Visa or not to visa!!!

My travel plans were put on hold for a bit due to waiting to hear if I had an extension on my stay. I thought this could be some very useful information if you are travelling to a country that a visa is not required.

Just after I decided to embark on the experience of a life time and uproot my life for a year, I thought I would check out all the necessary visas etc to live in another country. After some correspondence with the appropriate people, found I didn’t need to apply for a long term visa until I arrived in Ireland.

Arriving in Ireland I booked my appointment only to have to wait six weeks for the first free appointment. As I had 90 days originally to enjoy my stay, Jaimee and I rocked up to our appointment to find out I wasn’t entitled to stay longer. This was on the 6 March, 13 days before my 90 days was up. We were told to apply to the Justice Department for an extension, send in all the appropriate documents, but that it could take months. Panic set in as I realised I only had days left as a legal immigrant. Still confused about what to expect (was I going to be deported if I went on holiday, returning to Ireland after my stay had expired) we managed to get another appointment for yesterday.

To not bore you with all the details: Being a New Zealand or Australian citizen we do not need a visa to holiday in Ireland,  we get a 90 day stamp (it’s up to immigration at the airport as to how long you get) to stay in Ireland. You have that time to apply for an extension to stay in Ireland. This is to the Justice Department, you need to send in all the appropriate documentation (Travel Insurance, Enough funds to support you over your stay, Return air ticket, Documents to say you are returning to your life in your home country from employers etc)

I have my extension but if I leave the country in that time, each time I return it is up to Immigration as to whether I will be granted another 90 days, l will then have to apply for another extension.

It’s very helpful to have all the right information before you leave to save confusion and misunderstandings.

Now I can Dream Laugh and Reach again as planning is now back on track ………

Happy St Paddy’s  Day everyone …….

St Paddy’s Day in Dublin ……. bring it on ……

Road Trip!!!

After two weeks, 1800km driving, unknown km walking and €137.45 in fuel my first road trip is done and dusted! I headed off from Dublin on a Saturday afternoon, with snow threatening and headed 2 hours to Galway. I have to say I was a little bit excited on one hand and apprehensive on the other,  traveling alone, no one to talk too, would I get lost,  what will the roads be like, will I be safe ? I worried for nothing, the trip was awesome (Sorry I am probably going to use awesome, amazing, brilliant and a few more of those words a lot).  My option for accommodation for this time was to stay in B&B’s so no matter what happened for the rest of the day I started off with a good meal. I also found it is was a great way to meet people. My little black beast below didn’t let me down. It travelled some places it probably shouldn’t have, but it got me there and back safely.

 

The first few days in Galway were great, sunshine, warm etc. but unfortunately the lovely weather didn’t last, I had to remind myself it was still winter and this is what the weather does over here, I was told by many we were having a mild winter this year so I guess it could have been worse. It did give some of my photos a whole new dimension and the added bonus of no sun glare.

 

As I mentioned in my last post some of the roads were pretty narrow so the photo opportunities were not always there. There was no way you could just stop for a photo shoot without putting yourself and others at risk. I didn’t plan too much before time where I was going to stay, I just looked on the map the night before I was ready to move on and picked a place, did a bit of a google search to what was in the area and booked a bed. When I first arrived in Galway I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go north or south, that was also a last minute decision. I loved staying in the smaller towns, the history of the places were pretty unreal when looking at when some of these places were built. It still amazes me how they put them all together!

 

I have put up some maps to show you the roads I have travelled. The photos are only some of the many castles, old church ruins, the countryside and towns that I saw on my trip. The birds I stumbled upon as I was heading to the Cliffs of Moher, they are from The Birds of Prey Educational Centre. I arrived as they were having their enclosures cleaned out and watched as they hissed and tried to scare the handlers off that got too close with the hose. They are all rescues and for one reason or another are unable to be let back into the wild. It certainly made my day being able to see them so close.

