Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

This weekly photo challenge was tough, because a majority of my shots are urban in nature. Cities fascinate me. I’m the first generation in at least a handful that didn’t spend my childhood dodging buses, trolleys or loitering in front of corner candy stores daily. The city is a part of me though and I feel as strongly about it as I do with the pastures of Ireland. Only God and my old soul know why.

Though I have many to choose from, here are a couple of the most recent shots. Enjoy.

Amsterdam Alley

Berlin

 

Travel Minimalism

I’m not a minimalist, but I pretend to be one when I travel.

In preparation for our ten day European trip, I thought about our prior two trips to Ireland. We had taken large rolling duffels and then I wore a satchel as a day bag. My shoulders were sore and the bag was inconvenient. The second trip in particular was rough because we were caught in the middle of an epic snowstorm. When buses were stuck, we ended up hauling our duffels through snow drifts for what felt like miles to get to our destination. Well, we knew we wouldn’t hit snow this time, but I was not going to be an over packed American. I made rules that I was unsure that we could follow, and they are as follows:

10 Day strict packing list:

  • Carry-on suitcase each; only 1/3 full
  • Rucksack each; nearly empty
  • Money pouch (neck/waist-type)
  • Five pairs each; socks, underwear, tee shirts
  • One pair sneakers; worn there, not packed (I cheated with a pair of sandals too)
  • Two pairs of jeans each, wear one there
  • Two pair each either shorts or capris
  • One quart size bag of liquid toiletries each, each with a 3oz bottle of detergent
  • Small bag of shared necessities; nail clippers, tweezers, band aids, razor, bobby pins, etc.
  • Glasses/belts and other random requirements
  • Ipad, two cameras, eReader (Nook), chargers and spare memory cards
  • One 4-socket power converter.  Charged all electronics in one swoop each night.
  • A long cord aka clothesline

Score one for us. It was the easiest travel trip ever. Since we nearly missed our plane to Brussels, one of the key begging points in allowing us to board was that we had no luggage to check. We were able to fit both our bags in the same train luggage locker at each city we went to, saving time and money when we were unable to check into our room too. Halfway through the trip, we washed our clothes in our sink, hung them up on the cord we cleverly tied across one side of our bedroom and off we went the next morning, fresh, clean and with far less luggage then the over packed tourists who could barely lift the bags up and onto the train.

Laundry in Berlin

The worst would be seeing the retired couples with the elderly men hauling multiple enormous pieces of luggage behind his wife on crowded public transportation.  I gave my husband the go-ahead then and there to berate me if I ever got that bad.  I may not wash our clothes in the sink forever, but maybe one day if we’re fancy we’ll just pay to get them laundered instead.  Who am I kidding?  We’ll never be fancy.

Back to the packing list; for those who may question the possible excessive electronic choices, let me explain.

Ipad, a wonderful gift from our parents saved my shoulders in a big way rather than toting the heavy laptop as we did in years past. But, since there is not Wi-Fi everywhere and we found many Europeans do not offer it for free, the Nook was a great backup to access tour books, maps and translators that were pre-downloaded, thus eliminating the need for the internet and heavy travel books during the travel. In cities like Brussels, where we were limited on time, we used the Nook to do our own walking tour per Rick Steves, saving both time and money. When you have the opportunity though, I do suggest taking a real tour, Rick is wise, but he doesn’t know every nuance.

And there you have it. We came home with smiles, souvenirs that fit in our existing bags (including a real cuckoo clock) and never had to check a bag or pop a painkiller. This my friends, comes in handy when you’re sharing a six person sleeping compartment on a train.

Many stories to follow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

I haven’t poured my heart out about Ireland in a while. Over the course of a couple trips, my husband and I accumulated a nice collection of cardboard coasters from various pubs we shared a Guinness or two in. I made it a habit to write on each, what pub we were at, the city and the date, as well as nuances around us that we could remember and giggle at later. Well, I would giggle and he could belly laugh. Anyway, we found a full size Ireland poster and I’ve started to plot a small selection of the coasters according to region. I create many things, but this is one that really makes us reminisce and long for just another pint. It’ll be a highlight of our bar…whenever we create that.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

After a redeye to Dublin, we rented a car and drove to New Grange. Everything seemed a little blurry that day, including our pictures.

This picture was purposely blurry and I love it that way because it is the only way to understand how it was taken. I took the picture through a stationary telescope at a visitor center, before we took a bit of a walk to meet a bus, which would drive us to the historic site. Included are also blurry/unfocused sheep as we took this walk, a picture of the telescope with New Grange in the distance and a better shot of the site, so you can get a good view of the megalithic site that is so fascinating to us.

©2012 Shannon Hadley

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Me and you

And you and me

No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be

The only one for me is you, and you for me

So happy together
-The Turtles

As I scrolled through the trusty photo files, I found literally hundreds of self-shot pictures of my husband and I together. Luckily for you, I’ve only included four.

