Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Jammin' and playing the Tourist
This past weekend included a bank holiday, so we decided to spend one day of our weekend being tourists... and learned some rather important lessons... primarily that the kid-friendly Natural History Museum is Not Nikolai Friendly. Given the reviews of a "newly-renovated, perfect for children" museum, I would have expected something a little less macabre. It was basically thousands of animals, stuffed and placed in rather Gothic glass display cases. Rather Gothic in the sense that they probably purchased the display cases (and the animals too) circa 1901... so while the renovation may have dusted all the animals off... they didn't modernize with interactive displays. We had to leave with a fearful toddler in less than 5 minutes (checked out both floors, and they both feature the same medieval science lab look).
Our other tourist adventure was to go to the Guinness Storehouse. The tour typically costs €15, €13 if you know enough to buy tickets in advance online. But thankfully ours were free... otherwise I would have felt royally ripped off. The Guinness Factory is about as authentic as Disneyland... and it's a very comparable experience; tons of people, overly graphic displays with fairly obvious content. The only difference was that instead of children, the hoards of people were 20ish females and males of all ages. There certainly was a big queue for the most interesting part... retro ad campaigns... however, in general I don't think they've really updated their ad campaigns since 1800's... so they pretty much look just like you'd expect (my goodness my Guinness). The few redeeming factors are that you get a free beer at the rotating bar at the very top of the factory (nice view, but there's barely any room to stand, let alone sit amongst the hoards of gullible tourists --naturally ourselves included). But Brad knew better (from his work lunch), so we took our beers to the restaurant on the floor below and enjoyed the fab food. Unfortunately, you cannot get to the restaurant without paying for a tour, unless you're attending a special event. Too bad, because I really loved the lentil terrine. Kudos to Guinness though... what better way to create brand loyalty then to have people pay to tour your giant ad campaign!
The funfair down at the harbour field in Maynooth was small from our adult viewpoint; however, the tea cups were far more excitement than Nikolai could handle... so we'll try again next year. At just €2 a ride, it wasn't a big waste of money. Besides, isn't forcing a ride to stop, so that you can pull your crying toddler off early, one of those badges of parenthood that everyone must earn?
The other excitement of the weekend was that Aisling and I made marmalade jam... using the little wax paper disks! My first time making preserves... without actually preserving! If we all get stomach poisoning then I know what to blame. However, Ashling (different spelling, as she's a different person) said that her mum has always made jam that way... and everyone in her large family seems to be doing just fine... so I'm sure we'll survive!
The jam is veggie friendly and can be made with low sugar (or honey in our case). I recommend Pomona's if you don't feel like making a jam with 50% sugar.