Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: church

Sneem, a knot in the Ring of Kerry

Of the four days I spent in Ireland in June with two friends, the little village of Sneem, situated on the Ring of Kerry on the west coast of Ireland, left the deepest impression in my mind. The word “Sneem” means “knot” in Irish. On that rather grey day, Sneem was a dash of colour in the mist. We stopped for a short break during the long drive around the Ring of Kerry, spending perhaps no more than two hours in Sneem, yet its modest charm was what made it such a unique part of the Irish experience!

It was a rainy morning as we drove on the Ring of Kerry but as we approached Sneem, the rain subsided! The welcoming colours of the village invited us to stop, park our car, and get off for a walk around.

The village was very quiet when we arrived at 11am. We spotted a church not far from where we parked and promptly headed in its direction. It was a Sunday morning and that was when we realized that most, if not all, of the villagers were attending worship service at the church, which would end at 11:30am.

We walked to the area behind the church to the main attraction of Sneem – some mysterious structures of pyramids! There was a block of stone with the words “The Way the Fairies Went” inscribed on it, so this must be…the home of the fairies?! I quite liked this place. It was serene and the fairy bit added a touch of mysticism to the entire surrounding.

Walking past the pyramids…

…keep going to reach this tranquil place where we stayed awhile.

Back in the village, we stopped by the bridge with rapids running under it.

At around 11:30 we returned to the place where we parked, which was right outside of an information centre/gift shop that we had intended to enter but was closed until 11:30. We figured that the villagers probably all went to church and would be back at 11:30, and we were right! The little shop opened and in we went.

The people you unexpected meet along the road often leave the deepest impressions. Here we met John, the shop owner. Upon hearing him speak French with some ladies, I asked, “D’òu venez-vous?” (“Where are you from?”) He told us that he was born in Normandy in France and moved to Sneem many years ago with his Austrian wife. He is a deacon at the village church and is now studying Greek because he wants to better understand the Bible, and he finds much peace in running this small shop in this quiet village. We chatted for around 10 minutes before I bought something and left, but not before we took a photo with him! It’s always so interesting to listen to a local share his stories, and if there was one part of our visit that would make me remember Sneem, it was John. Such a short conversation but so delightful!

And that ended our visit to the little village of Sneem, the knot in the Ring of Kerry, my favourite place in the Ring! ❤

Advertisements

I left my heart in Bratislava

One coincidence that I have noticed these years is that my favourite destinations in Europe and some of the most memorable ones all start with the letter “B” – Bordeaux, Brussels, Barcelona, Bologna…and now, I arrive in Bratislava. From Vienna, it was a choice between Bratislava, Prague, and Budapest as a day trip, but it was not much a choice at all as Bratislava is the closest one and doesn’t take too much time to reach. An hour by bus and you jump conveniently from Austria to Slovakia.

It took a while to get to this post, but I’m glad I’m finally writing about Bratislava three months after the visit. Somehow, unexpectedly, I left a piece of my heart in this blue, melancholic city.

Slovakia is perhaps the second most mysterious (if not the most mysterious) country I’ve visited, next to Latvia. First impression of the old town: some areas were tattered with an air of sorrow, and strangely, it attracted me. A friend once told me that I gave off a strong aura of pensiveness with a touch of sadness surrounding me. Is this my “style”?

Continue reading

The subtle side of Hallstatt

Part 2 of the Hallstatt posts brings out the subtle beauty of the village hidden in the mountains, waiting to be uncovered. During the unexpected hike, I’ve already discovered the trails scattered around the small village, but Hallstatt is so much more than that.

Tiny green, flower-like plants were sprouting from the rocks, very cute and delicate. When you look closely, each of them looks like a mini-rose that has turned green with envy but without the vicious thorns to launch an attack or even to defend itself…

Continue reading

New year with GCC

Happy new year to everyone who follows the lunar calendar! It’s a Chinese tradition to gather with friends and family on new year’s eve while making dumplings, watching China’s annual new year TV event broadcasted live, and just enjoying each other’s presence. This year, I had a nice gathering with the Groupe Chrétien Chinois de Bordeaux at the Cenon church where we did all of the above! Even though we’re away from home, in Christ we’re brought close together as a family and we share joy and love as brothers and sister 🙂 And of course, Penguin said, “We all know the purpose of new year’s celebrations is to eat lots and lots of good food!” Hey, who could say she was wrong? 😉

Mmm, dumplings. Back home in Toronto, my mom makes them regularly and puts them in the freezer so that we can eat them whenever we want, but apparently in other parts of China, people only eat dumplings for special occasions like the new year. My favourite type of stuffing has got to be pork and chives. Nothing has ever tasted better than the taste of home!

Continue reading

It’s Christmas time!

Christmas is the time of giving and gathering, a time of being joyful and thankful, a time of celebrating the reason why we should be joyful and thankful. 2012 years ago, the one and only God came to this world as a man, a humble king who would die for the atonement of our sins. Because He came, we are free, and today, we gather to sing His praises and celebrate His wonders.

Throughout the years, Christmas has become such a commercialized holiday that many people have forgotten its true meaning. The other day my sister asked me what presents I got, and while I said none, she replied in surprised, “How could you not get presents? It’s CHRISTMAS?” A bit ironic, isn’t it? Because it is Christmas, I should be getting presents? Is Christmas all about putting presents under the tree, waiting for Santa Claus, and singing carols? Among the dazzling lights and cheering crowds, who remembers the real Christmas story?

Regardless of the way we perceive Christmas, it is a time where joy is present in the air. Bordeaux, of course, lacks no Christmas spirit. Although it is rain instead of snow that covers the city, Bordeaux dances in its own beauty even in the rain. Although our Christmas market isn’t as grand as the ones in Paris or Strasbourg or Cologne, the crowds are not to be belittled. Although I am far from my home in Canada, I found a family here with whom I could share the peace and joy that was blessed upon me 😉

So you wonder if Santa Claus really exists. Did you know that Santa Claus is really…a thief? Yep, that’s right. Santa Claus was caught in action in Saint-Émilion! There was a big “attention au chien” (“beware of dog”) sign in front of this house, but I guess the dog somehow missed the stealthy Mr.Claus…

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: