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Utah Day 2: Peaks and Petroglyphs

sunny 100 °F

Our first stop was lunch at a highly recommended Mexican/ Salvadoran restaurant in the town of Parowan, which is just down the hill from where we are staying. The food was delicious. Their chile rellenos are especially different from what they are normally like, but in a very good way.
We then drove to the Parowan Gap.
Which is the location of the famous Parowan Petroglyphs. These were carved into the stone by various Native American tribes over the years. It seems as though the area was a common stopping point during migrations or hunting expeditions, and that various groups over the years added to these glyphs. There are various possible explanations for the different images, with different tribes and archaeologists sometimes having very divergent ideas of what they might have meant. It is interesting that the local tribes were generally agricultural: we had a bit of a discussion about the relationship between agriculture and religion, and how ceremonial images might become more important to a culture that farms rather than hunts for their living.
There are petroglyphs in most of these images, especially on the darker parts of the rock. Some of them seem to depict astronomical events, such as meteors falling to earth. A modern observer is likely to see some of the figures as aliens (some of the human figures have what look like antennae) but it is important not to read too much into your own interpretation (these figures could simply be, for instance, a shaman wearing antlers). It is hard to imagine what caused people to carve these things into the rock. You wish that you could understand what they were thinking and why they organized the images the way they did.
We also stopped briefly at the Dinosaur tracks site, also in the Parowan Gap. Since it was very hot we didn't do much of a hike there.
Next we went to Cedar Breaks National Monument, where we could see the "Chessmen," supposedly formations that look like chessmen but in fact formations that just look like rocks. Nevertheless, it was beautiful.
These "amphitheaters" in the sides of mountains seem very common here. They are all like miniature Grand Canyons.
You are able to drive to the top of Brian Head peak, which we did.
It is over 11,000 feet high.
There is a small shelter at the top which was nice to shield us from the wind.
We watched the sunset from the peak and then headed back down to our resort.

Posted by danielcatherine 15:06 Archived in USA Tagged mountains food petroglyphs dinosaurs amphitheater peaks parowan brian_head cedar_breaks chessmen Comments (1)

Kauai Day 1: Time Travelling

semi-overcast 84 °F

While our group...
Visited beaches...
Snacked on Portuguese food...
And watched the Running of the Bulls on Terceira...
We flew through the air, first from Boston to San Francisco and then from San Francisco to Kauai. Our flights were not bad: from Boston to San Francisco we sat in front of Catherine’s parents, and next to a woman from Boston who owns a ranch in Oregon. We had a nice conversation with her. After our flight, we parted ways with Catherine’s parents and flew to Kauai. Our seats were very nice because we had an empty third seat in our row.
We got to Kauai, rented our car (which turned out to be a Jeep) and drove to the house that Daniel’s family is staying in. Our room is very comfortable and the towels are folded into a turtle. We are very excited to start this leg of our trip, and to explore Kauai!

Posted by danielcatherine 00:49 Archived in USA Tagged food beach san_francisco portugal seats boston kauai bulls Comments (1)

Portugal Day 16: “The Isle of Home is Always On Your Mind”

all seasons in one day 77 °F

Today, Pico was completely clear, and we could see it easily from the street where our house is located.


There is a large monument commemorating the founding of Peter’s Cafe Sport one hundred years ago.
Some views of Faial.
This monument to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception overlooks Horta from the hillside. It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.


