle. We have a look through the cemetery there, and a peek into the old jail which was also open for inspection. The view from the top of the cemetery yard was absolutely amazing.

When we got home and were enjoying our evening meal we were able to view the sunset from the window which overlooks the city. It was a beautiful clear night and the sunset quite staggering. I got some video footage of that!!!!

Ireland.....Part 1

Posted by mimi on 8/26/2001, 6:06 am

FRIDAY. A cab picked me up and took me to Central Station where I caught the train to Troon, home of the British Open Golf tournament several times. They have nine golf courses there, and the town is not so big. On the way the countryside was covered in heather, the first I experienced in Scotland.
There was a shuttle bus at the station for the ferry service, that was handy. When I got to the terminus I bought a ticket and went thru a baggage check and then I was on my way to board this magnificent vessel that would literally whisk me away to Ireland – and that’s what it did. I was there in two hours. It was very fast on a relatively calm sea, marred only by rain. \the back deck was icy cold so I returned to the cabin with a nice hot cup of – no, not coffee – soup.
On arriving in Belfast I made a couple of phone calls and jumped on the train for Dublin. The train went past some lovely coastal and rural areas, towns and villages and the fields all divided up with hedges and dry stone walls. I booked into the Four Courts Hostel, then went for a walk around the Cathedral nearby and down the street toward the old castle are and Trinity College.
I also met an Australian girl in the same dorm she was going to look for work in Dublin. We agreed we would spend the next day together doing a town tour.

SATURDAY. We joined the bus in High Street, just west of Christ Church and it took us past the old Guinness Brewery then the new brewery and store. We were taken out past the zoo and saw the papal cross erected for the Papal visit, the USA embassy and the residence of the President of Ireland. All in an enormous park called Phoenix park.
We passed an old ornate iron bridge erected for the visit of King George III. On the way back into the city centre we went to the museum of Science and Art and spent a good hour or more looking at the exhibits. The museum is situated in a former military barracks.
When we jumped back on the bus we were taken up past the O’Connell monument into O’Connell street which is the main shopping street and also the site of the 1917 uprising. It was also the site of the 1960’s demonstrations. We got off again at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the “long room” which houses the colleges collection of old books, and busts of great thinkers….Aristotle, Pythagoras, Homer, and contemporaries. We saw many old volumes and their care and preservation were demonstrated on a/v equipment. The Book of Kells was indeed awesome, but also in the same show case were other volumes written in much smaller script. These were books written for missionaries to carry around with them They were carried in leather bags made to dit the books, and given a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
We left the college and caught a bus again around St Stevens green and along to the Dublin Castle and also the Viking Adventure display. We passed the small fronted University chapel which is attached to the Catholic university. Marriages are booked for a year or more ahead, so popular is it for weddings.
Part of my heritage is involved in the Viking history of Ireland, so we went and had a look at the Viking museum. My family has a history linked to Viking kings but then every village had a chief and every town a king, so maybe that isn’t as grand as it sounds. They were able to demonstrate a model of the excavations only, as the city council has built their new offices over the site…the offices are 80% solar powered – and as the driver said – heaven knows how, when the rainy season starts in January and last till the end of December!!!) They showed us the construction of the long ship (clinker) and the model of the excavation which is quite deep and shows the various eras in the dig by the items found in the layers. It had apparently been a thriving sea port with the Vikings marrying into the local population and helping to build at the same time as trading and pillaging further a field.
It was they who named the town Dublin which means Black Pool. There was a small museum of artifacts found on the site, but larger pieces were in the museum we had looked at earlier.
Our tour had taken us t hours so we headed back to the Four Courts hostel, so named because it is across the river Liffy from the courts.
I had a rest for a while after taking my stuff up to the new room, then decided to catch up on my notes before going to Vigil Mass tonight at St Anthony’s which is nearly next door to the hostel. From the street it looks like just another office front, but once past the front door and into the foyer is a magnificent domed church. It is run my Franciscans and dedicated to The Immaculate Conception. They have a tiny side chapel in her honour and another larger one for St Francis.
The same story here as in England – all that is very old in religious buildings was forfeited to the crown and redistributed to the reformed churches.
I was going out to sample a Guinness in a Dublin pub, but gave the idea away in favour of a night watching TV with Zoe and a bottle of water. Into bed about 11 p.m