I have to say the host with the most from all the places I stayed had to be Patrick in Cashel, at the Rockville House B&B. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome and at home. After getting over the first craic about the Irish beating the All Blacks, he was a laugh a minute. I arrived home after a day out sight seeing in the rain and wind from Hurricane Doris to a home cooked meal, chicken casserole and veg, ice cream slice for dessert and a big glass of milk while sitting by the fire. When I had finished that he made me a cuppa. He didn’t do it for all his guests, I think he did it because I was on my own. It was such a lovely gesture.

It’s hard to say what was the highlight of the trip. I felt pretty lucky to have been able to take the time to see some of beautiful Ireland. I am looking forward to the next adventure, Copenhagen, this time I will have some travel buddies, Jaimee and Mark. It’s just a long weekend away but it’s amazing how much you can cram in when you need to.

Until next time Laugh Dream Reach …….

 

 

Driving Ireland 🇮🇪

Ok I went and done it!! I’ve been driving in Ireland for  a week now. So far the hardest part was hiring a little auto to get out and see the country, every place I went into or rang said no because I didn’t have a credit card. The thing is if you have an Australian licence you have to have a credit card to book with. I was lucky to have Mark with me,  We got it sorted and he got me out onto the M50 and on my way. A few things I needed to know was it’s 120km on the motorway and 100km on the national roads, make sure you have change for the toll roads and remember to take some good music next time as the radio doesn’t always have a signal.

It’s been amazing, I haven’t managed to get myself lost, everything is well sign posted, there’s plenty of petrol stations along the way. There’s not too many eejits on the roads, just the odd few who I think are tourists. A lot of the little towns along the way have the houses right on the street. They wouldn’t stand a chance in Australia with the amount of houses  that get hit by cars that aren’t even close to the road!

I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to go off the beaten track and visit some of the smaller villages I would never have got to see if I had taken a bus or train. I found doing that I was traveling on roads that were just wide enough for two vehicles, or lanes where one vehicle fitted snugly. On those occasions it was tuck the elbows in as another vehicle approached close the eyes and hope for the best. Yip I’m driving Ireland and loving it.

l’ll put up another post when I arrive back in Dublin with some photos of the places I have explored along the way, until then Laugh Dream Reach!!!

Food!!!!

Ok I’ve realised you can’t live without it, it’s an important element in the staying alive process and does give you warmth and energy. What I really love about food is how good it can taste. As you probably know it is winter over this side of the world, the need for good hot tasty food is high on the list for surviving winter. Irish Stews, hot soups, hot pots, all types of pie dishes and the yummy mash (I had to admit Mark still makes the best mash ever) just makes lunching out a real treat.

 

When my serving of food is placed before me, it’s pick up the utensils and dig in much to Jaimee’s disgust. I never think about photographing my food so when I’m out with Jaimee she gives me fair warning, “don’t touch it till I take a photo”

 

So here are just a few of the lovely meals we have had while we are out and about. I’ll probably need a bigger chair by the time I get back to work but for now I will enjoy what each country we visit has to offer and hope all the walking we do keeps the weight down!

Laugh Dream Reach it’s worth it!!

I’ve been to Scotland!!

Wow I have been in Dublin and beyond now for over a month, it’s true time does fly while you’re having fun!! In answer to Jaimee’s post below, yes I have gone off track a few times, I like to visit places I have never been, we wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t gone that way, we wouldn’t have seen that part of the city, we could have missed something really interesting if we didn’t look. Quite simple really!! As for the toilet incident, he was off my bus tour, Jaimee was busy waffling on about something and I thought he was exiting the building, I was distracted, I was just following him for that reason, once again an explanation for everything!!

