Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Proper Irish rain is cold...

The thing with not-rain is that it was all a figment, a happenstance. We are in Galway, and it is in fact raining. Woke up this morning, had the full Irish breakfast, left the hotel and caught a bus across the country. From Dublin to Galway it took almost 4 hours, about the drive from Chicago to Madison, or to Champagne if you drive like a crazy person. The bus was a little cramped, but not crowded and the Irish countryside was gorgeous. We passed through a few towns that seemed quaint and interesting, napped and listened to music until we reached Galway.

Right now, as seems to be my lesson over the last few days, I'm very tired. I mean very tired, to the point where my brain isn't functioning properly and I'm having a time trying to compose this entry. Thanks to a complete lack of directions and our own bravery in the face of new lands, Zoe and I set out to find our Bed and Breakfast which was supposedly located in the Salthill area of the city. So we walked, our packs strapped tight and heavier with every step we took, until we reached the Salthill branch of the Tourist Information Office, only to discover that we'd walked completely past the area we should have been in. Now the address given was a terrace that none of the locals knew of, and we didn't have a map (idiots that we are at times, we didn't think to grab a map when we got off the bus), so we didn't know what cross streets to look for, and we didn't receive any directions from our travel broker. So really, we could've spared ourselves a good hour's walk if we'd only been sensible in the first place. But never the less, we found the place and it really is lovely.

Now let me say a few things about Irish breakfast...

To begin with, the concept is delicious and much akin to what I prefer to eat at home. Hashbrowns, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, rashers of bacon, sausages, jams, breads, tea, coffee, black and white pudding. Really just an enormous spread, more food than anyone should probably eat first thing after waking. The concept is excellent. But this hotel we were at, which was quite posh for the most part, they managed to bugger the entire thing for a lark. The eggs were soft and runny, but not in any appetizing sort of fashion. The rashers of bacon (Irish bacon more closely resembles fried ham than what Americans think of as bacon) were as tough as shoe leather and over salted. And on the subject of shoes, the hashbrown (think a McDonald's hashbrown patty, except triangular) had a vague aftertaste of dirty foot sweat. And don't get me started on black pudding. If you don't know what it is, you're probably better off.

Now as I said, the concept of it is brilliant and I'm sure I'll have some fantastic examples of it over the next several days, but this hotel just couldn't carry it off. And to make matters worse, they served it buffet-style. Buffet is bad. More on Irish breakfast after I've eaten more of it.

I think that for the moment, Zoe and I are going to take in some traditional music, find some dinner and I'm going to finally get a proper pint of Guinness.

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