Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I had an amazing time getting to see Amsterdam. I left Zutphen after getting to spend the morning at the market and had the most delicious fresh Dutch waffles with caramel in between two thin crisp waffles. I got the train to Central Station and walked over to the YWAM headquarters. A friend from Mozambique made arrangements for me to stay there with friends of hers, Valeria and Mirela. They live in this wonderful old building and both are involved in full time Youth with a Mission ministry. They are both from Romania. Valerie works with the Jewish Community and Mirela with the Gypsies. We walked all over the city and they were very kind and generous and rolled out the red carpet for me. There are about 14 people who live here and they represent 13 different nations. We went to their soup kitchen and hung out for a little while with the people there. The diversity in Amsterdam is amazing. I am pretty sure it is the world's most diverse city with over 170 different people groups living there. I got to fly back first class and was fairly rested for my drive up to Cumming for Catherine's 11th birthday party with a house full of girls. More to come...
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Back in Zutphen, enjoying my view and the sounds of church bells and Dutch. Ja and Nee, is about all I can undertand. I am waiting on "Jennifer", AKA, Tamara to get off work. Kellie's mother, struggling with our names, decided to give us made up names of whatever she preferred to call us. Tamara got Jennifer and I got Mildred! What's up with that? So we have laughed over our new identities. I am not sure what we have planned for tonight, but I hope it is low key, as I am exhausted from getting up at 4:00am this morning. Loren and Kevin were kind enough to get up soooo early and deliver me to the airport. And even my sweet sweet hosts Kellie and Grace got out of bed to tell me good bye. I blew my last 10...there is no sign for, pounds...at Starbucks on a chocolatine, big coffee and a vegan falafal and hummus wrap to stash for later and wanted to buy a copy of Star Magazine to read about Angelina and Brad's new babies, but the line was way too long and I was not about to jeopardize missing my flight over those two wierdos. Hmm, but I would spend $5.00 to read about them? I was trying to get rid of unused currency...that's my excuse. For now the plan is to hang out here today and tomorrow. I want to get some grocery store items to bring back for a traditional Dutch meal for the family. I think I may leave Wednesday morning to go spend the remainder of the week in Amsterdam. More soon. P.S. Postcards are purchased and written, just need to find the post office around here.
This is a good wee map of the area that I have been travelling. The Antrim coast was amazing, as was the drive from Portstewart to Londonberry. I spent my last day along the River Roe near the town of Limavady, the name meaning "dog's leap". Legend tells of how the faithful hound of an O'Cahan chief leaped a gorge on the River Roe to get help during an unexpected enemy attack. Another version of the tale tells how the chief made the giant leap on horseback to escape pursuers, they being unable to attempt the same feat. A horseshoe shaped print on the rock of the far bank is absolute proof of the story!
The following description is for you Dad:
The rocks at Dog Leap are of Precambrian age, perhaps around 590 million years old, belonging to the Ballykelly Formation (part of the Southern Highland Group). They predate obvious fossils.
As might be expected with rocks of this age, they have been metamorphosed i.e. altered by heat and pressure, while deeply buried. The minerals chlorite, epidote, muscovite, quartz and albite, which are common throughout the Ballykelly formation, are all present and indicate a relatively low degree of metamorphism (‘Greenschist facies’). The common rocks of the formation are psammites (rich in quartz) and pelitic (of shale-like composition) schists but there are also slates, thin limestones and epidiorites (rocks with basaltic chemistry). All the rocks have complex structures caused by plastic deformation, with new minerals growing during compression, folding, faulting and extensive jointing. There have been several phases of cleavage and foliation, each giving the rocks a distinct ‘grain’ by aligning minerals, and often creating planes of weakness in the process. Metamorphic rocks are notoriously difficult to interpret but the Dog Leap succession suggests a series of turbid sediments created by the sliding and mixing of sands and muds on the continental flanks of a large ocean basin, far from land. Volcanicity appears to have been associated with their formation (indicated by the epidiorites). The thin limestones are probably biological remains - but of what it is now impossible to say. The rocks of the Claudy Formation, immediately below the Ballykelly, indicate shallow water environments, so a progressive deepening of the sea floor seems to be a major trend in late Dalradian times. Long after the close of the Precambrian, during the Ordovician period (from around 450 to 475 million years ago) the rocks were metamorphosed and intensely deformed, giving rise to the many structures evident at Dog Leap. This phase of mountain building is part of the Caledonian orogeny. Dog Leap is regionally important because it is the best exposure showing the rock types and structures of the Ballykelly Formation and has the added advantage of public ownership (by its inclusion in the Roe Valley Country Park). The water-polished rocks in the river bed clearly show the detailed structures of the formation and access is assured and safe.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
We just got back from staying overnight in Ballintoy. Just the drive there was amazing. Everything is so green and there are fields and fields of sheep. Then, the most amazing cliffs you have ever seen, all dropping off into the ocean as far as the eye can see. It is just hills and cliffs and green and sheep and OCEAN! and it is breathtaking. We walked out to a point where a church was on a pier and watched the sunset and I took tons of pictures that I will post more soon. We drove into Ballycastle and had fish and chips for dinner and came back to our quaint little hostel and slept in wooden bunkbeds with a group of Italians..yes, strangers. But I slept better than I have in heavenly beds at the Westin, as I snuggled in my sleeping bag and looked out the little sky light and was awakened by the baa of the field of sheep nearby.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The Giant's Causeway is today owned and managed by the National Trust and it is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Only eight miles from Coleraine and the bustling resort towns of Portrush and Portstewart beyond, Castlerock enjoys the best of both worlds as a quiet retreat within easy reach of the amenities and entertainments of it's larger neighbours. Portrush and Coleraine can both be reached by train from Castlerock along one of the most scenic stretches of railway line in Northern Ireland. Nearby, the beautiful beach and attractions at Downhill are watched over by the famous Mussenden Temple - one of the most photographed and painted landscapes in Ireland.
The original entrance to the Castle, a fine classical lion gate known as Bishop’s Gate, now leads to Portvantage Glen, a pleasant, tranquil park with a nature trail, fish pond, car park and picnic area. Downhill Forest, across the main road, boasts a collection of rare trees and two sparkling waterfalls, as well as a mound known as Dungannon Hill, the remains of a prehistoric settlement.
An outstanding and endlessly photographed landmark of Downhill is Mussenden Temple. Perched on the cliff-top, it is a classical folly built by the Earl Bishop in 1783 after a trip to Italy where the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli had inspired him. Around the border of the urn-crowned dome is the inscription: ‘Tis pleasant safely to behold from the shore the rolling ship and hear the tempest roar’.