Posted by: canthold | November 24, 2008

Ireland Adventure

Does anyone even read this anymore? I’m posting so infrequently these days, months…

My husband and I just got back from Ireland yesterday. It was wonderful. We got some great ticket prices on Aerlingus during a fare sale and couldn’t resist going. We even got a car rental while we were there for $72 for the whole week! I’ve never rented a car that cheaply before. I had the unfortunate experience to pay $65 per day in Albany, New York. That’s the most expensive car I’ve ever rented, and no, it wasn’t a Jaguar. And yes, Albany.

So, of course, now it’s 4:00 in the morning and I’m wide awake. My dog sees that I’m up and wants his walk, but he’s sadly mistaken to think that I might be taking him out right now. My husband is up watching sports. We went to bed last night at about 8:30pm.

I felt terrific during the whole trip but have that little pre-vertigo-y feeling right now. I got massively dehydrated on the flight back. It was 11-hours-long. As we were walking onto the plane, my husband said to me, “Prepare for the next nine-hours.” Or something like that, to which I replied, “I thought it was ten.” To which the lady behind me replied, “I thought it was eleven.” She won. The flight was actually okay. I slept a little and they had TVs on the back of the seat in front of us with on-demand programming.

But…

I had to have the air vents full-blast pointing in cross directions because…

The farts. Some man – and we think we know who he was – farted the entire flight! We’re talking eleven-hours of farting. I was dying. I didn’t even mind the high amount of crying babies because after having them and being in that situation – though never for eleven-hours – I’m sympathetic. Except when I was sooooo tired and a baby kept screaming every minute or so, just enough to keep me from falling back asleep. All in all, the airline was great and I’m glad they didn’t go on strike while we were over there. That would have been a bummer.

So. Ireland.

You might imagine it to be green all over with super friendly people and a very welcoming air. You’d be totally right. The countryside was beautiful and the people were so nice and friendly. And I have a new favorite sport after watching it in a bar drinking Guinness. Rugby. Rugby is the most exciting game I’ve ever watched. It makes American football look like you’re watching sand jpass through an hour-glass. We watched the Munster team beat the New Zealand All Blacks. They did a Maori dance called the Haka at the beginning. Some of the Munster team, which is Irish, were from New Zealand and started it. We watched another game later in the week, but I can’t remember the teams right now.

They drive on the left side of the road, so I did, too. Not only that, we had a rental with a manual transmission and the gear shift was on the left. So, imagine how I was feeling when we left Dublin – the first stop on our whirlwind tour – in the rain, at night, on the left side of a two lane road with unfamiliar conditions, a manual transmission, shifting with my left hand (I’m right handed), while trying to find a radio station that had decent music and no static. I was a bit stressed from the white-knuckle experience. But at least I’m alive to tell the tale. I didn’t have any close calls from forgetting which side to drive on or anything, but at one point, I hydroplaned the car on a tiny little puddle. My chest froze up and I swear that I had a little heart attack.

From Dublin, which is an amazing city, by the way, we drove up to Belfast then Derry then down to Galway. After seeing the Cliffs of Moher, we hit Tipperary (for all you Das Boot  fans) and then Cashel. Our last stop was in Kilkenny before heading back to Dublin for a last hurrah and flight home. I think we got a pretty good look at the country and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes beautiful things and history and friendly people and great breakfasts. What’s nice about it is that they speak the same language, so it’s also great for first-timers to Europe (hint hint, Mom.) I say that about the language, but in a pub in Derry, the accents were so thick we could barely understand a word they were saying. We ended up talking for hours to a man from Derry who had just moved back from London after 20-years. We knew it was time to go back to our hotel when he started repeating stories. And they don’t smoke in bars there, but right about the repeating-story-time, the people in the bar started lighting up. We’re wimpy when it comes to cigarette smoke.

While it’s pretty cool to see the world from a new perspective, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for one’s body. We were in a cool hotel in Galway, (which we didn’t like as much as the rest of it because it seemed very touristy – even in the off-season) and there was a glass-door shower and a big mirror. I got a different view of my backside that was better left unseen. I’m quite motivated now to get moving now, if you know what I mean. Yikes! There’s something more pleasant about a two-dimensional front-side view from the chest up in our own bathroom, but apparently I was deceiving myself about the weight that I had gained from the vertigo adventures that I’ve been on. That alternate hotel view and that mini heart attack have given me some much needed motivation. Let me tell you.

I’m back, you should go, I’ve got to go. Now. I’ve got to go and acclimate back to my busy life and figure out what needs to be done to settle back in here. I’m sure water is at the top of the list and my dog could use a walk as much as me. As soon as it gets a bit later than the wee hours of this morning. There’s Thanksgiving to think about, schedules, shopping for food, Christmas, Christmas cards. I’m going to go make my to-do list right now…

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