When you think of Ireland, you might immediately think of the color green, but actually it is a country of many colors.
Dublin especially is very colorful in its architecture, plus there are flowers everywhere. I have never seen more window baskets! Someone had even added fresh flowers to the haunting statues at the Famine Memorial.
Red pops up everywhere, especially on doors.
I was also surprised by the food! It’s not just pub food (though that was good, too). We had a lot of fresh meat and fish, fresh vegetables, even curry and tapas in Dublin. And everything had such beautiful presentation! I don’t normally take pictures of my food, but I did it all the time in Ireland!
San Gimignano is a quintessential Tuscan town, with medieval architecture and beautiful hilly, countryside views.
Fourteen tower houses have been well preserved, giving the city its unique skyline. (There were originally 72.) The city wall dates from the 12th/13th centuries. San Gimignano flourished until the Black Death swept through Italy in the mid-1300s.
My husband took this cool picture from the city wall; I love the way the corner of the wall points to the buildings below.
And, as a bonus, one of my favorite “leading lines” pictures I’ve ever taken, from the Maumturk Mountains in Ireland.
Continuing my theme of staying in castles from last week, on our class tour of southern Spain we spent a night in the parador of Jaén. “Paradores” are fancy, historical hotels across Spain, and this one was originally a 13th century castle, from the time of conflict between the Christians and the Moors in this area. It is strategically situated on a hillside, which gives some amazing views out of the rooms’ windows.
We traveled on to Granada, where we visited both the Generalife gardens and the Alhambra palace, situated right next to each other.
The mix of Arab and European architecture in that area is just marvelous, and so is the natural scenery. Both the windows themselves and the view of out them are worth seeing!
During our 8 day trip through Ireland with the Vagabond crew, my mom and I got to stay at a few truly unique places, including…a castle! We spent a night at the beautiful Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, and it was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.
There is so much character to Ballynahinch. The rooms all have names; we were in “Caislean Lough,” which I think means Loch Castle. Here’s the view from our window.
The original house was built in 1756 as an inn. The current hotel manages to blend old and new perfectly, with lovely modern conveniences as well as historical charm. We were so charmed we didn’t even mind carrying our luggage up the stairs!
The grounds are absolutely beautiful and I wish we had had more time to explore them. If you love the outdoors, this is the place for you.
Finally, we have some photos actually taken in 2019. This is an excellent representative sample of the photos on my phone, because the vast majority of photos I take are of my cats, my kid, and flowers!