Ireland Travel; Memories that will last Forever

A couple months ago I took my first real trip to Ireland, years ago will on a cruise and we stopped at an Irish port for a day but I don’t count that. This was a two week trip I took with my wife and we visited a large portion of the island.

My wife, Sandra, had been telling me for the last couple years for trips to Ireland, one of her favourite places in the world. Now it had always been on my list as a place to visit and spend time, maybe a little bit to do with the Celtic heritage but a lot to do with the fact that Ireland was the birthplace of Titanic.  I have a personal connection with the story and have been intrigued with the idea of finding a more about the birthplace of this fascinating ship.

When we arrived in Dublin was a little surprised at its size, it was larger than expected.  The city and surrounding area has a population of well over 1 million people and it was more of a multicultural Center then I imagined.

Originally a Viking village, where those lads sure got around, Dublin has grown into a bustling multi ethnic city.  We were there end of March and there were very large crowds on Grafton Street, one of there main shopping areas.

I’ve been to many large cities but this one has its own individual characteristics, like the Dublin doors.  Many homes were built same and the only feature that could make them unique where the doors so the variety of doors or fascinating.

I like the fact that there was a pub on every corner, many of them with live music. Dublin is also the birthplace of Guinness beer.  We took a brewery tour located at St. James Gate, is a very modern exhibit and no shortage of tourists, us included.

We also visited Jameson distillery, I have been fortunate over the years to visit many distilleries was pleasantly surprised with this tour.  It is well designed, very enthusiastic guides, and in an interesting twist on a tasting afterwards.  I enjoy nice whiskey, neat or with a little bit of water but how about cranberry juice.  I was surprised! And you will be too.

We left for Belfast, Sandra had never been there so neither one of us new what to expect.  Due to the troubles associated with the city tourism is on has only really started to developed the last few years.  We arrived there early afternoon and after an hour walking around Sandra I both commented at how amazed we were the city.  The thing that struck us first was how friendly everyone was.

We talked to one gentleman who worked for local tour company there and mentioned how friendly Belfast is and he told us that he had lived in a number of other large European cities and said “in many cases if somebody will walk since you knock you down to keep going without turning back, here in Belfast if somebody walks into you knocks you down, not only will they help you up, they will dust you off, bring you into a pub for a drink and then bring it home for the night.”  I don’t think there was much of an exaggeration.

We visited the Titanic Quarter, to see where it all began.  While listening to the stories I was able to sense the exhilaration and pride that went into the building of Titanic and her sister ship Olympic and then the deep sadness that overwhelmed the city after the ship sank.

We spoke with many people who still had personal connections to the tragedy which is no surprise; there were thousands of workers from in and around Belfast who worked on her.

We drove along the coast visiting the Carrick a Rede rope bridge and then on to the Giants Causeway, where about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.  This is a natural phenomenon that has to be seen at least once in life.

We traveled to Galway, a city sometimes referred to as being bilingual is over 10% of the population still speak Irish as their first language.  This is a fun city, the downtown core very easy to walk around and music everywhere.  From here it’s very easy to take a tour of Connemara.

We traveled to the Cliffs of Moher; currently in a competition to be named one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. As we stood up at the cliffs edge, the abrupt end of Ireland looking out into the North Atlantic, we could not help but feel in awe of what the forces of nature had produced.

We then to the Poulnabrone Dolmen (Irish for “hole of sorrows”) is a portal tomb dating back probably between 4200 BC to 2900 BC.

We traveled to Dingle, to me one of the highlights of his beautiful island.  I don’t normally like using the word quaint because I feel it is overused but it is the best description I can think of for this little community.  Have heard that music bloodline for Ireland, if this is the case in area in and around Dingle must be the heart.

We drove around Slea’s Head Drive, and saw more ancient ruins, incredible scenery, rock walls and sheep.

Our next day was in Killarney, again a very easy community stroll through and no shortage of very friendly people who are interested in a chat.

We stayed in Cork and visited Blarney’s Castle.  Now I knew the story of the Blarney Stone; where according to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab. I don’t know why but Sandra told me that was the last thing I needed to do.

