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Friday, April 24, 2009

New York, Tribeca Film Festival

In New York for Tribeca Film Festival. Friday night: I am hanging out in East Village tonight- dinner at Yuca and now at Horus Cafe.

Saturday brunch was at the Odeon -- totally delicious. On Saturday night, we saw Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit. It was really good!

Jonathan after Blithe Spirit:



While I only got to two films this year, it was a beautiful weekend, and really too nice to be in theaters the whole time. But I really enjoyed both that I saw. One was The Swimsuit Issue, a Swedish film about a team of male synchronized swimmers. The other was Accidents Happen, about a 15 year old who has been involved in some accidents that have totally changed the course of his family's lives together. I met the actor, Harrison Gilbertson, after the film.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Taft, California

On Saturday morning, we left Pasadena to visit Uncle Norman and Aunt Christine and family in Taft. The drive was very scenic and enjoyable, and it was great to have a big family dinner with everyone.

Scene from the drive:



A Taft oil well:



Once we got there, we saw Norman and Christine, then went over to Christine's sister's house (Wanda's). Here, mom picks kumquats in Wanda's backyard.



The family picture, in Uncle Norman's backyard by his orange tree:



And his oranges were delicious!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hollywood and Pasadena


Since I had gift certificates for the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, CA, mom and dad and I decided not to travel internationally this Easter and instead visit California. Mom had never been, and dad had last visited in 1962.

THe hotel and the grounds were absolutely breathtaking. As mama said, we were in "high cotton."






The first night, we just hung out at the hotel, walking around the grounds, and having dinner in the 'casual dining' restaurant, which was actually not all that casual. We enjoyed it, though!



The next morning, we got our coffees and walked around the grounds some more.







After breakfast, the next stop was HOLLYWOOD!



Our first stop was the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theater to see all of the footprints and handprints of the stars.







Afterwards, we had lunch at In-N-Out Burger before riding through Beverly Hills with our maps of the stars houses. We saw Lucille Ball's, Roseary Cloony's, Eddie Murphy's (or at least what you could see of it), Ronald and Nancy Reagan's, Zsa Zsa Gabor's, Agnes Morehead's, Elizabeth Montgomery's, and many others.

Afterwards, we rode up into the hills to see the Griffith Observatory and the views of the city from there.




Monday, April 06, 2009

Dublin and Kildare, Ireland

After flying back from Inishmore, we got in the car to drive back to Dublin. We arrived in Dublin in the early evening, and checked into our bed and breakfast just across the River Liffey from the Temple Bar district. Of course, we took that opportunity to have dinner and drinks by Temple Bar.

The next morning, I returned our rental car, and walked back to the inn. It was a beautiful spring day in Ireland, and the flowers were blooming.



When I got back, we met Beth and Mary and walked down the Liffey to the train station, to go to Kildare to visit the National Irish Stud, home of a prestigious stud farm and beautiful gardens. Scenes from the gardens:





A new foal:



The horses were beautiful, and it was amazing how much money they were paid to reproduce!



We were on a rush against the clock to get back from Kildare to Dublin in time to get to the Guinness plant--one of the key things I wanted to do in Dublin as I had not gone there when I was in Dublin last (March 2000). We had a little drama when Beth left her iPhone in the cab, and we weren't sure where it was. Once the cab driver called back and said he had it, we wondered if he would arrive before the train did. He did, and we were on our way to Dublin, arriving at 4:45, and hauling butt to the Guinness Storehouse, where we arrived just in time for the last entry of the day.







The tour takes you through the brewing process, and as you go through it, you climb up to the top, where there is a tasting room (YUM) and a great view of the city.




Walking back from the brewery, we took some time to take some pictures by the River Liffey.







That night, our last night in Dublin, we celebrated our trip by visiting a few pubs. The coolest was the Stags Head.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Inishmore

On Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel with the intent of taking the ferry over to the Aran Islands, to Inishmore. But when we got to the ferry, no one was there.

So instead of the 49 minute ferry ride, we flew over on a small plane on Aer Arann.









After we landed on Inishmore, we had a driver give us a tour of the island through the small streets--barely more than single lane roads. The island, being quite isolated, maintained its gaelic culture and language.

The driver took us to Dún Aonghasa, the most famous fort on the Aran islands, dating back to 1500 BC and has been called "the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe." The fort:



The fort was built on a cliff with incredible views, towering 100 yards above sea level.






After hiking back down from the cliffs, we had a great little lunch at Nan Phaddy's House of Good Food and Refreshment.



Before leaving to go back tot the little airport, our driver dropped us off at an old grave yard and church sight to explore a bit. It dated from the 8th Century AD.



Saturday, April 04, 2009

Galway, Ireland

Saturday afternoon, I took a cab into Waterford and rented a car. While I don't think this was my first time driving in a foreign land, it was definitely my first time driving on the right side of the car and on the left side of the road!



Along the way to Galway, we had lunch in Limerick, and then stopped at Bunratty Castle.






When we arrived in Galway, we rode around and around and around looking for our hotel, the Clybaun. Frankly, it was a little disappointing after the cute inn we had in Tramore. It felt more like a Hampton Inn. It also wasn't by the water as we had anticipated.



The seashore that the hotel was not by:



That night we went to the Crane Bar and listened to live music. And drank some Guinness.

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