Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ireland Trip 2012, Post 1

I haven't blogged much lately, but we are on vacation and this is the best time to keep up with blogging! Besides, this way, I'll have a record of the whole trip.
We left Raleigh Thursday the 12th on the nonstop flight from Raleigh to London. It was SNG, his mom (Granny), e-baby, Jambuca and me. My mom (Tuti) flew in separately from TX.
Just as we were boarding, we learned that Tuti's flight was delayed, and she might not make our 11:10 train in London. We are overflowing with resourcefulness, however, and figured we'd find each other somewhere in Great Britain within the next 3 days.
The flight over was uneventful, but sleepless. The cabin lights weren't dimmed until halfway through the flight, and by then, the kids were crazy with sleepiness. When the lights finally went down, so did the kiddos-- right on the floor in front of the seats. They got about 3 hours sleep each. Each of the adults slept less than an hour.
When we arrived in London, we made our way to Euston station via 2 underground trains. I picked up our tickets for the Holyhead train, but Tuti wasn't there yet. Her global phone was turned off. I couldn't figure out whether she hadn't landed yet, or whether the phone was just not working.
Since our tickets had all been reserved and purchased on the same itinerary, I had to get all of them, including my mom's. I left her ticket with the station agent, since she could use it on any train, and hoped she would know to ask about it.
We boarded the train (without my mom) and found our seats. The train pulled out of the station. And then, like some kind of Harry Potter style witch on a muggle train, my mom comes trundling down the aisle of our car loaded with her luggage. She had run into the station at 11:08, located the platform, smiled big at anyone official-looking, and jumped onto the train as it started to pull away. She didn't have a ticket, but worked her magic on the ticket taker as he passed through the train. He was so mystified by her charms that he even called ahead to the next station to be sure that the connecting train would let her on as well. My mom is a force of nature.
So, we were all on the train together, headed for the largest town in N. Wales.
We were flat-out exhausted: ate some pub food (Welsh breakfast for dinner!) and were asleep by 6pm. Slept until 7:30 the next morning. Ahhh.
We had one full day in Holyhead, Saturday. Holyhead is a quaint coastal town where everyone knows each other and they don't seem very crazy about tourists. Maybe they are aware of being a waypoint between London and Dublin, and know that mist people would rather be somewhere else. It was very cold and a little rainy, but we still had a good time. It would have been more fun with a rental car and warmer weather, but I found rural Wales to be a good place to recover from jet lag. Their kids are worse behaved than ours, which is really what you need to feel good about any situation. I learned that JRR Tolkein's made-up language for middle earth was actually Welsh. I also now understand why so many people have the mistaken belief that W is sometimes a vowel.
There was an all-night rave the second night near the B&B, which our B&B owner was at. He was pretty hungover in the morning, but the breakfast was... well, it was like all the other food we ate in Wales. I'll just say that I'm so glad to be in Ireland today where there are fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere.
This morning, we caught a ferry to Dublin, the Stena Explorer. We rode in steerage class but it was so much nicer than the first class cabin of most trains and airlines.
And now, we're in Dublin, at the Preimier Suites hotel at Stephens Hall, just off the corner of St Stephen's Green. It is heavenly here. Late lunch at an organic/vegetarian friendly restaurant called The Farm, and I just cooked up a soup of turnips, carrots, zucchini, celery, green beans, garlic and chicken for dinner. Best boring-old-grandma's chicken soup ever.

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