I was excited about seeing the castle but I did not know where how amazing the grounds where, it was so easy losing ourselves for a couple of hours wandering around the estate.  An absolutely beautiful visit and definitely a place you have to give yourself time to enjoy.

We also visited another community just outside of Cork called Cobh (pronounced Cove).  Back in 1912 this community was known as Queenstown and was the last port of call for Titanic before she sailed out to the North Atlantic and her final resting place.

That story is powerful and well worth the visit, but after spending reading about all the other Irish immigrants who had to leave their home to look for a better life during and then for years after the great potato famine left tightness in my heart.

We took two weeks for us to make the trip and the feeling I had during our last day on Ireland was that I could hardly wait to get back.

If you’ve been to Ireland and you can understand my enthusiasm while describing this trip.

If you have not been it is high time to put his beautiful island on your list and make plans sooner than later for your visit.

Now if incredible scenery, amazing stories, fun people, great music and lots of laughs are not high on your priority list; then don’t bother visiting Ireland.

If the opposite is true you may want to visit www.rhapsodytours.net and click on our Ireland, The Birthplace of Titanic Tour to see them this might be of interest to you.

We have planned a wonderfully paced, quality tour visiting all the places I mentioned plus much more.  If you have any further questions please feel free to e-mail me directly at gerry@rhapsodytours.net.

 

If you have any stories, questions or events about Ireland and would like to share or for that matter any travel related themes you would like discussed; send them off to us.  We will read the all and post our favorites.

Well this is all we have for today’s post; let us know what you think.

We would love to see any comment or tips you may have and I encourage you to subscribe below.

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Until next time Safe Travel and Have Fun!

Length: 9:47

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Do you suffer from the Fear of Flying?

When this anxiety reaches a level that significantly interferes with a person’s ability to travel by air, it becomes the phobia known as the “Fear of Flying”.

fear of flyingThe fear of flying is a phobia; no big surprise there! It could be a distinct phobia or an indirect combination of one or more other phobias.

What is a Phobia?
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary a phobia is an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.

What are some the other phobias that could be in combination with the fear of flying. Well let’s see, there are:
1. Being in an enclosed or crowded space
2. Fear of heights
3. A feeling of not being in control
4. Fear of vomiting, motion sickness can make the person vomit, thus making flying hard.
5. Fear of having panic attacks in certain places, where escape would be difficult and/or embarrassing
6. Fear of hijacking or terrorism
7. Fear of turbulence and other weather conditions
8. Fear of being over water
9. Fear of the dark (flying at night)
10. Fear of the unknown
11. The result of hormone release during pregnancy
12. The result of difficulty with the regulation of emotion when not in control due to developmental issues
13. Being idle for long periods of time
14. Loss of personal freedom
15. The security screening process
16. Not understanding the reasons for all the strange actions, sounds, and sensations occurring around you
17. Underlying issues from past psychological or physical trauma
18. Sitting in hot, stale air
19. Being dependent on unknown mechanical things to maintain your safety
20. Being dependent on an unknown pilot’s judgment
21. Not feeling in “control”

Now that you are totally panic stricken is there anything that can be done to help alleviate or prevent this fear. Here are a few ideas that may help.

Fear of Flight is a learned behaviour.

Did you know, that fear is a learned behaviour? When we were born, we had no fears so there had to be something that triggered this fear. The first thing you have to do if you wish to overcome your fear of flying is to…

Admit you are a fearful flyer.

You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge and rest assured that you are not alone in your fear.

Then you can try to remember what the circumstances were that may have caused your fear of flying symptoms to first appear?
• Why were you flying?
• What happened just before the flight?
• What happened during the flight?
• What happened just after the flight?
(Try to recall the facts, as well as the exact words of anything that was said.)

What was happening in your life before the fear of flying symptoms developed?
• Did you experience any major life changes before the fear of flying symptoms developed?
• Did anything happen that left you feeling uncertain or conflicted before the fear of flying symptoms developed?
• Had anyone done anything to you that had left you feeling emotionally hurt and angry before the fear of flying symptoms developed?

What exactly might a fear of flying prevent you from doing?
• How do you really feel about not doing it?
• Maybe you don’t really want to do it.
• Or maybe you feel guilty about doing it.

