Life Travel

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s day for most of the US (except for perhaps, Boston and New York) is much like Saint Valentine’s day: serious stuff… provided you work at Hallmark.  It was, however, a bit surreal for Paula and me… being our first year living in Dublin, Ireland.

 There were a bunch of events going on in downtown Dublin this weekend, but since Paula is still recovering from being sick we decided to just go to the St. Patrick’s day parade.  There were a ton of people downtown and it was fun to check out the scene.  Talking to my Irish co-workers it was interesting to find out that many in Ireland view Saint Patrick’s day as a minor, artificial holiday.  That said, the Irish people are a social lot and love an excuse to get together (which also explains the third-floor party with a chicken and cow… sort of).

Given the crowds, we couldn’t really see the parade all that well… but we’re both a fan of people watching, so that provided a ton of entertainment in its own right.  Here’s an interesting fact: the first Saint Patrick’s day parade wasn’t in Ireland, but in America (in New York or Boston, depending on whom you choose to believe).  I suppose that explains why the majority of people in silly leprechaun hats didn’t have Irish accents and hotels which normally charge 90 Euro a night were charging 300 this weekend.  Moichandising!

Food Note:

When we got done with the crowds we were having trouble picking out where to grab some lunch.  I have a weakness for good pie (especially blueberry) and so when I saw the restaurant “Delish”, which billed itself as a “pie cafe & juice bar” I had to drag Paula in to check it out.

Turns out that “pie” means “pot pie”… and I also love a good meat pie.  Paula had the beef and cheese pie while I ordered the chicken, ham and leek pie.  Toss in a side of mash (mashed potatoes) with gravy and you’ve got some serious comfort food.  It was also seriously tasty.  I recommend it if you’re in downtown Dublin and looking for a bit of nosh to warm your belly.

Photography Travel

Curious avian behavior

Last November when Paula and I were in Rome we saw a fascinating thing: a swirling cloud of birds which, viewed from a distance, looked more like smoke or a swarm of insects than a flock of birds.

flock of birds

Around dusk Paula and I were walking along the wall of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome when we saw a massive flock of birds, all seeming to converge on the same location.  The birds looked as though they were heading towards a plume of smoke coming up from one of the city’s parks.  The “smoke”, however, was flowing both up and down.  The best way to get a feel for what it looked like is to check out the video Paula shot with our pocket camera.

Starling murmuration from Reeves Little on Vimeo.

Video: Swirling flock of birds in Rome

We still have no idea what was going on.  Our best guess was some sort of feeding frenzy, catching insects which were coming out as the sun went down… but the flock was way up in the air and I think of insects as sticking closer to the earth. Perhaps there are some amateur (or professional) ornithologists out there who can shed some light on this.  Or maybe I should just ask an Italian.

FYI: Castle Sant’Angelo is a huge mausoleum built for Emperor Hadrian.  It was later fortified and used as a defensive position on the Tiber River.  If you’re in Rome we highly recommend visiting the castle in the afternoon as it provides wonderful views of Rome.  As sunset approaches grab a table at the little cafe located on the monument’s wall.  If you’re lucky you’ll get one of the tables facing the Vatican and get some great pictures of St. Peter’s Basilica with the sun setting behind it.


Off into the wild gray yonder

We’re heading to visit my sister’s house for Christmas.  Since our flights are heading through Heathrow that means we’re either spending Christmas in Maryland, or London

Keep your fingers crossed for us. 🙂



Tough decision

Here’s the thing… travel to Europe from Dublin can be crazy-cheap.

Last Monday (November 20th) Paula turned in her final project for her masters degree and a celebration was in order.  Knowing the event was coming we started preparing well in advance.  We figured the frugal thing to do would be to drive somewhere and haven’t been to western Ireland yet so Paula started looking into places to stay.  We assumed it wouldn’t be too expensive, November is windy, wet and cold in Ireland isn’t high season for travel.  The hotels were, however, pricey.

Out of curiosity we decided to price a flight to somewhere warmer.  Cha-ching!  Airfare to Rome: 100 Euros… round trip… for both of us… including luggage.  A full tank of gas costs us 55 Euros, the hotel was less and (here’s the kicker) the weather in Rome is hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit versus around 50 degrees in Ireland.

Can you say “no brainer”?  I knew you could.

Paula and Reeves in Rome

Photography Travel

Pictures from Salzburg trip are posted

It took a day-and-a-half to upload all of them, so that should probably warn you off… there are a ton (583 to be exact).  I’m not really sure you want to go looking at them, it may suck your will to live.  Yep, I said it, I don’t think you can take this many pictures (but SmugMug sure can… I now have uploaded over twelve thousand images and am closing in on 22 gigabytes… not bad for a couple of Jacksons per year).

I’ll post some of my favorite things shortly… but I’m waiting for Paula to make her massive post detailing the whole trip.  She has it all typed up, she just needs to spell check it.  C’mon Paula, now that I’ve outed you, you have to post!

You may proceed if:
a) You want to prove I’ve underestimated you by plowing through half a grand of pictures with no descriptions
b) Salzburg is your home town and you just want to see 574 crappy pictures with a few good ones mixed in
c) You’re a tweaker

For the rest of you, I present a random picture from the gallery:

Random Salzburg picture

Photography Travel

Back from a great vacation

Yeah, I fell silent there… but for good cause: Paula and I were in Salzburg, Austria for Paula’s Birthday.  It was a fantastic vacation and we now have over 600 pictures to filter and geotag.  Salzburg is a beautiful city and there’s much to tell… but we didn’t get home last night until 1am and after a day at work I’m bushed and heading to bead.  I will, however, leave you with the view which welcomed us to Salzburg.

A picture-perfect start to a great trip.


Some things I found interesting in Ireland

We returned from our House hunting trip on May 23rd and there were a few things which stood out to me:

  • In the summer the sun stays up a long time – we were getting ready for bed at 9:30pm and had a great view of the sunset from our hotel room.
  • The vast majority of rentals are furnished – I suppose if you don’t own a place, why own furniture?  We felt lucky to find an unfurnished place for rent that fit our needs.
  • Not everything is open on the weekend – we were hoping to get a tour of rental properties on the Saturday we were there, we had to opt for Friday and Monday instead.
  • Movies have reserved seating – we found the same thing in London and loved it.  When you buy your movie ticket you pick a seat too.  We were able to buy a ticket at 3:50 for a 3:45 showing of MI 3 and have a good seat with no issues (we just missed a preview or two, no big whoop).
Idle Life Travel

We ordered cheese sticks

Vegas in July, sounds like a great idea, right?  109 degrees in the shade… tourists in wife-beaters… wondering if the misters use “reclaimed” water.

Scary as it sounds we had a fab-tastic time.  We ate some great food at Delmonico Steakhouse (the waiter screwed up my order… but brought me something delicious… no harm no foul), we watched a great show, Zoomanity (the reviews were mixed on this cabaret-style twist on Cirque du Soleil but Paula and I loved it) and, above all, we had some great company.  It was a great way to spend Mike’s 40th birthday.

One fun part of the trip: Dick had never been to Vegas.  Claimed he was never going to go… would have anything to do with it.  Can you guess?  He loved it.  He’s going back.  In about a month.  My prediction: he’ll go every weekend for a year then we’ll need to perform an intervention.

Here’s a picture of some of the gang walking through the Venetian… looking very much like a still from a Vegas heist movie.


What’s Omar looking at you ask?  I’d wager it’s his Treo™ 650 smartphone.  He’s the next one who will need an intervention after Dick.

Oh, and yes, the cheese sticks were very good.