Sunday, June 27, 2010

Belfast Images

Our first day in Belfast with lectures (noted in other post), self-touring and pub hopping.
Belfast City Hall and statues.

Cathedral Quarter mosaic.
Prince Albert Tower

My favorite pub; Bittles Bar. Quaint corner bar. Great selection of beers on draught.

A few panoramic views from Victoria Square lookout.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I do have a better picture but this is classic. It was our first day in Belfast; I more jet lagged than Cory. She traveled from Cambridge, UK, about 1+ hours compared to my 6+ hours across the pond. I had a local take our picture and she said; "Do you want it a wee bit closer?" But it all ran together for us and this is the look she got. I think we still had half pints because we were too knackered to drink anymore. I think time was an issue, too, and I was not about to be chugging any beer. Been there ~ done that ~ like to enjoy it now.

Tips for Traveling

Really ~ pack light. Especially when traveling with a group. There are always facilities to do laundry and you can always wear your souvenirs. I packed perfectly for the first time ever. I had three jackets; one for rain, a fleece and a fleece vest. Layers really help as you can use the jackets over and over again. Since the weather was beautiful, I could not re-wear my clothes as I would normally do because I sweated a lot from all the walking and riding. Go all natural ~ ditch the hair dryer, irons and make-up. Makes traveling so much easier. Bring the basics if you cannot do without make-up. It really helps to go all natural as it saves time and space.

I eventually donated my sneakers, flannel pjs and one long sleeve shirt to make room for the whiskey. I probably should have donated more but I could not part with any other clothing. I should have left all the rocks as that would have lightened Brad's bag. The strap torn as the 16.5 lb bag became 30.5 with added books, rocks and whiskey. The zip locks came in handy with grabbing food from the hotels. It wasn't as if there weren't places to eat but that we did not have time to eat between lectures and the days journeys.

Pack a few items for first aid, ibuprofen, e-mergen C packs and more than you need. If you have the room, squeeze it in. I ran out of the stuff early. With the lack of sleep and running from place to place, I came down with a cold that hampered my non-stop energy the last few days of the trip. If anything, e-mergen C and airborne are great cures for hangovers.

This was our mini-bus minus two women (and their baggage) who were flying in from Amsterdam to join our group. They are traveling for a few more weeks on their own to Dublin and Italy before returning to the states.
This was our first lecture at the Crescent Arts Centre with people from the Charter for Northern Ireland group. The youth are involved with a programmed called Crossing the Bridges. Some of the kids met Catholics for the first time two or three years ago. The communities have been physically divided by walls, gates and going back hundreds of years, they created their own little towns to be sustainable without having to interact with the other. Charter provides these groups with the tools to help the communities come together, teach each that we are not really different from the other (pray to the same God) and to respect what differences may exist.
We had free time in the afternoon and while others shopped or toured Belfast, we took in a half pint!! at the Kitchen Bar. We wanted a full pint but were too knackered. The World Cup is full on in Ireland. Just fantastic! But we did not get to watch much as we were on the go.
Many versions of the pound (Ireland, England, Scotland).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Off Across the Pond Again

I am all set for Northern Ireland! I had my packing pile close to ready for over a month. Now that everything is in the bags, I have to UNpack! The checked bag has to be about the size of a carry on bag as my trip is a class and we are limited with space on the mini-bus.

There is no room for Bushmills or other souvenirs so I am packing old running shoes so I can leave them there at an Irish Goodwill or homeless shelter to bring home some whiskey! I think my carry on is just a big as my checked as I have all the electronics, batteries, chargers and snacks stashed away.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pizza on the Grill

I love riding my bike because I love food!!! It is stinking hot so there was no way I want to turn on the oven but I have been JONES for homemade pizza. On the ride, Bad Kat and I talked about wanting to try to grill pizza. Thank goodness we only rode 35+ miles because that allowed me time to make pizza dough in the bread maker, go to market, stop at one of my favorite coffee shops (Cross Keys Coffee & Tea) for an espresso (1/2 decaf-1/2 reg) and come home to chop veggies to marinade for grilling tomorrow and then saute mushrooms, onions and sausage for pizza on the grill. I have to note I had to have a half & half espresso because I am running a mile a minute.

I read online how to grill pizza and since we have an old grill, I didn't trust throwing dough on the grill ~ even an oiled grill, so I ripped off some aluminum foil and spread some olive oil on them. I put the cooked mushrooms, onions and turkey sausage in separate bowls, rolled out two oval pies, fired up the grill and took everything outside except the dough. Once the grill was hot, I ran in the house, carefully grabbed one of the doughs on aluminum foil and threw it on the grill. I forgot about the cheese and sauce and ran in the house quickly for those fixings (you have to do all of this fast as the dough can burn on the grill). Luckily I closed the grill lid because we ran out of gas. #()%(*%*@A!! At least the dough got crispy on the bottom so I flipped it and closed the lid again. I ran down into the basement to finish up some laundry and ran up to place the toppings on the dough. Once the toppings were on, I closed the lid so the cheese would at least melt. I was STARVING because I didn't eat lunch because I was waiting for this moment. The pizza turned out awesome!! Brad just changed the tank so I can finish making the other pizza.

I will probably not have time to run around and finish the laundry, do dishes, etc. as there is a full tank of gas! Woohoo. Based on the recipes on the web, you don't really want to close the lid but I had a stinking suspicion that the tank was going to run out of gas. I will throw the other dough on the grill, watch it cook in a few minutes, flip it with two spatulas and then put all the stuff on top. Bingo! Grilled pizza in no time!! Yummy!!