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Wave off of Doolin Point, County Clare, Ireland

Wave off of Doolin Point, County Clare, Ireland

Bird near the Cliffs of Mohr, County Clare, Ireland

Gannet soaring near the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

Doolin Bird

Gannet soaring along the water near the Cliffs of Moher

Birds in Flight

Herring Gulls in Flight

We hiked around the Cliffs of Moher which is about 8K south of Doolin but then decided we wanted to see it from the water as well so we booked a cruise on “Dolphin Discovery.” With full on sunshine and milder temps, it turned out to be a great way to spend the morning ~ got to see a friendly, playful dolphin, birds and the Cliffs of Moher.

Dolphin in the the Doolin Pier

Dolphin in the the Doolin Pier

Dolphin checking us out

Dolphin checking us out

Looks like Hawaii but it's really Ireland

Looks like Hawaii but it’s really Ireland

Cliffs of Mohr

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Mohr

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Mohr

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Mohr

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Mohr

Cliffs of Moher

If you want to go to the Cliffs of Moher, there’s a car park and visitor center. Click here for opening hours and prices.

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From Dublin, we drove through The Burren which is the region in North County Clare between Clare and Kinvara. The natural beauty of this area is breathtaking. We had reservations in a little town on the coast of The Burren called Doolin. We decided since we were leaving the city behind, we would opt for a small B&B called Kate’s Place. What a great choice. With only 3 rooms and it being brand new, we were treated to a very clean, charming little B&B with super friendly hosts, delicious & extremely filling breakfasts, and access to information about the area by someone who’s lived there all her life. We only stayed two nights but I was very tempted to spend the remainder of our vacation there (three additional nights).

Entering The Burren, County Clare, Ireland

Entering The Burren, County Clare, Ireland

Kate's Place B&B

Kate’s Place B&B

Driving into Doolin made me feel like I was back home on the Big Island (Hawaii). I know comparing Ireland to Hawaii sounds strange but the north part of County Clare has a similar landscape and feel to it. There are lots of wide open spaces, cattle grazing in the green fields, it’s a bit windy, hilly and, oddly enough, lots of surfboards on top of the cars. Although the Western Coast of Ireland is known for surfing ~ the air/water temperatures is where the comparison to Hawaii ends. It was still freezing when we arrived in Doolin.

Doolin's Narrow Road

Doolin’s Narrow Road

Church in Doolin, County Clare

                                                  Catholic Church in Doolin, County Clare

Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Narrow Road Driving to Doolin, County Clare

Narrow Road Driving to Doolin, County Clare

More Sheep in Doolin

More Sheep in Doolin

House in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

House in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Pier in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Pier in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Stream in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Stream in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Doolin is known for its traditional Irish music at the pubs and O’Connor’s Pub has nightly music at 9:30 pm. Since it was Easter Monday, they also had a small band playing at 6:30pm. While the local musicians played, a local Irish singer named Ted McCormac joined in and it was fabulous! Felt fortunate to hear him sing.

O'Connors Pub in Doolin, County Clare

O’Connors Pub in Doolin, County Clare

On the second night at O’Connors, we saw the owner of the B&B join in the band with his button accordion. The best Irish music is when the locals get together and join in randomly.

I didn’t drive while we were in Scotland but have since taken to the wheel. So far, I haven’t had any trouble with remembering to stay left when driving and shifting with my left hand instead of right is easy. In fact, I prefer driving to being a passenger…especially since John always asks “would you like “on-coming traffic side” or “stone wall side” ~ both choices are stressful.

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Two years ago, we were spending the President’s Day weekend in Palau. From Guam, Palau is only a two hour flight and had we stayed longer than one year in Guam, I would have gone back to Palau as often as possible. For a beachbum, it IS paradise.

On our way to the Rock Islands:

Favorite Girl at the “Milky Way”:

Touring the Rock Islands:

All last week, I searched Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz for a cheap getaway to Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Orlando and Charleston but all flights/hotels were too much for just a couple days. So instead, we’re embracing the winter and heading further north. We’ll be stimulating the Canadian economy this weekend…

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We opted for a private boonie stomp for our finalé since the organized stomp yesterday was rated VERY difficult and didn’t end at a beach. My daughter stayed with her favorite sitter rather than head out to the boonies with us. It was probably just as well since it was a hot, long, and definitely “in the boonies” kind of hike and she had more fun playing with her friends. John and I were rewarded with this:

My favorite thing after a long hike was jumping into the cool, refreshing ocean waters and that’s the first thing I did:

Double Reef is one of the more remote beaches and, by far, the best snorkeling we’ve encountered on Guam. The ocean was very calm and we were able to swim quite a distance out to a “drop off” ~ there were so many fish and a variety of coral. I was mesmerized by all the vibrant colors of coral.