Who knows by going to this exercise you might end up in treatment for something other than fear of flying, or you might be able to solve the problem yourself without professional help.

The next thing you have to do is educate yourself.

Did you know statistics compiled by the US Department of Transportation have led to the conclusion that airline travel is 29 times safer than driving an automobile?

The problem with the above statistics is that knowing this will not stop they do not stop people from being afraid of flying.

Statistics do not help because the fear of flying actually has little to do with risk as such. If the fear of flying were actually caused by the potential for an accident, then everyone who fears to fly would be even more afraid—29 times more afraid, to be statistically exact—to drive or ride in an automobile. But that is clearly not the case.

What else can you do?
In many cases, overcoming fear or phobias can be done by overcoming the fear of the unknown.

As far as overcoming the fear of flying examples of some of the things that can work include.
• Learning how aircraft fly.
• Many people have overcome their fear of flying by learning to fly or skydive.
• Understanding what a certain sound is or that an encounter with turbulence will not destroy the aircraft is beneficial to easing the fear of the unknown.

Medication
A fear of flying may be treated by the use of psychoactive medications. This should never be self prescribed, always discuss with your doctor before taking any medication.

Keep in mind that psychiatrists are sometimes reluctant to prescribe any medication for the treatment of fear of flying due to the need for patients to medicate irregularly. Though benzodiazepines effectively reduced anxiety on the ground, research indicates higher anxiety and sharply increased panic when flying versus placebo.

Another form of self-medicating is alcohol, which is served in many commercial airline cabins and is how some deal with their anxiety. Most mental health professionals would advise against consuming alcohol as a medication both due to the strong risk of dependency (alcoholism) and due to the particular physiological effects on the body of air travel.

On the other hand, some professionals believe that if an individual is capable of controlling his or her drinking—i.e. is not an alcoholic—and consumes only a small amount at a time, that an alcoholic beverage before or during a flight may be beneficial as a short-term treatment of mild fear of flying. Most would still advise a more long-term strategy of therapy.

Children and Fear of Flying
Sometimes children develop a fear of flying. But unless the fear can be traced directly to a trauma or accident, before seeking treatment specific to the child, it would be advisable to think of the child as just one part of a larger family system.

Consider whether the child’s anxiety relates in some way to family conflicts. The child’s fear of flying may not be about flying at all.

Is this all there is?
Over my two decades in the travel industry I’ve experienced many want to be travelers who want to see the world but their fear of flying keep them home. This information tid bit may not be enough to get them on an airplane but hopefully will be enough to motivate them to look at possible solutions for help.

I have been asked if I could recommend a program or an option that I like. I did find a program a couple years ago that I have recommended in the past and the results of the wonderful.

It was put together by a 40-year aviation veteran and fear of flying expert. Captain Ron Nielsen has been widely consulted and quoted in the media since he began working with fearful flyers 20 years ago. In addition to his aviation and fear of flying expertise, he holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling.

happy flyingYou have nothing to lose and the whole world to gain.

If you have any stories, questions or events about fear of flying and would like to share or for that matter any travel related themes you would like discussed; send them off to us. We will read the all and post our favorites.

If you would like to receive further posts, your options include:

Directly into your email box subscribe here.

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Stay in touch:

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If you have any comments, we would love to see them.

Until then, have a wonderful day and safe travels!

Audio Podcast

Length: 10:16

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How to Pack for Travel

After traveling for many years, loading and unloading thousands of suitcases I realized a long time ago the importance of packing properly for trip.

After speaking to many tour professionals, researching a number of internet sites and logging hundreds of thousands of miles myself, I found a system to pack that works for me and I would like to share it with you.

Always check airlines for the latest travel rules and restrictions regarding what may and may not accompany you and your luggage on your travels. The worst part of traveling is when you’ve gotten yourself all the way to security, only to find that some of your belongings will be thrown away.

