Sunday, April 17, 2011

Euro Trip 2011

Sorry it's been a while since my last post but I've been busy vacationing! I thought I would blog my favorite photos from the trip since sharing is caring. I picked just 42 of my 400+ snapshots, but I hope you'll enjoy them! By the way, you can click on any picture to enlarge it. I just made them smaller so this page is easier to load.


We began our trip in Dublin, which is a charming little city with very nice people. We were pretty jet lagged on the first day, but we found the strength to drink some beer at the Guiness factory. Here's the ingredient that gives Guiness its trademark color and flavor: malted barley.

It was hard getting good pictures from the Gravity Bar at the top, which offered 360 degree views of Dublin, but I did my best.

We were very amused by this T-shirt in the gift shop and were tempted to buy it.

We were able to draw several parallels between Seattle and Dublin, one of which being the oddities of public transit. It looks like Dubliners are as happy with their public transit as we are.

I was advised on the plane ride into Dublin by a nice Irish girl to see the Leprechaun Museum. I thought that this clearly must've been a joke, until we found a pamphlet on the ground outside Dublin Castle as well as this sign on the street (which was pointing the wrong way because a guy turned it, dressed as a leprechaun, and decided to make some money off tourists).

The Liffey!


Next up on our trip was London, and our first night I finally had some proper cod and chips at a true neighborhood pub (we were the only tourists there).

The street we stayed on was lined with hotels, but was still very pretty.

We saw the traditional sights (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, etc), but those are all pretty pedestrian. How about a really pimp hotel instead? (we didn't go inside, but it looked awesome)

The British Library didn't allow pictures inside (though it was a really awesome little museum), but the British Museum did and it was pretty incredible. I loved the entrance design.

Aside from the Rosetta freaking Stone and some really great mummies and stuff, there was plenty of other cool artifacts there.

Tower of London from the Tube station:


I'd been to Brussels before (more pictures from Belgium from my last trip here) so I knew there wasn't a ton to do there, but you can't visit Brussels and not get a Belgian Waffle:

We managed to stay pretty close to the main plaza, which had pretty nice views at night.


I've been to Paris before, as well, and I have pictures from that trip posted here if you're interested. It was still fun going back there though and I saw several things I hadn't seen before, including this tree that I just thought was really beautiful (at the Tuilleries Garden).

We followed the Garden up to the Louvre.

I saw this when we were crossing the Seine and I thought it was really cool because it sounded exactly like the proper Sphinx described in the mythology regarding Oedipus.

We went to the Hotel des Invalides (a Hotel Napolean built for injured soldiers that's now a war museum) and they had a room of really cool models of various towns and cities and such built for military strategy, including a model of the place you may recognize from The Count of Monte Cristo film.

Though I have plenty of Eiffel Tower shots, it was too nice of a day out to not take one more from a different side.

My friends endured my pleas to swing by the Dali Espace in Montmartre and I really enjoyed it - this was my favorite piece that they had on display.

The last time I was at the Arc de Triomphe, they were doing a ceremony so I couldn't get too close to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but I got closer this time.

We saw a pretty decent sized orchestra in the subway one afternoon, and they were really talented. Just not something you see every day!

The last thing we saw in Paris before we left was Notre Dame and it was my first trip to the crypt underneath where they had ruins from Paris that once was, and it was just really neat to see.


Rome was the last city on our tour, and you can see many pictures from my last trip there highlighting some the big stuff to see there here. We stayed at a pretty good bed and breakfast right in the heart of the area around Vatican City, which gave us a chance to really live like a Roman, and I really took a shine to this particular piece of grafiti because there are so many funny things about it (not the least of which being that he didn't say 'love').

This is the organ at Santa Maria del Popolo, and I just thought it was really pretty how it was designed to look like angels are holding it up.

That church is on one side of the busy Piazza del Popolo, with this being the view from the middle - very symmetrical.

The Borghese Gardens were another new thing I hadn't ventured out to at all on my last trip, and it's basically a smaller version of Central Park. I was really taken aback by the massive trees they had there.

This is just a picture I happened to like that I took at St. Peter's Basilica in the piazza. The lamp posts there were very unique.

We happened to be staying down the street from a great Irish pub (I believe we visited a pub in every city we stayed in) where my friend's Guinness had a child.

Also at that pub we noticed some pretty young kids there. Here's a picture we tried taking without being too conspicuous.

I took this picture from our balcony one morning - it was just a very nice, homely neighborhood.

The most incredible part of our trip was getting a semi-private tour of the Vatican Gardens, which were an incredible preservation of a piece of God's beautiful creation. Nothing terrible extravagant about them, just their natural beauty. By the way, this is the way to go if you want to see the Vatican Museums - you pay a little extra for the tour of the gardens, but you skip the massive line for the Vatican Museums in the process. You just need to go to their website and book at least a month in advance (you can book up to 60 days early).

The castle-like structure in the back of this shot is basically the Pope's guest house for foreign dignitaries.

There's nothing super special in this last garden shot, I just like taking pictures of pathways like these. I think it's a place for gardening to tools at the end there.

This is an unfinished sculpture from the Vatican Museums that I believe was made by Bernini. I just found it very striking - I couldn't tell you why, but something is very beautiful about her.

We saw this horse outside the Colosseum trying to eat the grass in between the stones in the ground. It was too cute/sad to not take a picture of.

This in incredible work of art is from the St. Peter-in-chains church (known for having the chains that bound St. Peter in both prisons he was famously held in) - it's Michelangelo's Moses. I'll let you guess why it's called that.

We paid a visit to the Scala Sancta - the steps Jesus carried the cross up at Pontius Pilate's crib, with 4 spots of trace amounts of Jesus's blood. Really incredible to be there and highly recommended for any Christians.

Back in Dublin

We ended our trip with one last night in Dublin, followed by probably our tastiest breakfast of the trip - a true Irish breakfast (we had that other mornings in Dublin as well, this one was just better).

Alright, that's all for now! I'll post many more photos on Facebook for those of you who actually know me in real life. I'm hoping to have another post up here in the next couple of weeks on actual tech news.

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