The last post in my travel series! Hard to believe it’s been 2 months since we set off on our great adventure!
After London, we headed to beautiful Ireland! My mum moved to Dublin back in July last year for a 2 year work contract so very early on Monday April 27th we left for Dublin.
Mum drives a tiny little Fiat which was not going to fit all of our luggage so her friend Caroline came to pick us up with her in her much bigger car! It was a beautiful morning in Dublin so they suggested we went to Howth for lunch first. Howth is a old fishing village in the outer suburbs of Dublin and was beautiful! We settled on one of the local restaurants for lunch and which had a lot of seafood- our favourite!
Unfortunately the lovely weather turned sour as it seems to do in Dublin but that’s something us Aucklanders are more than used to…Four seasons in one day sometimes!
From there, we drove back into Dublin city and out to Mums apartment which is in the South of Dublin. It was lovely to be at Mums place and get to see where she lives and have that homely vibe that we had been missing.
That afternoon was a quiet one since we had been up at 4am for our flight- I had a lovely long nap and for dinner Mum put on roast pork and we caught up on one our favourite shows, Broadchurch!
Mum was working Tuesday and Wednesday since we were planning on taking it easy and checking out the city. By this time we were feeling a little travel weary since it had been a full on month so we had lazy morning sleep in and then we caught the bus into the city. Once again, the weather started out beautiful but completely turned and become torrential!
We walked along O’Connell Street and over the bridge through Temple Bar and to Georges St. Arcade.
I was pretty desperate to get my hair coloured and felt like a bit of pampering but unfortunately I discovered that all salons are required to do a patch test 24hours prior to colouring a new client. But one salon did direct me to a hairdressing supplies shop so I bought a tube of colour to do myself – the benefit of using blue black, it’s always going to be the same!
That night was another night in with a home cooked meal- bliss!
Matt really wanted to go to both the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Whiskey Distillery so we bought tickets for the hop on/hop off bus and got off first at Guinness.
Now I’m not a beer drinker and a few people had told me I might still like Guinness… We were taught how to properly drink Guinness and I knew very quickly that nope, it’s not the drink for me! Matt was a lucky boy and got to have both my tester drink and the full size glass at the end!
From there, we went to the Jameson Distillery. Matt was feeling pretty happy after drinking 2 big glasses of Guinness! Jameson Distillery was a lot smaller than the Guinness Storehouse but I enjoyed it more as it was a guided tour and also the aesthetic was true to when it started out in the 1700s. Guinness on the other hand was a lot more modern in comparison. At Jameson, we learnt about the process of how they made their whiskey as well as a lot of the history.
At the end, we got to test Jameson alongside two other top whiskeys to compare it to. Once again, I’m not a whiskey drinker so I couldn’t tell the difference and ended up letting Matt drink my testers. Luckily at the end, the bar had a option of either neat Jamesons or a mix with Ginger Ale as a complimentary drink. I gave the Ginger Ale one a try and loved it!
That night, Mum took us to a pub called the Merry Ploughman which is a bit of a tourist spot as it’s got a live show with Irish singing and dancing.
We got a 3 course meal (once again, delicious, the Irish do good food!) and the live band was so much fun and it was wonderful to seeing the dancing too! I got pulled up on stage and so was Matt which was hilarious and I’m glad I’d had a few wines!
After the show finished we went downstairs to the smaller pub that all the locals frequent. We had another drink and while we were there, a table of 10 men and women just randomly starting playing Irish music… It was just like in the movies or something!
After a bit of a lazy morning sleeping off last nights wine, we packed up mums car and headed off for our road trip to Northern Ireland. We stopped at a coffee shop for snacks and made our way North, heading for Belfast. Matt drove and Mum read to us from her Lonely Planet guide and liked the sound of a small town called Newry. We stopped there since there were markets on a Thursday and had a wander around. The market had a few good vintage stalls with some very tempting jewellery and gorgeous pieces of crockery.
After an hour or so in Newry, we continued on to Belfast but bypassed the freeway, opting instead for the coastal route. I wanted to see as much of the countryside and small towns as I could since we had been in such big cities for the entire trip.
