Ginger count for the day: 2 super gingers and three regular gingers
Agenda for the day: Rock of Cashel, Cork
So Dani and I drug ourselves out of bed at 11:00 or so, effectively missing our breakfast and confusing our (maybe just my) circadian rhythm for the day. We got a taxi to the airport to pick up our rental car because travel by bus seemed too confusing in our befuddled state.
Once we got our car, (his name is Seamus O’Toole), it was off to the Rock of Cashel! Through our road trip, we discovered that a) Dani is a terrible navigator, b) my road rage still exists even when I am driving on the opposite side of the road, and c) VW Golfs are fun cars. We (somehow) made it without me paving a pathway of destruction and terror through the Irish countryside.
Anywho, we made it to the Rock without too many mishaps! One of the many Cormacs who were Munster Kings decided to donate his fortress to be converted into a chapel in the 12th century so it wouldn’t get taken over. It was used throughout the next few centuries, only to be abandoned in the 18th century. Probably because it was located on the highest ground around and the weather went crazy for about 15 minutes while we were up there. There was hail, wind, and it got frigid for a bit. Imagine that occurring every day. Of every year. For years and years and years. After a while, I’m sure even Nan’s wool socks won’t keep your poor feet warm.
They were doing some restoration work on one of the chapels. It was constructed of sandstone, which happens to absorb water like a sponge. I don’t know what drunk person decided that creating a building from sandstone was a good idea in Ireland, but the chapel has a serious danky drippy wet problem. The restoration involved removing every single stone from the roof one by one, labeling them, so they knew which rock went where, and then putting up a new waterproof roof undercoating. The new undercoating is supposed to help stop the water problem.
After the Rock, we were on our way to Cork for the night. Dani and I had a lot of fun stopping at the toll booths and throwing Euros at the machines and hoping we made the correct toll amount. The devices even talk to you in an Irish accent! They sounded Dubliner though…
We got to Cork around 19:00, drove around confused at the one-way roads and alleys, and then I rage quit and parked in a random parking garage and hoped it was near the hotel. We got lucky and only had a 5-minute walk. After we checked into the Imperial Hotel in the Cork City Centre, we went to an Italian restaurant and had delicious Italian food. After that we went to bed, deciding to explore the city the next day. We may be a pair of little old ladies.
I’ll talk to you again later; I have a onesie for my cat to finish knitting…
Total ginger count for the day: 5 super gingers and 14 regular gingers.
The day’s agenda: Powerscourt house and gardens, Glendalough National Park, with our own chauffeur/guide.
Our chauffeur was named John, and he was super awesome! He was very knowledgeable about the areas we were visiting, super gentlemanly, and very personable. He was also more than willing to give me driving tips as I was to navigate the roads of Ireland beginning the next day. We were so lucky to have him as a guide!
**shameless advertising ahead**
if any of you are ever in Ireland and want a chauffeur, his website can be found here, I would highly recommend him!
**end of shameless advertising**
On our way to Powerscourt, we passed the Sugarloaf Mountain (I guess loaf=lump? Or perhaps whoever named the mountain had had a few too many pints of Guinness). Sugarloaf (I can barely type that while retaining a straight face) is a whopping 1000ish meters high, as per what John told us (I actually looked it up, and it’s only about 574 meters high, but 1000 meters makes for a better story, and I’m learning that the Irish sure love a good story).
All I have to say about Powerscourt is wow. The house was beautiful, although the price of upkeep on the building must have been both impressive and terrifyingly painful. We went on a guided tour of the 18th-century mansion, but I was too busy gawking with my mouth open to an extremely unattractive degree to remember to take pictures.
The most spectacular part of Powerscourt for me, however, was the gardens. They were truly spectacular, although my allergies were unimpressed. I was sniffling and sneezing up a storm, and it probably looked like I had just watched P.S. I Love You or something because of how much my eyes were watering. We encountered some horses while on a walk around the property, at which point in time both Dani and I made some weird squeaking noises and jumped up and down in excitement. We’re adults, I promise…
There was a random tower in the garden with a Dani at the top of it
We found a random tower in the garden, in which a wild Dani appeared at the top. Once we got to the proper gardens where flowers and such were cultivated, I found common mullein randomly growing and got overly excited by the fact that it looked different than what we have in Colorado. A wild Dani appeared again while I was taking pictures of the pretty flowers. We then took a moment to gawk at a gate that was more blinged out than I would be if I wore all my jewelry at the same time.