Plan ahead

Know where you’ll be going, what activities you’ll be doing and what the weather forecast is so that you can pack the essentials you’ll need. Plan to wear certain clothing items that are versatile and accessories that can be paired with different outfits.

check listMake a checklist of every item you plan to take on your trip: clothing, shoes, toiletries, maps, guidebooks, reading material, and hotel and rental car information. I made my list on a pad of paper and started a few days before is planning to pack, leaving it in a central location in my home and jotting down items I thought it might need is that popped into my head . Include everything you intend to bring even if is not going to be packed. It is easy to forget something, not remember until you’re at the airport or even worse on your trip; for example plane ticket, passport or house keys.

When your checklist is complete, take time to review before you start to pack. This is the time to determine if you really need four sweaters, five pair’s jeans, seven pairs of shoes. Bring comfortable shoes. A good rule is to wear 1 pair and pack 2–including a casual shoe or sandal, a tennis shoe and a more formal shoe for dinner.

Pack a wardrobe suitable for going just about anywhere and take clothes that are appropriate for the weather of the area you are visiting. You also want to blend in so that you won’t be easily identified as a tourist to local pick-picketers’. Some examples of good wardrobe choices are comfortable walking shoes, pants and skirts and comfortable T-shirts or button-up shirts.

Now you can remove from your list that will lighten your load.

Include mainly maintenance-free items. When possible, avoid items that require ironing and do not bother with items that must be dry-cleaned.

Begin packing your luggage, checking off each item on your list as you go.

Buy travel-size containers for your toiletries, regardless of the length of your trip. Unless you will be in a remote location for weeks, you can always drop into a local shop to restock your supply of soap and toothpaste. Enclose toiletry containers in airtight plastic bags to prevent contents from spilling into your suitcase in the event of a leak. Wrap socks or pajamas around breakable items to cushion them. Nothing worse then arriving home from a great trip to Canada to find maple syrup all over your shorts.

Pack shoes and heavier items such as bottles, toiletries and electronics on the bottom and sides of the luggage. Tuck undergarments and socks inside shoes to save space and then arrange each pair of shoes so that the heel of one aligns with the toe of the other. Wrap pairs of shoes in separate plastic bags, and place them along the border of your suitcase.

Pack clothing using the time-honored “roll” technique. Lay two or three items on top of one another, smooth to flatten, and roll them up like you would a sleeping bag to save space and prevent wrinkles. A great tip for preventing massive wrinkles is to place a sheet of heavy tissue or packing paper between items of clothing before rolling.

Pack sweaters and underwear in reusable compression bags, which can create up to 75% more space in your luggage.

Another option would be Ultralight Packers from LL Bean. I bought these years ago and have been on of the best travelling investment I have ever made. Designed in three convenient sizes for efficient packing with see-through mesh top for easy viewing and identification these packing accessories can be used for your suitcase, carry-on or duffle. This zip-top packer set keeps your travel clothes neatly folded and organized.

In addition to making copies of your passport, you can also scan copies of important documents, and then store them in a hotmail or yahoo account on the internet, and retrieve them when you need to, from anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection. Probably a good idea, even if you are not traveling.

Pack essential toiletries in a carry-on bag; medication (keep in original containers) and a light change of clothes. You may be surprised to read this but occasionally luggage does not make it to you final destination with you.

Further Tid Bits

Put your cell phone in your pocket and bring a purse with you (if you’re a lady).

Just put your name and phone (cell) number on the luggage tag. Keep your complete contact information in a zippered pocket and in your luggage. No sense letting everyone seeing you are traveling and away from home.

If you are like me I like to see how this may be accomplished and I found this great video on YouTube

If you have any stories, questions or events about packing and would like to share or for that matter any travel related themes you would like discussed; send them off to us. We will read the all and post our favorites.

If you would like to receive further posts, your options include:

Directly into your email box subscribe here.

For audio podcasts through iTunes subscribe here

For video podcasts through iTunes subscribe here

Stay in touch:

Through Facebook at the Travel Tips Page

Or on Twitter at rhapsodytours

If you have any comments, we would love to see them.

Until then, have a wonderful day and safe travels!

Audio Podcast

Length: 7:26

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Ideas for Choosing Group Travel

If you have opened this blog the thought of traveling is something that appeals to you and in most cases you have probably taken the opportunity to explore in the past.

Click on the video and in the next few moments you will be offered ideas of things to look for if considering group travel.