SUNDAY Went out and found a shop open. I bought a small camera and some sausages for breakfast. Then I went taking photographs of some of the places I saw yesterday, the Liffy River, St Paul’s church, before heading back to the hostel for my stuff which I took to the station, and in true American Greyhound customer style, got in the queue to wait for the 2.30 train to Belfast. The train was pretty packed but it was a good trip until we got past Newry, then the first rain for the day made it’s presence known by the water streaming down the windows.
Seamus met me at the station and we went home and chatted for a while before Sheila got home from her house in Donegal. I did a few trip notes on the computer and got them away before dinner. We chatted for a while and made plans for tomorrow before going to bed. I have a car booked for Tuesday which I will have to bring back here or forfeit £100 to leave it in Dublin. That is $225 Australian……no thanks.

MONDAY, Shiela took me into town on her way to work. She dropped me opposite the construction site for the new higher and further education centre. It was a comfortable walk of a couple of blocks into the city centre where I found the Post Office and got some more cameras and stuff mailed home.
I then went tot eh Visitor Information place and got train and ferry schedules for next Monday. I will be on the Belfast-Dublin train at 8 am and on the Dublin-Liverpool ferry at 1 p.m.
I then caught the city tour which began at the Post Office. From there we went past the shipyards where the Titanic was built, the Stormont building which is the parliament house of Northern Ireland. From there we were taken to Shankill Road and viewed a new building that is aimed at youth training from both sides of the political spectrum. On the way we passed the old court house and the jail across the road. Both are now abandoned but are to be re-opened as a tourist and heritage tracing site, and as a youth care and training place. It appears that prisoners (political) being taken across the road from the courts to the jail would often be snatched from custody. The authorities build a tunnel between the two. We saw the murals on Shankill and Falls Roads, the Queen’s university and the Catholic University, St Michaels and St Catherines schools, the botanic gardens and the city hall.
Later that evening, Sheila took me to have a closer look at the Clonard Monastery. The St Gerard men’s sodality were there at the time. It was the place where the IRA first came out of cover to talk to one of the priests there, the beginning of the peace process. On the way I was reminded I had seen the freedom wall and the imposing look out tower from where British soldiers can watch the flashpoints below on the streets. Tonight there were a lot of people on the street with posters and black flags in memory of 10 hunger strikers who dies 20 years ago. Last month was the Orange men marches – and the peace held. There is a lot of building going on in Belfast as investors are optimistic that the peace will last. Two recent projects were the Odyssey Complex which houses theatres, amusements, restaurants, shopping etc., and the other is a round domed entertainment centre on the river bank which has been host to Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner and other starts like U2 and Pavarotti.
Today both sides accepted the proposals for a new police force and new guidelines for it’s operation.