After we snuck up on John (apparently Dani and I are good at popping up out of nowhere like daisies) we decided we were hungry. John suggested the Laragh Wicklow Heather restaurant, which was again fabulous and tasty. We have yet to have a bad-tasting meal here in Ireland. After lunch, we started heading toward Glendalough National Park.
On the way to the park, John suggested we stop at Guinness Lake (the lake has another name, but since the Guinness family owns it, everyone calls it Guinness lake). The lake is where filming for the TV show Vikings happens, which is kind of hilarious because a) I believe the show’s setting is Scandinavia, and b) the Vikings came to Ireland back in the day and made life hard for the Celts and other local peoples. It sure was pretty though! We even convinced John to take a picture of us(: Dani’s shirt may or may not have almost flown up in the wind and inadvertently caused poor John to get a bit flashed…
(okay, maybe he offered to take a picture, but I’m slowly learning the Irish method of storytelling. Haha)
After our scenic detour, we finally made it to Glendalough! The park has a bunch of camping spaces as well as multiple trails. The Wicklow Way trail wanders through there (apparently you can go from Dublin to some town in County Wicklow, or about 130 km total. I want to come back through Ireland and backpack the trail). There is also an old abandoned monastery dating back to the 6th century that blew my mind. I had never seen anything that old before.
Dani and I opted to take one of the 2ish kilometer trails around one of the lakes and saw some incredible views. While hiking, we overheard an eightish-year-old boy talking about the “smart-ass answer he put on his exam at school” with his parent (we think) and almost died laughing. At that age, I believe my Madre would have washed my mouth out with soap!
After Glendalough, John dropped Dani and me off at our hotel in Dublin. We took a short nap, and Dani talked me into dressing nice and going out to Temple Bar again since it was our last night in Dublin. I decided not to have any mixed drinks in an attempt not to get schwasty (again).
Well, I didn’t have any mixed drinks, but I did have a lot of Guinness (so delicious) and tequila shots….and at one point in the night, I supposedly decided I was good enough at bouldering to try and climb up one of the many old brick walls (facepalm). Thankfully Dani was babysitting…we did meet three English lads who I will refer to as Freckles, Minted, and Rugby. Freckles and Minted were nice if a bit shy. Rugby was very impressed with himself…and about four inches shorter than I am. We ended up butting heads a bit (understatement) and having lots of arguments about things I can’t even remember. The English boys asked us to explain Trump though, and Dani and I were useless as far as that goes haha.
The night ended with Dani and I back safely at the hotel and in our beds, soberish and not sick. Yay!
We survived day 1! Granted, we were a little (okay, a lot) tired, but we still had fun adventures. We decided we would wake up at 08:00 since our tour started at 10:00. Well, Dani’s alarm went off at 8, but we didn’t drag our sorry selves out of bed until 09:30 or so. After much rushing around, coffee, and cursing, we made it (somewhat) on time. We had a private driver/tour guide (holy cow I am not classy enough for this crap) named Matty. Super nice gentleman! Granted, I may have fallen asleep in the back of the car a few times (as did Dani)….I’ll never admit it again, but I may have woken myself up with a snore.
Ginger count for the day: 12 regular gingers and one super ginger.
Times Miranda choked on water because she’s special: 1
Anywho we started the day with a tour of Malahide Castle and Gardens. Some parts of the castle were as old as the 12th century, and others were as new as the 17th century.
The castle itself was stunning, although being the strange person I am, all I could think about was the heating bill. Like seriously, how would you heat those things??? I’d probably walk around with an animal skin cape or something and set it on fire several times a winter from sitting too close. There were also a bunch of 300-year-old trees and the ruins of an abbey that predates the castle.