We came upon another gorgeous little town called Newcastle which was situated on the coast and since we all needed a toilet break, we found a park and got a drink at the local pub. I love the pubs in Ireland, they are all so beautiful and well kept and this one had to be one of my favourites! I spotted a couple of vintage shops along the main strip so had a look around those too.
We arrived in Belfast at about 4.30pm and checked into the apartment. We weren’t too far from the main centre of town so decided to walk there and eventually find somewhere to eat dinner.
We also came across a reptile shop and the owner had a pet racoon! We’d never seen one apart from in a zoo so it was pretty bizarre and exciting. She was quite timid around us but the owner said that she can be quite snuggly when it’s just them together.
After a lot more walking and seeing some of the beautiful buildings in Belfast, we found a pub and settled in for dinner.
First up was the Titanic Museum! Matt was REALLY looking forward to this since he’s a boat builder so did the hour long discovery guided tour first which took us into the planning rooms and where the Titanic was actually built.
It was really interesting despite having to walk around outside in the freezing cold! The Museum itself it wonderful and very interactive. There were a lot really fun features and I’d really recommend going to anyone visiting Belfast.
After that we arranged to be picked up by Paddy Campbells Black Cab Tour. Our driver was a very passionate and informative and took us around the political murals in the Falls and Shankill, told us a lot about the history of the troubles in Belfast and we even signed the Peaceline.
It was a very interesting tour especially since my knowledge on the subject was pretty limited! Once again, highly recommended to all those visiting Belfast!
That afternoon we continued the drive north and ending up deciding to stay the night in a small coastal town at the top of Ireland called Ballycastle. Before we found accommodation, we came across a pub called The Anzac Bistro and given it’s reference to the New Zealand (ANZAC stands for Australian & New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli during WW1) we decided to stop for a drink and a few games of pool.
We settled on a hotel right near the beach with sea views and settled in for the night with a yummy dinner at the hotel restaurant.
After breakfast we checked out and headed around the coastline. We had planned on walking over the famous swing bridge Carrick-a-Rede but due to the very high winds, the bridge was closed. So we continued on to the Giants Causeway.
I hadn’t seen many photos of this natural phenomenon and wasn’t expecting it to be such a large area! The rocks are naturally formed but there is a old legend that a Giant built it so that he could get over to Scotland without getting his feet wet.
It was freezing but we timed it well- just 10mins after we left the rain came! Next stop was Derry which was just over a hours drive away (Ireland is very small, it’s so quick to get everywhere!). The weather had really set in by now making it pretty unpleasant to walk around. After getting lunch and wandering around the some shops (there was some good vintage ones!) we decided to keep going and head back to Dublin, We had planned on staying the night in Derry and walking the old stone walks around the city but the weather was just too awful!
That night we went to Mums local pub for dinner which was packed to the brim when we arrived since there was a game on. Once again, it was a beautiful old pub and the food was delicious. In New Zealand, pub food is pretty average but in Ireland it’s very much restaurant quality!
It was our last day in Dublin and I was having a bit of a off day. After checking out a local mall since we needed to replace a broken suitcase, we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling at home. It was nice to just relax and do nothing after weeks of being on-the-go the whole time.
Travel days! Our flight out of Dublin was a very civilised early afternoon time and after holding our breath while the attendant weighed our bags at the airport (we JUST came under the limit!) we said our goodbyes to Mum and headed off for Tokyo. It was a 7 hour flight to Dubai with a couple of hours to wait in the airport and then a further 9 hours to Tokyo. I was SO happy to find a massage place in Dubai airport and whilst it was ridiculously expensive, it was so worth it.
We arrived in Tokyo at 5pm Tuesday and had to catch a bus to Shinjuku which took 90mins. From there we made our way to the Air BnB Apartment and were greeted by our hosts who were so kind and welcoming. They had left us lots of food, a fridge full of drinks and even a glass of bubbles to celebrate our honeymoon!
