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Like many Kiwis a trip to Ireland involved retracing some family history. A self drive trip from Dublin through to Shannon worked perfectly for us taking in the highlights of Dublin, Kinsale, Killarney, a kiss of the Blarney Stone and driving the Ring of Kerry to stop at Mrs Benners pub in Dingle, county Kerry.
Dublin is an easy city to walk around and a stop at the Guinness Storehouse is a must. The history of one of Ireland’s most iconic brands is fascinating. Not to mention a sample of Guinness from the top of the storehouse offers a stunning view of Dublin. For those whiskey lovers Jameson also offer a tour of their distillery. Driving in Ireland reminded me of a trip up the Kapiti Coast, a winding single lane road that hugged the hill. High on the list was a stop at the family pub once owned by Mrs Benners in the quaint seaside town of Dingle. It was wonderful to see and view the family photos lining the walls.
Based in the seaside town of Cannakkle I had time to explore the city, strolling along the waterfront promenade with the locals, visiting the Grand Bizare and reading the history at the Military Museum and Cimenlik Castle in Cannakkle. Before taking a step back in time with a visit to Troy. For me, ANZAC day as a New Zealander has special meaning. As a reservist with the New Zealand Airforce it had been a lifelong dream to pay my respects and honour those before me by performing at ANZAC cove as part of the ANZAC day commemorations. In 2016 I was fortunate to travel with the New Zealand Defence Force contingent and participated in the commemoration services at ANZAC Cove and Chunuk Bair. During our preparations we had time to learn and follow in the footsteps of those before us by visiting ANZAC Cove. A personal highlight was the contingent trek from ANZAC Cove up along the ride line to the New Zealand memorial at Chunuk Bair. We passed trenches dug by the soldiers. It was a moving journey to take. The journey to Gallipoli was an incredibly moving experience and one I will never forget. Nga Tapuwae, Lest we forget
From London the opportunity to visit Stonehenge and Bath is a wonderful day trip. Bath is a beautiful town with wonderful sandstone buildings. A highlight for me was a visit to the Cathedral next door to the Roman Baths. At the cathedral we were able to take a guided tour up to the spires and rooftop with the most stunning view of Bath. Tip – if you take a coach tour then the coaches return to London via the coach lane on the motorway. Definitely faster than the car lanes.
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to some of the most recognisable monuments of the Tour de Eiffel and Louvre Museum. A museum and monuments card helps you plan your trip and potential to jump the queue. I highly recommend walking the length of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees from the Louvre Museum through the Garden des Tulieres to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe offers a viewing of 8 of the busiest roads in Paris converging. Great to sit out at lunch time and watch the traffic or take in the view of the city at dusk when the lights come on. If you visit please have a picnic in the Garden des Tulieres complete with crusty French baguette and creamy French brie for me!