Oh Giants Causeway…what a cool site. We have seen quite a few sites and islands made due to a volcanic eruption but nothing like this one. The hexagon shape of the flat stones standing up to 39 ft high are so different. There are many people wanting to experience this phenomenon but even through the crowds, the rock structure on the edge of the mountain sitting on the ocean is quite majestic.
We spent a while walking on the stones, taking pictures and looking around at all the crazy rocks…how did a volcano create this specific consistent shape of rocks? We continued walking past the causeway and up the mountain for a 3 hour hike on the very edge of the cliffs without a rail called the Shepherd’s path.
The views along the way were breathtaking. We experienced typical Irish weather while hiking…rain, wind, cold and sun as we looked down at the ocean crashing into the cliffs. The rugged terrain reminded us of Hawaii.
Back in the car and soaking wet from the rain, we drove straight to the Bushmills Distillery. The oldest distillery in Ireland. We had been on the distillery tour in Scotland and thought it would be interesting to compare it to the Irish process.
The tour was very similar to the Scottish tour which we don’t have pictures of the equipment and process because they do not allow photography. The are a couple main differences between scotch and Irish whisky. The Scottish use a smoked peat to dry their barley which adds the classic smoky flavor to their final product and they only distill the alcohol twice so as to keep the smoky flavor. The Irish don’t use smoke and distill their product three times which gives the whisky its classically delicate taste.
After the tour, they of course had us do a tasting (twist my arm)…explaining the difference in types of barrels and amount of years it aged make all the difference in flavors of their whisky. We tried a couple and bought a bottle of their special reserve only sold at the distillery. We also tried their drink called the “hot toddy”. It was served warm and had spices like whole cloves and cinnamon with a bit of honey…it was kind of their version of a hot cider. Giff and are going to try to make the recipe around Christmas.
For dinner, we went to a little town on the water called Portrush…we saw the English flag everywhere and realized this was definitely northern Ireland vs. the south. The people even acted a bit differently and we could see the English influence on food as there were back to back fish n chips places lining the streets. We felt it necessary to try the fish n chips which were served wrapped in paper (to soak up the grease) and were nicely crisp.
We left the small town, stopping in Bushmills before calling it a night to grab some more food. We ate the Irish version of homemade lasagna which had a really rich white cheese and a beef potpie type dish. We went back to our place to watch a movie and get packed up since check out is tomorrow.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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