Salem

Witches, wizards, and muggles alike- Join me on a photographical journey through

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem graveyard

 

I had the joy of visiting this quaint and lovely town in the off-season of early January. Even though the snow had not yet built up, the air was full of the sharp coldness of a port-town in the bleak mid-winter.

… Though perhaps that “sharp coldness” was just the feeling an upstate-NY-turned-Florida girl has when taken out of the semi-tropical warmth of the land of palm trees and Mickey Mouse.

 

Salem

 

By the way guys, I DO actually listen to your suggestions. This post came about after being told “Allison- you need to get out with your camera more! I miss seeing your photos!” So- there you have it friends, some photos- just for you. Thank Tom for this one. Also, if you have any suggestions for posts, or things you’d like to see more of, please comment below and let me know!

 

Salem graveyard

 

 

All of the graveyard photos were taken of the Old Burying Point Cemetery, located just behind the Salem Witch Trial monument.  If you want to read a bit of the history of the Witch trials, click here or here if you want the timeline of events

 

 

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Salem Witch Trial Memorial

 

There is a nice blog on the memorial here if you’d like to read more. I had to go for the artsy shot that focused on the word “Wickedness” just because it looked so awesome. However, the space has this introspective and silent air. It is quite a beautiful memorial.

 

 

 

 

The grave of Thomas Smith. Salem, MA

 

Salem tombstone

 

The grave above is that of young Thomas Smith. This gravestone is sitting kind of all by its lonesome, yet very close to the house behind it. I was told the melancholy story by Michael Shaw Fisher, and I pass it along to you now:

 

 

The tale of poor unfortunate Thomas goes like this: Right around the time when people were dying of smallpox, people thought that Thomas had died and so they buried him in this graveyard in Salem. His mother who lived in that house right next to the graveyard claimed to have heard cries from Thomas. Needless to say, everybody thought the mother was crazy. After a while, she could no longer handle her thoughts, so she went out to the graveyard and with her hands she dug up her son’s small coffin – the boy would have been about six years old. When they opened up the coffin they found scratches on the inside of the lid, verifying that he had in fact been buried alive! The mother’s intuition was right all along! Ever since then the toys in the house (seen in the background) always find their way to that corner window where Thomas’s grave is below.

 

Creepy, eh?

 

 

 

an angel in Salem

Just to give you all something happier- Look! An angel showed herself to us in a patch of ice on the sidewalk!

 

 

Salem, MA

Cool old fire and police call box on the side of the road. Too bad it’s not actually a TARDIS…

 

 

 

The Friendship

There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.

 

– As far as I know, this quote has nothing to do with the ship itself…. it’s a common toast, and it seemed fitting here

 

Friendship in Salem

 

Friendship in Salem

 

 

Going to Salem in the off-season has it’s perks (less people!) but also plenty of disadvantages. For one, the Friendship was not open for visiting when I went, nor was the House of the Seven Gables. Luckily, I was still able to walk around the harbour and snap some photographs of the Friendship sitting in a bath of chilly water that was trying to freeze around the large ship. Click here to learn more.

 

 

 

Salem fishies

 

Walking around on this frozen pond…. what do we see?

 

Salem frozen fish

Oh noes!!! Frozen fishies!!

 

 

Salem church

 

Nearing the end of one of our days walking around Salem, I was able to catch the first church in the golden hour (when the sun is first beginning to set and a lovely golden hue is cast over all the light the sun touches).

 

Salem - private property

 

And perhaps my favourite- this oh-so-slightly creepy “private property” sign at a park. Love it!

 

 

 

 

 

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes

– Shakespeare: Macbeth. Act IV, scene i

 

 

 

 


 

Want to visit other places via my photographs?

 

Click here to visit Partnachklamm, a breathtaking gorge in Germany

beautiful partnachtklam

 

 

or Click here to visit Glendalough in Ireland (if you wanted more graveyards)

glendaloch graveyard

 

 


 

  • I would love to visit Salem around Halloween! Have you ever been? Tell me your story!
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Dia de los muertos

dia de los muertos in mexico city

 

Two years ago I was working on tour with Ricky Martin and had the opportunity to be in Mexico City for Halloween and

 

Dia de los muertos

or

Day of the dead

It was a pretty cool experience and I wanted to share some photos of the weekend with you all:

 

Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

 

 

I meant to post this FOR Day of the Dead celebrations, not AFTER. Sorry guys. Well, I still wanted to give you a little love, so here you have it! I never posted my awesome halloween costume from last year because I’m still waiting for some actual good photos of it. One of these days…

 

Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

 

 

 

I spent some time wandering the city and snapping photos of these altars. They were all over the place! Even in our hotel lobby. It definitely made the atmosphere quite festive.

