Summer Reads

Summer Reads

I’ve almost reached my goal of reading 20 books since April. I slowed down a little during the summer – particularly when I was on holidays but I’ve picked up the pace lately with some of these.

PS, I get most of my books from Bookdepository.com where books are cheaper and delivery is free! – (but nothing beats a good browse in a bookshop on a Saturday morning)

 

37539457

Normal People – Sally Rooney

If you’ve read my other post on what I’ve read, you’ll see I loved Conversations with Friends, Sally’s debut novel from 2017. I was hoping for the same nostalgia in Normal People and boy, I sure got it. This book is a huge improvement on an already very good debut. The writing flows like a stream of consciousness, the characters are real and recognisable, the situations familiar. Sally again brilliantly gives the mundane college life a hint of romanticism that makes me long for the life and love I had back in Trinity College. If that’s not enough to pull you in, it also made the Man Booker Longlist for 2018.

Continue reading “Summer Reads”

Littleton, Colorado

Littleton, Colorado

This is going to be a long one because, to be honest, and to my total surprise, I really loved Littleton.

There’s not a whole lot to the place at first glance. The RTD light rail that goes there hardly announces the area when it passes through. Littleton is simply defined by its ‘Downtown’ and ‘Mineral’ stops. It’s pretty much as suburb-y as you can get but once you really get into it, you’ll see that Littleton is a treasure trove of American life. It’s full of colour, whimsical stores tacked onto homes and old architecture. If I had to compare it to anywhere it would be to Stars Hollow (hello, Gilmore Girl fans) and then some.

Continue reading “Littleton, Colorado”

Denver Foothills

Denver Foothills

This tour is the perfect example of Nike’s famous saying of ‘Just Do It’. I just didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to stay in the city and do nothing but I had a tour booked to see the Boulder Foothills about six weeks previous and knew it was too late to cancel. I don’t know why I wasn’t eager on going seeing as how I had booked the tour for myself without any shotgun to my head but when I got an email the evening before it was due to run that it was cancelled,  I was more relieved than disappointed

You see, I was loving Denver and felt that I hadn’t explored enough of my own area yet let alone take a tour (with other people I didn’t know) outside of it. I still get quite nervous before unknown social situations that I have no real control over (I mean, who doesn’t?) but I knew that this tour would be my only real chance to get out into the real Colorado “wilderness”. The RTD trams weren’t going to get me anywhere near the Red Rocks or Lookout Mountain and I knew when I was offered a replacement tour around the Denver Foothills, I would regret saying no.

And I can wholeheartedly say to all the lazy ones like me out there who weigh up the pros and cons of doing something they’ve always dreamed of because “ugh effort”, just DO IT.

Continue reading “Denver Foothills”

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Denver was a complete and total surprise to me.

I had tried to do the most research I could before I left for the U.S. but for some reason, I couldn’t quite figure Denver out. There didn’t appear to be a central hub (like San Francisco had with Union Sq or most cities have with their main shopping streets and squares). To be perfectly honest, I thought I was going to be bored. I remember reassuring myself as I got off the plane that if I didn’t like it, I could just watch Netflix for five days.

I was so wrong.

I was so incredibly wrong.

I take it all back.

Denver was just a treasure trove of surprises. I walked around on the first evening with my jaw on the ground, I couldn’t believe this city; the cleanliness, the friendliness, the pure atmosphere of excitement, of something always going on. It was busy but not in a large bustling city kind of way. I walked around the heart of Denver on that first night and felt more relaxed than I had on my entire trip.

I had been there three hours and was already planning a return trip.

Continue reading “Denver, Colorado”

Helicopter Trip, San Francisco

Helicopter Trip, San Francisco

Another thing on my 101 in 1001 list was to take a helicopter trip.

I was a little nervous before going. Aeroplanes I was used to (even more so on this trip!) but helicopters seemed a little more lightweight and prone to… problems. There had been extremely dense fog and visibility wasn’t looking too good. That didn’t help with the nerves.

But once we were belting down the freeway to the airport, I started to feel a bit better. The sun came out and burned any remaining mist that was looming.

I took the tour with San Francisco Helicopters who were nothing but very friendly and informative. Because I was a solo traveller, I got to sit in the front of the helicopter (the dream) and get all the front row action. There’s nothing like taking off in a helicopter. There’s no big run up to lift off, you simply “levitate”, I guess. It feels scary and wonderful at the same time!

I popped some fab shots I got on Instagram but here are few more:

DSC_0193

Continue reading “Helicopter Trip, San Francisco”

Urban Staircase Tour, San Francisco

Urban Staircase Tour, San Francisco

If you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ll see I went on a mega trip by myself (that’s another one off the 101 in 1001 days list!). I had the pleasure of exploring some familiar cities and some new ones with friends and by myself. To say I learned a good bit would be underestimating my experience greatly. I got so much more from it than I imagined.

My first stop was, of course, San Francisco.

San Francisco has always been a deeply personal place for me. It was the backdrop of many films and books that I grew up with, it was the first stop on my first ever American tour, it’s where I lived and worked for three months, it’s where I laughed, cried, grieved, stressed and made many fantastic friends.

I think Herb Caen put it best:

If I do go to heaven, I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.‘”

–  (USA Today, February 16, 2001)

I’ll be doing a few posts on different parts of not just San Francisco but my full two week trip across the U.S. and Canada. Disclaimer (!!): these posts will be photo heavy but worth it.

SO, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Urban Staircase Tour, San Francisco”

What’s Been Going On

What’s Been Going On

It’s been a mental three weeks and I’m nowhere near done yet. I’m finding myself over tired a lot, meaning my emotions are jumping to extremes, I’m a little lightheaded and I’m struggling to fall asleep at night. It’s nothing I haven’t come across before but it seems that when I need time off the most, the stuff keeps piling on.

I’m excited though. I have another few big weeks ahead of me which I’m so looking forward to sharing.

Vienna

It was the little things in Vienna that made this trip so worthwhile. The cruising down the Danube in an electric boat, dog sitting the quietest and most placid but lovely puppy I have ever met, sitting in the garden til late with new friends, a cacophony of languages rising above our heads, sitting in Rathausplatz watching people dance, watching the world from the coffeehouses, even just watching old movies and quoting word for word all we knew by heart. It was just what I needed right then and I’m so fortunate to have had the chance.

Continue reading “What’s Been Going On”