Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Irish Countryside

We took a drive through the Irish Countryside and came upon this quaint little town. We decided to take a trail up the mountainside and found the ruins of this castle from 1764! Definitely not on the visitors tour guide! It provided a great view of the town below.

Amazing Afternoon at Coolmore

We had the pleasure of having 3-hour private guided tour of Coolmore owned by John Magnier. Coolmore is the top privately owned stud farm in all of Europe if not all the world. The O'Briens have family ties to Coolmore so we were able to have this tour where the public is not normally allowed. Lauren was in 7th Heaven! We learned a lot about the race horse industry, the breeding and all that goes into these awesome animals.

Lauren with Montjeu

Duke of Marmalade. I love his name! He is the newest stud at the farm and the last great racehorse for the sire of all sires Danehill.

Lauren and I with Sadler's Wells. He is the old man on the farm at 28 years old. He is well known for the great racehorse that he was and all the great racehorses he has sired.

Lauren with Galileo son of Sadler's Wells. He is one of the best stallions in all the world. His breed fee currently goes for $250,000. He breeds approximately 120 times in a 3 month season and he is totally booked for the next season - Do the math on that one!

One of the many cute foals born within the last few days on the farm.

Irish Countryside. On the way home from Coolmore we tried to stop at a fortress called Cashel Rock. We got there after closing and so we were going to just walk around the outside when the skies opened up and it just poured! We made a mad dash for the car and only got a picture of these ruins a little ways off from Cashel Rock which were impressive in and of themselves!

It was a great day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Green Green Ireland

We have been in Ireland a couple of days now. We are staying at the O'Briens' home. They are great Irish friends of Lynn's who are kind enough to open their home to us for a few days. The first day was pretty much a travel day. Yesterday we spent some time at the National Stud Farm. It is a beautiful place with fantastic horses. I thought horses were expensive in the U.S. They have one stud at the Farm that they were offered over $70 million dollars. The offered was turned down! It was a cold, rainy, windy day while we were there which was good and bad. Bad because of the obvious bad weather, good because there were no crowds and we had our own private tour!

Lauren in her element.

One of the studs at the farm being led off to do his job. He was a top money winner in the race horse world during his racing days.

One of the many mares and cute babies we saw during our visit.

The grounds of the Farm were amazing!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Last Day of Touring in Paris

This was our last day to see the sights in Paris. We have a lot of ground to cover today and it is raining a lot! We travel to Ireland tomorrow for some different kinds of sightseeing and a little more country atmosphere. Thought we would give you a little idea about the area surrounding our hotel and in our hotel.

This is the tiny little elevator we use everyday to get to our hotel room on the 6th floor (top floor and only room on that floor) of our hotel. It holds only 3 people and you had not be very big around!

Our hotel is on this little street in the Latin District of Paris.
It is full of tiny little store, cafes, fruit markets and lots of people!

We finally made it to the Eiffel Tower.

Lynn sending a picture of the Eiffel Tower to Michael.

Lauren has tired feet!

Lauren and Lynn enjoying the view.

Day Two in Paris

Well we have been gone a while now, but are still at it and having fun. The weather in Paris is not cooperating quite like we would like it to, but it is not too cold and with our umbrellas we get anywhere we want. There is a lot to see and miles to cover in this city!

Kim and Lauren on the River Seine

The backside of Notre Dam.

The Louvre! It is great coming at this time of the year. Although it seems like there are tons of people eveywhere the lines to all the important attractions are fairly short.

We are in Paris!

We had a travel day and now it is actually Day 7 of the trip (I think) but Day 1 in Paris. We spent the first day doing another tour. Lauren had been wanting to see Castles so we took a trip to the Loire Valley. It is about a 2 hour trip outside of Paris into the countryside. We seem to really like getting out of the cities. I don't remember the names of the three castles we saw, but I will give a little highlight about each one without actually giving their names.

Leonardo DaVinci is buried in the small chapel next to this castle.

Lauren is liking her castle tour!

This castle looked like a Fairy Tale Castle to us!

The weather was horrible when we left Paris - it was raining buckets.
Look what a beautiful sky we had by the afternoon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Touring the English Countryside - Day 5

Lauren and I scheduled a sightseeing day for Day Five - I did not realize it was Mother's Day when we booked it, so it was nice to spend the day together just the two of us. Lynn spent the day doing other work type things. We went to Bath, Lacock (where Harry Potter was filmed) and Stonehenge. Our favorite was Lacock - it was the cutest little village. We did not have nearly enough time there. We were actually running from one thing to the next.

Lauren at the Roman Bath House

Cool looking Abbey right next to the Roman Baths

Recognize this Cloister in the Harry Potter Films?

Lacock Abbey (Where Harry Potter was filmed)

It is absolutely beautiful in Lacock! Prince Charles' wife Camilla lives in this town!

Here we are at Stonehenge.

Lauren at Stonehenge.

What an amazing place this is!