Rediscovering Ireland: Introduction

So, those of you who read my posts regularly will know that I was lucky enough to get back to Ireland on holidays this Easter. It´s shocking to think that it´s been almost four years since I last stepped foot in my beloved birth country. However, this, as with everything, has some advantages. Those advantages being that if you´ve been away from a place for so long, when you do go back, it´s like seeing it through fresh eyes, you fall in love with the place all over again. Everything, that you sometimes take for granted while living in a place, is now that little bit more special than before.

Galway
Galway

I had been so busy over the last four years, settling in and falling in love with Spain, that I had almost forgotten just how special Ireland truly is. While that statement is quite shameful to admit, especially seeing as Irish people are known for their pride in their country, it´s  true.
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That said, when my plane landed in Dublin airport, I was full of excitement and anticipation. Greeted by my friends and a rough plan of what was to come I was thrilled to be on Irish soil once again. I have to say my friends are what made this trip for me. They ensured that I got to experience as much as I could while I was home. I´m so grateful for that, with their help I managed to have a jam-packed holiday. So, if you´re reading this, thank you so much!
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That said; due to the vast quantity of places I managed to fit into my trip home, I´ve decided to make my trip home into a series. A post a day on the highlights from my trip. I know that I could have tried to fit them all into one post but I feel that each place merits its own post. Also, I think, if I had chosen to write just one post, it would have ended up being too long. I mean we all know how much I love to talk: being brief is just not something that would work for me. But, I suppose, I wouldn´t be Irish otherwise, would I?
So; I´ve decided to call this series, as the title of this post might suggest: rediscovering Ireland. Not a very original title, I know, but that is exactly what this trip was for me. Seeing Ireland in a new light.
So all that remains in this introductory post is to tell you what to expect over the next number of days. So here it is:
Post two: Rediscovering Ireland: The Gleniff Horseshoe.
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Post three: Rediscovering Ireland: William Butler Yeats Grave.
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Post four: Rediscovering Ireland: Knocknarea.
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Post five: Rediscovering Ireland: Coney Island.
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Post six: Rediscovering Ireland: Strandhill.
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Post seven: Rediscovering Ireland: Eagles Flying.
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Post eight: Rediscovering Ireland: Kylemore Abbey.
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Post nine: Rediscovering Ireland: Kilcooley Abbey.
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So, there you have it. A little taste of what´s to come over the next number of days. I hope you´ll enjoy it as much as I did while I was there!
Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Alcoy: The City of Bridges.

It´s funny how things work out sometimes. We all make plans and, some of us, even go as far as making bucket lists. I´m most certainly one of those people. I make lists for everything. Lists of work goals, lists of life goals, lists of things I want to do and places I want to see. Some of these lists being easy to accomplish while others, hmm, let´s just say: debatable.

So; you may be wondering; what´s this got to do with Alcoy? Well; simple. When I first moved to mainland Spain, four years ago now, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed and eager to get to know my new country. I sat down with a pen, my much loved notebook and a map. I started making a list of places I wanted to visit within a two hour radius of where I was living. A realistic bucket list, or at least, that´s what I thought at the time.

Made the connection yet? Yes, I knew you would. One of the lovely places that was lucky enough to make it into my trusty notebook, and onto that glorious list, was Alcoy. Sadly though, I didn´t get to see it before I moved to Córdoba.

That said; once I moved back here, to Murcia, I dragged out that little list, which, by then, had started to gather a thick layer of dust. I vowed to myself there and then to start ticking these places off my list. So; I thought – why not share my experience with all of you?

Enough rambling, onto Alcoy.
Alcoy

When I first heard of Alcoy I was immediately intrigued by it. First of all, because the guidebooks I had read had referred to it as “The real Spain”, quite a bold statement if you ask me. And, secondly, because of its nickname: the City of Bridges. Having been there I can see what the guidebooks meant.

The minute you enter Alcoy you are faced with a mass of Bridges. Alcoy, being a town with many furrowed cliffs and steep drops, needs these bridges due to the natural lie of the land. Some of the bridges date back to the 17th century. Apart from their functional uses, such as providing access to both the industries which border the River Riquer and the more modern parts of the town, they are structurally stunning.