The beach itself is surrounded by a rugged, limestone forest (think “Predator” the movie) and there are giant binalo trees whose branches extend completely over the beach thus shading almost the entire length of the 150 feet long white, soft-sand beach. Absolutely gorgeous!

Much to our dismay, and I’m sure the other couple’s dismay as well, we weren’t the only ones there. We caught up with them on the hike and arrived at the beach at the same time. They went out for an even longer snorkel then we did, so we enjoyed a little time alone on the beach.

Along the trail, we came across wild pigs. I decided to carry a stick to ward off any attacks. Now that I look at it in the photo, my best hope would have been to poke it in the eyes with that lame stick:

I had heard many people tried to make it to Double Reef but couldn’t find it. I can see how that could happen. I highly recommend any one living on Guam, who plans on Boonie Stomping, buy the book “The Best Tracks on Guam” by Dave Lotz. It is very detailed and gives step by step guidelines to all the best hikes. And thankfully, there were markers along the way so we knew we were heading in the right direction. We did get off track a couple times but thankfully I was with John who has a great sense of direction. Not to mention he’s spent a lot more time in the woods. This is John standing next to a major marker ~ if you don’t turn right here, you’re way off course:

For anyone interested in hiking to Double Reef, be sure to park at this sign and start down the dirt road:

As the sign says, be sure to check in with the security desk. They will let you know if the beach is closed due to training ~ heed the warnings, you don’t want to get ‘shot’ accidentally. UPDATE: I’ve been advised, in the comments below, that hikers must sign a “release” prior to hiking to Double Reef beach.

It’s a rough hike but worth the reward at the end! Take lots of water, sunscreen, bug spray and snorkeling gear.  I’m trying to figure out how we can fit one more hike there before we leave.

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UPDATE: It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Guam. Feel free to leave your top 5 Favorite restaurants in Guam in the comments!

Itzy Bitzy tagged me to “Pick 5 of your favorite places to eat in your current location.” There are so many yummy restaurants here on Guam and, unfortunately, our short year here didn’t really allow us to get to all that many but I did find some gems. Here’s my current favorites:

  • Proa Restaurant in Tumon.  Very delicious grilled eggplant salad and the best coconut banana fritters I’ve ever had.
  • Thapanee Thai Restaurant in the Hafa adai Exchange. The BEST ever Grilled Tofu with lemongrass. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Their vegetarian spring-rolls are the best I’ve ever eaten as well.
  • The Mermaid Tavern in Hagåtña. Good salads and pasta. I particularly like the varied selection of beer.
  • Outback in Tumon. Can’t beat their YUMMY bread and the Chocolate Lava cake dessert.  Plus, next to Hard Rock Cafe, Outback is FG’s favorite place to eat.
  • Jamaican Grill  in Tumon.  A little spicy, a little tangy and consistently good.

To be honest, one of my favorite places to eat, is right here at home. I’ve been a lot more adventurous with my recipes and some have turned out pretty darn good 🙂

I tag: Heidi, KBGJess Mobb

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Palau Wrap-up

Sunset at Palau Pacific Resort

None of us wanted to say goodbye to Palau ~ we still had a few things we wanted to do and see. On our last night, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset dinner.At the end of our trips, we like to recap a list of highlights, top five and what surprised us the most. For me, I didn’t expect quite so many eastern European tourists. We also ran into quite a few German visitors but I expected that since the website for Palau had the choice of English, Japanese or German.Another thing that was a little unexpected was that they drive on the left side of the road but most of their cars come from Japan so the steering wheel is on the RIGHT. The roads were pretty narrow,and more than once, I held my breath thinking we were going to hit someone walking/running on the road. It was a little crazy.We decided on our own top THREE favorites:
FG:
3) Milky Way and the white goop
2) Kayaking and snorkeling at Risong Bay
1) Dolphin Encounter

FM:
3) Snorkeling at the Big Drop-Off (seeing the shark)
2) Dolphin Encounter
1) Breakfast on the beach each morning with the family

Me:
3) Giant Clam snorkel
2) Big Drop-Off snorkel (seeing the sea turtle)
1) Dolphin Encounter

We will definitely go back to see the Dolphin when we return. I say “when” and not “if” because this place is so special and I’m already trying to plan a return visit.

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