Stans: A Walk in Luzern (Lucerne)

We drove to Luzern, about 20 minutes away, and parked under the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern (the Culture and Congress Hall, also known as the KKL). Up the escalators and outside we easily found the large archway that was our meeting place for our Free Walking Tour. Our guide was a future secondary school teacher, and hardy. As we waited for the tour to begin, in a breezy 4°C in the shade, my hands freezing inside my newly purchased ski mittens, her bare hands and ankles made me shiver all the more.

Continue reading “Stans: A Walk in Luzern (Lucerne)”


Dublin: Day Trip to Belfast

It hadn’t occurred to us that we could visit Northern Ireland while we were in Dublin. Without evaluating our options, and with heads filled with outdated media soundbites of violence and strife,  I think we had unconsciously assumed that Ireland (south of the border), was the only part of the island that was legitimately open for us to visit. We are so thankful that our house sit hosts in Waterford set us straight and recommended a day trip to Belfast. Continue reading “Dublin: Day Trip to Belfast”

Dublin: First impressions

Dublin feels big, robust, substantial. Its population is not quite 1.3 million, almost identical to the city of Calgary, and twice the size of the city of Vancouver, the two cities I have tried on the most. Dublin’s metro area is 1.8 million compared to Vancouver’s, at 2.5 million, and Calgary’s, at 1.4 million. Similar sizes, really, and yet Dublin weighs more, to me, and I’ve been trying to understand why. Continue reading “Dublin: First impressions”

Waterford: Crystal, beaches, and beer

Our time in Waterford is over. I was working a few hours most days to cover for a vacationing colleague. This, along with the furry beasts under our care, meant that we ventured no more than about an hour away from our home base. Since the home was comfortable and spacious (designed by one of our hosts), and we were so warmly welcomed each time we returned, staying there did not cause us great suffering.

Continue reading “Waterford: Crystal, beaches, and beer”

Scotland: Glasgow

Our whirlwind tour of Scotland has come to an end after a week in Glasgow, where we enjoyed the luxury of our own private guide, Aileen. During our week, we enjoyed:

  • A bus tour of the city
  • Scottish country dancing classes
  • A visit to Loch Lomond
  • A couple of hikes (well, Ken and Aileen did, while I worked)
  • A tour of a brewery
  • A visit to the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies
  • A visit to the Riverside Museum

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Scotland: Inverness

Our AirBnB was just a few minutes walk into town, so we walked in for dinner, and then spent more time walking about the next day. The city center is small and easy to get around. The Inverness castle, which is right in the city center, is a functioning civic building, so is not open to the public (except for a tower you can climb for the views, which was not open the day we were there). Continue reading “Scotland: Inverness”

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