January 2018 begins as it always does, with travel to Florida, bracketed by stops in Kentucky or Tennessee. This year, I stopped in Nashville on the way south, and Knoxville on the way north.
I visited the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, TN, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, and the Stones River National Battlefield. Another interesting thing discovered: Nashville has a replica of the Parthenon!
I had booked a fare using WestJet and British Airways to travel to Dublin from London, Ontario. A very cheap fare is US funds. I arrived at the airport early to find a minor delay on departure, which grew as the afternoon wore on. Clearly, I would not make my connection to the BA flight. Westjet sent me on a two-hour taxi ride to the next airport.
I stayed at the Maple Hotel on Lower Gardiner Street. Reasonable, considering the high cost of hotels in Dublin. There are lots of bars to hang around, but I quite enjoyed the Palace Bar – a beautiful Victorian heritage pub on Fleet Street.
Temple Bar area was touristy as expected, but I liked Hanley’s Cornish Pasties in Merchant’s Arch. The General Post Office and the Epic Museum are well worth your time, and I took in a show at the Abbey theatre.
I took a day trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The guides from Wild Rover Tours were quite informative, and there’s some concern about the effects of Brexit. There are currently no physical borders between the two countries. I took a Black Taxi tour of “The Troubles”, and spent time at Giant’s Causeway.
This trip I made a huge mistake, inadvertently booking “basic economy” on TAP airlines for a flight YYZ – ORY – OPO – YYZ. Their carry-on restrictions are so tight, I had to pay an extra $140.00 for luggage. Live and learn.
We were a bit late arriving in Paris, and there was a long wait for luggage, and then about two hundred waiting for a taxi. I ventured forth and took the metro, arriving after the dinner hour at my hotel.
I split my time in Paris in two – for the first four days I stayed near the Opera, and for the last four days, I stayed near the Bastille. It’s like getting two trips in one!
Everything in Paris is expensive, but there are lots of small streets to wander and take in the sights. I visited the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Palais Garnier, and stopped for lunch in a cafe in the Tuileries garden. Versailles is an easy metro ride through the city, and a good afternoon was spent at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Part two of this trip brought a stopover in Porto, Portugal. Just as beautiful as Lisbon.
June brought me to Nova Scotia for a brief, unexpected trip. We stayed in Halifax the entire time, except for a brief day trip to Peggy’s Cove. I’ll be returning to Nova Scotia (by way of Newfoundland) in June 2019.
Swoop Airlines launched earlier in 2018, and part of their promotion was a free flight two three different destinations – just pay the taxes and baggage fees.
I spent four days in Winnipeg and there’s lots to see. Many historic buildings remain intact or a being renovated. It’s easy to get around on foot and felt safe. The underground walkways around Portage & Main are a disaster.
The Museum of Human Rights was free one evening, and I also went to the Dalnavert Museum. Lots of places to eat and bars to attend. I also took a day trip to Gimli, the Icelandic settlement not far north.
September I spent three weeks in Kenya, Tanzania and the Netherlands. More on that in another post.
Lastly, a week in New Orleans. The offseason, just before the holidays, so not very crowded. Stayed at the Blake House on Charles Avenue.
Lots of exciting places to wander, and history to see. I wasn’t far from the French Quarter which is an interesting place, although Bourbon Street itself is shit.
Dropped into the 1850 House Museum, the Presbytere and the Cabildo.
Interesting note: Lafayette Square does not have a statue of the general and Lee Tower has nothing on top. “Never turn your back on a Yankee”