Ireland....PArt 2

Posted by mimi on 8/26/2001, 6:07 am

TUESDAY I picked up a car at 9.20 and was well up the road past Ballymena by 10 a.m., and not causing too much mayhem to the Irish traffic. It was raining quite heavily by the time I got to the Portrush area – I circled to town 3 times – once looking for the info office – I found a toilet, second looking for the info office – I found a shop to buy a bottle of water and a camera, and third time looking for an info office and found the road signs for Dunluce Castle and trhe Giant’s Causeway. I followed the signs.
It was very cold and wet so I took a few photos of Dunluce (14th century ruins) and moved on to the causeway. The formation of columns was caused by slow and irregular cooling of lava being forced through cracks in the earth’s crust. These cracks are a long way from the actual volcanic source of the phenomenon. The stones are mainly six sided but there are some with 5, 7 and 8 sides. Various parts of the formation have been given names reminiscent of their shapes, eh the organ, the loom, this wishing chair. I left this cold and headed south to Ceoleraine, Strabane and Omagh where I called a late lunch stop. I called into a Tesco and got some stuff for my evening meal and perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast, then I was on the road again to Enniskillen – having missed the road to Donegal where I had planned to stay. From Enniskillen I headed for Sligo.
About 20 miles from Sligo I came across a magnificent valley with cliffs down into a small river side plain and the stream at the bottom. Houses and hedges dotted the flats on both sides of the river – the road elevation was several hundred feet and above it loomed the near side of the mountains. There was a long waterfall on the opposite with the resulting small creek adding to the river flow which opened out into a lake. This is what I had always imagined Ireland to be like, and I had found it.
I got into Sligo about 5 and spent a while finding the hostel, the upside is I had a good look around. I could go to Carr’s pub for live Irish music tonight, but I’m a bit tired again.
I met an older lady at the hostel, Fran, who is painting her way around Ireland. We went for a walk after dinner to find the old abbey. We say other interesting churches and buildings on the way but we missed the abbey.

Ireland....Part 3 Feast or Famine....hehehe

Posted by mimi on 8/26/2001, 8:49 am

WEDNESDAY I found the abbey and took some photos. I went back to the hostel and made a quick breakfast then left Sligo about 9.30. I decided I would go to Westport to see Croiag Patrick. I got there about 11 and drove around the sea front and the quay. The place is very pretty and after driving around for a while admiring the scenery and the quaint little town centre, I decided to fuel up and head for Connemara Country, so I set course for Leenane and on the way came around a bend to be confronted by Kylemore Abbey set in a vista of mountains, lakes and woodlands. It is classic Ireland and one of the most photographed places and no wonder. To come around the bend and be confronted by this beauty is intensely exciting. The abbey is still being used by contemplative nuns. I can’t think of a better place to contemplate. I arrived at Leenane at 12.15 and sat admiring the lake and the mountains while I had my lunch. I then pushed on to Connemara National Park where I stopped for a short while and then on to Clifton. From there I drove along narrow hedged roads to Galway where I decided I would stay. Problem: no purse, no parking, no staying. Fortunately I still had a credit card, not where it was supposed to be. I went immediately to the Guard and reported my loss and they phoned back to Westport which was where I last remembered having it when I bought fuel last. It was there!!!!!! Thank God. I had broken the golden rule. Never let the passport out of sight. I had to go back and get it of course and arrived back in Ghalway after 6 p.m. and couldn’t get into a hostel. It took me 2.1/2 hours to find the bed & breakfast the tourist office had booked me in to. No wonder, there was no street name on the turn!!! Got there about 9 o’clock and the land lady was kind enough to let me cook my dinner – not long after that I was in bed watching TV.

THURSDAY I checked out after breakfast and went to an internet place to send some email before jumping on a town tour bus at 11 a.m. The tour included Eyre Square which was on land donated to the city by the Eyre family who had owned it for centuries. Previous to that the city had no park. It can trace habitation back 4,000 years, but not much development took place until the Normans got there in the 13th and 14th centuries. We saw the Salmon weir bridge built by convicts who had built the public building on the shore previously law courts…..maybe still courts, I didn’t hear. However the bridge leads over the river to the old gaol site which now houses the very new and very splendid Catholic Cathedral. It is built of local limestone and Connemara marble and has many side chapels, one of them commemorating John F Kennedy who visited the city not long before his assassination. The cathedral took 8 years to build and was dedicated by Cardinal Cushing of the USA in 1965.

