Monday morning! It's kinda sucky to be promised Dublin and get Boston. We checked out, took the free shuttle back to the airport (where the Aer Lingus people probably wouldn't be in until 3 or 4), took the free shuttle to the train station in the city, found a place in the bus terminal to check our carry ons ($20) and wandered around Boston Common in the rain. We only had a few hours to kill, so we didn't do much but walk around. We collected our bags and paid for the bus back to the airport where we were finally able to check in. It wasn't a fun day, really. I know it wasn't Boston's fault, but the experience hasn't really warmed me up to that city. We're going to take a weekend to really explore Boston someday, when we have no where else to go and hopefully when it's less wet. And now we're finally on the plane and off to Dublin!
Tuesday morning lands in Dublin! We confirmed our reservation for the car and found a bus that took us close to the hotel. The hotel was nice; it was really an apartment with a little kitchen and living room, and a separate bedroom. We napped for a couple hours and hit the streets. We wandered about a bit- found a church that was near the hotel that made a good landmark and walked pass the Christ Church Cathedral (a friendly local with an amazingly thick accent guessed that was where we were headed and pointed us that way. We were really just looking at the map to get our bearings, but it was nice someone offered to help all the same.) before making our way to the Old Jameson Distillery. As a whiskey lover, I really wanted to see that place! On the tour, the guide picked 8 people to do a comparison taste test with Jameson, Johnny Walker Black, and Jack Daniels. Jameson was definitely the best, and I say that completely independent of the fact that I was in a Jameson museum at the time (Makers Mark 64 is still my favorite whiskey, for the record).
|The Old Library at Trinity College|
|A Delicious meal after a day of adventure!|
Because of the lost day on Monday, we decided to make our trip out west a day trip instead of a two night trip, so we got our hotel room for two more nights and were picking up the car Wednesday morning. The hotel had a garage too, so it was very convenient to park for a day.
Wednesday! Neither of us got up before noon even though my husband was planning on picking up the car around 8 or 9. That didn't happen. He got back around 3 or so and we headed out to lunch and the Guinness Storehouse. While we were headed in what we thought was the right direction, I asked to check the map and another friendly local with a less thick accent asked if we were looking for Guinness and pointed to the sign where we needed to turn (seriously, the people in Ireland were awesome everywhere). Almost there, we ran into some people who asked us if we were from here because they were looking for something. "No, but we have a map," we say. "It wouldn't be on the map," they say, "we're looking for the oldest pub in Ireland." They meant the Brazen Head, and it was right across the road where we had lunch. Yay, I can help like a local!
|The Brazen Head, Ireland's Oldest Pub|
|Pouring the Perfect Pint|
|Put yourself in a Guinness ad!|
It was impossible to see anything with that fog that seemed to just stick to us out of Dublin. No beautiful countryside: all fog. I really wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher, though, so we started driving south from Galway, even though we probably wouldn't be able to see anything at all in this fog. I came to the conclusion along that drive that Ireland has one weather for the whole island - that day it was fog. Did I mention the fog? Fog. Really fog. Everywhere fog. We drove up this little mountain that defined hair pin turn, it was a little unnerving. Yay, adventure. At this point in the drive, I was reflecting on some of the other countries I have visited: like the moment in Paris where I put my hand on a wall of Notre Dame Cathedral and almost started crying. I was thinking about our trip to Ireland, the one place in the world I want to see more than any other, and we had seen some very fun things, but I didn't have a moment like that - where it was suddenly real and it was suddenly magical that I was actually there. Why was this place, where I most wanted to be, not like that? Then we crested a little hill and the fog was gone. GONE! Rolling hills! Mountains in the distance! Sheep! Cottages! The Atlantic Ocean! The Aran Islands! You could see the fog behind us but the way ahead was clear, clear, clear. Clear and beautiful. And I had my magical moment.
|Suddenly, no fog! Just look at that countryside!|
|The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare|
Just as we were leaving, the fog caught up. It made for a not so fun drive back, through Shannon and Limerick, in the dark and fog and rain. We picked up a pizza (I know! But pizza with bacon on it in Ireland has Irish bacon on it! Divine!) for dinner once we got back to Dublin because we were tired and didn't want to get dolled up and go out again.
|At the Cliffs of Moher, before the fog caught up to us!|
Friday! Last morning in Ireland. Very sad. It was kind of rainy, but less foggy. We had talked about walking around for one last bit, and I thought about hitting the Distillery gift shop once more, but decided against it lest we get lost again. We did walk to the convenience store by the church for travel snacks and then headed to the airport. We had to turn the car in at noon but our flight wasn't until 5. The airport in Dublin is awesome in that you can go through US Customs right there before leaving, making landing stateside way convenient. We did some duty free shopping (because what else are we going to do waiting around the airport?). The flight back was a little irritating. There were many more people than on the flight over (where there were hardly any) and this one lady who was sitting in front of me reclined her seat and then moved to the seat next to husband which was a little closer to her family - without putting her seat up! RUDE!!! Husband likes to tell people that she was coughing and hacking the whole flight and "thanks for sitting next to me with that." Yay, adventure.
So, we land back in Boston. They wouldn't let us get out of the plane for 20 minutes because of congestion in the terminal. Boston Logan, not a fun place. The way this worked, since Aer Lingus is not a US carrier, we had to leave the international area and go back in the domestic area. We were worried that security would give us trouble with our duty free purchases (whiskey!) even though they were in a sealed bag with the date of purchase on the receipt clearly visible. There was a bit of a delay there, but we got through. We checked at US Airways to make sure our luggage was going to be on our flight. The guy looked confused as to why we would bother to ask (because you loaded it on a different flight on the way out and we wanted to make sure it would go through to DC with us) but said it would be on the flight with us.
Back to DC! We head to baggage claim! Our flight was on the monitors, but it didn't list a carousel number- that was blank. So we wandered through baggage claim for a bit and see nothing coming out. Husband went to ask where our luggage was while I waited. The announcement said something about a flight coming in from Tampa would be on carousel 7, and a bunch of people gathered, then another traveler came up to them and said the bags from Tampa were coming out on 11, though everyone heard 7. This does not bode well. Husband said they told him our luggage was coming out on 12, so we waited. Luggage came and people went and there we were, waiting. Waiting, for like an hour. We suddenly realized there was like no one in the baggage claim area. There was a couple to our left and a handful of people at the end of the hall. And no luggage. So husband asked again and they said carousel 12 and he said, no, we were there and our bags were not. They scanned the tag and said our bags got loaded on the flight after ours that was just landing. *headdesk* Ours were the first two bags on carousel 12 that time. The lesson: if you ever have to fly US Airways, please for the love of all things living, do not check your luggage. Do not trust your bags with them. They don't care when they show up. Bags in hand, we met MIL who drove us to her home where we left our car and then we drove the rest of the way. Yay home!
(For the record, I will never fly US Airways again. We lost an entire day of our honeymoon and the only thing they could think to offer us in recompense is a single $100 voucher - that we can't even share! Some prodding finally got two vouchers out of them, with a ton of conditions, but the delay still cost us more than $200 to adjust our travel plans for the lost day. Seriously, dear readers, US Airways, which is owned by American Airlines, is dreadful. They don't care if they cause you inconvenience or to lose a day of your vacation and they won't make good on it. Think twice before you book with them. And if you have to book with them, for the love of cats and little fishes, do not check your luggage. Carry everything with you. Trust me here.)