In Austalia: Uluru

Going to Uluru was a really cool experience! If you are travelling all the way to Australia on holiday going to the red centre is a must! When I was there is 2008 there were 5 resorts that you could stay in and we stayed in the Desert Gardens Hotel. PhoebeGill081229674-1

So before I get in to the wonders of Ayers Rock I must tell you that although my pictures look all sunny and wonderful…do you remember that Hurricane Billy I mentioned before, well he was in full swing, it rained every day we were there, torrential rain!

Also please note that Ayers Rock has a lot of bugs, there are different plagues of various creatures that come with the seasons, we just missed the locusts and when we where there, December time, there were giant moths and Christmas stink bugs.

When I say a plague, I mean a disgustingly large amount of bugs everywhere, even in the hotel. The stink bugs would be crawling up the back of chairs, on peoples backs and scurrying around the floor. As the name suggests, if you step on them, the smell is rotten so just ignore them, they are harmless. Moths were on every sign, painting, flat surface you can think of. It is even worse at night. Believe me when I say, it can get really bad, the lights are crawling with every bug you can think of and the lights are in the centre of the paths as you go to your room. Quite off putting. It’s not somewhere I could stay for very long. I would be a shaking mess in the corner. Right, now that that’s out of the way let me get on with the wonder that is Uluru!

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This beautiful sandstone rock in the middle of the Outback is beautiful! It is quite fascinating, think of an Iceberg, most of this rock is underground, we can just see the top. It is 348 meters tall and just under 10km walk around. PhoebeGill081229609-1

The natural erosion is beautiful! Above is the barrel, it is absolutely gorgeous! A big thing I noticed is that in the pictures of Ayres rock it is round, relatively flat and big but in person it is all different heights and bumpy. It also looked like quite a doable hike. I liked that it wasn’t like the postcards I had seen so many times over, I found that it was more interesting and engaging! TIP: buy a net hat. The flies are everywhere and they get in your ears. Buy one, it doesn’t matter how unattractive it is, it is more unattractive twitching and swatting as you try to shoo away the flies. PhoebeGill081229618-2

There are a couple of things I didn’t like about this tour I took, apologies I don’t have any information on what tour I took so you can know before you go but the first thing was that I didn’t like the way the guide used the Indigenous Australians as part of the tour.

About halfway through, two women joined the tour in order for us to get a better understanding of Aboriginal history and culture. Our guide would tell us what happened and their history but looking back as a 23 year old woman who has learnt a little bit more about the world, if I was there now I would want the white man to stop talking and for the people that were shoved into ‘our society’ (ie. into inadequate housing, with little help) to educate us. I still have a very primitive understanding of their history, (one of my favourite films is Rabbit Proof Fence, I recommend you watch it) which I must rectify. Getting back to my point, it felt that these two women were asked to come out in the blistering heat to stand around, answer a couple of questions and then be used for photos. I purposefully didn’t take a photo and I am very glad my 16 year old self refused to use these women. I understand that this interaction benefits both parties in some way but I don’t think of these two women as tourist attractions, they are human beings.

The more I travel and the older I get, the more I don’t always want to hear what someone who has learnt the information from a book, has to say on the matter. If possible I want real accounts, real people, real stories.
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The other, less major thing I didn’t like is that we didn’t go to a lookout point in order to see the rock from a distance. I got my photos, which are terrible, from the bus window.

Anyway, I want to finish this post by saying that my trip was definitely worth it. It is a beautiful, other worldly part of Australia. Couldn’t recommend it enough and am so glad I got the opportunity to see this wonder! Have you been to Ayers Rock? Do you want to go?

Happy Travels!

In Sydney: Taronga Zoo

It was Christmas day 2008 and we woke up in a hotel room and it felt really damn weird. The sun had finally decided to show up and was scorching. My family were wondering what we would do on Christmas day away from home so I chimed in, I wanted to go to Taronga Zoo. I like zoos, I know the stuff people have against them and I understand but I still love learning about animals.
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The ferry trip over was fun, when we docked we could see the sky safari. I love cable cars, any opportunity to go on one I will take it! The ride is included in the ticket price.PhoebeGill081224125-2

Inside the entrance are the Koalas. They sleep a lot. There are opportunities to hold them for a small fee. I do hear they smell though. PhoebeGill081225310-3