The view from the outlook, and some pictures of us with the view in the background.
This bull, acting like Ferdinand among the flowers. We felt that his Ferdinand would only be temporary if he were provoked in any way.
Our next stop was Cedros, where we could visit Aldina’s Restaurant. Aldina is Catherine’s third cousin, not on the Andrade side but on the Escobar side. Catherine’s great grandmother, Maria Escobar, was from here and was a sister to Aldina’s great grandmother. Aldina owns a grocery store and restaurant in the same town where their great grandmothers grew up.
Catherine trying the lapas at Aldina’s. She says she really likes lapas, but Michael says she really likes garlic and lemon.
A soft, mozzarella-ish cheese with a hot pepper sauce.
Delicious bacalhau (cod fish) com natas. We’ve tried this a few places, but none of them have been as good as this.
Rice and French fries, both of which were good. There was also some pineapple pork, which was also very good but we didn’t get a picture.
Dessert was an ice cream cake.
After lunch, we went towards the house where Catheine’s Great grandmother was born and raised. Anthony remembers her as his “Grandma Andrade” who lived with him when they were little. It was an amazing experience to see the house. Unfortunately, it has recently been sold to a French couple who is seriously renovating it, but for now no one was there and we were able to see it.
Catherine has heard before that her great grandmother was born in “a red windmill.” She had the story slightly wrong: she was born near the red windmill, which can be seen from the house.
Some pictures of the house and the view from the house. Michael keeps asking why his people would have left. Life was hard here, we hear, but it is still hard to imagine leaving. We talked about the song Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears which is about Irish immigrants but seems applicable to the situation of Maria Escobar when she left. Thus, we titled our post for today after the song.
Some pictures of the family around the house. It was an emotional experience for Catherine and her father and his siblings to see the house.
Escobar descendants in front of their grandmother’s house (alternate caption, suggested by Jill Leal: Escoballin’)
Praia do Norte, where the Andrades are actually from. We took some pictures here, which was a nice opportunity.
Next, the Capelinhos lighthouse ruins and eruption site. In 1957, a great deal of land was added to Faial by this volcanic erruption. People died in the earthquakes the caused houses to collapse, and the land was ruined. People had to dig for crops that had been planted above ground. Catherine’s family was in America already by this time, but many more recent immigrant families left when the United States created a relief act to allow Azoreans to immigrate easily to escape the destruction of the volcano. The entire large hill to the west is new, having emerged from the ocean in the erruption.
This picture shows the new land very well.
Daniel attempted to take a picture of the group talking, but Jill started dancing mid-picture. It shows everyone was having fun.




We stopped to go swimming at Castelo Branco. Interestingly, while Catherine’s Andrade cousins live in Castelo Branco, they actually came from Praia do Norte. Her Furtado relatives came from Castelo Branco. We went swimming in a little pool connected to sea water, and then in a natural lava-rock swimming area.

Faial looking tropical and beachside.
After that we went down to the waterfront to see the festivities. It is amazing how late it goes, and how people of all ages seem to come.9AB8312C-5EF1-4448-8A4D-D1A8FA74C219.jpeg
Katie with a SuperBock beer.
Dinner at a little barbecue-oriented place. We ordered chouriço, bread, and some cheese to make sandwiches. We also had the opportunity to have some ginja in edible chocolate cups.
They were selecting the queen (rainha) for the Semana do Mar, which consisted of girls walking down a runway with music playing and people being able to vote by phone or Facebook. Apparently a queen was chosen after we left.
Some beautiful buildings in Horta.

Posted by danielcatherine 13:14 Archived in Portugal Tagged food queen house family rainha cedros horta lapas aldina’s escobars praia_do_norte bacalhau semana_do_mar Comments (1)

Portugal Day 13: The Mouth of Hell

all seasons in one day 74 °F

Some pictures of our house in Ponta Delgada. It is three stories, and has very nice common areas. Our room is in the attic and has a very low ceiling, but is nice and comfortable nonetheless.
A quick breakfast of local pineapple and a toasted bolo lêvedo (basically an English muffin) with jam.
Our first stop was a mountain with an excellent view, especially of Lagoa do Fogo (lake of fire...but it seems to be full of water.). The fog and mist made it difficult to see some of the view, but it was still wonderful.
What the Azoreans call a conteira, also called kahili ginger.
After this we visited a distillery that makes a variety of liqueurs that we were able to try. We were not allowed to take pictures inside, so there aren’t any here.
Next we visited the Gorreana Tea Plantation, which is one of two commercial tea plantations in Europe, both of which are in São Miguel.
Around the “factory” and the fields of Gorreana. No one was sorting or processing tea today, but we got to see the machines and the fields where the tea is grown.
Us in the field.
Us with Katie in the field.
Us having some tea, with a mysterious figure behind us.
Having fun at a picnic in the rain (there were shelters available which we used. Plus, we had the whole place to ourselves.)
Next, we stopped at an old aqueduct that is no longer used. We weren’t sure when it was built, but it was fun to climb to the top of it!
Another viewpoint: Boca do Inferno (the Mouth of Hell). It doesn’t look particularly hellish at the moment.
Sete Cidades is named for the legend of the Seven Cities (which is related to legends such as Atlantis, Hy-Brasil, etc.), but really has no cities, just a small village and some beautiful lakes. It was around this time that Catherine and her cousins started discussing the idea of pooling our money and buying a house here.
We went swimming in this piscina, which really means swimming pool but here seems to imply a place near the ocean that is set up for swimming. The water was somewhat cold, but it was still an incredible experience. It really felt like the ultimate wave pool. EEE35487-BD0D-484E-B721-C617E24F5712.jpeg
We had a great time.
A São Miguel street scene.
Dinner was at O Galego, said by some to have the best steaks on the island (though our tour guide, whose brother-in-law owns a restaurant, thought otherwise.) Neither of us eat a lot of beef, but we both got our steaks well-done and they were in fact enjoyable. For some reason, in the Azores steaks are served with a fried egg on top.
For dessert, the waiter asked if we would like chocolate mousse or pineapple. Daniel took this to mean that we had the choice between chocolate mousse and pineapple mousse, and ordered the chocolate. Catherine correctly ordered pineapple, which proved to be simply half a pineapple on a plate. After dinner, we met a lot of our group and the other group (Don, Marcia, and Dominic) at Doris Bar by the marina. We had a wonderful day and can’t wait for Faial tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 17:39 Archived in Portugal Tagged food marina tea guide swimming tour egg steak plantations azores pineapple piscina ananás ponta_delgada são_miguel boca_do_inferno doris_bar Comments (1)

