Monday, December 19, 2016

On the Road to Dublin

Galway, Ireland 

Prepared for rain in Ireland, my raincoat and umbrella receives much use. Locals inform us December has been dry and the steady rains welcome. I suppose so - for them. Not so much for hub and me.

We spent a showery day in Galway strolling from shop to pub, museum to shop to cafe...opening and closing umbrellas, drying off and getting soggy again. Original cobblestone streets, today pedestrian-only walkways, lined with stone buildings hundreds of years old featuring age-old facades and modernized interiors house retail shops and eateries. Lingering in a cafe savoring steaming cups of latte proved the warmest, coziest, most relaxing part of the day. 

Old folks tire. We tour all day and relax at night. But there are evening activities not to be missed. Our first after-dark foray we visited a pub for traditional Irish music. The four-piece band regaled the beer-imbibing crowd (not a beer aficionado, I sipped an Irish coffee) with popular Irish folk tunes.
Band in Galway pub

The following morning we loaded the car and headed due east to Dublin via the airport to return our rental car. No need for a car in the city. 

Leaving Galway a time-consuming challenge, navigating without a GPS, relying on maps and sometimes non-existent street signs, making U-turns and retracing roads, we eventually left behind city streets and breathed a sigh of relief once on the motorway.

Returning the car with no dings or worse, we rejoiced that the first week of our Ireland adventure ended without any car complications. We sat back and enjoyed the half hour taxi ride into town.

Our tour package included one night in a Dublin hotel, a classy establishment with small rooms, not unusual for city hotels. We feasted on our last package-included breakfast. Irish breakfasts are waist-expanding, consisting of eggs, meat (usually bacon or sausage), mushrooms, beans, sometimes black pudding (the major ingredient: 45% pig fat, as noted in a local market), fruit, breads and spreads. 

My observation after a week feasting on Irish food is that it is hearty, wholesome and chock full of carbs and calories. It is my grandmother's cooking, sort of. She was Hungarian, but prepared substantial meat and potato meals. Potatoes are on every menu and served with everything from sandwiches to pastas (yes, pasta and potatoes). And chips - French Fries - top the potato offering, thick steak-type fries - the kind my grandmother used to make! - not greasy and absolutely yummy and addictive. I do not want to get on the scale when home...
The popular American fare chicken wings crossed the pond and 
Can be found on many pub menus, of course served with a hearty
Helping of chips.

Bellies full, we embarked on the second part of our trip, a week in Dublin. Our airbnb is an intimate (sounds much better than really small) apartment less than a mile from city center. The number one benefit of our accommodations is a combination washer/dryer - one machine offering both options. Clean clothes again!

I am looking forward to walking off some of the chips, now plastered on my midsection, devoured over the past few days.