Tuesday, September 08, 2009

ireland honeymoon, part one

It was a long, eventful trip--one that I'm still tired from (or is it because of a long day of name changing?)--so I imagine this will take 2+ posts to recap.

We left for Ireland on August 26th. While we pretty much lost that entire day to traveling, it was not uneventful. We left around midday and had a flight to Newark before changing planes to head to Shannon. We left our home airport a little late but luckily made up time so it looked as if we'd make our connection. We're about to land in New Jersey (like we're-70-feet-off-the-ground about the land) when the pilot pulls us back up. We circle around for another attempt about 15 minutes later. Turns out there was another plane on our runway when trying to land the first time. That was about 45 seconds from a pretty big problem there. In all my years spent traveling that was a first.

We make it to our next plane, thinking that's surely all the drama for the day. We all board and are ready to take off. We back away from the gate only to return shortly after. Turns out some guy had too much to drink and really needed to head to the potty. He apparently tried to use the one near the rear of the plane but was denied (silly FAA rules that want you in your seat during take-off) so he rushed up to the forward lav. Nice. Well, that gets you escorted off the plane by about 6 cops. It also inconveniences a whole plane-ful of folks who end up delayed for an hour and a half while paperwork is completed and luggage is found and removed. Yet another first for my travels...

The actual flight, fortunately, was uneventful. There was an unbelievably well-behaved 3.5-month-old in front of us. She was going to meet her Irish family for the first time. She got way more sleep on the flight than we did. Do you know it only takes about 5 hours to fly from Jersey to Shannon? That's awesome. If I lived in the northeast, I think I'd be in Europe once a year. You know, time and money permitting.

Anyway, we made it to Shannon (only about 20 minutes late) early Thursday morning. We got a few Euros and our rental car (a Ford Focus) before heading to the Cliffs of Moher. This is a beautiful and very, very windy place.





After that, we went back to the car and napped for about an hour. Good times... Then we headed on to Galway. You know, by car. Where the steering wheel is on the opposite side. And you're driving on the wrong side of the road. The very narrow road. That's very curvy and hilly. And doesn't have a shoulder and is lined in 8-feet-tall shrubbery 6 inches from the car. And it's this way nearly all. The. Time. And sometimes? Instead of shrubbery? There might be a stone wall. Or a curb. Or a parked car. And other times? There's oncoming traffic. Let me just say that driving like this takes quite a bit more concentration than you're used to expending in the car here at home. But we obviously made it back alive and didn't even have any noticeable rental car damage. Does knowing that up front make the recap less suspenseful?

We made it to Galway, enjoying all the scenery along the way. We eventually found our Bed & Breakfast. We got a package that included B&B vouchers for anywhere across the country. Basically, we just found a place to stay wherever we ended up at night. That makes things really flexible and nice since we covered a lot of ground during the trip. So, yeah, Abbey Lee was our first B&B. Our hosts were the O'Shaughnessys. Pretty Irish, no? That night we ate dinner at Monroes Pub, The Husband got his first Guinness in the motherland, and we listened to a little live Irish music.

That leaves us at the end of Thursday. We may be looking at 4+ posts at this rate... But I'm going to go out on the front porch now where The Hubby suggested we watch the sun set. Which he suggested right after mowing the yard. I think I'll keep him.

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