We then went past the university and hospital medical centre and St Mary’s College which is a seminary. The Irish School was next, where all lessons are delivered in the Irish Language. We were then in Lower Salt Hill which has been reclaimed from the bay and has some very expensive real estate very close to the city centre. Every third house is a bed and breakfast or offers accommodation of some sort., Then we were in Upper Salt Hill overlooking Galway Bay. Yes it is lovely with the offshore island standing off on the horizon.. Then we were going through the Cladagh area which had been outside the city walls in the days of the tribes. The people were some 6,000 and survived by fishing and trading with the town.
After the tour I began my journey to Tralee passing through Ennis and Limerick on the way. Both towns are really quite large but traffic crawls through them and it is not an atmosphere that encourages you to turn in and look around. You just want to get out the other side and be somewhere else.
At Limerick I passed a very old Augustinian Abbey, now held by the Church of Ireland and a Franciscan Friary. There was a wedding too, at Adare local church…..Thursday afternoon I thought a strange time for a wedding.
I got to Tralee about 4 and booked into a hostel. What a grand place!!!! It’s been an only 19th century manor house or convent I think – it’s on a hill overlooking the town and boasts a pitch and putt golf course, a couple of tennis courts in the grounds and is also an arts and adult education area.
After booking in I decided to run out to Gloghane and see if I could find anything out about David McMorran. It was really worth the trip, Cloghane is absolutely lovely. Hills again surround the head of a bay. A cute little town along a winding road with a few other houses scattered about the hill side.
I found David’s parents – they run a bed and breakfast and invited me to stay, but I had booked into the manor. They gave me details of David, now working for Rolls Royce in London. Not bad for a petrol pump boy on an aboriginal community in Oz. He always was a bit above that job though, he is an accredited accountant.
I got back to the hostel a shade after 7 and cooked my meal then commenced to write up my notes about 8 p.m.

FRIDAY I took some photos of the hostel before leaving and came to the conclusion that it had see a previous life as a convent or school. It got to Killarney about 10 a.m. and soon after passed Bun Ratty Castle. I like the road signs around Ireland. You find the word “slow” on the road, then a hundred yards further on “slower”. They must all drive like me!!!!! I also like the “traffic calming” sign that simply means you are coming to a town and will find speed restrictions. In fact it makes traffic more frenetic!!
I pulled into Macroon and had a look around a ruined castle there and an old church across the road from it, which is being restored for another life.
The castle is built on the steep banks of a stream and a stone bridge adjoins the old castle walls…..in grander days it might well have been gated at the castle end, it certainly looks like it may have been.
I took a road then that led to Blarney and used a bit of film there at the castle before climbing the stairs and joining the queue to kiss the famous stone. What price eloquence!!!!! I wonder how long it takes to work??
This wasn’t in my original plan, but what the heck…..it was an open, unorganised sort of plan anyway.
Next stop Cork, and in the main street I stopped many times. It took ½ hour to travel 500 yards…not encouraging. I saw a large and beautiful cathedral up on a hill there, 19th century I would guess, all pink stone, a real picture book place. I also saw the docks as I crossed the bridge and drove alongside the river. This is where my grandfather’s family sailed from. I found the Dublin road and headed north, abandoning any idea of getting to Waterford. I have decided I have seen enough castles, cathedrals and churches to last a bit, and I will get to Daingean tonight it I can, and have an extra day in Liverpool.
I stopped to see the Rock of Cashel, which was a fortified medeaval walled city and cathedral, no in ruins. In the valley below the ruins of an old abbey. I took a side road to the town of Thurles in Tipperary. Along this route I came across an abbey that is still working, the Abbey of the Holy Cross. I didn’t stop now I had made some decisions, and carried on. I wasn’t expecting Thurles to be quite as large as it turned out to be, as it is off the beaten track a little. I bought some stuff for lunch and made a meal in the car park, then I went to visit Tom Ryan’s sister Peggy. When I found her house a neighbour told me she had gone to England on Tuesday for 3 weeks holiday. I left her a note and decided to carry on, passing an enormous church in the centre of town.
Next stop was Portalaoise and I walked around a bit before moving on to Daingean pronounced Dan-gen. No wonder nobody knew where I was talking about.
I found the Cosy Bar very easily and had a couple of beers, introducing myself to the barmaid who looked a lot like Shirley, but who was a bit bigger. She told me that Ken and Shirley at got their residencies in Australia and gave me their phone number. I am so pleased for them, they really did want to stay.
I took a room at a nearby bed and breakfast, then ran into Tullamore to get some cash.
I had left over lunch for dinner in my room which was very tastefully decorated and had two butterfly prints on the wall.

