Civilized Travel

Air travel has become torture in recent years as airlines cram more passengers in cattle class.  The US airlines are all horrendous when it comes to service, so when traveling long haul internationally, it is well worth it to fly the foreign airlines.  Cathay Pacific is one of the best and even their rates in premium economy class are value priced from New York to Hong Kong.  From Hong Kong, connections are available to almost anywhere in Asia. Continue reading

An Urban Tropical Rainforest

Botanical Garden Singapore

The last place one would expect to find a tropical rainforest is the midst of a sprawling urban metropolis. Yet, that is what one finds in the middle of Singapore, of all places. Set in a different world just a few short miles from the central business district and the shopping meccas of Orchard Road are the Botanical Gardens, home to thousands of different plant specimens including over 1000 species of orchids. This Urban Tropical Rainforest sits on over 180 acres and is an excellent choice to stroll, or sit and meditate while taking in the amazing chi that radiates from this oasis. Continue reading

The Giant’s Causeway

Giants Causeway

Ireland is an enchanting place and one of the interesting facts about Ireland is that the lines between fantasy and reality are often blurred, and it is at times difficult to separate the two.  Of the many enchanting places on the Emerald Isle, the Giant’s Causeway is one such place where the lines of myth and reality are blurred. Continue reading

Portglnone Forest Northern Ireland

Flowers

We visited Portglnone in Northern Ireland because the village is the birthplace of my grandfather and like many Irish Americans, we long to explore our ancestral roots.  While not on the tourist map, the village is worth a stop on the way to or from the Antrim coast. Continue reading

Uragh Stone Circle and Lake of Gleninchaquin

Uragh

The Beara peninsula in Counties Kerry and Cork in Ireland is a path less traveled by the tour buses and not often found in the guidebooks.  We found the drive to be a worthwhile excursion and despite some of the very narrow roads, a peaceful respite from the touristy Ring of Kerry and Dingle peninsulas. Continue reading

Day trip to Skellig Ring and Valentia Island

 

Cliffs

Cliffs of Fogher

When staying in Waterville, CO Kerry Ireland, the Skellig Ring and Valentia Island make a great day excursion.  The Skellig Ring is a side loop off of the more popular Ring of Kerry, and as the roads are narrower, the tour buses do not go there so the experience is much less crowded and more peaceful.  It is possible to get in a boat trip, weather permitting, to Skellig Michael island, although we were not able to do so out last trip because the island was closed to the public for the controversial filming of the Star Wars movie. Continue reading

Hill of Uisneach

Catstone

Catstone at Uisneach

 

On a recent trip to Ireland, we covered much ground all the way from the Antrim coast in the north to the Beara Peninsula in the far southwest and all the way back to Dublin in the east.  Of all the magnificent sites and places we visited, the most memorable and spiritual is the Hill of Uisneach. Continue reading

Belfast – Vestiges of Conflict

UFF Watching You

 

A trip to Northern Ireland requires at least a day or two in Belfast, a city with much history and where the visible scars and vestiges of conflict still remain.  Belfast is steadily becoming a respectable tourist destination with sites, nightlife, and attractions such as the Titanic Belfast.  Although Belfast generally lags Dublin in expected urban vibe, it is quickly catching up. Continue reading