Ireland Day 3: The High King's Seat

rain 60 °F

This morning we got up at around seven to meet Daniel's Aunt Jackie at her hotel for breakfast. By coincidence, she was staying just across the street from where we were, and we were able to see her before she flew home. We had a great time and we are very glad that we were able to meet up during our trip.
After breakfast we walked to a camera store to get some black and white film. When Daniel came to Ireland in 2003 he took a lot of black and white pictures. This time he decided to bring the same camera so that Catherine could take pictures too. We went for a nice walk through Ballsbridge and the city center, and found great customer service and help at Conn's Camera's.
We saw more Dublin doors.
We also found a church called St. Teresa's. It seems to be a Carmelite church, and has a lot of side altars beside the main altar. The view in the photo is actually only a side entrance to the church, which is much larger.
There was a small side chapel that Catherine specifically pointed out, so we went in to it and found out that it had a statue of the Infant of Prague and had a prayer to him on the altar rail, along with a rack of candles. Since we are adopting a baby through an adoption service called Infant of Prague, we said some prayers for the process to go smoothly and lit a candle.
After the walk, our host called us a taxi to the airport, we checked out, and went to pick up our rental car! Our car turned out to be a Toyota Yaris hybrid, which is very much like a smaller version of our Prius. It is even red! We also tried a couple of the potato chip favors available here.
The first place we went was the visitors' center at the Hill of Tara in County Meath. In the gift shop we found a familiar hat, and a lot of fairy-based merchandise.
The Hill of Tara is the complex from which the High Kings of Ireland ruled. There are structures there dating back thousands of years, and evidence of burials and other ceremonies being carried out there.
The lia fáil, or stone of destiny, was used for the coronations of the kings. The legend is that it would cry out if the rightful High King touched his foot to the stone. Catherine considered finding a hidden location and crying out when people touched the stone, but was persuaded against it.
It started to rain heavily while we were touring Tara. It's a good thing that we had our hoods/hats. The grass was very wet but it was still a very pleasant walk.
It was an amazing place to tour. The centuries of history and legend associated with the place are fascinating. We were especially intrigued by the fact that most of the visitors appeared to be from the area (lots of Meath and Dublin license plates). It's intriguing to imagine living in a place where such ancient historic sites are so readily available.
Daniel standing atop the Mound of Hostages, one of the tombs at Tara.
Vegetable soup and brown bread! A perfect Irish lunch. And now we can say that we dined at Tara.
We were planning to go to Newgrange, but the lady at Tara told us it was sold out, so we went directly to Donegal. We had to go through Northern Ireland to get there. Neither of us had been. The pictures above show a beautiful area there with a flock of sheep grazing. Northern Ireland is interesting: the diversity of its population is evident in the different flags/decorations/ types of churches you see as you go through different towns and neighborhoods. One town was plastered with Union Jacks and had a huge banner over the Main Street that said "God Save the Queen." Another had Irish tricolors on every lamppost.
We drove through Eniskillen on our way to Donegal. It was intriguing, but we didn't end up spending much time there.
Mountcharles is a great village. We are staying just up the hill from the village, and our hosts have been wonderful. There is another couple also staying here. They are from Michagan, so we talked to them a bit about Ireland and the United States.
Seumas MacManus, who wrote The Story of the Irish Race, was from Mountcharles. The former village water pump is dedicated to him, as this was where he would sit and read to the children of the village.
We had planned to eat at the pub in Mountcharles, and we walked there from the house. Unfortunately, when we got there they had just closed the kitchen (we arrived at 9:06). We walked back to the house, got in our car, and drove to Donegal Town. We ate at the Manhattan Steakhouse, which was very good. Donegal Town looks amazing: we can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 17:13 Archived in Ireland Tagged food united_kingdom cars driving pubs sheep tara donegal northern_ireland eniskillen mountcharles Comments (2)

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