I'm literally just back from my first trip of 2016, a quick visit to the charming city of Dublin. I've been a couple of times before but not since 2007 and it was great to see new little pockets that have been upgraded since I was last there with sooooo many lovely new restaurants that I felt overwhelmed by the choice. I really like Dublin and although it has had a gradual face-lift over recent years, particularly around the Temple Bar district, it hasn't been overdeveloped and there is still plenty of rustic history visible around the city to make it interesting.
Unfortunately, my most memorable moment of the trip did not involve culture, craic or Guinness, but a rather spectacular slow motion fall in the middle of O'Connell Street, landing unceremoniously on my backside surrounded by a throng of horrified and amused Saturday morning shoppers and tourists. I wish I could say I was embarrassed or upset by the undignified incident but the truth is I'm so accident prone that I have perfected falling in style with no shame, although even by my standards this was a magnificent public tumble. I've also perfected the art of immediately jumping to my feet and hobbling off smiling as if falling on my bum in the middle of a busy city centre is not only totally normal but was my plan all along.
Meanwhile I'm secretly crying on the inside, convinced that half my behind has swollen up to the size of a watermelon and hoping that there isn't a video of the incident currently going viral on YouTube!
I have a feeling my third trip to Dublin will quickly become referred to as 'the time Susanne fell on her a**e'.
Here are a few photos from my trip and if you want to see more I'll be putting a selection on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AdventuresAroundScotland/
What I've been watching this week
Shetland - This is the third series of Shetland and I've loved them all. The crime drama is based on books by Ann Cleeves and despite the fact that an unsettling amount of serious crime and murder takes place in Shetland during each story, seeing the dramatic landscapes always reminds me how much i want to visit one day.
Incidentally, if you want to know more about visiting Shetland then Rachel at Vagabond Baker wrote some excellent blog posts during her travels there last summer including 12 ways Shetland will amaze you! which is full of fantastic photos and if it doesn't convince you to visit, nothing will! Rachel is one of my favourite bloggers and I was so happy when she announced that some of her blog photos from the trip featured in a new book by Ann Cleeves which follows a year in Shetland, what a well deserved achievement. The book is on my 'to buy list' the next time I make an Amazon order.
What I've been reading this week
Lots of good things happened in 2015 by Melanie Chadd - Melanie is a photographer that has recently relocated to Scotland and writes lovely blog posts on her website. I came across her site after she kindly left a comment on one of my posts and I immediately felt uplifted by her images and positive articles including this one about the good things that happened to her during 2015 and how fortunate she felt. I was particularly moved by her random act of kindness, which helped to restore my faith that there are still people out there willing to do something nice for others for no other reason than just because they can.
FYI if you ever leave a comment on any of my blog posts and have a blog of your own, remember to include your website link so I can pop over as I love discovering new blogs and it lets my readers find you too!
This week I took advantage of the new Scotrail Advance Single Tickets which start from a mere £5 on certain routes. After seeing that there was a Dundee Instagrammer meetup taking place in March, I quickly bagged a return from Glasgow to Dundee for £10 and feel quite chuffed at the prospect of my bargain day out. I can see myself taking lots of really scenic rail journeys around Scotland this year.
Last week I did say I would be telling you more about the new 'Hamish' Shaun the Sheep and starting my giveaway, however as he won't be available to buy until next weekend I have decided to postpone the full details until next week; all will be revealed then, I promise...
Finally, what do you think of cutouts like this one at Glasgow airport which I am modelling so beautifully?
You find them all over the world, usually featuring some local stereotype and always popular with tourists. Personally I think they are a bit of harmless fun and I have a whole gimmicky collection of me proudly sticking my big napper through comical cut out holes around the world (having my head on a cut out alien body while standing next to Area 51 is my personal favourite).
However, when my dad saw the latest addition to my collection he was horrified at the tacky, cheap Scotsman cliche, with it's only purpose being to encourage tourists to take that final souvenir photo of Scotland before flying home. I understand his point as I cringe at the cheap tartan tat that lines the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and roll my eyes every time I see a stuffed Nessie. I use my blog as a tool to inspire people to explore Scotland beyond the shortbread tin portrayal and yet I'm completely fine with people going home with a permanent bagpipe playing cardboard cutout memory of Scotland. I see it all as a bit of tongue in cheek humour but my dad's comments made me think that maybe we should be aiming higher in the lasting impression we give a tourist before they leave the country, rather than reinforcing a stereotype. What do you think?
Until next week safe and happy travels!