Temple Bar.

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

Green Converse lace-ups float upon the cobble stones.

She can’t help but dance.

The tune of the fiddle, the beats of the drum box, and the chords of the guitar blend together to produce a nostalgic harmony.

Five young lads sporting grungy clothes, unwashed long hair and taped together instruments beat along the traditional Irish folk tunes.

…two people stop…ten people stop…fifty people…one hundred people gather forming a crescent-shaped stage crowd around the band.

Her courage builds.

Her feet begin to tap and suddenly she finds herself in the middle stage jumping along the beats of her heritage.  The dance steps from her childhood effortlessly flow from her feet.

Cameras come out, smiles grow upon faces, a chorus of clapping hands begin and the clink of the coins thrown into the open guitar case adds to the merriment.

Two young girls admire the dancer’s confidence and join the lone dancer in the middle of the stage. Pair-by-pair more join the stage until the whole street explodes into a dancing parade.

Welcome to Temple Bar.

(if link does not work go to http://vimeo.com/40823918)

On a recent merry Friday night, I found myself exploring the medieval cobblestone streets of Temple Bar in downtown Dublin, Ireland.

Ever been to an Irish pub in the States? Multiple that by 1000, add some fun accents, a lot of Guinness and there you have the magic of Temple Bar.  The young, the old, the conservative, the liberal, the fun, the boring, the sober, the smashed, the beer belly, the beer keg…the pubs are filled with a diverse crowd of Dubliners and tourists.

Dublin, you make me smile.

watercolorWEDNESDAY XXXIV

April 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

Continuing with the Ireland theme, welcome to the hills of Western Ireland.  This shot was taken while I ventured on a day-long bus tour of the famous Ring of Kerry.  We began our journey in Kerry, circled around the Dingle Pennisula.  For more photos, check out my last post Trá Lí.

Cheers!

Trá Lí

April 23, 2012 § 4 Comments

“Focus on the journey, not the destination” was our motto for our week in Ireland.  We began our trip in London where we hopped our way to Western Ireland.  From London we took a train to Chester, train from Chester to Holyhead, ferry from Holyhead to Dublin, bus from Dublin Port to Dublin Downtown, train from Dublin to Mallow, train from Mallow to Tralee.

Whew! Total trip time: 13 hours!

During the second half of my spring break my good friend Kristina and I spent our time exploring the west coast of the Emerald Isle.  Our days were spent wandering the rocky coast of Ireland, searching for bridge trolls and enjoying the company of the hospitable Irish friends we made along the way.  We wanted a more remote Irish adventure so we randomly chose the town of Tralee (Trá Lí, pop. 22,000), a town just north of the Dingle peninsula.

When asked by a drunk lad why we came Tralee, I replied

“we wanted to go to the middle of nowhere”

A Piece of Paradise

April 22, 2012 § 2 Comments

 

Volcanic rock drapes the cliff side descending into the clear waters further down.  A palette of earthy browns and vegetative greens cloth the rocky hills.  The sun illuminates the rocking basin painting a  glimmering pool below.  

Clusters of colorful villages sprinkled within each bay, each a little world within.

Our Italian adventure ended in along the magical shores of Cinque Terra.  We spent Easter Sunday hiking the hills and in search of the most colorful edificio.

Cinque Terra, the ‘Five Lands’ is a cluster of five remote villages along the coast of the Italian Riviera.  The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage site…I think you can understand why!

Enjoy this piece of paradise.

friday.

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I stare into my BoConcept handle-less coffee mug where I see the remains of my latest espresso indulgence.  A frothy blanket of espresso and cream covers the surviving liquid below.  I love the look of the foam; it looks more like art than the fat from my mocha.

The napkin in front of me contains the remains of my mysterious scone-biscuit goodness.  From the top the bun looked like a heavily seeded roll.  Once I bit into the interior, I discovered a jam-filled dense scone.  Fallen pumpkin seeds are still scattered on the plate awaiting their impending consumption.

