Redwood Valley Railway 4, SF 2013

Karin Ott

A close-up of the engine room…

A tip – if you go to Tilden on a Sunday between noon and 3 pm. you can walk the length of the tracks, passed the ticket office and go under the tracks through the tunnel. You will emerge at the home of the Golden Gate Live Steamers. It’s a non-profit museum running a miniature rail way that’s even smaller than the Redwood Valley Railway. On most Sundays they offer rides against donations on their small trains.

Redwood Valley Railway 3, SF 2013

Karin Ott

The Redwood Valley Railway in Tilden Park above Berkeley is just the cutest ride!  You can get a 5 ride ticket for $12 and ride the genuine, small scale steam train through a landscape that feels authentic Wild West. The conductor shouts ‘Aaaaall aboard!, the whistle blows, people holler when you go through the tunnel and the ride is about 10 minutes long – best value for money in the Bay Area!

Redwood Valley Railway 2, SF 2013

Karin Ott

Tilden Park runs almost the length of Oakland, the East Bay. Basically you turn left off the freeway and keep going until you go up, up, up, and you’ll find yourself almost up in the clouds (on some days in the clouds) with all the Bay spread out far beneath you.

The park covers a huge area and include a vintage carrousel, a swimming lake, a small farm and an activity center. Plus the small scale steam trains! If you have children along, take them here for the carousel rather than pay over the top for the one at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Redwood Valley Railway 1, SF 2013

Karin Ott

Being a tourist in San Francisco is pretty boring. Surprised? Well, you walk around with all the other tourists looking at Union Square, try to find a decent meal at Fisherman’s Wharf and miss all the fun. I’m sure I would never have discovered Hyde Street and Polk Street if it wasn’t because I found friends on Hyde Street I could stay with. And we would never have discovered Tilden Park if we hadn’t been travelling with a 2.5 year old toddler. More tomorrow but here is what one of the main attractions of Tilden Park looks like…

Galway 3, Ireland 2012

Karin Ott

Arriving in Galway we were so fortunate to be upgraded to an apartment with a view. This is overlooking the main square from the deck on our floor.

Had we not had the kids along I’m sure I could easily have spent a couple of days shopping in Galway. You could go anywhere in a matter of minutes but there were malls and high street shops a plenty. Lots of cute little bakeries to sit down and catch your breath and of course finishing off with beers and cozy restaurants.

Galway 2, Ireland 2012

Galway - Karin Ott

What I find interesting in this shot is the different qualities of light – cold light to the left and warm light to the right. I did try it in black/white but it lost the magic of the contrast.

Galway was a straight forward train ride right across Ireland. We hadn’t been sure what to expect. Some sources described Galway as the ultimate drinking spot. Other found it charming. I can’t speak for the drinking but we certainly found it charming. It felt good to be in a smaller town with shorter distances, and the main street was one of the best looking ones I’ve seen.

Lattice 5, Ireland 2012

And yesterday’s lattice was from… National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street branch. This was one more free museum. I loved this about Dublin. We visited two branches of the National Museum.

One was right next to the Ashling Hotel and featured “The way we wore” about dress and accessories through centuries. The moment the kids caught sight of a computer screen as part of the exhibition, though, it was hard to get them to move. I don’t think the exhibition made much of an impression but they loved the touch screen – big sigh. I try to tell myself that if just one item in a museum makes an impression on either of them it’s a succes.

The branch in Kildare Street is a good size, not too big. The building is beautiful, and they have a magnificient collection of gold from the bronze age. I loved it. The children loved the museum store 🙂

Lattice 3, Ireland 2012

Yesterdays lattice was from… Dublin Castle. We passed the garden on the way to the Chester Beatty Library.

The Chester Beaty Library was one of my attempts at insisting we saw some sights of cultural value as well. Somehow children’s go tired the moment they hear the word “museum”. That’s why I only go for museums with free admission. At least we don’t have to get into the argument of how much we paid to get in but can leave fast when required.

The Chester Beatty Library was a hit, though. There was the most beautiful exibition of handwritten and handpainted manuscripts and miniature paintings through the ages. I adore the islamic miniature art of which we have a fine collection in Copenhagen (David’s Collection) and I could have spent days studying the collection in Dublin. I’ll have to return some day because time (and the patience of my family) only allowed for a fast walk-through.

The kids did enjoy themselves as well, though. There was a table on the landing outside the manuscript collection with crayons and postcards you could colour. And what a wonderful idea to leave out two carefully coloured examples of the oriental motive to inspire. Even my 11-year old son refused to leave before he has finished. Which left time for Peter and I to take coffee in another covered courtyard.

Here’s a second shot from todays mystery lattice.