Google does hotel reviews now?

A couple of days ago my wife and I discussed our next holiday and she was quite taken with the idea of going to a particular hotel. I searched for the hotel and when I discovered that Google showed hotel reviews linked right from the search page I had to write about it.
After I had written the post I realised that someone might ring up the hotel and if they were feeling nasty or malicious they might cancel the holiday. Therefore, I’ll use the Radisson SAS in Limerick, an excellent hotel we stayed in a few months ago thanks to SuperValu Breaks.

So, search for the Radisson on Google.

radisson1

Clicking on the reviews link takes you here:

radisson2

I can only echo the good reviews. It’s a 4 star hotel, but book through SuperValu and you’ll get a big discount! (with the appropriate book of stamps of course)

Richard knows more about this sort of thing than I and he blogged about it 2 days ago. Looks like a good change for Irish businesses!

BTW, the break away is booked, the hotel is child friendly, we’re looking forward to it already!

PS. Richard has a post on Google’s local search which is definitely worth a read.

The Copper Kettle

The Copper Kettle in Castletownbere is a small little cafe we stumbled upon the first time we visited the town earlier this year and again in April. It’s in the main square of the town, near the petrol station and well worth a visit if you’re down that direction.

It’s always a good sign when local people eat in an establishment and the first time we were there a granny took her grand daughter and her 3 friends for lunch, sitting next to us, and keeping Adam delightfully amused with their chattering and laughing.

Were we lucky or is it normal that everyone we met in the Bantry area of West Cork was extremely pleasant, helpful and a joy to talk to?

Back from Dingle

Oh wow! We really have a beautiful country here in Ireland! We are just back from a week in the town of Dingle, Co. Kerry (or An Daingean as it’s officially known, why can’t they have both English and Irish names on the signs? It’s silly. Locals stencilled “Dingle” on many of the signs anyway!) and it was both amazing and refreshing. 7 days without Internet access. Could you survive? I admit I was tempted by the local net cafe but I resisted and we wandered the roads and explored the beaches of that rugged coastline instead.

Weather is always a concern in Ireland and it rained and it poured and gales blew for the first 2 days of our stay. Thankfully that completely changed for most of the remainder of the week and the blue skies were filled with white fluffy clouds casting shadows on the distant mountains. Breathtaking.

Bringing a 23 week old baby away on holiday does present it’s own difficulties but Adam enjoyed himself and made a huge impression on everyone he met. He was generally well behaved while out, and I have to thank the kind staff of the Old Smokehouse Restaurant for their patience as we made 2 trips there with him. On the other hand, the grumpy floor manager of the “Happy Garden Palace” up the street didn’t live up to his establishment’s name. Nice Kung Po though.

Photos will appear in time but tomorrow we’re going to head down to Kinsale for a look at Haydn’s Kinsale Gallery where some of my work is on display. Adam’s been down there already and now it remains to be seen whether any of the pieces attracts a buyer or not. Thanks Damien for mentioning the gallery too!

In other news, WordPress 2.3 came out and I need to upgrade my blogs. WordPress MU will need to be synced with the new release but it will also need a separate upgrader. Upgrading one blog and adding 3 tables is simple, but when you need to do tens of thousands (or millions) of them, you don’t want all of them doing it at the same time or your database server will melt.

Oh, and not one person mentioned the All Ireland. 🙂

Update on Sunday: Jacinta and I visited the gallery today and we’re impressed! Haydn’s son was taking care of the shop and I noticed a number of the larger prints had sold a couple of copies. Two of my images are visible behind the door if you look carefully at the second image: Innovative Streets and Rusted and Abandoned.

Gallery ICA

Gallery ICA

Gallery ICA

My trip to Crete.Right, a bit …

My trip to Crete.

Right, a bit more detail then. Crete is amazing. We went on a package tour to Hersonissos. The town itself is simply a tourist resort with lots of pubs, restaurants and shops selling exactly the same stuff (lots of it bore the tag, “Made in China”).