Exhausted beyond belief, I remember very little of our tour of the inside. I hadn’t had coffee because we were running late. The moral of the story: drink more coffee. All the coffee.
After Malahide, Matty drove us to a little seaside town called Howth. We ate at a place called The Fisherman’s Oar and OH MY GOD IT WAS DELICIOUS. See, I used shouty capitals so obviously I am in a tizzy over the food.
So picturesque. Much wow.
After that, we went back to the hotel instead of touring the Guinness storehouse (I know, I am a bit disappointed in myself as well) and passed out. I think we napped for three hours, got up, ate dinner, I did some work, and then we went back to bed. We know how to vacation, yo.
Time to put my travel pants back on! After a hectic summer, Dani and I are finally checking a big trip off our bucket lists- traveling to the land of the leprechauns, whiskey, and Guinness! I am ever so grateful to have this once in a lifetime opportunity, and super excited to share this adventure with anyone reading this(:
As per tradition, a list of Trip Goals has been acquired:
Find a super sketchy dive bar
see something over 1000 years old
count the gingers!
find at least one random animal to pet
kiss a random person (we are in Ireland after all…)
eat weird food
learn a traditional Irish song
have a toast with a random person
figure out how to pronounce town names
learn three words in Gaelic per day
learn an Irish drinking song
Let the fun begin!
4 August 2016-Travel day
Have I ever mentioned how convenient it is to travel in barn boots? I can shove anything and everything down the shafts…passport, wallet, cell phone, unsuspecting bananas…the possibilities are endless!
The flight from Denver to Atlanta and the layover were both uneventful…but the trip from Atlanta to Dublin was tons of fun! It began with us getting grounded by lightning for almost an hour (bunch of pansies…) during which time Dani and I commenced harassing a lovely lad from Waterford (from now on he will be named LLFW in the interest of preserving his privacy and all that good stuff). He told us all about how Irish accents are different (I will admit, he had a lovely lilt that Dubliners seem to be missing) and what some fun slang terms are and such. Definitely made the flight pass quicker! His dad is in the Thoroughbred racing industry in Kentucky, so he has dual citizenship. He plans to use it to go to college in the States. Dani and I told him that he was going to have girls chasing after him…he seemed clueless. Oh boy…
LLFW also has the beautiful black hair, pretty skin and beautiful blue eyes that Dani and I’s friend Mr. Whitney has. LLFW is in for quite a bit of trouble I imagine, with those Irish looks and an accent. I feel that the unsuspecting American girls will need to be forewarned(:
5 August 2016
Ginger Count: 2 super gingers (those that look like they belong to the Weasley clan) and 24 regular gingers. Dani and I had a lot of fun picking out the gingers, although I feel that this is somehow politically incorrect…oh well, we only get to be young and stupid in Ireland once!
at 12:30 (after being in Ireland for approximately two hours and running on roughly three hours of sleep) I had already managed to choke on food, spill coffee all over myself, and curse loudly in front of small children.
Hello from the other siiiiiiiiidddeeeeeeee
(I may have wanted to do that this entire time)
Hot springs and waterfalls and geysers and glaciers, oh my! Today we went on the “Golden Circle” tour. And…oh my gosh it was incredible — a truly perfect way to spend our last day here in beautiful Iceland. The temperature was perfect, and the sun even graced us with its presence! Our tour guide was excellent, and the small group we were in was full of fun people! I struggled only to pick five pictures to share. However, I have genuinely fallen a little in love with this beautiful, quirky, unexpected place, so I am sure I will be back again as soon as I am able! Here is my trip journal for today, although there are not many entries:
So our Golden Circle guide couldn’t find any room to park in the bus lane to pick us up. So what did he do? He drove his sweet bippy up onto the grass. I found a bus driver after my own heart. (To clarify, it was a small bus that could only seat about 15 passengers. It’s not like he went tearing across the lawn. Although some of the vehicles that go up on the glaciers as part of their tours have monster truck tires, so I guess it’s good he wasn’t driving that kind of bus. We saw one bus made from an old Russian missile carrier. Anywho, I loved our main tour guide! His name was Sivar, although he said we could call him Simon since his name had some rolled r sounds and a weird accent in it. Icelandic names/words are impossible. Anyways, Simon was super knowledgeable, funny, and easy to listen to. He had an answer to all of the questions I could think to ask and then some! Even when I asked him if they had successfully cultured any of the thermophiles from the hot springs he knew the answer.)
