A Different Wesht Coasht

From the cold, snowy mountains of Utah, I came back to the dismal rain of Seattle. After a few gloomy days, however, it started to lighten up and promise a cracking weekend. It would have been a shame not to take advantage of the good weather, so I headed down to the City of Roses. A place that is better known as Portland, Oregon.

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What made it even better is that the city is now home to an old friend. Visits to hip, new-American style food joints and a late-night performance of dive bar karaoke led to a stunning Sunday morning, a morning spent on the long shores of Cannon Beach.

Several hours of sun lounging later, our group took the required pictures at Haystack Rock and proceeded to a viewpoint on the north end of the beach. As you can see, it provided quite a view. It's a different "wesht coasht than the one I'm used to seeing, but as wild of a one as any.

Champagne Powder

After my short jaunt in Europe, I attempted to keep satisfying my travel bug by heading to Asia the following weekend for my birthday. As my primary method of travel is standby, the flights to both Tokyo and Hong Kong were not in my favor that particular weekend. With that, I targeted a short two-hour flight back to Salt Lake City. Sitting in the domestic terminal of SeaTac airport, I dreamt of Mt. Fuji and the splendors of Japan. It turned out, however, that it was the perfect time for a week in Utah.

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As you can see, it was quite perfect indeed. That Sunday, I headed up Logan Canyon for a small touring session behind my friend Parker's yurt. It was a tough cardio workout on the way up, but as soon as the champagne powder was pouring over our heads and our faces were freezing from the continuous face shots, we knew it was well worth it.

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The conditions after the first run down were just too good to leave. We put our skins back on and toured another half an hour back to the top, and went at it again! More champagne powder, and more face shots. It was a good start to the week.

Over the next few days, I spent time in Logan, catching up with my parents and the beloved dog Scotchy. It was good to be back. The following weekend, I headed back down to Salt Lake City to catch up with old friends and ski at one of the old stomping grounds, Snowbird.

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Regarding snow, it was a very dry weekend in Salt Lake. Snowbird was not able to provide the usual deep goods it is so famous for, but a groomer day was much needed and quite enjoyable. The following morning, however, I woke up to a complete whiteout. It just so happened that it was the morning I was due to fly to Seattle, a day most definitely too early.

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I had forgotten how picturesque Utah was, and how easy it was to take yourself into the mountains from the city. Before heading into the clouds, I was left with this view. What a sight.

18 Hours Home

Of course, I couldn't make my way to Europe and not stop off home in Ireland. After I finished admiring the canals and bridges and cobblestone streets and churches and that, I took a short train from Bruges to the Belgian capital of Brussels. It was there that I caught a Ryanair flight to Dublin. However bad the airline may come across, they always make up for it for being on time.

I arrived into Dublin after 2 pm, just in time to meet my friends towards the end of the Gerard's and Blackrock schools cup rugby match. Unfortunately for my friends, Gerard's lost last minute to a drop goal, in a similar fashion to how Ireland beat France in the Six Nations just two weeks before. 

Per usual, It was raining quite heavily in Dublin, so we headed to The Wall for a bit of climbing. After a weekend of beer, cheese, and chocolate, completing a few bouldering routes was a welcome challenge. After that, it was time to head out for the night. I always love heading into town to catch up with friends, both old and new.

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On Monday it was time to head back to Seattle. No matter how short, it is always lovely being home, but just as hard to leave.

A Weekend Across the Pond

It has been almost two years since I last posted on this website, so now is as good a time as any for a small update. Many of you know that I set off this past summer to start a photography project called Wander Faces. It was by far one of the best experiences of my life and took me to twenty new countries around the world. If you didn't manage to see it, be sure to take a look here

Since then, I've moved to Seattle to start my first real job. Although I'm loving living in a new city, I have yet to shake my constant itch for travel. So, just over a week ago, I headed off on a small jaunt to Europe.

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An easy destination to fly into, Amsterdam seemed like a logical first stop. After landing at Schiphol Airport at 5.30am, I took a quick train to the city center. Even though it was in the early hours of the morning, I was surprised to find the city completely dead. Tales of the infamous nightlife had me expecting quite the opposite. Perhaps all of the action was still happening, but only behind closed doors.

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The sun began to rise as I meandered through the endless canals and side-streets, bringing much needed light for the camera slung over my shoulder. People passed by calmly on their bicycles while the flocks of birds made their similar commute, leaving me mostly alone to explore the history and architecture of the city. As you can see from the above photograph, both are beautifully intertwined. A city known for it's wild side, Amsterdam has much more to offer.

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Amsterdam was only a short stop, so later that morning I continued by train to the enchanting city of Bruges, Belgium. Situated just southeast of the Belgian coastline, the medieval city has long been an important icon to European history and trade. My first encounter with the city, however, came from the dark comedy In Bruges, starring the well-known Irish actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Although it provided a rather humorous storyline, the film guided me through the sites, history, and easygoing atmosphere of the Belgian city. It was on my list to visit ever since.

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I'm glad I made the journey to check it off the list. Cobblestone streets, winding canals, and ancient bridges were just a few of the features that took me back in time. I walked around for hours until late evening, and then proceeded to sample world-famous beer the many pubs and restaurants had to offer. If you ever make it here, be sure to check out my two favorite spots: Le Trappiste and De Garre. You will not be disappointed.

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The following day I continued to explore the city on foot, and by boat. For a small eight euro fee, you can get a thirty-minute boat tour around the canals. A local will provide you with all of the necessary history and fun facts of the historic city, and a careful reminder to watch your head as you pass under the stone bridges dotted around Bruges.

Even with the larger than normal crowds for Valentine's weekend, my experience in this city was perhaps one of the most relaxing times I have ever had in Europe. It was tranquil, a spot seemingly out of touch with the rest of the fast-paced western world. I awoke at 7am on my final morning and took another long walk around the city. The cold morning seemed to have kept everyone else indoors, giving me another chance to admire the city of Bruges. All of those canals and bridges and cobblestone streets and churches and that. It's like a fookin' fairytale or something.