We just got home from Ireland! This was our first vacation as a family of three. We’ve done weekend and day trips, and we visited family last Christmas, but we’ve never really taken our little girl with us on a sightseeing/non-holiday/new part of the world trip. We learned a lot, but I’d call it a successful trip!
I asked you where you thought we should go, and for our first two trips we went with the top 2 votes in the “First Choice” poll: Ireland and Italy. Thanks for your feedback! I was surprised by how many of you said we should see Greece. Don’t think we’re ignoring you! We just decided to put that one on hold until maybe next Spring? We’ll see!
It may be a little while before I write much about Ireland, so I hope these two photos suffice for a bit. The top picture was taken from the Cliffs of Moher and the bottom picture is from Blarney Castle (Little L is cozy on Derek’s back, in case you’re wondering).
Our last little weekend trip was to York. We hummed and hawed a bit about going on this trip as L and I had both been sick the week leading up to it, but we’ve wanted to go to York for a while and it was a three-day weekend, so we pushed through. (Conveniently I was the sickest of the family – L just had a mild cold that was basically better by the time we left). No regrets. : )
The first thing we saw was the York Minster – the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. We happened to get there right as one of the tours was starting and I know we got a lot more out of our visit (and admission fee) because of it.
I especially liked the Children’s Chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas where our guide told us a variation of this story, while Derek really liked the Chapter House.
The next morning we headed off to Fountains Abbey. Not unlike our clandestine arrival at York Minster, once again we arrived right in time to tag along with one of the guided tours. Since it was such a nice day we also spent some extra time walking around the grounds and appreciating the views.
We were so busy appreciating everything Fountains had to offer that we didn’t even realize lunchtime was upon us until we got to the tea room one our way back to the visitors’ center. We stayed and had lunch and L did some people watching.
One our way back to our hotel we stopped the cathedral in Ripon.
We also saw Spofforth Castle (enh), but it was really just an excuse to run around and be out of the car.
The following day was our day to really see York. We started at Jorvik Viking Center; a very interactive, entertaining, and educaitional museum and [literal] ride through history. To be honest the ride reminded me of the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disneyland, but instead of shooting lasers at bullseyes you’re listening to wax figures talk about how the Vikings lived 1,000 years ago. Still fun.
We wandered through The Shambles (which was packed as it was a bank holiday and a nice day), saw one of York’s smallest streets,
ran up Clifford’s Tower for the view,
meandered along some of the medieval city walls,
and toured Micklegate Bar; a gate house for the city walls turned mini-museum.
Frankly, another half day would have been ideally used to see the National Railway Museum and maybe the York Castle Museum, but as it was we got a nice sense of York and saw what we really wanted to see.
Since this little trip I’ve started watching Downton Abbey (I know, I’m so behind) and now I’m excited that I’ve seen Ripon and been to Yorkshire. Sometime soon I’ll have to go visit the abbey itself! (Side note: I now regret googling Downton Abbey for that first link. I’ve just started season 2 and there were some spoilers in just the google search. Argh! : )