Drink is cheap, Players Cocktail Bar offered two drinks for the price of one, so 4 cocktails for EUR10 was great (but the atmosphere in the bar was terrible!). The Camelot nightclub is very cool and Martina and myself danced a night away there! Drink is expensive there though, costing even more than in Ireland. Kelly’s Pub was much better and that’s where we spent most of our nights.
The “PR” people outside bars were very annoying but they disappear when the area is busier later in the year. A lot of the bars weren’t crowded as it’s early in the season. It was great that they stayed open until 4am during the week, and could stay open for 24 hours at the weekend!
We watched the Ireland/Cameroon match in our appartment block, Blue Sky Apartments, but only managed to catch the second half as we somehow slept in. *grin*

The traditional Cretan Night was really good, it was set in a small village in the mountains (Kato Karouzanos, population: 15) and had a mix of traditional dancing and plenty of local wine. We were treated to a shot of Rakki first and I bought a bottle of the local brew for EUR 3! It’s very strong stuff but I haven’t tasted that bottle yet. The dancing was excellent, first with Cretan dances, then Greek dances. Martina and Rosanna were dragged up a few times, and I also did a few dances myself! hehe.

Then there was the trip to the former leper colony of Spinalonga. Our guide was very enthusiastic about his work and it was obvious he had a deep affection for the island. Took lots of pics here too.
Oh yeah, there’s 7 rolls of film to develop. Lots of good stuff!

Of course, I can’t forget Star Beach where we spent way too much time! John went overboard on the Bungy Jumping and did it 5 times! Rosanna, Martina and myself did it just the once and I can tell you, it’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done! I just switched off once I got to the top of the 50m crane and thought about diving into the cold waters of Church Bay near Cross Haven. Once I dived over the edge of the platform I realised how far it was to the water, yelled “shit” but there wasn’t anything to do but carry on! I still get flashbacks of it and experience the terror all over again! Martina took pics of me doing it, as I took photos of the others. When she was jumping, Martina took her time on the platform before diving off and I broke out in a cold sweat imagining the terror she must have felt. Glad I did it, and I found out afterwards that guys at work had laid bets on me jumping or not!
Not quite as stressful or terrifying, but still exciting was paragliding. Martina and myself went up together. We were suspended under a parachute and dragged along by a speedboat. Very nice! Of course, getting dumped into the sea afterwards was a bit shocking especially when you have a large parachute strapped to you!
On Thursday night, Martina and myself took a cab up to the old town of Hersonissos for dinner. It was beautiful up there and a lot quieter than the more touristy sea-shore area we stayed in. Meal was excellent and staff very friendly, pointing out the better traditional dishes on offer. (“it’s all Greek to me!”, oh alright, I had to say that somewhere!)

Do I recommend Crete for a holiday? Yes, without a doubt! If you go on a package holiday to a resort then make sure you get out of the town. We never got around to hiring a car but the excursions showed us a lot of the surrounding countryside.

Back to work tomorrow. *sigh*

Quick update from Crete! We're …

Quick update from Crete! We’re in Hersonissos and the sun is splitting the stones. Temperatures in the shade are at 22 degrees C. woo!
What have we been up to? I went para gliding with Martina (have pics, will scan them in!), John went bungy jumping, twice! Lying on the beach, soaking up the rays, visiting water parks, going down slides. (wow!)
We’re going to go to a Greek Night tonight with traditional food and wine, boat cruise to a former leper island tomorrow..
Hoping to hire a car on Friday or Saturday and visit Krista in the mountains or a plateaux that’s about 40 miles south of here, we’ll see.

Cretan people are very nice and polite, it’s amazing! Every night we’ve been out there have been people on the street extoling the virtues of this pub or that restaurant which got annoying after about 5 minutes. Even when you ignore them, or say no, they’ll say “thank you” or “have a nice time” – they just don’t get angry!

There’s a couple of Irish bars here too, Kelly’s Bar was the nicest, although O’Donaghue’s was nice too!

BTW – hangovers and water parks don’t mix!

check back for more updates in a few days!