Monthly Archives: November 2007

Wintry

Chichester Cathedral

Fri Nov. 23, 2007 – Today was a big day for travel. Mom and I started out the day after checking out of the lovely & funky Litten House B&B by walking over to the Chichester Cathedral.
The dreary rain of Ireland and the off and on rain of Wednesday had fully cleared out and a good wintry wind came in its stead. I was all bundled up and it was brisk to say the least. Of course, I loved the clear, clean, cold air. Not only was it invigorating but it made for great exterior photographic light all day, be it at Chichester or Stonehenge or Old Sarum.
The wind bit the most and was downright cold on the Salisbury plain as we hurriedly trotted around Stonehenge. Mom wondered if it was warmer when they built Stonehenge out on that hill.
Tonight we walked from our B&B down to town to have dinner and it didn’t feel as cold as this afternoon, due to lack of wind, but when I checked the temperature it was 32F or 0C!
Our “Stones: Cathedrals and Circles” tour of Southern England will continue tomorrow as we will visit the Salisbury Cathedral in the morning and Avebury in the afternoon before moving on to Oxford tomorrow evening.

Oh, Lonely Planet, you are so near perfect…

When I first started traveling in college, I loved the “Let’s Go” series of travel guides as they led to one to the cheapest of the cheap all over Europe. Sometime in my mid-to-late twenties they failed to satisfy and I moved my travel guide book loyalty to the Lonely Planet series. Lonely Planet had a wider range of budget, moderate, and higher priced options for each town, as well as write ups on more of the history and points of interest, less of “Let’s Go”s nightlife and ultra-cheap focus.
I find Fodors guide books to be too stuffy, the DK guides to be very broad in terms of photos and visual diagrams but missing in actually moderate priced places to stay. So, I have kept my loyalty the last ten years to Lonely Planet. In 2004, I purchased the Lonely Planet Ireland guide and it was my faithful companion on Erika & I’s 2004 Thanksgiving trip to Ireland, as well as my year at Trinity College, Dublin. But most of the Lonely Planet guide books I have used are written mostly by locals, not travelers, thus big bits are left out, the bits that locals wouldn’t care about but travelers would.
Here is my list of things that I would love Lonely Planet to change, fix or cover in their otherwise excellent travel guide books:
1) No hotels near the major airports are ever listed. Not in the Ireland LP, not in the London LP, not in the Spain, nor Andalucia, nor Scotland, nor… Sometimes the most practical thing when you have an early departure or late arrival is stay within a mile or two of the airport. Lonely Planet, please put in a few airport hotels or B&Bs for each major airport. Thanks.
2) Area codes or Full Phone Numbers next to listings: The Lonely Planet guides list country phone codes in the back, and major area codes at the section head, but not next to the listing. While driving two nights ago, we were flipping to 3 separate section trying to get the full number to dial from my mobile to find a B&B to stay at. Very frustrating, esp. when one’ mobile’s sim chip is not from the same country as one is in.
3) Lonely Planet, please list wifi (wireless internet) locations, free wifi and for pay. This matters. Not just internet cafes or which places to stay have a stand alone computer, but please list wifi for every one of the listings in your books that has wifi. One of the hotels we stayed at in Ireland this last week had free wifi, one had none, and one had paid wifi. I would have booked my stay with preference for internet connection. All the better to blog with and finish up the client loose ends. kthnxbai.
4) Please list more neo-lithic, bronze age, and iron age or other non-major historical sites in the UK & Ireland. If you are a local writer for these guides, you probably think Americans or Germans or Italians are nuts for going to visit old hunks of rock out in muddy fields. These old sites are delightful and really worth exploring. Please list with some directions and explanations.
I am writing this from the Dublin airport where Mom and I are waiting to fly to London Heathrow to start our week in Southern England. I went to the big bookstore in the Dublin Airport mall to get a Lonely Planet England or UK guide so we can know where we are going and where we are going to stay. In an interesting twist, the whole section of travel guides at the airport had Mexico, California, Peru, Egypt, New Zealand, and many other smaller countries, but did not have a single travel guide for the UK, England or Wales. London (3 different publishers), Scotland (2 types) and Edinburgh, but no England or UK…
Hopefully, a bookstore at Heathrow will have a Lonely Planet England. ;o)

Even More Blue Sky Showed Up Today…

Donegal

… for at least 15 minutes. I even needed sunglasses during those 15 minutes. Given that I left my sunglasses in my car in SoCal, I should be glad that the big dark heavy rain laden clouds returned promptly.
Today was Mom and I’s last full day in Ireland for this trip. We ventured southwest from Letterkenny to Glenties and then down the N-56 to the N-14 via Donegal town to Sligo. Most of the drive was lovely. The above photo was taken on the small, one lane road to St. John’s Point.
While in the Sligo area, we visited the Creevykeel Goort Cairn, Strandhill Beach with surfers (to quote one after Mom asked after the water temps, “It is feckin freezing!”), and then off to Carrowmore Megalithic Tombs just before sunset.
The sky was completely dark by 4:30pm and we were off down the N-4 to Dublin. Tomorrow we fly back to the UK for the last week of the trip.

A Wee Bit of Clear Sky



Mon 11.19.07 – Today Mom & I drove from Donegal to Omagh to go to the Ulster American Folk Park. About 2/3 of the way through the park, the clouds cleared a bit to give a view of blue sky. Photo taken on the ‘Pennsylvania’ side of the park, thus the log cabin.
After a lovely early dinner at the Sperrin Restaurant on the A-5 just south of the Folk Park, we drove to Letterkenny in Donegal for the night. Tomorrow is Donegal and Sligo.