Ok nuff said, I got myself to Scotland, found my accommodation in Glasgow and Edinburgh by myself with once again Jaimee and Mark ringing in my ear, “Don’t talk to strangers, make sure you send details of where you are going to be, what you are doing”  

Glasgow was my first stop, I stayed at the Rennie Macintosh Hotel, pretty central to transport, restaurant’s and shopping. It is a very old hotel, close to Central Station and my room was in the attic, it was lovely and warm and on the fourth floor, 62 steps from reception, I got my daily exercise just climbing those stairs. My first day out was the usual Hop on/off bus. Best way to see the city, get my bearings, cos I don’t want to get lost (someone moves the feckin street signs) and see what is on offer in the way of attractions. I got off at the Glasgow Cathedral, People’s Palace and Riverside Museum and Tall Ship. It was one of the coldest days I had experienced since being over this side so was thankful for a lovely hot meal with a vino and dessert at the Mediterraneo Ristorante. The food was amazing and it topped off a very educational first day. The next day I got to meet one of Jaimee’s friends Colette, (I think Jaimee’s way of checking to see if I was doing ok and hadn’t disappeared) she picked me up at my Hotel and we took the underground to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Colette is one of those people, as soon as you meet her you feel like you have known each other for years, we talked the whole way through the museum and through dinner at the Café Andaluz, for Tapas. They had a special on £14.95 for 3 Tapas and dessert. We decided to pick 6 different dishes between us and thoroughly enjoyed them, so much so that we ordered another three. We then had three desserts to eat and by the time we finished, absolutely stuffed full, we thought it wise to walk it off back to my hotel. It was a lovely day out with great company. The next day I caught the train to Edinburgh. It was great to be able to see another slice of Scotland on the way.

I stayed at the Benmore Guest House in Edinburgh, a bit further out from the city centre but still walking distance if you felt like a good walk. From the Hop on/off bus I stopped off at Edinburgh Castle, I spend quite sometime there. The views over the city were amazing. There was so much to see in just that area. I went around a couple of times and marked some places I knew I could walk from my accommodation. After a big day of sight-seeing I stopped off at Greyfriars Bobby Pub for a much-needed meal before I headed back to put my feet up and an early night. On the Tuesday I was invited to catch up with Jo, Shelley and Neil, I had met them 14 years ago on the internet through a site for Crohn’s sufferers and family. We had more or less stayed in touch through the years and it was a great chance to finally meet them in person while I was staying in Edinburgh. (Jaimee at this time was anxious that I was meeting strangers I had only met through the internet, I had to give her all the details of who they were, where they lived, phone numbers etc, before I left for Edinburgh, I had a laugh about it with the family when we met up) We spent a lovely day catching up on all our goss, lunch and out for a dinner before we headed back to my place.

Jaimee and Mark recommended I do the 12 hour tour with Highland Experience Tours, if I wanted to see some of Scotland while I was there. We left at 8am and travelled through Kilmahog (or many will say Murder my pig), Stirling, William Wallace territory, pass Doune Castle (Winterfell in the first series of Game Of Thrones), many sites where they filmed James Bond, Harry Potter and Outlander, Glen Coe, Loch Linnie, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness (I had hoped to spot Nessie, no such luck), took the boat out to Urquart Castle, through Inverness and Perth and back to Edinburgh. Our guide and bus driver Russell was very good at passing on the history and managed to entertain us the whole tour. I recommend it to those that have limited time and want to see a huge chunk, this is the way to go.

The next few days I did a lot of walking and photographing many of the lovely attractions around Edinburgh. There were still places I didn’t get to this time round. I really should have hired a car to get to the places out of both cities that I wanted to visit. That hopefully will be another trip, (it will also be another thing for Jaimee to stress over) I had to prove that I could survive by myself if I travelled alone. I enjoyed my short stay in Scotland, it is made up of lovely people, amazing attractions and a desire to discover more.

Laugh Dream Reach, you know you want to

 

Parents 😅

Have you ever looked at your parents/parent and thought “How in the hell did you manage to raise me?”.
I hadn’t. Well that was until last week. I should have however, seen the signs on our first trip together, but I guess I kind of….just let it slide.
Let me start from the start, the culprit being my sweet and charming 😃 mother. Maybe this  might help explain things a little bit better.