Four others join me in this quaint coffee shop.  Two friends catching up enjoying their similarly seeded scones and gossiping about the latest break-up among their high school friends.  A lone middle-age woman sporting her hipster RayBan glasses, sipping her handle-less cappuccino gazes at the newspaper before her.  The lone barista floats back and forth from the counter to the supply room trying to keep herself occupied while her four customers carry on their business.

And here I sit, continuing to pound on my black keys, trying to contain this scene into my memory. The reality that this is soon coming to an end is starting to hit me.

Today marks the eight-month anniversary of my arrival in Denmark and the one-month countdown to my return to the States.

I sit in the Coffee Room, one of my favorite cafés in central Copenhagen and pound away at my laptop.  The shop is nothing special, a small interior with only eight tables, a few chairs and industrial lamps hanging from the high ceiling.  I don’t know what it is that always draws me to this place but I feel so at home here.

What has seemed a typical Friday for so long– go to class for three hours in the morning, take a stroll down Strøget, find a café and treat myself to a coffee, catch up on the cyber-world for awhile, then join my classmates for our Friday afternoon studio will soon no longer be the norm.

My Fridays traditions will end.  My now-familiar surroundings will disappear.  My complete independence will diminish.  My lifestyle will change.

The finish line is coming into view.

My feelings on this are so mixed.  I can’t wait to give a giant hug to those I haven’t seen in over nine months but I also can’t bear to leave this amazing place that has become home.

So for now, I enjoy what is in front of me

coffee, a scone, and Copenhagen.

Happy Friday.

watercolorWEDNESDAY XXXIII

April 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

Cheers from Dublin!

I spent the last half of my travel break (pictures coming soon) in Ireland.  I snapped this simple shot while wandering my way through Dublin.  I enjoyed the decorative street lamps clothed in vines!

Meet the Stablers

April 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

If you don’t know my family,

You should.

They are awesome.

To describe my family I could get all mushy and lovey and stuff, but lets cut to the chase–my family members are dorks (well, dad is pretty normal).

Ridiculous pun lines, unattractive funny photo faces, plenty of laughs and way too many short-people jokes (directed at me)…and Abracadabra! you have my family.



I recently returned from two weeks of travel (man, I travel a lot!) and had the pleasure of spending most of the break with my (quirky) family.  Like any good American family, we tried to see as much of Europe as possible and hopped our way around the continent like it was a box of chocolates (mmm…Belgian Chocolates).

I am blessed with two great parents and two adorably goofy younger sisters.  Put us in Europe together and you have a crazy family on the loose!

The adventure began in Copenhagen when I was reunited with my family after 8 months apart and had the joy of sharing my new home with them.  From Copenhagen, we flew to Rome then trained our way north to Florence and Cinque Terra. Our final destination was London where I said goodbye to the ones I love (but not for long, be back in to the States in just over a month, yikes!).

This is the Stabler family in Europe folks.

Welcome to Copenhagen!  Cold winds and rainy weather greeted the fam as they followed this gifted tour guide around Copenhagen.

Hey mom! Like our hats?!?

Jumping around by the harbor.

You have got to love interactive civic design- fun for the whole family!

Getting a lift at Gråbrødretorv.  Look I am the tallest (almost)!

Although inspired, my family didn’t get the same architectural-butterflies I get when visiting the Pantheon.  The sisters didn’t like that I was getting a lift…check out our feet.

Who needs gladiators when you have the Stabler sisters?

“Tough” girls at the Colosseum

Checking out the Roman Forum from high heights.

Just finished listening to the Pope talk at St Peters Square in Vatican City.

Hey Grandma!  Look out for a postcard from the Vatican!

Sister bonding time at Piazza Michangelo in Florence.

Family hiking in Cinque Terra, Italy.

Its hot, then its cold.  Its steep, then flat.  Its colorful then its more colorful!

The faces of travelers.  Aren’t they happy?!?

A rainy day in London Town!

Cheers to a trip well traveled!

Yes, I know you are jealous.

My family is awesome!

(a gracious thanks to the United Bank of Mom and Dad for funding this trip)

Where Am I?

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