Saturday, October 24, 2015

Headed to Nigeria?

Probably not, but just in case check out this great article on a local musician. It's great to see an article in such a big paper take the time to talk about the good things in Lagos, and this one in particular really gives a feel for the place. Or maybe it's just me, remembering my old 'hood.

Anyway, it's a good reminder that wherever you are there's something cool to explore!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dublin

I know, my travel pace has been exhausting, hasn't it?

In fact, in a much needed break from recent tradition this weekend I actually stayed home - in my own house! - and played domestic goddess. It was lovely. I made vegetables (wholly absent from my diet so far in Rome, except of course as pizza toppings), I recycled tons and tons of packing material from my move, and I finally got a chance to set things up a bit! You see my shipments have all arrived and I even got an order from Ikea, but mostly lately I've been coming home late, looking with envy/exhaustion at the pile of 'homey stuff' and heading straight to bed. Now, with the curtains up, the boxes gone, and a few actual decorations in place my apartment feels mighty civilized. 

The only bummer so far in the unpacking process has been the discovery that my computer is 100% toast. Maybe that can be my project for next weekend...

But anyway, back to Dublin. Last weekend was a three day weekend and I've been hoping to visit a friend posted there for some time. It wasn't quite as cheap as I'd hoped, but other than the flight I didn't really spend more than I would on a normal weekend.  And it was so great I can't describe it. Seeing my friend, drinking starbucks :), enjoying some nature, and just experiencing something totally different than Rome - highly recommend it.

(Some family will be thinking right about now why I didn't plan this trip at a time when I could also visit the relatives who are in fact moving to Ireland later this year. My answer - cluelessness and poor planning. But hey, now I can come back!)

What all did I do in my 48-hour whirlwind tour of Dublin?
*ate fish and chips
*drank multiple pumpkin spice lattes
*had a 1/4 pint at a pub
*listened to some lovely live music (traditional Irish)
*toured Temple University and saw the Book of Kells while there
*walked St. Stephen's Green
*saw Dublin Castle and took some goofy selfies
*hiked the cliff trail in Howth (the *best*)
*and of course, ate a lot, shopped, and took lots of pictures - see below


All the books! Trinity College Library



On the campus of Trinity College


This Irish breakfast could feed me for a week. Delicious


Would you believe that this is my first ever beer? While I'm still more of a wine girl it was better than I was expecting.


Dublin Castle


Next time...


Shopping street


The town of Howth


I can't explain how much I liked this hike, but it was pretty much my favorite thing ever. It's just an hour's train ride from Dublin but you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere. The hike wasn't too hard, the ocean was beautiful and the air was just really fresh. I felt healthier with every breath. ...sigh


All in all, Dublin was fantastic, but it's also really nice to be home. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tivoli

Wow! Has it really been two weeks since my last post? This tour is flying by and obviously I am having zero trouble keeping myself busy. And of course, it would not be a true foreign service move if I wasn't still struggling to get internet sorted out at my house five weeks after my arrival.

So what's new in Rome?
First off, I had my first visit (friend-del #1) which went well. I'll post some pictures from that trip shortly, but for today, suffice to say it was great to see a friend from the Lagos days and explore the city like a tourist for a change.

Second, work has been busy and my evenings have been - if possible - even busier. I do enjoy receptions, but by the end of this week I was truly exhausted and so happy to spend the whole day today being antisocial and mostly sedentary. ;)

Third, fall happened! Rome is beautiful in the fall, if a bit rainy, and I'm enjoying the crisp smell in the air. I've also noticed now that the weather is cold how few of my work clothes are appropriate for low temperatures (doesn't help that I'm still waiting on the shipment with all my coats and jackets in it). I guess I'll just have to go shopping soon. Poor me!

Finally, I'm very slowly working my way through the tourist attractions in the area and this weekend I dragged some friends to see the town of Tivoli. You can get there in an hour by train and there are 2-3 big sights to visit. First, Villa Adriana, which is kind of out of town. This is a very old site of a Roman villa and gardens, mostly now in ruins. It was nice, though it was a big site with lots of uphill walking so I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with mobility issues.

There's also the more famous (and much better preserved) Villa d'este in town. I highly recommend a visit as it's one of the most beautiful places I've seen in Italy so far, and the tourist crowds were a lot smaller than in Rome.

Finally, there's the Villa Gregoriana, whcih I guess is a park with ruins inside. We didn't have time to visit this weekend but I'm sure I'll be back.

The town of Tivoli was also just really nice and relaxing and apparently there is a thermal spa. Keep this in mind if you're planning a visit!

And now, the obligatory photos.



Villa Adriana
Villa Adriana
View from the Villa d'Este
Gardens, Villa d'Este
Biggest fountain, Villa d'Este
My favourite fountain, Villa d'Este
Another view of the same
Detailing on the side of the Villa d'Este