Hour 6 into a 10 hour flight. 2 movies, 1 cat nap, 1 chocolate bar, 1 bottle of wine, 3 get-up-and-stretch/walks to the bathroom later…sheeeesh. yaaawwwwn. The flight over didn’t seem this long. Of course, that one was at night and I managed to sleep for a few hours.
So I arrived back in Dublin for one last night, wishing I had scheduled myself for at least another day longer, but not having known if I needed to get back for work, I figured I should be home on the weekend. Let me back up a bit.
Before heading back to Dublin, I somewhat tearfully arrived in Galway, thanks once more to my rental car and my complete confusion once I arrived in that rather fast-paced city. After pissing a few people off trying to fearfully navigate, I immediately hated Galway. Oh well. I planted my car in the first garage I could find and vowed I wasn’t driving the beast anywhere until i had to leave the next morning – no matter how many stupid euros it cost me. Thank God for wifi and a supportive, helpful boyfriend who once more calmed me down with my navigational distress and even managed to make me giggle a bit with a few wisecracks from several thousand miles away.
The tourist office was less than friendly, probably because I slipped in moments before closing, further confirming my hasty dislike for this city. Fortunately, the closest hostel was less than a block away and the friendly, positive girl at the desk further soothed my rattled nerves. She assured me that yes, indeed, this was a LOVELY city and set me all up with things to do and see and I got a teensy bit excited about exploring.
By the time I left Galway, i decided I did kinda like the place. Very college feel, hip and much different than Dublin. Hard to express how…not really industrial, but modern and moving, for lack of a better term. I enjoyed walking around the pedestrian section, people watching and window shopping and eating fresh oysters, one of my favorite gastronomic delights. Mid Jameson shot and Irish music enjoyment I remembered I had an exam to take. Slightly tipsy, i passed my exam (woo-hoo) and worked on some work emails, etc back at my hostel. Not much of the night life did I get to enjoy that evening.
The next morning, assured emphatically by yet another cheerful girl at the desk that Galway was THE best city in Ireland, I set off to do a couple hours more of exploring before heading back for Dublin. There is a beautiful cathedral I meandered around in. Quite moving actually. It is the newest cathedral in Europe and it sits right on the banks of the canal/river that runs right through the city. Naturally, I did the river walk and prowled around a bit more. I determinedly approached my car again, always immediately recognizable by the smashed mirror, and left Galway much more uneventfully than my arrival.
Btw, the price of fuel in Europe is insane just in case any of my fellow Cali peeps think we have it bad. I paid 65 euros for 44 liters which if you do all the conversional math is roughly $9.40 a gallon. yeah, that wasn’t fun.
So, enough griping…i would probably rent a car again even after all the mishaps. Traveling is just learning things crash course style. (sometimes literally. waaaahhh)
Had a lovely night in Dublin. Wound up at a music and Celtic dance performance with a few girls I was rooming with – 2 sisters from Austria and one Canadian who was just finishing up 7 months of teaching English in Normandy. An American guy who i had met in Dingle joined up with us for a bit then we went to this pub and had a couple drinks. Oh my…I laughed so hard i was almost doubled over. The Irish people crack me up. Our bartender was this old Irishman with fluffy silver hair – he simultaneously would wait on you and ignore you, tease you, engage you in conversation, take your order, turn around and apparently not see you, start telling tales…In an odd way I felt like I had stepped into the Twilight Zone. Then….there was Deborah…an Irish lass who approached us out of the blue and seriously could have been a stand-up comedian. She regaled us with her stories of her time in America. I was beside myself with wonder and hilarity at these strange encounters.
I completely forgot to mention Trinity College. Of course I got a bit lost searching things out, so completely missed the Museum of Archeology which I had really wanted to see, but i did manage to skate in 15 min before closing to see the Book of Kells (a manuscript written by the monks in 800AD). It is really quite stunning and I would have loved more time to prowl around and explore the exhibit. I am SO glad I stopped by there though: walking up the stairs to the “long room” the old library which houses thousands of ancient book, I involuntarily had a little gasp – of wonder, awe, delight? all three for sure. Everyone had to have felt it as the whole room was just silent, people gazing about them. You would understand as soon as you stepped in – there is just this feeling of holiness or something sacred.
So to wind this all up, traveling really puts you in touch with yourself. Especially when you travel alone. I had hours of just wandering by myself to think. Maybe some people have this idea that one is running away when one travels, but trust me, there’s no real running away from yourself. So…be warned. 🙂 One finds all kinds of things one likes and dislikes about oneself. A few lessons re-affirmed/recognized/learned:
continue to get outside yourself. even if you don’t feel like it. reach out to people. talk. at the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell. at the best, you’ll have a new friend. you learn things! maybe it will be the start of another amazing trip or adventure. I keep finding over and over that it enriches the soul and life.
organization is crucial to successful traveling! Invest in bags/backpacks/shoes/cases/folders…whatever. Experiment with what works for you. It’s worth it.
(hey, watch out, Rick Steves….I just may start my own travel company;)
Life is about relationships. friendships. family. I’m so happy to be able to share some of my experiences with you all. It’s the next best thing to having you along. I consider it an honor and a blessing to bring you joy with my photos and posts. I love that you can vicariously enjoy sights and experiences.
(ohhhh, look, we are in the middle of Ontario…only 1972 more miles to go to SF…)
As for when I get home, I’m working on getting a work contract in the PNW…back to the travel nurse thing. So excited!! Can’t wait to explore up in that area. It’s been on the bucket list for a long time. I’ve got my OR and WA licenses and am eager to get to work!
Till next time…:)