Ruin of Brederode

Because we can’t travel outside of our country now corona is flaring up again, we continue finding things to do within our own borders. We had visited Alkmaar and the cheese museum, went back in time on our trip to the Zaanse Schans and now we set out for an old castle, or rather, what was left of it: The ruin of Brederode.

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Fleeing the quarantine

At times, this quarantine is really getting to me. One week I’m doing great, working and writing posts and feeling productive, but last week was not like that. I had a headache and felt dizzy, spent every day in my pyjama’s watching Netflix and doing nothing at all, until eventually, I was done with it. Banging on the bars of my cell, otherwise known as my windows, crying and screaming to get out.

I felt locked-up, going crazy with need for adventure, for doing something else than spending time at home. I just really need to go. The next day, Boyfriend had searched for a few stops nearby, places where we wouldn’t run into a lot of people, but where I could get some fresh air and a change of scenery, even only for a couple of hours, without the risk of getting sick or contaminating others.

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After we had spent some time in both York and Leeds, it was time for a change of scenery. This day, we would go to Newcastle. I hadn’t planned much to in this city, except from a daytour I really have been dreaming about: a trip to Hogwarts!

Durham castle with lightpost and trees

We woke up early on our final morning in York to be able to catch the train to Newcastle, for another Harry Potter Day. We grabbed some breakfast at the station and ate it on the hour and a half trainride to Newcastle. Traveling by train always makes me tired, but luckily our hotel (on Neville street!) was nearby. Our room wasn’t ready yet, but luckily, we could leave our suitcases at the front desk. Then we decided to not waste any time, so we got on a bus that would take us to Durham, to go visit Durham Castle.

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Another castle and the biggest Schnitzel I have ever seen

Germany, and especially the area around the Eifel, has a lot of amazing castles you can visit. After visiting Hockwildpark Rheinland, we decided it was time for another castle, namely Burg Eltz, the third and last one of our trip.

The castle was about an hour away from the wildpark. Believe it or not, we had to drive fast to make it to the castle before this one closed as well. Timing was not our friend on this trip… So we rushed towards it, parked our car and contemplated if we wanted to take the shuttle bus from the parking spot to the castle, or take the 15 minute walk. The area was absolutely amazing so we decided to walk, in spite of our protesting feet.

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An unexpected castle, deer and donkeys

For our trip to Germany, we’d only planned our first day to Köln and Schloss Drachenburg. The remaining two days, we just wanted to relax and explore the area a bit. For our second day, we decided to go to a wildpark and visit one of the many castles the Eifel has to offer.

We set out for Hochwildpark Rheinland, a park in the middle of the forest, about twenty minutes from our hotel. I was driving and we were talking and we missed the exit. It was lucky we did, because when we took the next one, we accidentally came across this magnificent castle.

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Schloss Drachenburg (closed!)

After we finished a lovely day and the most amazing dessert in Köln, we got back into the car to drive further into Germany. Today we would check into our hotel in Schleiden, but before we drove there, we wanted to take an half an hour detour to Schloss Drachenburg.

We parked our car at the food of a hill and we walked the rest of the way. Our feet were aching, but the promise of the castle kept us going. We came across some lovely little restaurants and cafés and when we arrived at the castle, we had the most amazing view of the Siebengebirge.

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Can anybody tell me where the Blarney Roses grow?

Can anybody tell me where the Blarney roses grow? It might be down in Limerick town, it might be in Mayo. It’s somewhere in the Emerald Isle and this I want to know. Can anybody tell me where the Blarney roses grow?

blarney castle and gardens welcome sign

I thought we would find them at Blarney Castle, but no such luck. But even without the roses, this was a perfect day in a perfect place in Ireland.

On our last full day in Ireland, we had actually planned to travel to Dingle, to take a boat tour there and try to see if we could find Fungi the Dingle Dolphin. But we discovered that the trip was a bit pricey so we decided to go to Blarney Castle instead. And I’m really glad we did because it was an amazing day.

pastel pink flowers in blarney castle garden

It was such a beautiful place to be. The castle gardens are huge and you can wander around for ages. It has the most amazing flowers, waterfalls, little bridges and a whole  garden with beautiful statues.

We walked around for a few hours, taking in the beautiful nature that surrounded us and enjoying some massive icecreams. It was a very relaxing day. The sun was shining very bright and it was a wonderful day.

girl hiking in the woods near blarney castle

Besides the gardens, there was a whole forest, where we also walked around for a bit, before entering the gardens again and walking towards Blarney Castle.

blarney castle tower seen from below

Blarney Castle was built in 1446 and is one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. It is home of the Blarney Stone, the legendary stone of eloquence. It is said that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you will never be lost for words. Needless to say, there was a huge line here. We didn’t do it, but it was fun to see others do it.

Instead, we just walked around a bit more. We found a poison garden with lots of interesting plants. We took our time to be able to see everything and have a relaxing, quiet day.

That evening, we had diner at Luigi Malone and I had the most wonderful lasagna and a rum strawberry cocktail. We spent the rest of the evening in a bar with live music. Ireland has a lot of these, but this is the first night we actually went to one. I would really recommend this, because it’s a lot of fun!

And thus concludes our trip to Ireland. We had a wonderful vacation, spending a few days in Dublin, Kilkenny and Cork and saw a bit of what Ireland has to offer. I can’t wait to go back to see even more of this beautiful country ♥