Halloween night itself a  group of us roadies went bar hopping. I remember we started in an Irish pub. I know, I know…. it DID feel a bit odd to be drinking Guinness in an Irish pub in Mexico city on Halloween, but us roadies stick together! I brought a pumpkin baggie full of tequila chocolates and went reverse trick-or-treating (I handed out the tequila candies to strangers and friends). It was good times.

 

 

 

 

Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

 

 

 

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

 

Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

 

 

Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

 

 

 

It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. It was moved to October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with theRoman Catholic triduum festival of Allhallowtide: All Hallows’ Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls’ Day.[2][3] Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

 

(thanks to Wikipedia for the paragraphs when I’m slacking)

 

Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

 

 

 

The following year when I was on tour with Jennifer Lopez in Germany. We had a show (with a load in and load out) on halloween and some of us decided to dress up- even though we were working. And then as a throwback to this time in mexico, myself and another friend decided to do some Dia de los muertos face painting.

 

day of the dead makeup

 

We had planned to remove the halloweeny bits for show, but Jennifer said she was happy that some of us dressed up and encouraged us to stay in costume/makeup for the show.

 

day of the dead makeup

 

I ran hand-held camera (thank pete I painted only half face, otherwise I would have gotten the makeup all over the camera, or would have needed to remove it), and at one point was on stage with her VERY visible- with this makeup, black and red tights, a black lace veil, etc….

 

day of the dead makeup

 

It was a fun time- and she loved it.

 

 

 

 

Curious about other adventures?

Click here to see photos of Saint-Pierre, Martinique where you can learn about the beheaded and bloody Empress Josephine statue.

beheaded and bloody Empress Josephine statue in martinique

 

 

Or if you want something more chipper, click here to visit Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival

~pirate fairy

 

And standby for ideas on throwing your own Thorsgiving (yeah, that’s Thanksgiving, marvel-style)

 


 

  • Sugar skulls are such an “in” thing now! Have you done any sugar skull festive things for these autumn holidays?
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Martinique- Fort-de-France

Martinique

 

Is a lovely island in the lesser Antilles (South Eastern Caribbean) and is part of the French Republic. As such, it has a great French and Creole culture.

Fort-de-France

is the capital of Martinique and though it has always been the administrative capital, it was once overshadowed by Saint-Pierre, the cultural highlight of Martinique.  That is, until Saint-Pierre was destroyed by the volcano in 1902 (click here to read about Saint-Pierre and see more photos!).

 

If you’re curious what that volcano looks like now, click here to read the post on my hike to the top!

 

Exploring Fort-de-France, Martinique.  A Caribbean adventure!

 

Exploring Fort-de-France, Martinique.  A Caribbean adventure!

 

 

Josephine

 

My favorite part of Fort-de-France is the statue of Josephine. My travel partner, Kat, had heard of this statue and told me it was vandalized (it’s headless and bloody.  Yes seriously). She wondered if it had since been “repaired.” Luckily for us, it had not (and I doubt it ever will be).

 

A statue commemorating Martinique-born Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon, is in the gardens of La Savane. It was vandalized in the 1990s, presumably by individuals who blamed her for supporting the reestablishment of slavery on the island.

-wikipedia

 

Click here to learn more about Josephine

beheaded and bloody Empress Josephine statue in martinique

 

 

Schoelcher Library

 

Libraries are cool! … so of course, we had to go visit! It is a simply beautiful building and easy to find near the gardens of la Savane (a block or two away from the statue of Josephine).

 

From US News Travel:

The building was originally designed and built for an 1889 exposition in Paris before it was shipped to Martinique and reassembled along the west side of La Savane. It was named in honor of slavery abolitionist Victor Schoelcher.

 

 

Cool Library.  Exploring Fort-de-France, Martinique.  A Caribbean adventure!

 

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

- Jorge Luis Borges

 

 

Cool Library. Exploring Fort-de-France, Martinique.  A Caribbean adventure!

