Entries categorized "Travel" Feed

Exploring the Brooklyn Archipelago

Jamaica Bay
Photo by InHabitat.com of Jamaica Bay.

I'M SHARING THIS AMERICAN LIFE stories with my Media Writing students by bringing the story of the Brooklyn Archipelago into our Clonmel campus.

Many of our Irish students have seen or flown over Ruffle Bar but I doubt that they have heard the story of Alex and his friends as explained in the accompanying audio clip from This American Life.

Brooklyn Archipelago

The crazy story of friends adrift in Jamaica Bay folds nicely into discussions we're having about the monomyth. It's very easy to map all 17 stages of the hero's journey against the Brooklyn Archipelago story from episode 307 of This American Life.

[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative multimedia in the Limerick School of Art & Design.]

On my NFC Wishlist

Kindling in Tipp
Kindle snapped on the Qashqai Dashboard.

IN MY PERFECT world, there are NFC chips integral to the text-to-speech and MP3 functions on my Kindle AND NFC on the dashboard of our car so we can hear Kindle read news and audio books to us.

Since Jeff Bezos reads my blog, I hope to see this offered by Christmas 2013.

In the meantime, you can follow my adventures as @topgold down Irish boreens. And if you're a real friend, feel free to drop an NFC enabled HD audio device into my Christmas stocking.

First Adventure on the Big Red Bus

Before DroghedaMia Goldbach with Bus Eireann.

I TOOK OUR five year old daughter on a half day bus journey that resulted in her bringing a birthday present to her six year old cousin. Along the way, I think she started to enjoy inter-city travel by Bus Eireann.

We have watched the big red buses pass through Cashel through the years and now they are the only long-range travel option transiting the town. Aircoach ceased operations in June 2012 as the State subvention for private operators was dramatically reduced. Because our bus services are cut in half, I cannot use a Cashel Bus stop to get to Dublin for a morning meeting. That limitation has totally eliminated my ability to attend Dublin events that start in the morning.

But there is no morning agenda awaiting Mia so we took the earliest bus from Cashel at 0925 and rolled into Drogheda before 2PM. Along the way, Mia played Hair Salon, sketched in a monster's magazine and talked to me about animals in fields. All things considered, it was a fun trio.

(Sent Yahoo! Mail mail2blog via O2-Ireland service using my Sony Xperia Z.)

Discovering Dorset the Old Way

White Rabbit Run
Photo from Adventureland. Wifi from Bournemouth Airport.

I FLATTENED MY over-the-air data allowance after a week in England and that meant poring over brochures for travel information.

I plan to write and talk later about how I switched off the information normally dripping into my phone but for now I'm fascinated how we made our way around with paper brochures and signage. One excursion led to an afternoon with the White Rabbit (in the photo).

The most significant thing for me is the realisation that we culled plans from three sources. The grandparents favoured the brochures. Their grandchildren often had picked up inside information from fellow holiday makers their age out in the meadow. And I preferred sneaking a peek at TripAdvisor, Foursquare and BestOfDorset when I had a WiFi signal.

On the day we found an Adventureland, we also found free access to the aircraft museum across the parking lot. And everyone left happy.

[Sent mail2blog using free WiFi at the Bournemouth Airport.]

Overcame Fear of Big Furries

I MARK MAJOR events and this week it is young Dylan's progression with big furry animals. He's pictured below and he suddenly wants to meet and greet them.

He was helped along this path by the ambiance of British pubs. Most of the child-friendly places we visit in the south of England also accommodate dogs as well. So where we brought our two youngsters, some locals brought their three dogs. And that sometimes resulted in friendly greetings for all concerned.

The only downside of this new-found confidence is knowing that dog ownership is probably not far behind.

Excellent Food Inside

[Sent mail2blog using The Greyhound Inn wifi in Corfe Castle, England.]

Running Around Corfe Castle

Ginger Stocks
Mia in the stocks of Corfe Castle, captured by Lumia 925.

WE SPENT SEVERAL HOURS inside Corfe Castle, one of Britain's most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War. The hands-on activities around the castle could provide ideas for the caretakers of our own Rock of Cashel, the bit of history on our own doorstep.

Corfe Castle was partially demolished in 1646 by Oliver Cromwell, engaged by the Parliamentarians. Cromwell's work is well known by local families who survived his pillaging when he visited our lovely market town of Cashel.

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Holiday Snaps Easily Cost 20 Euro A Day

New Roaming Rates
Screenshot from O2 Messages

I RECKON I COULD SPEND 20 euro a day snapping photos on holiday. That's based on each image weighing 2 MB and my phone backing up an average amount of photos to my cloud services.

During a two week holiday when you don't control how your phone backs up your images, you could return home and discover you owe your mobile network more than 140 euro just for backing up your photos over the air.

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Medical Tourism While on Holiday

Don't Take My Picture
My shot of a Mexican pharmacy.

WHILE ON HOLIDAY in the United Kingdom, I discovered real value as a medical tourist. We availed of a free consultation on a Saturday, followed by free drugs at a chemist.

In one fell swoop, I realised Irish citizens could reduce their outgoings for prescriptions, simply by driving north of the border or by spending a holiday in another European country where medical costs are much lower than in Ireland.

I saw busloads of American pensioners crossing over to Nogales while I lived in Arizona. The drugs in Mexico are much cheaper than in the States. So when you're on a fixed income, you do what you need to do to keep your costs in line.

Ear Report

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An American Fourth in an English Cafe

Stars and Stripes
Bernie Goldbach snapped the Stars & Stripes in Dorset.

I TOOK MY TEA under an American flag deep inside a Dorset wood on the Fourth of July 2013, knowing American Independence Day was directly related to the price of tea in the 1700s. My tea was perfect.

Looking at the sweltering heat bearing down across most of the States, I think I made the right choice. I wish the US and Confederate flags were flanked by real leather gun belts and a functioning shotgun but the replicas convinced my family we were honouring an American tradition. Over tea, I swore we would make it to the States for a proper Fourth before the end of the decade. And on that occasion, I'll have an iced tea.

Using Nokia Here for Chips

Searching for ChipsScreenshot from my Nokia Lumia 925.

THE FIRST SCREENSHOT I took with my Nokia Lumia 925 was a listing of chip shops displayed by Nokia Here. I saved the screenshot so I could minimise my data roaming charges.

I compared the results from Nokia Here to both Foursquare and TripAdvisor. The top results differed across all three services.

I'm a long-time user of Nokia Maps and I've trusted Ovi Maps on several Stateside trips. However, Nokia Here is more than a collection of maps. It is a Nokia business unit that brings together Nokia’s mapping and location assets under one brand, using cloud-based technology in which location data and services remain on remote servers so I can access (and sometimes annotate) venues on my phone, on my laptop and on my tablets.

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