We weren’t too sure of what we wanted to do in Tokyo but Matt really wanted to hunt down this department type store called Two Hands and buy some tools for work. There was one in the Shibuya area, about 4km from where we were, and since we didn’t feel particularly confidant with the trains we decided to walk. Thankfully, the apartment had a mobile wifi device which was amazing and helped us so much. Without it, we would have got completely lost as we didn’t have roaming in Tokyo.
We set off for the day and found a Starbucks to satisfy my morning coffee addiction. We decided we would walk through Yoyogi Greuyn (a park), check out the Harajuku district and the go to Matt’s Tool Shop. The park was really beautiful and we ended up walking through there for quite some time. I could see on the maps that there was a few little lakes but it took us a while to find the right path to take us there.
We walked through Harajuku and unfortunately didn’t see any girls dressed up or the Rockabilly guys. The streets were just heaving with people and so bustling! The amazing thing about Tokyo is that despite so many people, the streets are still very clean!
I was googling for animal cafe’s as we walked and saw there was a rabbit one not far from where we were. Sadly, there was a 3 hour wait since we didn’t have a appointment BUT right opposite it was a cat cafe so we just went there instead. It wasn’t quite like I had imagined it- it wasn’t really a cafe, more of just a room where you could hang out with the cat and had self serve coffee.
The cats were cute but one seemed a little skinny and they just seemed pretty fed up with having toys dangled in their face by the owner in a attempt to liven them up. All in all, whilst it was cute and fun, I did leave wondering how happy those cats really were?
Next up, tool shopping for Matt! We made our way to the shop in Shibuya and he must have spent a good 45 minutes deciding on what to buy. I could’t really complain though since I had dragged him into dozens of shops during the trip!
By now, it was about 3pm and I was absolutely starving! Thankfully we were in a area with lots of places to eat and so we got to have our first authentic Japanese meal. We stuck to things that we knew but it was all really yummy!
We went back to our area Shinjuku and looked through the shops before picking up something light to eat for dinner since lunch had been so late and heading home.
All that walking and the warmer temperatures left us exhausted! Despite this, it still took me until 4am to get to sleep thanks to jetlag…. very frustrating!
We met up with Darran, a kiwi living in Toyko who does street photography. We had planned on taking a few photos in the park across the road from where we were staying but it was mysteriously closed. He captured this adorable moment of when I got to meet a 4 month old Shiba Inu puppy. Talk about making my heart melt, this little guy was adorable!
Darran talked us through the train system and said it was pretty easy so we decided to give it a go and head to the Imperial Palace. It was a pretty easy journey since there was only one train and it was great to get to go to Tokyo Station which I think is in a business district.
We walked over to the palace but it was closed as the Emperor was entertaining the Taiwanese Ambassador. We must have seen the leaving later on when we were walking back to the train station because a very fancy carriage and men on horses went by!
That night we went back to Shibuya to have a look through Shibuya 109 Mall where I bought a few goodies like this super cute vintage looking suitcase!
We had a yummy dinner at a restaurant for a ridiculously cheap price (whoever told me Tokyo was expensive was lying!) and just walked around the hustle and bustle of the area. It amazing how bright everything is with all the lights, it almost seems like it’s daytime!
The next day, we were headed home. Part of me was looking forward to coming home as I’d missed our own bed and the routine of life but I was still sad that our trip was at it’s end.
We had such a amazing time, we met so many wonderful people, made new friends and saw old ones, spent time with my mother who we hadn’t seen in 9 months, marvelled at beautiful buildings, ate our weight in amazing food, experienced once in a lifetime moments together and grew even closer. It was the best honeymoon a girl could ask for with my bestest friend. We are looking forward to the next trip, attending Viva Las Vegas again next year and hopefully visiting a new part of the USA that we haven’t explored yet!
I feel very lucky to have been able to travel as far as we did. I know it is a privilege and not something everyone in this world gets to enjoy. But if at any point in your life you have the opportunity to see new places, then do it! Our world is a amazing place!
I’ll have a few more travel related posts coming but if you’d like to catch up on the previous posts then please click the links below-
x Miss Victory Violet
Categories: Miss VV Around The World