 

 

Sacre-Coeur de Balata

 

A smaller-scaled replica of the well-known tourist destination in Paris, France, Sacre-Coeur de Balata is a sight to see! Not too far out of Fort-de-France, it is situated high in the mountains and is home to some lovely vistas. If you have the time, it’s an easy trip and worth it for the views and lovely architecture.

 

It’s easy to find on the way to Jardin de Balata, the botanical gardens north of Fort-de-France. Take the N3 out of Fort de France heading north (know that getting OUT of Fort de France is not the easiest. Every time we were there, we would pretty much guess which way might take us out, and hopefully on the correct road. There will be signs to Balata, so that is helpful).  Both the gardens (Jardin de Balata) and Sacre-Coeur are further away from Fort de France than you might think.  I would approximate 20-30 minute drive. Sacre-Coeur de Balata will be directly on the road and you can’t miss it!

 

Sacré-Cœur de Balata Church. Exploring Fort-de-France, Martinique.  A Caribbean adventure!

 

Thank you for visiting me on another part of my Martinique adventure! I travel often and love seeking out different things to do and see. If you’re planning on traveling sometime soon, feel free to leave a comment and I will expedite a post for you (if it’s somewhere I’ve been… and I’ve been to a lot of places).

 

Many of you may have realized that I used to do a lot more posts and have since cut back.  I realized I was spending far too much time writing posts (though I love sharing them- they just take a lot of time and effort…. and research. Though that’s my own fault- I want to be sure I’m giving the best information I can!), so I’ve cut back to approximately one per week. Still, if you have post preferences (locations/adventures, recipes, geeky/diy ideas, eco friendly stuff, etc) be sure to let me know in the comments!

 

 

Cool Library. Exploring Fort-de-France, Martinique.  A Caribbean adventure!

 

 

Want to go on other virtual adventures?

Click here to learn about the Irish round towers in Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains outside of Dublin, Ireland

glendaloch irish cross and tower. Wicklow mountains national park. St Kevin's cross.

 

Click here to learn about whisky and stories on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye in Scotland. Scottish Highland trip

 

 

 

 

 

  • Have you ever visited a location with a defaced or otherwise altered statue or monument? What sort of character did it add to the location?  
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Glendalough- 40 shades of green

They say Ireland has 40 shades of green.  Well, that is certainly true.  It’s not called “the emerald isle” for nothing!

 

I realized I never finished sharing with you all the photographs from my day trip to Glendalough.  This post focuses on the trees, lakes, and natural beauty of the area.

 

If you didn’t catch it, visit the first post about Glendalough by clicking here; featuring the monastery and graveyard area of St. Kevin.

The second post is here and explains a bit about the Irish round tower (which can also be seen in the photograph below:

 

Dogs will be shot- they scare the sheep.  Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

The Irish round tower and the monastery site can be seen in the distance

 

 

A walk through 40 shades of green

 

I went on a small group half day tour; we had a nice time and a knowledgable guide.  The tour was through day tours unplugged. You can learn more by clicking here. I enjoy going on small group tours because I like getting to know the other people on the tour. A lot of the time, there are other single travelers and it’s nice for all of us to exchange travel stories and ideas of what to do next. One of the girls from this trip and I went out for dinner afterwards to the winding stair in Dublin- very good food!

 

One of the lovely things about this trip is that we actually had free time on our own to hike and visit whatever we wanted at our own pace, rather than following the guide the entire walk. The guide gave us a tour and great information when we were in the monastery, but then set us off on our own and just gave us a time by which to return.

Below are a few photographs through the greenery:

40 shades of green- Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

I used this photograph when making the “turn people into trees” post:

Ram daas tree quote

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

waterfall in Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

40 shades of green Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

 

 

 

Upper Lake

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

 

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

I love this tree! 

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

 

 

 

Upper lake is where a scene from the movie PS I love you was filmed. You can see a fraction of the moment in the trailer below at 1:20

 

 

 

After the nice walk to upper lake, we had to make it back to the van in time to depart.  We wandered past a few fields of sheep…

 

Sheep! Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

 

…and one very interesting sign …

Dogs will be shot- they scare the sheep.  Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

 

Yes, this sign was serious. Do not be that tourist that brings your obnoxious, yippy dog around the sheep- it’s their home.

