That’s what it feels like. My last conscious memory was being in the San Francisco airport. After that, it’s all a blur of tight seats, an 18-hr bladder, good dinner, inedible breakfast, hoofing it at least 2 miles in Heathrow to get to the right terminal/gate for Dublin, driving and circling the unfamiliar city for 2 hrs trying to find our hotel, finding dinner to eat at 11am our time, and waking up at 3am Dublin time.
But let me begin in the Dublin airport, because my husband gets lifetime kudos and eternal heaven stamps! He had arranged for our rental car months ago. Most expensive part? Insurance. As we could not find said agreed-upon rental car company, Brian asks the Budget folks (whose stall was right there) where unmentioned rental company was located … whereupon a good Irish salesman tells Brian he’ll make him a better deal. I walk away. 20 minutes later my husband has saved us about $1k and we have a bigger car to boot!
Next on the hit parade was finding our hotel. We only had written directions from the hotel. We have no GPS as the next Garmin incarnation for Ireland is not released until May 1. Add to this dilemma we now have a car with the steering wheel on the right side of the car (I noticed that right away when I opened the passenger door and was greeted by the driver’s seat). I feel like I’m in some sort of trick car sitting in such an empty left side! Add to that driving on the left side. That’s not so bad until you have to turn across traffic. So confusing. Oh… and best of all…. There are no street signs.. nope – there are teeny weenie placards up 40 feet on the sides of buildings in 10-point type. Lovely. Then you go down a main street trying to get over to the street you just missed, and for 20 streets there are no-turn signs. Finally we dug out the Rick Steves’ book and his map of Dublin and found our place – after circling Dublin for two hours!!!!
Our hotel for two nights couldn’t be lovelier… and a welcome respite after the aforementioned adventure. Here it is: http://www.number31.ie/ Brian found it reading a blog from a former Ballymaloe student. We were welcomed in and given hot tea, milk and cookies while our 5 heavy bags were whisked away to our room, which also is lovely. And we have wi-fi.
|Tea Time at No.31|
The next hurdle was dinner. Two recommendations put us at The Farm, a 10 minute walk. It was billed as a place that uses local ingredients and hand prepares everything. It was charming. Our server was from Canada. The hostess had an accent I couldn’t place. There were Americans, French and Irish in the upstairs room where we ate. On the table was a wireless buzzer that would connect us with the kitchen if we needed anything. Brian tried an alcoholic cider (8%), which he liked and I passed on. I had an Irish goat cheese tart on dressed rocket, and Irish salmon swimming contentedly in a perfect unctuous hollandaise. Brian had cottage pie which is shepherd’s pie with minced beef. The one strange thing was the soda bread which looked like it had been baked in an Easy-Bake Oven of yesteryear, yesteryear. But the Irish butter was so to die for, I enjoyed it on its own.
(Too cute decorating item; Pinterest take note! Someone cleverly constructed a chandelier out of tinted mason jars.)
|An acquired taste|
|The butter is lovely - 'nuf said|
|Irish goodness: goat cheese, |
rocket, and ...
|too cute chandelier of mason jars|
Impressions of Dublin so far: weather is Portland meets Chicago. Women seem to love black tights. Lots of folks walking (women in athletic shoes), biking, and not minding the weather one bit. Not many smoking. People are fairly polite in traffic (I had to keep telling Brian not to veer to the left)… hardly any honking of horns. Pedestrians obey traffic lights, and crosswalks are not on every corner. I’m sure there is a system; I just haven’t figured it out yet.
Whenever I’ve mentioned my intended “cookery school in Cork” – folks immediately know where I’m going, and respond in hushed, reverent tones. It seems I’ve made a wise choice.
I’ve officially reset my watch and my computer. I have no idea what time it is anywhere, as time has absolutely no meaning, except that I’m awake and hungry.
So now I have two hours to wait for what is supposed to be this hotel’s hallmark: breakfast! Then we will take a tour of Newgrange (http://www.newgrange.com/) temple and more.
I’ll see if I can get a little sleep.