In some you can see the frustration of trying to get a camera to work from arm’s length or that we forgot to remove the zoom before taking a self-portrait. Others I can tell my husband is getting really annoyed that I’m making him stop and take more of these. Luckily in most of the shots we look really happy. I love them all because if we had the same smile all the time, all we’d be looking at is the background.

Not very flattering, but our fingers were too frozen to take pictures and it was a bitter ferry ride to Ellis Island.

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Irish Sheep

I always just liked my photography the way it was. Not the fact that it was simple and mostly luck, but I might have felt it was cheating to alter it in any way. That being said, I had a Groupon for a large canvas that I needed to order and I need a nice piece for my new home office. I played around with an image I found that just felt so calming to me. It is of sheep.

This picture was captured while my husband drove us from the tip of Northern Ireland to Dublin, at the very end of our last trip there. We were desperately trying to beat the huge snow storm we had dodged our entire trip and this was taken just before we lost our luck at outrunning it. There is something calming about sheep; except the sheep that have the red blotches; this just seems morbid to me. I can deal with splotches of green or blue on their coats for farmer identification, but the first few times I saw splotches of red on a sheep my first reaction was
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

I realize the sun is supposed to set on Galway Bay in Ireland, but I can guarantee that these are early morning shots as we awoke in Salthill, Galway and headed north toward Connemara. Though I thought these might be terrible at the time, capturing the sun this way, I’ve grown to love these because I can almost feel how bright and crisp that morning felt as I revisit these.  The road was icy and the glare was strong, but it was tough to complain after a full Irish breakfast and a long ride to Westport ahead of us.

I love a reason to post about Ireland.

 

Finishing Things and Good Deeds

This will be fairly short, as I woke up on the couch and for the life of me, could not think of anything today, that would be worth pouring out for you.  I did find however, a couple posts in my “drafts”.  One of them is called “Following Through”, which I found really hilariously ironic because it appears I started that post on 1/16/2012 – just about three months ago.

This 365 post is one of the few things I’m proud to be sticking to, regardless.  If I’m not writing here, I’ve been writing for a blog called Sprouts and sometimes I end up posting twice a day here to make up for a busy Saturday or something along those lines.  Damn, this is a boring post, but I cannot be defeated by this goal.  Then I got a blogger award about a half hour ago, about how people should really see my page because I’m great.  Jacob, I’m extremely grateful you thought of me and here I am with nothing to say tonight.

So the start of “Following Through” is below.  I wonder if I felt too much pressure to commit myself to good deeds.  No, I try to do those anyway, even when it bites me in the ass.  Funny though, one of our local DJ’s, on a loud rock station no less, mentioned how he found a daily blog about good deeds and urged people to visit it.  I then realized there is nothing solid about my blog to initiate being declared as the “go to” for anything, but random thoughts and odd reasons to post pictures of Ireland, my long lost love.

So why post it now, you ask?  Because I’d like to get to bed.  I will likely come up with a rousing “did you ever notice” post tomorrow and mention how I do something like an old person, and you will hopefully not decide to remove your subscription in the meantime.  So without further ado, here’s my unfinished post about following through:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

Journeys come in many shapes and sizes. I actually have a niece named Journie, but I won’t be posting pictures of her today. I thought about posting pictures of the band to be funny, but I’ve yet to see them. I do love the Statefarm commercial when those two guys have a “Journey moment” though.

It’s already three hours after Saturday has ended but I’m trying to hold up my end of my daily posting plan and feeling annoyed because I’m having trouble finding anything but literal pictures of traveling or journeying (if that is a word). There have been many emotional and transitional journeys made over the last few, no, over the span of life that we can remember.

Instead, I’ve found a picture that was taken out of fun with one of my greatest friends. I was trying to capture what it’s like to be his passenger, but it really does depict how I feel inside as I journey through life and try to decide what is best for me, not as just an individual, but also as an “us” with my husband. I often get complimented on how calm and peaceful I appear during hard times. I don’t believe I actually attempt to cover up my true feelings, but I am good at remaining physically calm while inside I’m reacting more like this photo – capture by cellphone by the way. Obviously, this is was not taken with the intention of sharing at the time.

The way I feel inside as I journey through life.

For those of you who love to scroll through and see photos however, I’ve thrown a couple literal ones in the mix for fun.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Clonmacnoise: Founded 545-548 AD

The buildings and monuments shown however, appear to range from the 10th-17th centuries, with most falling earlier in this time period.

This day was bitter cold, but it was impossible to leave and refrain from taking shots through surviving stone towers, churches and crosses, either into other structures or through to the River Shannon, in Ireland.  These were taken with a simple camera and frozen fingers, I hope you can still mentally capture the beauty of a place that holds so much history.  It is the sight of worship and battle.