 

 

 

That’s all there is to see of Glendalough.  It was a lovely trip and I’m glad I made the last-minute decision to go!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring with me.  If you’d like to visit some other places with me, why not click one of the links below?

Isle of Skye, Scotland- a magical island

the Isle of Skye has oodles of cliffs!

 

Partnachklamm- a breathtaking gorge in Germany

beautiful partnachtklam

 

 

  • If you’d like to know more about any particular area, please let me know below.  I’ve traveled a lot, and if I have been there, I will expedite a post for you!
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Saint-Pierre, Martinique

A city ravaged by a volcano:

Saint Pierre, Martinique

 

sainte pierre martinique

Once the cultural capital of Martinique, Saint-Pierre was known as “the Paris of the Caribbean.”  It was a thriving town full of theatre and the arts and was the first permanent French colony on the island.

tree in saint pierre martinique

 

Theatre, you say?

 

Why, yes old sport! -And since my travel partner, Kat, and I both LOOOOOOVE theatre, we just had to go check out the ruins!  If you’d like to visit them yourself, read on to the bottom of the post where I have some better instructions for how to find this lovely place.

 

martinique theatre

martinique theatre stairs

martinique theatre ruins

Couldn’t you just see yourself walking up this grand staircase for a night at the theatre?  I know I could! Granted, my French is horrible, so it’s doubtful that I would understand much of it.

 

Once you get “inside”, the rest of the ruins are still quite amazing!  Even the old floor and the abandoned rigging are interesting components to see:

French theater theatre ruins in Saint Pierre, Martinique

martinique theatre

old rigging in theatrical ruins

martinique statue

This statue was created long after the volcano’s eruption as a way to bring in more tourism and art to the city.  

However, they placed it in a strange corner of the theatre ruins, so it is barely visible. Odd.

French theater theatre ruins in Saint Pierre, Martinique

 

Sadly, we couldn’t go see any shows at the theatre.

 

The town was destroyed again on 8 May 1902, when the volcanoMount Pelée erupted, killing over 30,000 people, the entire population of the town

-Wikipedia

The eruption of Mount Pelée was dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century

ruins in Saint-Pierre, Martinique

 

graffiti in martinique

 

 

My awesome travel partner and I hiked  the volcano Mt Pelée- it was beautiful (well, since it wasn’t erupting and trying to kill us)- click here to read more about the hike and see photos!

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

The most interesting thing to me, however, is that one person IN the town managed to live through the disaster. A prisoner by the name of Louis-Auguste Cyparis happened to live through the eruption because he was living in the prison cell seen below:

Jail cell in martinique only survivor of the volcano was here

French theater theatre ruins in Saint Pierre, Martinique Jail cell

 

Also, the sand on the beach is now black:

black volcanic sand beach martinique

martinique black sand beach

martinique black sand beach

 

 

Saint-Pierre was definitely an interesting place to visit, though there were definitely not too many people, nor many establishments open for business.  One could clearly see that this town was in ruins, and though it has been built back up, it will never come back to its former glory.

saint pierre destruction volcano ruins

martinique

 

 

Information for tourists:

If you’re trying to find the ruins of the theatre or the jail yourself- they shouldn’t be hard to find, the sign for the ruins is even sitting right along the street.  Somehow, we managed to pass it the first time we drove by.  The jail is visible just to the north edge of the theatre (walk in the theatre to what would be backstage right, or up the stairs and all the way to your left, and look over the ledge)

 sainte pierre

 

You’ll need to be driving north through the city on D10- it’s a one way street headed north that breaks off from the main road of N2 on the north and south sides of the city.

The ruins will be almost near the north end of town on your right. There is a street, “rue du theatre,” that you will pass on your right just before you find the gate and stairs to the theatre.

There’s no special parking nor entrance fee.  Just park on the street somewhere and walk in.  A decent amount of the informational plaques were surprisingly in English!

 

 

saint-pierre martinique

 

Thanks for joining me on my tour of Saint-Pierre, Martinique!

 

 

Would you like to join me on some other adventures?

Click here to read about my trip to the beautiful monastery of St. Kevin in Glendalough, Ireland.

glendaloch graveyard

Or Click here to learn more about Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT

tinkerbell butterfly garden disney

 

 

martinique

 

  • Have you ever visited a city that was destroyed by an act of nature?