So; apart from the bridges, what has Alcoy got to offer? And, more importantly, why has it been referred to as “The real Spain”? That, I believe, is due to the evident remains of the cultures that once occupied this town. The Moors occupied Alcoy from the tenth to the thirteenth century. Their imprint has remained throughout the centuries and, quite strangely, the Moorish ruins lie beneath the modern day town. It seems that from the fifteenth century, when Alcoy came to prominence and its military might was invaluable to the Alicante region, that Alcoy began to construct a new town. I would imagine, as I haven´t read much on this, that the purpose for this was to accommodate the growth of the town. However, nowadays the town that lies below is not functional and all that remains are ruins. While it is a shame to see a mass of ruins lying below the town, it does add a touch of quirkiness.

Today, Alcoy is a lovely town. As you walk through the streets you get a sense of pride from its inhabitants. One thing that struck me as I walked around was the people. They were all dressed so well and each and every one of them was so friendly. I particularly loved Plaza España as not only was it surrounded by classic architecture but it seemed to be a meeting spot for some of its locals. It was filled with a buzz between the people congregated in the central square and the little shops which had brought their products out onto the street to make shopping a much more inviting experience.


I also loved the little parks that were dotted around this quaint town. They were filled with people and animals and, overall, were pleasant places to visit.

So; the only question that remains is: Is Alcoy worth a visit? Most certainly. Alcoy is a unique town with lots to see. It makes a refreshing change to the busier international holiday resorts in the area. This inland little hub is surrounded by mountains which serve as a backdrop to every street. The natural lie of the land itself is visually pleasing and the numerous bridges and viaduct are spectacular. Alcoy offers something a little different and its people are so welcoming and traditional that it´s a delight to spend time there. While Alcoy may not be everyone´s cup of tea, it´s most certainly a place that can be appreciated by all: especially if you´re keen on history!

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my little  trip and that you´ve all had a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

So, as you may have noticed, I disappeared for two weeks. Don´t worry, I´m not flaking on my blog, I have no intention of going anywhere. However, I was on holidays. I had hoped to have better access to the internet while I was away but, sadly, that was not the case. I was living off the limited service that my phone provided me with. So; lesson learned – next time I decide to go on holidays I´ll schedule my posts to publish in my absence. What can I say? I was naïve: forgive me!

That said, having missed the weekly challenge last week, I was eager to get this one in on time. I was quite excited when I saw the challenge. I managed to fit in a lot of hill walking on my little trip to Ireland. I feel that this challenge allows me to show off the beautiful landscape that I was lucky enough to see on my trip, while also serving as a little warm up to the posts to come.

So; all that´s left to say is – enjoy!

 

So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more, check out these entries:

http://thewritemight.me/2014/04/19/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

weekly photo challenge: on top

https://solaner.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/the-daily-post-on-top/

http://ordibild.com/2014/04/19/on-top/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

Or click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thresholds

The weekly challenge this week is an interesting one, depending on the interpretation you choose to take on it, and it is also one that I can easily relate to.

This year, for me, was one in which I experienced a few of life´s major thresholds. All of which were natural transitions of live, waves (or in some cases tidal waves) of change that we all have to ride on at some point. These waves of change bring up so many emotions that you never knew you could have. Emotions such as hope, anticipation, fear, uncertainty and apprehension.

However, whatever emotions these changes stir up, one thing is for sure: change is necessary. It alters our paths and, while sometimes we may begrudge it at first, the sooner we learn to roll with it, the better.

As I stand at a pivotal threshold in my life; one in which I learn to accept and embrace the changes that have occurred, I can´t help but smile. That´s the great thing about thresholds – as you learn to put your best foot forward, learn to take the plunge in the right direction – you slowly begin to leave your loss, your fear and the past behind you. The unknown awaits you, whether it´s good or bad, and that´s exciting.

So, here´s to stepping over that threshold. Here´s to the change that awaits us. Here´s to the thresholds that lead us to discovery, awareness and awakening. And here´s to having the courage to walk through that door.

So, with that said, here are my offerings for the weekly photo challenge. I hope you like them and my interpretation of the theme. Enjoy.


So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more, check out these entries:

1. http://ubecute.com/2014/04/05/thresholds/

2. http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

3. http://mhdriver.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

4. http://sued51too.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold-ii/

5. http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

Or click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo