Well, I have two destinations I'd love to go: Ireland and Italy. I want to go all "Eat, Pray, Love" for myself and wander around countries that start with the letter "I" because I want to. I'd need one more country to technically make the trifecta trek, but truthfully, I just need the eat and the pray - I've already got the love.
To do it in order of Elizabeth Gilbert's amazing novel, Italy would have to come first: Eat! This is a picture of fair Verona, the setting of Romeo and Juliet. It is also the scenery for the film Letters to Juliet where maidens come from all over the world to tell their love woes to the famous Juliet Capulet. I have no love woes so I just want to go to Italy to eat and not feel guilty even one time about the amount of food I'm taking in. To quote the book, it would be "my all-carb diet"...or something like that.
Next stop: Ireland. Why not? It's beautiful. Cold, but beautiful. Ireland has a rich history with religion, politics, and culture. But - that's not the only draw to Ireland. Here are some interesting facts I found about the beautiful countryside:
- Ballygally Castle in County Antrim, currently a hotel owned by a major chain, is allegedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Lady Isobel Shaw, whose husband built the castle in 1625, is said to knock on doors at night and then disappear. While alive, Ms. Shaw was locked in her room by her husband and starved, until she leapt to her death from a window.
- The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.
- An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck. The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child’s age plus one.
- The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on it's property, at a perpetual rate of 45 Irish pounds per year.
- IRELAND FACT: A ROUGH HANGOVER CURE...I’ll just take the hangover, thanks: One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand.
- According to one rather obscure Irish legend, a ringing in your ears means a deceased friend stuck in Purgatory is ringing a bell to ask for you to pray for him/her.
- Montgomery Street in Dublin was once the largest red light district in all of Europe, with over 1600 prostitutes plying their trade. An old Irish song called “Take Me Up To The Monto” memorializes this era. (And I live in Montgomery County...interesting...)
- Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote “Dracula” in 1897.
- The national symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock.
- Medieval laws in Ireland allowed a man to divorce his wife if she damaged his honor through infidelity, thieving or “making a mess of everything.”