 

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Hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée 

 

(Mount / Mont  Pelée)

is an active volcano on the island of Martinique in the lesser Antilles (south eastern Caribbean).

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

It is famous for the destruction of Sainte Pierre and the death of 30,000 people caused by an eruption in 1902 which was dubbed the

Worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century!

 

Edit: I just found this cool smithsonian site about the Global Volcanism Program and Pelée.  Click here to read more.

 

I’ll write more about the disaster when I share photos and stories from Saint-Pierre sometime later. This post is all about our lovely hike up to the top of the volcano.

 

Edit- sometime later I wrote another post about Saint-Pierre. Click here to check it out!

Also, I did another post about a few things around Fort-de-France. Click here to check that one out!

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

I know, when you think “active volcano” and see these photos, you’re wondering where is all the lava and magma!??!??  Mt Pelée is currently quiescent and is grown over with vegetation, but is suspected to erupt again in the future.

 

memegenerator

 

There are 3 different hikes up to the crater:

Desiles hike: from Macouba.  This is the longest and least-trodden trail

L’Aileron: from Morne Rouge. This is a relatively popular one and was recommended by this blogger

La Grande Savane: from Le Prêcheur. This is the trail we chose and is another popular option.

 

Mt Pelee hiking trail map

 

Mt Pelee hiking trail map

 

La Grande Savanne trail to the top of Montagne Pelée

 

On D10 just south of Le Prêcheur there is a sign to this Mt Pelee hike. Take the road inland; as most roads in Martinique, this one is very windy and narrow. The road ends at the sign above with a tiny parking area (not an obvious parking lot by any means).

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

There is a jeep road that continues to the right. I have no clue where this road goes. A few trail guides we found tell us to take this route as the beginning of the hike. However, there is a marked trail just to the right of the sign. Since 2 other groups of hikers took this trail before we set off, we decided to follow them up this trail.

The trail starts off easy enough, up a gentle incline, through trees, and even over a nice bridge! Note- this bridge is your only moment of almost flat walking! Every other moment of the hike is on an incline. Be in decent shape or you might get exhausted quickly (or just take your time and hike more slowly).

Martinique- hiking a volcano

A view looking down the mountain at the bridge.  This is very close to the entrance of the hike

 

 

The majority of the hike is out in the open sun, so

WEAR SUNSCREEN

and be sure to reapply.

Two fair ladies hiking in the Martinique sun… and we even wore sunscreen… let me just say it was bad. I am not sharing photos of our awful sunburns.

 

 

I digress….back to the hike! Behold the beauty!

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

This looks like it belongs in the shire! I LOVE THE SHIRE! Thus, I love this hike.

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 We pretended that I was Frodo and my friend was Sam

We were delivering the ring to toss in the fires of Mt Doom

Luckily, we did not encounter Shelob nor any orcs

 

 

The hike in different parts has gravel, stairs, rocks, grass, and overall is very well maintained. Know that there are times that are more of a scramble (using hands and climbing up rocks). I’m quite certain this is the case for all of the hikes up to the top of Mt Pelée, so any folks wanting to brave the volcano should be active.

 

 

There is a lot of interesting and lovely vegetation to be found up here too:

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

I love this guy- he looks as though he belongs underwater!

 

 

Up to the crater

Once you arrive to the crater rim, there is a posted sign with multiple direction options. One of them looks as though it is straight up (and it is), but it leads directly to the shack structure.

From here, one can hike up to chinois, the summit- which is another hour or so round trip (from the shack).

Continuing around the back of the shack is a trail which continues the crater rim loop and will bring you back to the posted sign.

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

On an extremely clear day, one can see to the neighboring islands, but clear days are very rare on the island.  We were lucky to not be engulfed in the cloud when we reached the crater rim. Though on the hike down, the cloud began rolling in:

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

Timing:

 

The hike up to the crater rim should take 1.5-2 ish hours one direction.

The hike around the crater rim is said to take 2 or so hours.  Since I left my hiking partner at the crater rim trail “head,” I did not hike the full loop, but went straight up to the shack and came back- which took approximately an hour round trip.

The hike from the shack to Chinois- the summit- is said to take an hour+ round trip.

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

The hike was beautiful and exhausting. Our  legs were a bit shaky at the end of the hike.