There are lots of creatures in the park, when you are on the walkways don’t forget to look over the fence because thats where I saw this beautiful crane! PhoebeGill081225319-4

It’s is an amazing zoo for interactions. There are 5 animals you can visit and experience, each for an extra fee. There is a really cool (free) Kangaroo and Wallaby walk through where you are just wandering with these adorable (yet terrifying) marsupials. Wallabies were just there at my feet, I wanted to pet them but I didn’t, which I regret. PhoebeGill081225349-5

There are some amazing birds around the zoo. Definitely keep your eyes peeled, I spotted this amazing Purple Crowned Pigeon.  PhoebeGill081225372-6 More free things in the zoo are the zoo talks and demonstrations. I went to the bird show, the arena area looks over to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, really really nice. There were birds of pray and other exotic birds. The show is only 15 minutes long but it was really engaging and interesting.
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Although the zoo is quite expensive, it’s about €20 for an adult but there is loads to see and experience. I would definitely go back because there is so much more to see! Have you been to Taronga? Let me know your experience!

Happy Travels!

In Life: My Experience with the DSPCA

As I have mentioned before we got our dogs from responsible breeders, now I know people have very strong feelings about this but that was what we did and we got fantastic Labradors out of  it. When Honey, my lab, got epilepsy and at the age of 11 had chronic cancer in her liver and spleen I knew it was from her over breeding. It greatly changed my opinion on getting a dog from the popular breeds list.

I have had very little contact with the DSPCA before but after Honey died I went up to donate food and toys and I had a look around. For the next six months I would think about all the dogs in the pound and I would scour the website to see what dogs were on offer. The DSPCA is located in Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin. Not far away from me at all. When I brought up the rest of my family I knew rescuing was the best way forward and I was thrilled when we found Tiffin.

So, how was my experience?

Short answer: Very good.

Sunday: I saw Tiffin on the Sunday, I put my name down for her that day and arranged for my family to see her on that day to speed up the process. All members of a home must see the dog before you take a dog home.

Wednesday: Next was a home check, these are carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, that Tuesday was Paddy’s day so no home check available so Wednesday rolled around and a nice man called to our home to check there was a walled garden and to talk about our dog and what would be best for her. The inspection was quick and we were good to go.

Thursday: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are the days of adoption, you are only allowed to adopt at 3:30 sharp on those days! Don’t be late to this, it slows the whole process down.

There were 8 of us adopting puppies so they brought us into their lecture room and two lovely women talked us through our dogs, each adopters had their own pack with individual information about their dog. There was all the relevant paperwork that you will need for your dog. The price of the adoption includes neutering, which is fantastic! It also includes a free health check and 6 weeks insurance.

I was really surprised at the amount of detail and care involved. The information pack was filled with information about what they do and also information for you and your dog.

Here are some links for further information:

  1. Here are the ways you can support the DSPCA other than adopting an animal. 
  2. Here are all the animals you can adopt.
  3. Their facebook page.
  4. Here is how you can donate to the DSPCA.

Some things to remember:

  1. The team are very busy, keep that in mind, I know you are excited but they have a lot to do.
  2. The phone may not be the best way to contact them, talking in person is the best way to get an animal.
  3. Research the breed you are interested in, know what you are getting into.
  4. Don’t get a dog because it’s cute or cuddly or ‘cool’. Just no.
  5. Always neuter! They will do this before any dog or cat goes to a new home BUT if you get a puppy or kitten, go back on your designated day and neuter your animal!
  6. Taking home an animal from a shelter can be an adjustment, they have learnt habits that may not be acceptable in your home but be patient and reward the good, do not go straight to punishment, they wont understand.
  7. Give your animal lots and lots of love, their lives didn’t get the best start, think of that when you look at them, that their life now should be the most amazing, fun filled experience from now on.

My experience with the DSPCA was great, they went into great detail, there was so much information, they provide so many services like day care and training classes. They were kind and helpful. If you ever wanted to rescue I would definitely look into getting an animal from the DSPCA!

Happy Travels!

In Life: I Got A Puppy

Sorry for the lack of blog posts but I have a good reason; it’s story time!

I lost my last dog six months ago and ever since then there has been something missing from my family, we all felt it. Myself and my mother started looking for dogs maybe a couple of months ago but there were no Labrador puppies or any puppies available in Ireland from a responsible breeder. Our last two dogs had been from responsible breeders and they were great dogs so that’s the avenue we went down first.

