Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Glimpse of Ireland

Okay…I think I’ve recovered from our trip. I’ve unpacked, picked up our mail from the Post Office, paid the few bills which were waiting for us, done the laundry, put all our travel “stuff” into a big pile which will eventually make its way into a storage bin in the garage, uploaded my photos to my computer, sorted through all the papers and receipts I managed to accumulate while away, and got a little sleep.

Now I know some of you are waiting to hear all about our Irish adventures and I truly want to share them with you but I’m having trouble deciding just how to do it. I don’t want to bore you with the details of an 11-day journey so I think I’ll just give an overview and then answer any questions you might have.

Our Flights: Except for the length, all 4 flights (L.A. to Atlanta, Atlanta to Dublin, Dublin to Atlanta, and Atlanta to L.A.) were surprisingly uneventful. While I don’t like to fly, I had no real problems except for the fact that I don’t sleep on planes so it made for very long days. The stop in Atlanta coming home was “exciting” since we had to pick up our bags, go through Customs and then re-check our suitcases for our flight home. Things were pretty chaotic but our bags made it home with us…whew!

The Weather: In case you didn’t read my emails to Lynn (here and here), Ireland was having an unusual wet spell while we were there. It poured when we arrived in Dublin and then rained or showered most days. We did see sun a few times but my photos are mostly gloomy and dark…oh well, at least it wasn’t hot! Thank goodness for our Gore-tex rain jackets…they worked like a charm and made sightseeing comfortable.

The Country: All the photos you’ve seen of Ireland don’t do it justice…trust me. There’s definitely a reason the color green is associated with this country…everywhere you turn, there are green fields and hills. Driving through the countryside was incredible…we saw quaint little cottages and fields with all sorts of livestock…cows, sheep, goats…and beautiful lakes and castle ruins.

Dublin: The city is an unusual combination of old world charm and modern day sensibilities. Our hotel was in the heart of the city (on Grafton Street) and it bustled with shoppers, young people partying in the pubs, folks looking for restaurants to have dinner. Walking among the throngs of residents and visitors was exciting and fun.

Our Tour: For the most part, the pace and itinerary of our tour were just fine. Our hotels and castles were nice although I did have our rooms changed several times mostly due to noise…all the hotel and castle staff were very accommodating. There were 36 of us on this tour and, surprisingly, we all got along…no problem tourists on this one! Our one complaint was our tour guide…she was a pip. She stayed aloof from the group and had very little contact with us…by the end of the tour she still hadn’t learned most of our names. The biggest shock was her lecture two days into our tour about tipping. She told us that the $4 per day tipping guideline in the brochure was “bull” (her word) and that the going rate was 8 euros per day for the tour director and 5 euros per day for the driver. Needless to say, we were all aghast at her boldness and crassness. Believe me, I will be writing a letter to the tour company.

Photos: I shot lots and lots of photos and I’m in the process of sorting them out before uploading some of them to Flickr so I can share them with you. I will probably put a Flickr badge on my sidebar shortly which will link you to my Ireland photos. I’ll let you know when I get it done!

All in all, it was a truly wonderful trip and one I will treasure for a long time. Hubby is already talking about going back to Ireland…this time with our golf clubs…so maybe I’ll have more Ireland memories to share in the future. We’ll see…

17 comments:

santong filipino said...

please help

http://givetothefarm.blogspot.com/

the moose buyer said...

we need to get together because I sure do want to see the pictures.

Happy you and R had a great trip.I am happy your luggage made it with you. Mine got sidelined on the way to Des Moines and I had to wait for it.

Lynn said...

I won't fill up the comment space with questions...I'll just use the cell phone for that. Have I mentioned lately that I am SOOOOOO glad that you're home?

Lynne said...

Can't wait to see the pictures. I am SO jealous!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

boy you sure do recover quickly! you must be young!! it takes me days to recover from a trip like that and longer to put stuff away. i am impressed...

smiles, bee

Renee said...

We had to do the customs check in LA on our way to Denver from Korea...not a fun experience. But what made it all for me was the guy who checked our passports saying "Welcome Home." It still gets to me because I was SO glad to finally be HOME even if we didn't have a house. LOL

That tourguide needs an attitude adjustment. I sure hope that everyone decided that she didn't need to be tipped any more for the rest of the trip. Someone needs to teach her some manners...and you get more tips with honey....oh and that tips are for a job well done.

Glad you had an awesome experience and looking forward to your pictures.

Michele said...

I am happy that you are back home and anxiously awaiting photos. To think that you walked amongst castle ruins and beautiful pastures with livestock and lakes makes me have goosebumps. It must've been so wonderful. Welcome home Joan.

sari said...

I can't wait to see your pictures, Ireland is a place I've always wanted to visit.

Patti said...

The castles must have been really interesting.
So now you know why they call it the Emerald Isle.
Kid Two said he agreed that everything there is green!

Midlife Mom said...

Welcome home! Bet you're glad to be sleeping in your own bed again even though you had a wonderful time! Your over view was great, I can't get over the boldness of your guide though talking about the tipping! I certainly would contact the company on that one! I have a friend from Ireland and I always love to hear her talk, even after 40 years here in the states she has a lovely accent!

Ralph said...

Joan, welcome home. Isn't it odd that you can't wait to get going on your trip yet it is so rewarding to get back to the USA? I want to do Europe with the wheelchair (includuing the obligatory 220V adaptor to charge ths chair). I travelled overseas many years ago when I walked. Heck, Kid2 went to Eire when he was 12!

patches said...

I'm glad your packing pre-flight paid off. It sounds as if you had a lovely time, and I look forward to seeing your pictures.

meno said...

I am also looking forward to the pictures.

My question is; Where are you going to go next? :)

Iamthebookworm said...

Sounds like a great trip. Pictures please!

PEA said...

I would so love to see Ireland one day and now you make me want to go even more:-) Sounds like you all had a wonderful time...when the scenery is so beautiful, having it raining doesn't dampen the spirits. Oh wow, I can't get over the nerve of that tour guide...I should certainly hope you do report her! Can't wait to see the pictures:-) xox

Pam said...

Welcome home, Joan.

Lynn said...

I see that you posted your photos. You are so talented!