Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oh, The Places We've Seen

Hello to you again, friends

Wow, we have had an exciting month! But, whew I’m glad we are settled again. We last left you as we had just returned from Portugal. Since then we had a weekend in Ireland and Northern Ireland, a weekend in Barcelona, a week with our friend Patrick visiting from the States, and another weekend in London. Let’s get up to speed…

The Ireland Trip…
We flew into Belfast, which is the capital of Northern Ireland. At the airport we rented a car…our means of travel! We had a day and night in Belfast and on that first day we traveled to the northern most tip of the country to a place called the Giant’s Causeway: a collection of natural hexagonal rocks. The only other one like it in the world is on the coast of Scotland. In fact, both formations were once a part of the same chain…the rocks were formed from volcanic activity. We then drove around Ireland taking in the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, Clonmacnoise (an ancient Monastic city), The Rock of Cashel, and the towns of Dingle, Cork, Blarney (home of the Blarney stone) and Dublin where we ended our trip.

I can’t say enough about what a great time we had. We put 900 miles on the car we rented and when we returned it we were exhausted. But, the beauty we took in was unmatched.

The Barcelona Trip…
Well, just getting to Barcelona was a trip in itself. Our original flight had a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Upon arrival in Frankfurt we were informed that the employees of the Barcelona airport went on strike, which wouldn’t be resolved that day. So, after waiting in the line for the transfer desk for about 5 hours, we were finally told that the best the airline could offer us was to fly us out in about a half hour to Düsseldorf, where the airline would pay for us to have a night in a hotel. After the hotel and early the next morning we would board a flight to Barcelona. And that’s exactly what we did. So, instead of arriving in Barcelona Friday morning, we got in on Saturday morning. All in all, we didn’t lose much time in Barcelona, but we did gain a few grey hairs from the airport turmoil.

Once we got to Barcelona we met up with our great friend Patrick Peringer. I invite you to check out his website ( if you want to hear more about the trip. But, from our perspective it was a great time. Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. Gaudi is an artist, whose sculptures and architectural designs are prominent in the city. In fact, some say that Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia is to Barcelona what the Eiffel Tower in to Paris. We took in the Gaudi (and his contemporaries), enjoyed the street performers along Las Ramblas (the main city strip), and tanned and swam at the beach. It was Patrick’s first time to swim in the sea and he was “well chuffed” about it (well chuffed is a British expression for very excited). It was great fun in Barcelona, and although our time in Barcelona was over…our time with Patrick was just beginning!

Patrick’s Visit…
Patrick was with us for a little over a week and we did a lot in that time despite both Sarah and I having to work. We explored Hereford and introduced Patrick to our friends here. Many laughs were shared over card and dice games. We went for a walk in the nearby Forest of Dean. We took Patrick to our local (and favorite) castle called Goodrich castle. We went to a local pub. We went for a night out in our neighboring town of Worcester where we ate Portuguese food and saw “The Breakup” at the cinema. And then we were off to London.

All of our visiting guests love to visit London. With Patrick, we did the usual: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (we actually went inside this time), Trafalgar and Leister Squares, St. Paul’s, the London Eye, Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, Buckingham Palace (we witnessed the changing of the guard…in the rain ☹) and the parks. After, just about two days of this we left Patrick. He had one more night to spend and a flight to catch early the next morning. I do know that after he left us he went to the Tate Modern Museum and thoroughly enjoyed the Kandinsky exhibit.

Back To Normal?

Not exactly… I am still finding my footing for my new job. Sarah has now started rehearsals for “Singin’ in the Rain.” I’m not in it because it conflicts with my new job. But, I work for the theatre, which is doing the show, so I do have some involvement. And, we are studying up for our driving test. That’s right…driving test. We are allowed to drive on our U.S. license for up to one year and then we have to pass both written and practical parts of the U.K. drivers test. I know…it’s dumb. But, that’s the way it is. So, we have to pass the test before October 28th (that was our date of arrival one year ago).

So, are things normal? No…but we wouldn’t have it any other way! That’s all for now, but we would love to hear from all of you. Sent us an email if you get a chance.

Love to All,

Jason (and Sarah)

Pictured: Jason and Sarah at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland (the pic with hexaganol shaped rocks). Jason and Sarah in front of the majestic Cliffs of Moher (Ireland). Patrick and Jason in front of the south entrance to Sagrada Familia (Barcelona). Jason and Sarah near Gaudi's infamous Lizard Fountain in Barcelona.