Ireland....part 4

Posted by mimi on 8/26/2001, 9:05 am

SATURDAY. No breakfast – nobody around. No sleep )or very little). The band played full blast until 3.30 a.m. then people were talking and laughing until nearly 4 a.m. I left them some money in the room and departed to find the morning wet. I had thought of going to the area south of Dublin, Glendalough and county Wicklow, but the weather changed my mind. It rained all the way to Dublin. I decided to take the car back to Belfast and get the train back to Dublin today so I could get the ferry back to Liverpool at lunch time without rushing about. I booked into the hostel in Dublin and then went to the docks to get my ferry ticket. No Go!!! Think again Rosemary. I can’t move on SeaCat until Tuesday, the only ferry available is Sunday night and it’s an 8 hour trip, and nearly twice the price….bummer.!!! I booked it anyway. Instead of being in Liverpool Sunday 5 p.m I don’t leave until 8 p.m and get there on Monday morning sooo early. The ferries are booked out because of the U2 fans having everything booked out. Heaps of Aussies here from England for the concert at Slane.
On my way to Belfast I passed through Slane and the traffic snarl was awful. The Irish tend to have good highways then bottleneck them all at every town and village along the way.
I drove along the seafront from Dublin until I joined the M1 and Drogheda. I could have gone a looked at the mountains of Mourne from Newry but kept rolling – by now I wanted to catch that train back to Dublin. Had I known when I booked the hostel that I couldn’t get a ferry I may have caught the evening ferry from Belfast to Troon and trained it down to Liverpool. I would have arrived 24 hours earlier. Oh well…..you can’t win ‘em all.!! I didn’t know that I could get a ferry direct to Liverpool from Belfast either…..I will be smarter next time.
I got back to Dublin at 6.30 and aft6er getting my hostel key, I went out to dinner. I found a Lebanese place and got lamb shish and salad for under £4. That’s $10 Aust, and I was full when I finished. Good value to I will try them again for lunch. They are just around the corner from the internet café where I went after dinner and answered my mail and chatted with Carol and Kerrie for a while before heading back to the hostel and bed.

SUNDAY Booked my luggage into storage and made some diary notes before heading to the internet café. I was there a couple of hours or more then went to Mass at St Anthony’s. Wow!!! Some experience. They had anointing of the sick, and you could go for a blessing or anointing so I went up too. Then there was communion and I felt really blessed and so full of joy, and then immediately after Mass they had Benediction. A triple whammy left me walking on air.
I then went to find that Lebansese café, but it was closed, so I bought a pack of chicken pieces and a pack of salad. Lunched on the steps of the council offices. Then I went back to the internet café to catch up on the notes. They are now up to date.

Wednesday  Julie and John dropped me off at Lime Street to the news that the train was broken down at Rugby and would be late.  In fact it was cancelled and another one was provided ¾ hour later.  This meant that I would not be meeting David in London as I planned.  I rang him when I got to Paddington – we were so disappointed, but he has promised to drop in on me when he comes to Australia next year.

I got the next train out to Heathrow and the flight to Oslo wasn’t very eventful, except to say that I now have another stamp in my passport.  I missed the door to customs and found my way to the domestic terminal for Bergen.

My diabetic supper was an apple and a pear.  Where on earth do airlines get the idea that heaps of fruit is good for diabetics?  The sugar content in two pieces of fruit is way beyond what I can tolerate let alone somebody with sugar problems.  I had a bacon salad instead.

I arrived at Bergen after 10 pm and got the shuttle to the city.  Even at night I could see that it is lovely and was looking forward to having a look around when I got back from Flora.