It was our first Euro-trip together – Kiwis Up Over Tour (phase one) 2014-15. First stop was London, we were emotional and not thinking straight, so I let Mum direct us around…….and around…….and around. Yup continuously in long loops of the same streets. In fairness she’s never been great for direction so I just happily strolled along with her. We did manage to see a lot, at the expense of our very tired legs.
Then in Berlin, we were starting to stink, so we decided a clothes wash was in order. We went to a convenience store and after some long studying of the pictures on the front of the box, she purchased some washing powder.
We found the closest laundry mat and settled into watch the clothes dance about inside the machine. About 15mins in I quietly decided to mention “doesn’t seem to be much of a soapy washing powder, does it?”.
Mum sort of shrugged and we continued to stare, mesmerized by the spinning, tumbling clothes. Long story short…….when we opened the machine at the end of the cycle we discovered that my clothing, yup only my clothing, had been destroyed by some tie dying bleach. Her clothing miraculously survived. Convenient? Mistake? I’m still not sure. I just remember her chuckling and saying “One day you’ll laugh at this”. She was of course right, after wearing my new fancy (but not so nicely tie-dyed) clothing around for the rest of the trip, it did make a good story and induce a few giggles.
Then there was that time in Rome, when we did thee old faithful Hop on/Hop off tour. This fine day we sat pleasantly atop the open top bus, listening to the very informative pre-recorded guide as it chirped brightly through our ear phones. I caught mum’s eye and indicated that we were to hop off at the next stop. She nodded eagerly and we collected our belongings in preparation for our departure. Bus pulls in and I jump first to my feet and pull my ear plugs swiftly out and into my pocket. I watch mum carefully to make sure she’s coming too and that’s when it happened. She jumps to her feet starts quickly pacing up the aisle, just as the cord from her earphones pulls tight whipping her head backwards and throwing her off-balance. She caught herself well and it was only her ego that was bruised as fellow passengers chuckled around her. I didn’t laugh though…..well not much 😂. We were in fits of laughter as we stepped off the bus and onto the footpath.
I really could go on all day, but I won’t, instead I’ll leave you with this gem.


Whilst visiting Malahide Castle last week, we stopped off at the lil girls room to freshen up and on leaving the bathroom we were deep in conversation. Mum was walking ahead and as she stepped through the door a young gentleman rushed past on the way to the lil boys room.
Mum starts to walk quickly after him as I call out “mum…..where are you going?….Mum? MUM???”.
She’s still chatting away closing in on the poor chap who’s now throwing paranoid glances over his shoulder as he goes to push through the door. I try one last time “STOP MUM, That’s the men’s toilet!”.
The man stops just as mum nearly runs into the back of him, an awkward exchange occurs as she sheepishly scurries back toward me. Accident? I’m not sure, but that poor fella got a fright.
Anyway she’s now off in Scotland, I’m excited for her yet still a little bit worried as I received a message from her today:

I forgot to tell you.  I did the earphone thing again in Glasgow, in front of only 1 person this time. 😂

And by the tone of the message she’s pretty chuffed with herself! Anyway keep following our journey as I’m sure there will be plenty more to tell you……Lord give me the strength Haha!

Laugh, Dream, Reach xx

Welcome 2017……..

Well I’ve made it into 2017 pretty much unscathed, due to the weather being shite (yes I’m learning some of the local lingo) on New Years Eve in Dublin we had a night in with family, a few wines and a lot of laughs.

I didn’t need to make any new year resolutions, I’m pretty much living all mine over the next year, travel, take more photos, meet new people, try new things, travel to places I haven’t been before and not having to think about getting up for work. Ok I’ve rubbed it in enough! I hope you have all decided to do at least one thing this year that you haven’t done before, it’s never too late.

I have been getting out and about around Dublin and beyond. Before New Year Mark & Jaimee took me to a beautiful place called Kilkenny. It’s about an hour twenty south of Dublin. Such a picturesque place with so much history. We visited the Kilkenny Castle and St Candice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. Mark and I climbed the 121 steps up the tower to a fantastic view of Kilkenny and beyond, it brought me back to the days of ladder drill at fire training, it left me with shaky legs then too. It was quite a tight squeeze and very steep up the steps but was well worth it.

