Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Westward Ho

This morning we were in Dublin, and now we're in Galway. One end of the country to the other. So, say, Boston to San Francisco. But in reality, when you're talking about Ireland and not the States, that's a three and a half hour bus ride. Insanity. I dozed off a little bit during the ride, partially because my body schedule's still a little off, and partially because I put on my iPod--because there were two German girls and a Spanish guy near us who were young and loud and I didn't really care about them--so I was lulled by my calm Shuffle choices. The countryside between the two cities is fairly flat, with some things that look like mountains when you're far away, and even though you swear you're moving closer to them, they just never appear as more than hillocks. I think it's a cool optic illusion, but there's probably a scientific reason. It's standard countryside as far as it goes, but it's standard IRISH countryside. For instance, they have low walls dividing up either property or as pens for sheep and horses, and they looking like crumbling, ancient things that were whitewashed like 400 years ago. Awesome. And they do have hedgerows, and even the tiny houses have lush lawns, flowering bushes and trees of all different sorts; my favorites are the trees that are like non-tropic cyrpruses.

I loved Galway before, and I already love it again. We left Eyre Square, and instead of grabbing a real map or stopping at the Tourist booth right there (oh no), we headed to the neighborhood where the B&B is. Only without a map, and heading to a terrace, of course we went farther than we needed to. Lots of helpful people got us there, including a bartender who looked like the waiter we had last night and a French girl at another tourist bureau, and all in all it was a nice walk, although we were sticky by the time we were brought up to our room. The room's charming, tall with three beds in it actually, and green walls with some wallpaper, and a tiny TV on a tiny stand, and that nice Irish linen with embroidery, though sadly not lace. The toilet, like the one at the hotel last night, flushes forever! I don't get it, since in Lux, they tried to have as little water as possible in the bowl to conserve water, but it didn't take an hour to flush.

So then we made our way back to the square, stopping at an ATM (of course, grr), and grabbing some fries with garlic and cheese at a kebab stand to snack on. We think we want to bypass returning to Dublin in favor of heading north directly from Westport, where the walking tour ends, if we're able. Candace said she rode horses in Donegal and that we'd like it, so we're going to look there, etc. etc., and then get to Belfast that way. I think that's much better, since Dublin didn't grab me and I hate the idea of going backwards, even in that small way.

Tonight we're planning to go to a pub just down the street from the B&B to hear some live traditional music and probably have some dinner and a pint. I hope it's not just a place full of old guys, since the lady at the B&B isn't in her twenties / thirties, but if it is a bunch of old guys, we'll find one to befriend. Or, realistically, Matt will make friends and I'll ride his coattails. I like the people here better; one guy on the street asked us if we were lost and if he could help, and then was really sorry when he didn't know the street we were looking for. Just lovely. But, lest you think this place is a dreamland, remember: the kids are all hooligans. We passed this boy trying to convince this other boy, for whatever reason, to let the boy punch him in the face. The face. Thankfully, the other boy was not dumb enough to agree, and was fast enough not to get hit anyhow.

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