Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kiss Me...Wait, I'm Not Completely Irish

Okay, so I know it has been awhile since my last post. I have a good reason though. I started working out and have been utterly exhausted each night! I promise not to go so long without posting next time though!

So, I've been doing some thinking and I've decided that Ireland will be my destination of choice this coming April (at least that is when I hope to go). I've bought my guide book and already decided on different attractions to see while I am there; however, it is always nice to hear from those who have visited the land of St. Patrick.

Basically, I'm hoping for a 10-day trip, traveling to Dublin, Belfast, Galway, and Cork. Since this year is the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, there is an exhibition in Belfast, so naturally, that is part of my itinerary.

I would like to hear from those of you who have traveled to Ireland. Where did you stay? How is the rail travel? What is a must-see and what is a miss? I would certainly appreciate any advice!!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Love Affair with Museums

I must say, I have been to many museums in my life. Whether it hold paintings, sculptures or history, I'm usually always in the mood to check out what is inside these grand buildings. As awe-inspiring as the contents inside may be, the exterior of a museum can be just as remarkable. The architecture of a place can often make your experience even more memorable and enjoyable.

Having visited my fair share of museums, I would have to say my top five include:
1) The Louvre in Paris -- This one is a no-brainer. The Lourve is a world-wide showcase of elegant and classic art. Only the best of the best make it inside its walls. People line up to see items, such as the 'Mona Lisa' and  'Venus de Milo.' It is a must for all museum devotees.

2) The Metropolitan Museum of Art -- Again, the Met is to the United States like the Lourve is to France (maybe more like Europe). The only time I've been was when I visited New York six years ago. Thinking we would only spend a few hours at most, I learned quite quickly that you cannot spend just a couple of hours in the Met. Two hours turned into five and I was never more happy.

3) Holocaust Museum in D.C. -- If you want an experience that will humble you, bring about multiple emotions, and teach you valuable life lessons, this is a museum that you MUST visit. Located in Washington, D.C., the Holocaust Museum is a multi-floored building filled with photos, videos and heartwrenching stories that will cause you to wonder how evil man can be. Advice: Whether or not you have a child with you, you must go through "Daniel's Story." It is a world created through the eyes of a Jewish child and his experience during the Holocaust.

4) Vatican Museums in Rome -- Comprised of various buildings and rooms, the Vatican Museums provide sculptures and art from all types of artists, from various time periods. The most amazing and unforgettable piece is naturally, the Sistine Chapel. Those who visit Vatican City and do not see the Sistine Chapel, well, you're a moron. Stepping inside, it is a room that will literally take your breath away. Viewing "The Last Judgement," one who is religious, as am I, feels a sense of hope and horror all in one.

5) Crystal Bridges in Bentonville -- My family and I visited this museum during the Thanksgiving break and I must say, it is a beautiful addition to the state of Arkansas. Holding art that spans from the 18th century to today, visitors can see popular artists, such as Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter," Andy Warhol's "Dolly Parton," and Asher Brown Durand's "Kindred Spirits." The outside, although not finished, has beautiful walking trails and biking paths for those who want the best of both worlds -- art and nature.

Here are a few photos from our visit:

It may not look like much in these photos (I was trying to take photos while walking), but seeing it in person, it is truly unbelievable.