NYE

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Ventured out to the champs-élysées early…

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than scooped mom up and headed out to the park beneath the Eiffel Tower at around 11 to set up for midnight.

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Kind of an anything goes party in Paris where street vendors will sell you bottles of champagne on the street in advance of the calendar flip.

New Years Eve

Paris

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We have arrived. Day 1 was beautiful and a bit chaotic. Lines for the Eiffel Tower are staggering. Place is amazing and real close to the tower. Neighborhood is very quaint. We are in the 7th arrondissement which is central.

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Today we we visited the Sacre-Coeur which is a church in Montmartre with the 2nd highest point in Paris.

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From here we got our obligatory picture in front of Moulin Rouge and strolled along the Seine and through the grounds of the Louvre. Didn’t make it in because we arrived just as it was closing but the sight of the place from the outside was impressive.

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Gearing up for New Years festivities. Planning on the Champs-Élysées early and scooping up mom for the Eiffel Tower at midnight.

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Early Paris

Landed and made our way out. Must have logged 5 miles walking all over the city. Highlights were the quiet and architecturally beautiful neighborhoods around Coit Tower and the lounging Sea Lions resting on the docks of Fishermans Wharf where we had a clear view of Alcatraz. Telegraph Hill was an extremely angled road that I remembered from the crazy scene from ‘The Hulk’. After this we wandered through Chinatown but while it may have been bigger than the one in NY I enjoy the layout of the one in NYC much better. Finished the day at 21st Amendment ‘Brewery’ which, like most breweries, wound up being no more than a glorified brewpub carrying a wide variety of offerings.

The highlight may have been the campsite we spent the first night in. Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge, Centennial campground offered amazing views of the bay, bridge, and city all in one. We had dinner on a picnic table as the sun went down and the lights of San Fran appeared in the distance.

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San Francisco

Cork

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Cork may have been my favorite city in Ireland. I was nervous as we entered town as the girls seemed to prefer the smaller towns to the big cities and Cork is Ireland’s third biggest city. It sure doesn’t feel this way.

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We stayed on the outskirts near the University of Cork which was beautiful. The main quadrangle was a sight.

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Just up from the university is fitzgerald park which was throbbing with people due to the abundance of sunny days which we were fortunate to experience throughout our journey.

The city is framed by several rivers which seem to divide the city into districts. The downtown area is a charming little series of interconnected streets with some being blocked off to car traffic.

Found an amazing brewery and beer garden called the Franciscan Well which was built into the wall of an old monastery with a well that was thought to possess healing powers.

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From Cork we took a day trip out to Cobh which is a pretty little port city which happened to be the last stop of the titanic before its ill-fated journey to NY and then on to Blarney castle which houses the world famous blarney stone.

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As with any vacation ours could have lasted a wee bit longer but every stop along the way was more enjoyable than the stop before so I think we got a good impression of what the country has to offer.

Cork

Second day in Killarney. We toured the Ring of Kerry which provided endless views of the south easternly part of Ireland.

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Also saw a sheepdog demonstration that was pretty excellent. The guy had the dogs trained on their own commands so they didn’t react to each others.

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When we got back to Killarney that evening we discovered there was a Gaelic football semifinal between Kerry and Watertown. Went down to the stadium for that and found out how complex and active the game is. It is a combination of soccer, football, rugby, with a little basketball mixed in.

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Closed it out at the pub where we listened to traditional Irish music being played at the next table over.

Killarney

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