The patchwork of colours is copied into the fabulous Irish Tweed woven in local mills.
Whitewashed cottages nestle into the hillsides which in September were covered with mauve heather. Wild cherry pink fuchsia delineated winding roads and the gold of gorse was abundant in the fields. Ireland is an artist's delight.
"Cead Mile Failte" A hundred thousand welcomes. Whether you stay at a Georgian Manor, medieval castle or whitewashed cottage you will be given a wonderful welcome. Ireland should be on everyone's bucket list.
The Giants Causeway is now a World Heritage site. Made up of unique symmetrical basalt columns, 40,000 of these are crammed together, some up to 12 metres high. Or you might believe the Irish Legend that Finn McCool, an Irish giant quarrelled with a Scottish opponent and they began a line of stepping stones towards Scotland.
Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way is one of the longest defined coastal touring routes in the World.
Starting at its northernmost point of Malin Head on the Inishowen Peninsula it winds 2,500 km along the length of the West Coast ending in the historic town of Kinsale, County Cork. This breath-taking route offers a diverse coastline of inlets and cliffs moulded over the centuries by the power of the Atlantic Ocean. Picturesque towns and villages, rolling countryside and dramatic mountains, and an ever-changing palette of colour and light.
It was the end of of our two month trip.
So we went for gold for the five days (and nights!) we were in the the Big Apple.
With short transit stops in Denver and Los Angeles, it felt good to be home.
The result of considerable pampering - for both of us!
Lasko was picturesque in its fall colours, historic buildings and well kept homes.
We even saw my kotuku again.
We called in on our neighbours. Laura and her grandmother spoilt us with home made liqueur, wine nouveau and tasty treats. Laura, who is a third year law student, acted as interpreter.
We hired a car and drove via Piran to Portorose on the coast of Slovenia, to have an all-too-short visit with Nada and Rajko. Nada spoilt us with her fabulous gnocchi for lunch. They are new grandparents, so it was great to meet mum (Jana) and daughter (Lucia) for the first time. We hope Lucia will love her bright pink doll when she is older.
We enjoyed a fabulous 5 course degustation dinner at Restaurant Pavus, Grad Tabor. Grad is Slovenian for castle. The restaurant had a wonderful ambience, and the food, wine and service were just as good
We waited three long years before we experienced the joy of returning to the Lake Como area, this time arriving by train from Montpellier, via Zurich - a 10 hour, three-train journey. It was well worth it!
Below are some of the many reasons why we wanted to return.
Woops a Daisy!! Quite involuntarily, Johno ended up in the muddy Canal du Midi - not known for its good water quality!
Johno's rescue was assisted (and photographed!) by Sabine and Heinz Brieskorn. They were on a cycling holiday from their home in Germany, and had stopped to watch our barge pass through. They chatted to me as our barge came into the lock, and also helped with the ropes as there was a strong crosswind. But they soon had to swing into action…...
A few days later, we met Sabine and Heinz, in Carcassonne. Johno was happy to confirm that he was all OK, and to thank them again.
And again by chance, we met them several times more, including when they resupplied us with some German beer - using an ingenious transfer method - beer in a bucket on a pole.
We look forward to meeting Sabine and Heinz again - next year, when they come to Rarotonga.