I was really excited to finally find a chai latte in a little café as we walked around the town. We also had a lovely meal at the Hibernian Hotel before we headed home. There is so much more to see and do in Kilkenny, we will be back.

On Monday 2nd January we headed out for a look around Dún Laoghaire, Pronounced Dun leary (or in Irish, Doon Leereh) it is a beautiful seaside town on the southern coast about 12km from Dublin. We went for a walk along the mariner and out to the light house, the wind was nippy but it was amazing how many people were out walking.

Yesterday I headed into town on my own (Jaimee had to go back to work) with her still ringing in my ear, now you remember what bus to catch, where to get off and back on, ring me if you get lost (since when did things change and she become the responsible adult??). I did a spot of shopping, Marks & Spencers had a great sale on so a chance to stock up on some winter tops. I also met up with Inez and Ciara from Perth and got to meet, Inez’s sister Claire for a meal at Avoca and The Auld Dubliner for a drink. It was great to catch up with them before they continued on their travels.

I’ve booked my first couple of trips away, Scotland next week and Copenhagen in March. Just sorting details to Bristol next month, plenty of adventures to come!!

Laugh Dream Reach only you can make it happen xx

 

 

Loving Ireland……

Ok I’ve only been in Ireland just over a week but I’m loving it! Christmas when the temperature is not over 15C, ok so far it hasn’t been over 10C but it is so much more manageable than in the 30’s. The decorations and lights, the food is amazing, the live music in the warm, inviting, Irish pubs and the lovely family I am staying with, which does include my daughter and future son in-law. I have been out to a family dinner at the Vermillion Indian Restaurant,  been to a couple of Irish Pubs, had an amazing Christmas dinner and some very funny after dinner entertainment playing Heads Up. I went sales shopping on St Stephen’s Day (which to all those not in the know is Boxing Day), visited the Dublin Zoo and went for a look at Glendalough in Co Wicklow where we walked along the lake/lough and had a picnic in the ruins of a mining settlement.

No doubt there is plenty more out there to see and do, best I put on my winter pyjamas, jump in my bed, rest my weary head and see what tomorrow will bring.

Laugh Dream Reach …….. Shirley

 

Merry Christmas 🎄

Arriving in Ireland to carol singers at the airport and Jaimee dressed as an elf, what more could anyone ask for. I have been relaxing this week to get over my long flight, while Jaimee is flat out at work. I’m in the right time zone now so the body has adjusted well. Some last minute shopping in town, so many people doing the same, the beautiful Christmas lights and my first Irish pub with live music. It’s all part of my new adventure. We are off to Grafton street tonight to experience Christmas Eve.

Jaimee and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas xx

Laugh Dream Reach you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve xx

2017 here we come!!!

Life takes many different twists and turns. The past two years have been some of the most difficult we as a family have had to experience. To change that path Jaimee sent me a message, “Why don’t you come live with us for a year”. After much thought and a conversation with the boss the dream of all dreams become a possibility.

A year of saving , doubt, more saving, planning and oh yeah more saving that dream is now only a week away. The suitcase is nearly packed, although packing a years worth of stuff in a 30kg suitcase isn’t easy! The last few last-minute jobs are done. My last week at work, ok I don’t really want to think of that yet. It is going to be hard saying “see you in 2018” to my IMCC family who have helped me get through those last two difficult years. Moving further away from my NZ family and leaving behind Mitch and Shelley. I know it’s going to be hard but I also feel like if I don’t do it I will regret giving up the chance to fulfil one of my long time dreams.

Jaimee and I will be documenting the adventures on our blog. We have a list of things we want to achieve so if you want to follow our journey you can log in and get notifications sent to your email when we post. We also welcome suggestions that you think we should attempt on our travels. We will share our list as we go.

Laugh Dream Reach, we are sure going to in 2017!!