Thursday<:  Up and out of the really nice modern hostel by 7.30.  Catching a ferry at 8.  Had a breakfast of sliced meat and cheese with a tomato relish.

The ferry seats about 180 people but there is only about 40 on board.  We have been running down river for an hour and a half, between peninsulas and islands towards the fjords the first of which was Sognes Fjord.

Rzsjedalsvika – a lot of people on and off, and a couple of buses – tourism? Or just locals going out somewhere else for shopping?

As we progressed along our way the ferry slowly collected more passengers but I still had my row of seats to myself.  When I arrived at Flora I found a phone near the wharf and rang Pat.  Wonder of wonders – I at last got through.  I have rung from Liverpool, from Heathrow and from Bergen and got nowhere.  If she hadn’t answered I was going to get the next ferry back to Bergen.   I had tried to ring Kay too so that she could contact Pat, but I just wasn’t having any luck either way.

Pat told me to get out to one  of the pontoons past the Quality Inn and she’d pick me up.  About 10 minutes later there she was!  How lovely to see here, and how like hew mother she has grown….I haven’t seen her in ages and missed her on her last visit to Australia.  Her speech and gestures are much like her Aunt Marie’s.
When we got to Nekkoy her husband was there to meet us and he took possession of my case up to the house.  We had a lunch and a few drinks and did a lot of catching up sitting on the balcony watching the shipping making way up and down the channel. 

What a lovely view they have. A small still inlet where they more their boats, opening out to a  channel protected by another smaller island.  There are three houses on this side of Nekkoy.  Pat’s is the newest and appears to be the largest.  There is another large house on the other side belonging to an uncle.  It is a family island and each member has a right to build there though the older brother holds title to the island.  It has been in the family for 400 years.  The men have always been fishermen and the women have farmed, and this is typical of the islanders and their way of life.

Vansima came home from school but did not join us for dinner.  Pat baked a large pink salmon which was accompanied by vegetables.
We talked well into the night and when we looked at our watches it was suddenly 4.30 am!!!!!  We decided that it would be a good time to go to bed.

Friday we all got a late start.  I really can't imagine why!!!

Pat cooked some lovely eggs and bacon for brunch and we jumped into the boat to go into town, where we caught a cab to the museum.

I was surprised at the size of the town, as it doesn't't seem to extend that far when viewing from the water.

The museum is small and largely the work of one dedicated man who took great delight in showing us around and giving his English a workout.  I think some of the outstanding features for me were his models of the town of Flora in four ears, dating from the mid 1800¡¯s to the present.  A photo of the harbour absolutely crammed to overflowing with boats at the height of the fishing season in the 1920¡¯s.

He has an area of 19th century furnishing which would have been typical of the islanders homes of the time.  They were wealthier than the mainlanders being able to make good money from fishing and able to trade and buy furniture from the stores at Bergen.

Another whole building was devoted to boats.  Big ones, small ones, emergency and police boats, sailing boats, motor boats and all of them built in the traditional shape and clinker construction.
We saw various kinds of nets and fish traps, old navigation and cartographic instruments, charts and other related exhibits.

The next building was devoted to items related to the North Sea Oilk rigs.

We got a cab back to the harbour and I bought my ticket for the next days ferry, we went to the bottle shop (5 bottles of wine and some brandy cost Pat nearly $300 Australian). I couldn't afford to drink much here I'm afraid.

We went to the supermarket and Pat bought fruit and veg for the weekend.  I couldn't't afford to eat much here either.  Everything is very expensive and Pat says scarce too.  She has to ask the shop to get in quite ordinary things because they just didn't stock very much.  It was raining all the time we were out so by the time we had finished shopping we agreed that we didn't really need to see more of Flora and we jumped in the boat and headed back.

Pat cooked a leg of lamb for dinner and we again enjoyed our conversation with a bottle of bubbly.  Bedtime was much earlier as I must be at the ferry wharf before 8.30 a.m.