If you have any stories , questions or events about group travel and would like to share or for that matter any travel related themes you would like discussed; send them off to us.  We will read the all and post our favorites.

If you would like to receive further posts, your options include:

Stay in touch for Canadian and/or Germany travel information, travel news and travel tips.

Subscribe to Discover Canada Updates

Subscribe to Explore Germany Updates

For audio podcasts through iTunes subscribe here

For video podcasts through iTunes subscribe here

Stay in touch:

Through Facebook at the Travel Tips Page

Or on Twitter at rhapsodytours

If you have any comments, we would love to see them.

Until then, have a wonderful day and safe travels!

Length: 9:48

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We’re back!!!!

I cannot believe how long it’s been since my last post or my first post, depending on how you look at the Rhapsody Blog.

So far this has been a very interesting year in the tour and travel industry, with the crazy weather, volcanoes, airline strikes, wild dollar & euro fluctuations and a shaky economy many would think is the perfect year to stay home, lock your door and wait until everybody comes to their senses.

After being on the tour and travel industry as long as I have I realized this may not be the best way to look at what is taking place.  As you know most things in history are circular “what goes around comes around”.  With this being the case in the not-too-distant future the tour and travel industry will again be booming; in the meantime, now is the time to take advantage!  There is an overabundance of incredible travel deals if you are willing to do a little research and exploration.

These opportunities can be you “Experience of a Lifetime”.

“So why am I doing a blog?

As some of you might know I been in tour & travel industry for 20 years and over that time I have picked up more then a few amazing travel secrets and tidbits to ensure a positive travel experience; an another reason is that being in the travel industry I am at times made privy to some amazing deals and specials; this is information I would like to share.  I would also like to share with you different facets of travel you may not have considered.

I would prefer if this blog were not one sided; I would like to hear from you.  I’m very interested in hearing about your own travel experiences such as: hidden gems you have found on your travels, your own travel secrets and tidbits and any fun stories you would like to share. Send them off to us.; we will read the all and post our favorites.

We would love to see any comment or tips you may have and I encourage you to subscribe below.

Subscribe to the Rhapsody Tours Blog

Rhapsody Tours Website

Rhapsody Tours Email

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I hope you enjoy.
Until next time Safe Travel and Have Fun!

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Hello All from Rhapsody Tours

It is hard to explain how excited I am writing my first blog.My name is Gerry MacPherson, a tour operator based in eastern Canada  and although I have been a tour director & storyteller for years, this is my first forte into an ongoing journal of the exciting things are going on around Rhapsody Tours.

Even stranger, I am not writing my first blog from my office in Halifax, but instead from the beautiful community of Obergarschagen in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Okay this is not as strange as it sounds and I’ll explain in a moment.

I have been a tour guide/director for 20 years, much of the time spent in Canada but I have been fortunate enough to have traveled throughout much of our amazing world.

Rhapsody Tours has been in business for a few years, specializing inSchloss Neuschwanstein unique eastern Canadian trips and will continue to do so for years to come however we have taken the opportunity to expand and are offering a very scenic and unique Tour of Germany.

This is the reason I am in this beautiful country at present, putting final touches on this very exciting journey.

If visiting this amazing part of our world is something that has intrigued you, wait no longer and visit our itinerary page.

I should warn you, we are only interested in traveling with those willing to have fun and having a sense of humor is a prerequisite.

For all the new travelers and seasoned travelers over the next few months I will be sharing tidbits and tricks for traveling.For example “how to pack”, “exercise tips for planes trains and automobiles” and “custom requirements for different countries” just to name a few.If you’re interested in receiving this information please feel free to subscribe to Rhapsody Tours Blogs and I’ll be more than happy to send them to you free of charge.

I’m off to the Black Forest  but will be in touch soon.

If you have any stories, questions or events about German travel and would like to share or for that matter any travel related themes you would like discussed; send them off to us. We will read the all and post our favorites.

We would love to see any comment or tips you may have and I encourage you to subscribe below.

Subscribe to the Rhapsody Tours Blog

Rhapsody Tours Website

Rhapsody Tours Email

Did you like this? Share it:

I hope you enjoy.
Until next time Safe Travel and Have Fun!

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