September 2014

Happy Birthday Lori!

Chuck Tue, 2014-09-30 07:30
But first...today is Lori's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is. I lied: she's 49. I've noticed that it's only "old people" who don't like to admit their age, so my small way of fighting age is to not hesitate to admit our own. Besides, I'm only a month and a couple of days behind her, so if there's a problem with being 49, well at least we'll suffer through it together. And we can always say, "At least we're not 50," but of course that will very soon catch up to us. If you're wondering, we're celebrating today on a sailboat somewhere in the Aegean sea off the coast of Southwestern...

Anonymous Church Art in Bologna

Chuck Sun, 2014-09-28 07:30
It's nice, of course, to go into a church in Europe and gaze upon the work of one of the great masters like Michelangelo (as Lori blogged about a couple of days ago) or Bellini or Da Vinci. But it's also nice to gaze upon the work of the lesser known artists, or even unknown artists, that grace these places of worship. The fact that their names haven't persisted into our modern daily vocabulary doesn't lessen their impact, the quality of their work, or the devotion they were displaying to their faith and creator by creating these works. Not that they are unknown: most of these works are...

Bologna: The Ultimate College Town

Chuck Sat, 2014-09-27 07:30
Teatro Anatomica - Anatomy Theatre Bologna is a college town, but not like any other college town you've visited. There are clusters of the university spread all around the city, and the university has taken over giant churches and converted them to lecture halls. Can you imagine taking a class like freshman English Comp in a former cathedral? One of the things that makes the University of Bologna fundamentally unique is its age: it was founded in 1088. That's not a typo, which makes it the oldest university in the world. There are a couple of caveats, the first being that it's described as...

A Church on Every Corner: We Must Be in Italy!

Chuck Fri, 2014-09-26 07:30
A Plain Bologna Church A Couple of Blocks from our Apartment Of course, I exaggerate: there's not a church on every corner, but certainly there's one on every block and square. We arrived in Bologna, Italy late in the afternoon, and after settling in, catching up on email, and a short nap, we headed out for a walk, dinner, and wine. Within a block of our apartment is an old building set back from the street and crammed into the middle of the existing buildings. It has a cross on the top and looks like a church, but it was unusual on the outside in that it looked like the front was not...

Opportunism in Bologna

Chuck Thu, 2014-09-25 07:30
The Entrance to our Wine Cellar Studio in Bologna Complete with Curious Furry Friend We had a week and a half in the Italian countryside booked between our time in Ireland and our time in Turkey, and we needed four days of filler in Italy before heading "out" to Umbria. We considered Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan: all major destinations, all with plenty of flight options coming from Dublin. Unfortunately though, we've been to all these cities multiple times, and none of the airfares to get to these places was particularly exciting. I know, I know: woe is us, having the dilemma of being...

Until Next Time, Ireland!

Chuck Wed, 2014-09-24 07:30
Annie Moore and her two little brothers were the first immigrants to be processed through the (then brand new) immigration processing center we Americans call Ellis Island in 1891. It's no coincidence that the Moore children were from Ireland: they were riding a decades-long crest of Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine for a better life in America. They departed from the port of Cobh (pronounced "Cove"), on the same inlet that leads to the city of Cork but a few miles closer to the Atlantic, and at the end of the pier is the above statue commemorating their departure. An identical...

Our 2 Ireland AirBnB Experiences

Chuck Tue, 2014-09-23 07:30
We've heard from a few of our friends and followers who share our newfound love of Ireland, many of whom have been there and have asked where we stayed while we were in Ireland. Our first two days were in Dublin, which price-wise is on a par with London and New York, so we stayed out on the perimeter at the Dublin Ibis. It was actually a great hotel, clean and modestly priced, staffed with friendly and helpful people, and an easy walk to catch the tram for a 30-minute ride downtown. But the real gems of our swing through Ireland were our two AirBnB places. Our travel plan was to set down in...

Lismore, Ireland: Market, Cafe, Castle

Chuck Mon, 2014-09-22 07:30
After a solid week of nonstop touring of Ireland, we were worn out. It happened to be a Sunday, and the Lord says we should rest, so we did. Just a half-mile down the country road from the place we stayed in the southern Ireland countryside, about midway between the villages of Lismore and Tallow, we found St. Mary's Abbey, a community of 30 or so Cistercian Nuns. Checking their website (yes, they're online at www.glencairnabbey.org ) we found the time of Mass, so our first order of business for the day was going to church at this beautiful country abbey. After Mass we hung around and chatted...

Ancient Stone Circles, Ireland

Chuck Sun, 2014-09-21 07:30
Grange Stone Circle Interesting factoid: England might have the most famous one (Stonehenge), but Ireland has more ancient stone circles per capita than any other country in the world. Actually, I just made that statistic up, and I have no idea who might sit around and calculate the ratio of ancient stone circles to population...or why. But I'm pretty sure it's true. One thing Americans observe whenever they visit Europe is just how old things are here. Many of the cathedrals and castles and casas and villas we wander through on our tours were built in the thirteenth century, give or take...

Triple-Distilled Irish Whiskey at the Jameson Experience, Midleton, Ireland

Chuck Sat, 2014-09-20 07:30
Traveling is the greatest opportunity to learn. My favorite quote on travel is by Saint Augustine, who said, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." Here's what we learned when we traveled to southern Ireland: Irish Whiskey is distilled three times; Scotch Whiskey is distilled twice; American Whiskey is distilled only once. I feel much, much smarter. My love of Jameson Whiskey started the day Lori and I were married. The story goes like this: young bridegroom nervously awaits his appointed time in the church rectory. The pastor--an Irish priest, mind you--comes...

The Rock of Cashel, Ireland

Chuck Fri, 2014-09-19 07:30
The Rock of Cashel is a castle/cathedral that sits on top of a giant rock that rises up from the Irish farmlands very near the center of the island. The name "Rock of Cashel" refers to the whole conglomeration, unlike "The Blarney Stone" which refers to the lipstick-smeared rock at the castle of the same name. We stopped to see the Rock of Cashel on our drive south from Silvermines to Lismore, just outside of Cork, where we stayed the second half of our visit to Ireland. The Rock of Cashel is reputed to be the site where Saint Patrick himself baptised the formerly pagan King Aengus of Munster...

King John's Castle, Limerick

Chuck Thu, 2014-09-18 07:30
Our homebase in the west of Ireland was a tiny little village called Silvermines, just south of the only slightly larger town of Nenagh ("Knee-nuh"), both of which are forty minutes or so east of Limerick. It's the fairly bustling city that bears the name of the style of poetry we all had to learn in junior high...the same that often is put to wicked use. One of my favorites: 'Twas a crazy old man named O'Keefe, Who caused local farmers much grief. To their cows he would run And cut off their legs for fun And say, "Look, I've invented ground beef!" But this blog isn't about cows, Limerick, or...

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