We took the following day “off” and relaxed a bit to rest our tired legs and sunburnt necks. I highly recommend hiking at least up to the crater.  It is certainly an experience!

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

Would you like to see photos of another adventure?

 

Click here to learn about my hike through Partnachklamm- a beautiful gorge in Germany

 

Or click here to learn about my hike over the top of the O2 in London

 

 

Thank you for visiting, and as usual, please let me know if you have any questions about this trip or if you would like to know more about an area you are traveling to- I might have been there and can expedite a post for you!

 

 

  • Have you ever hiked a volcano? Would you like to?

 

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Glendalough- Irish Round Tower

Glendalough

Irish Round Tower

 

glendaloch cross + tower

 

Often called a gothic tower, this one was built in the 11th century and sits 30.5 meters (100 feet) tall.  It can be found in the early medieval monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in Glendalough.

 

Glendalough (pronounced “Glenn-dah-loch”), is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park outside of Dublin, Ireland.

To see more of the monastic settlement and graveyard area, click here.

 

glendaloch tower

 Note the “window” near the bottom.

 This is actually the main -and only- door to the tower and is located about 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) from the base.

 

(the following story is roughly summarized from the tour company video below) :

As you may know, the Vikings had a lot of interest in the Celtic Isles and have raided this area a bit “back in the day.” Round towers were built as a place to hide from the Vikings, and the doorway was built to high up so that the Vikings could not get in.  You can learn more by watching this video by Viator:

 

 

~~ ~~ ~~ THIS IS FALSE ~~ ~~ ~~

 

There are a number of stories about the creation of the towers.  The one above, is actually told by a number of tour guides.  IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE!  Aren’t the Vikings smart enough to figure out how to get in that doorway if they wanted to?  Or they could set the wooden door on fire and smoke out/kill everyone who was “hiding” in the tower.

Yes, the towers were often used as lookout or bell towers, but the doorway was built that high up -oh I don’t know- perhaps because the tower is freaking tall and built with little to no foundation!  If there were a door big hole in the bottom portion of the tower, it would be much less structurally secure.

Also, the towers were the libraries, the record-keeping rooms, and the keeper of all things important.  Having the door so high up meant that the tower would be much less likely to flood, and everything kept on the first floor (now 3.5m up) would be dry and happy.

 

glendaloch cross and tower 2. Ireland

 The tower is constructed of mica-slate and granite

 

glendaloch pretty cross and tower

Just look at the detail on that cross!  Beautiful!

 

Thank you for visiting and learning a little about the round tower and the monastery in Glendalough.

 

 

Love Ireland?  Click here to check out my post about St. Paddy’s Day (and learn why it’s “St. Paddy” and not “St. Patty”)

 

 

  •  Have you heard any other incorrect stories about the use of the round towers?  Or would you like to make one up? :)
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Glendalough- Monastery

Glendalough

means “the valley of two glens” in Irish (Gaelic).  From Gleann Dá Loch and pronounced as such (Glen da loch).

 

I’ve since added two other posts about this area:

Click here to read more about the Irish Round Tower.

Click here to see more of the natural beauty of the surrounding area and the lakes. 40 Shades of Green indeed!

 

glendaloch pretty cross

 

This post is dedicated to the monastery, ruins, and graveyard. Eventually, I’ll also get around to writing a post about the gothic tower inside the monastery as well.
 

glendaloch graveyard. County Wicklow, Ireland. National Park

 

I visited this lovely place on a half day trip from Dublin.  It is located in County Wicklow, Ireland (slightly southwest of Dublin). To get here, one would need a vehicle –or a guided tour– as public transportation does not come out this way.

 

I really enjoyed being able to take some time and get out of the city to see a bit of Ireland’s natural beauty. The entire trip did not take too long (I didn’t want to sit in a vehicle for hours that day…. I didn’t have the patience for it), and we traveled through a few different parts of one of Ireland’s National Parks. It’s something I recommend doing if you have the time!

 

 

glendaloch graveyard Ireland celtic cross

 

On this same trip, I was able to do a little walking around Glendalough, so there will be a post about the natural beauty and lakes of the valley (this area was used in filming various movies, including P.S. I Love You and Braveheart)… someday.

 

We were also able to visit the Guinness family estate (including a lake that looks like a proper Guinness pint and the bridge from the movie P.S. I Love You)

 

glendaloch entrance Ireland

Walking through the entrance to the monastery is like walking through a portal to another world.