Around the start of February there was a news story that would change our outlook on how we looked for a dog. There was a new story about 116 puppies that had been seized at Dublin port that were on their way to England to be sold. When my mother saw the article she said she wanted one of the beagle puppies. We were all in agreement that a beagle would be a great dog for us, they are intelligent, cheeky and great for people who run and hike.

There was a problem, the puppies couldn’t be adopted because of the investigation, we didn’t know when they would be available so we started to look at other dogs in the DSPCA in the hope of a puppy. We took a couple of trips up and one Sunday morning…we found this little girl. She was one of the 116 puppies! We got to rescue her within 4 days and she is perfect!DSC_2714 copyThis is Tiffin (like the biscuit cake) she is a 15 week old Beagle pup and I love her. She is boisterous and mischievous! She is really smart and really well behaved for a puppy! She knows that she has to sit down to get back inside and she has just learnt lie down.DSC_2666 copyShe loves outside! She loves to explore and find sticks, nibble on plants and dig in the dirt (yes I am correcting all of these things) I can’t wait to bring her to the park! That’s this weeks adventure! DSC_2680 copyShe has the most beautiful face! Her big ears are just adorable. I love that she runs to me when I hunker down. That she curls up in my lap and snuggles. That she has already mastered her crate. She is wonderful. She has also learned how to get up on the kitchen table, which is so bold but I can’t help but laugh (but I am correcting her, I know it’s bad) DSC_2729 copyI love that this little girl is in my life. I am so excited for her to be my adventure buddy. If anyone wants a post on my experience rescuing from the DSPCA let me know in the comments.

So Beans, welcome Tiffin!

Happy Travels!

In Wicklow: Glendalough

One of my best friends and I went to Glendalough, Co. Wicklow recently. We are both bloggers/youtubers and it is great that we can come together and create and hang out while getting content to show all of you. So here are a few shots from that day.
PhoebeGill150211027There are lots of trails, paths you can go on, I haven’t actually explored all of them yet, I can’t wait to do the top trail, I was waiting for it to become a little bit nicer weather. I will probably make a video of it on my channel some time in the future. 

PhoebeGill150211101Glendalough is a Monastic site, it’s ruins are located near the lower lake. The most well intact and impressive is the round tower a classic site of Glendalough.

PhoebeGill150211118What I love most about this area is the wildlife and the colours. This patch of forest has always been covered in green moss when I go. It is always beautiful.

PhoebeGill150211106In winter the hills and the ground turn brown and will slowly get more colourful as the months go on. There are birds everywhere, it is great to stop and wait by the upper lake to see different species fly around and hear their calls.

PhoebeGill150211109There is something I look for every time I come to Glendalough. The first time I came here, I saw a stag and a doe. They were beautiful and ever since I always keep an eye out in case the deer are hiding in the tall grass. Can you spot the deer in this picture?

PhoebeGill150211162There is also some resident mallards that are always up for being in pictures. 

PhoebeGill150211192Glendalough is a perfect place in Summer or in Winter. I love spending time here all year round. I go on birthdays or days off, if I want some exercise or I take a picnic with some friends. It is a must do in Wicklow. When you visit it you’ll know why they call it the Garden of Ireland.

Happy Travels!PhoebeGill150211033

In Dublin: Natural History Museum

It’s that time again! This is the third Natural History post on my blog, can you tell I like them? If you want, check out my posts on Berlin’s NHM or London’s NHM.  PhoebeGill150205009This is probably one of my favourite places in Dublin City Centre. This unassuming building houses some really impressive specimens and is a perfect way to spend some time!

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These beautiful Giant Irish Deer are the first things you see when you walk in the door. It is amazing to think these were roaming Irish lands all those years ago! The entrance level are the speices that are native to Ireland.PhoebeGill150205022This museum is one long building with four stories. The third and fourth levels are closed because they do not comply with safety regulations and will need government funding to ever open again…so you may not want to hold your breath to see upstairs.PhoebeGill150205032The building was built in 1856 and it opened in 1857. There are 10,000 specimens on show in the natural history museum and they are amazing to see.

PhoebeGill150205065I love that the museum has these glass cabinets, they are beautiful and house the collection so well.

This free museum has so much more to see and do, I definitely recommend you drop in and see for yourself, Dublin’s impressive collection and learn about the amazing creatures.

Happy Travel