We are currently on a tour of a geothermal power plant. Super nifty. (The plant was relatively new, built in 2006 or 2007. Its output was somewhere around 600 megawatts and supplies a lot of the hot water to Reykjavik. Hot water is so plentiful that the streets in the City Center are cleared of snow by the excess heat from the underground water pipes in the winter. They also replace all of the remaining water into the reservoir at the plant to prevent the tank from going dry. Talk about renewable energy!)
Today I did not make any entries in my trip journal as I anticipated riding on the back of an Icelandic horse for most of the day.
Well…when I went out front of the hostel this morning to wait for the ride to the stable I stood by this obnoxious red mailbox. And I waited, and waited…finally I went inside to talk to the reception to find out what was up. The receptionist said the stable people had been in the building to look for me because they didn’t see me outside. The only time I left the stupid mailbox was to run inside to use the restroom as fast as possible because I was afraid to miss the ride. So they wanted to reschedule my ride until tomorrow, but Madre and I are due to take the Golden Circle tour (I think it’s of the volcano no one can spell, much less pronounce, and a glacier and maybe a geyser…not entirely sure) tomorrow so I couldn’t do that. Instead, I got a partial refund and decided to go on a shorter ride this afternoon (still for experienced people).
Hi Wonderful People!
So today the weather here in Reykjavik was overcast, chilly, and very blustery. But it didn’t keep Madre and me from exploring! We had a pretty laid back day, only walking about eight miles to tour the island of Videy (it has a weird d thingy that makes the pronunciation more like vid-thee…holy guacamole I just realized I figured out the phonetic rule and pronounced that word correctly without help…another goal accomplished!) and returning to the room for some much-needed rest (I keep telling her that we should go next door for some massages from Sven or whatever the masseuse’s name will be, but I digress).
Videy was super cool! A bunch of native birds nest along the shoreline, so there was a lot to watch on that front. Since the weather was nasty, there were only a handful of other people on the island with us. It was great, and oh so pretty! I would love to go back again for a picnic. Honestly, I wish I had another two weeks (and a car) to tour the entirety of Iceland! Especially since the sun isn’t setting until 23:30 and rises again at 03:30 (and isn’t even dark during the “night”) I could cram so much more sightseeing into my days! If only I didn’t have to sleep…
Anywho here are my entries and commentary for today and a bit of yesterday.
Just got back from the geothermal pool…saw too many speedos (and the overweight, fake-tanned, hairy, middle-aged men that were wearing them) for comfort. The rules of the pools were that you had to strip out of your swimsuit and bathe in the shower before being able to swim. (Otherwise, a matron lady or whatever she was would yell at you and make you get naked anyways, except then you became a bit of a spectacle, so others were staring more. Saw that happen, decided to go with the flow after that) However, nudity isn’t taboo here, so it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought.
I had every intention of getting up and going for a run today. (I woke up at what I thought was right before dawn feeling all energized and ready to run…looked at my watch…it was 02:36 in the morning. Decided I was crazy, rolled over, and went back to sleep.) I woke up at ~08:00 and it was cloudy, windy, and rainy so I noped being athletic and healthy. (Interestingly enough, I am more than excited for my eight-hour horseback riding trip tomorrow even though the weather is supposed to be the same. That’s horse girls for you.)
In other news, Madre’s thrift store jacket claims to have an avalanche detection system (and about 8765 pockets). She lost something in the coat earlier today because she couldn’t figure out which pocket it was in (teehee). I’m half tempted to put it on the bed and jump up and down/shake the bed frame to see if the jacket lights up like Christmas or something. There are a few problems with this though:
1) our room is on the second floor, and with my luck, I would make the bed fall through the ceiling
2) the beds are bunks so I would probably hit my head and knock myself out
3): I am 95% sure that’s not how avalanche detection works