 

 

glendaloch cross

Note the cross on the bottom right of this photo, etched on the large rock slab.  It is easily missed on many tours to this location and this cross shape has been traced back to here and is known as the Glendalough Cross.

 

 

Glendalough Glendaloch ruins. Wicklow National Park. Ireland.

Ruins within the monastic walls are still quite beautiful today.  This area would have been the pulpit.

 

 

glendaloch graveyard Ireland celtic

 

…. to be continued…. eventually :)

 

 

Though if you would like to see some other cool celtic places, why not check out The Isle of Skye if you haven’t already?

 

 

  • Am I the only one who loves all celtic things?
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Disney Flower and Garden Festival- fun for kids big and small

The topiaries at the Flower and Garden festival were amazing, but did you know there’s a whole lot more?

~bonzai

 

 

Whether you’re a group of adults or a family with small children, you’re bound to find fun things around the park all day.

 

 

TinkerBell’s butterfly garden

 

The garden was in this screened-in tent area where butterflies were “free” to fly all about the place.  It was kind of magical to have them all around you.

~tink

~tink butterfly

~butterfly

~cocoon

~faerie 2

~faerie can

 

~pirate fairy

 

 

Fun food and drink stands

 

There are not as many as one would find at the Food and Wine Festival, but there are a decent amount.  It’s always fun to try new/different things!


~frushi

~linie aquavit

 

 

Children play areas

 

There are a number of well-themed children play and activity areas.  If I came here with my family when I was a child, my dad would have brought us here and said “ok- now go and get your ya yas out!”

~kids monsters
~mike and sully

 

~ kids fun

 

 

And my favorite garden:

 

~biergarten

~biergarten2

~beer

Friend me on untapped (museinitiative) to see my reviews of the beers.

 

There are many more things to see and do at the festival that I didn’t get to do (they do tours of the festival for example- I’m sure there’s plenty of awesome things to learn).  Click here to learn more.

~futbol

 

 

To read more about the topiaries and see photos of them, click here.

 

Or if you’d rather, check out my post on geeky Cupcakes (click here)! I mean, Disney now owns Star Wars, so it’s fitting, right?

 

  • Have you been to the Flower and Garden festival?  What was your favorite part?

 

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Disney Flower and Garden Festival- Topiaries!

Topiaries are sooo cool!  Here’s a collection of most of the topiaries that can be found at the Disney EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival.

~rafiki

~timon and pumba

 

Can you figure out what all the topiaries are?  If you mouse over each one, there is a quote or a hint.

 

 

~pooh

 ~lady tramp

 

 

I visited this festival last week with my awesome cousin and her awesome husband.  It was a very fun time and I highly recommend visiting if you can, especially if you enjoy walking around the park and looking at cool things… I personally prefer this to standing in long lines for a bunch of rides.

 

 

~hook

~croc

 

The event continues through May 18, 2014 (and happens annually), so there is still time to make it if you didn’t get a chance!

 

 

~snow dwarfs2

 ~more dwarfs

 

 

Click here to visit the website about the festival!

 

~aurora

 

~bambi

 

OH! Did I mention that this isn’t a separate ticket event?  It is included with your park admission- park hoppers too!

 

~muppets

~phineas and ferb

 I wanted to give some love to those of you who cannot make it to the festival, or those who just love seeing cool topiaries.  I hope you’re enjoying the trip through!

~sorcerer mickey 2

 ~fantasia

The topiaries can be found all around EPCOT (not just in world showcase), and are very well placed. It’s obvious Disney thought this out, as I would expect. (e.g. Buzz Lightyear can be found outside Mission: Space and The Cars area is right near Test Track).

Side note- want to know when to use e.g. versus i.e.? click here! (knowledge is power… or at least makes you look/sound better-er and more awesomer)

 ~buzz

~lightin' mcqueen

 ~tow mater

Not every topiary was from a Disney movie, though.  There were some that just fit in with the area or country:

~norway troll

~panda

 

Standby for a second post about other activities and things for big kids and not-so-big kids!

~beast and belle

~chip potts

 

If you’d like to see more about the festival, visit page 2 which is all about fun for kids big and small.

Or, if you’d rather, click here to learn about someplace other than Disney (the Isle of Skye, for instance).

 

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