Friday, April 1, 2011
Primroses in Ireland and spring is coming to the mountains. Our forsythia, cherry trees and pears are all in bloom though it is colder here than in Ireland.
We are safely home again after a good flight from Dublin to Philadelphia, leaving Dublin about an hour late. We still made our connection to GSP, as that flight was late taking off as well. Our luggage, however, did not make it from Philly. We still haven't heard from the deivery team, so perhaps it won't get here until tomorrow. A little distressing.
Overall, we had a great trip. There is no travel that doesn't present unforeseen "bends." as the Irish road signs indicate, in the road. Besides the elevator "collapse" in Paris, we also had a "techno" toilet burn up its motor in Montpellier. It's ridiculous to feel responsibility for either malfunction - we did get on the elevator, and we did use the toilet. But, as someone said, "There are no bad travel experiences, only good travel stories." Be assured, we were very careful of elevators and electric toilets for the rest of the trip. Actually, we never encountered another of the latter. So, when we next see you, we can fill you in on the details of both.
It was interesting talking to waiters, cab drivers, bar tenders, sales clerks. They are remarkably well informed and talk about their country's problems, politicians, and economics as well as ours. It's surprising how many Irish and English, have traveled extensively in the US.
A big surprise was the high cost of food in Ireland. The restaurants at all levels, top to bottom, had higher prices than similar ones in which we ate in either London or Paris. Also, traveling in Europe, one can distinguish nationality quickly by language, and we heard little American English except at the major tourist sites in Ireland. I don't remember any Americans in Montpellier the entire two weeks we were there. None in Bern or on the trains we rode, and few in London. Maybe it was the time of year we chose to travel. Maybe Americans are staying home.
We have decided that travel is energizing, educational, and stressful. It is difficult to constantly try to translate or understand even a thick dialect of your own language. The money is different, the food tastes strange, the mattresses are hard, and the transitioning (whether by plane, train or driving) is a challenge. We can understand why many people don't want to move outside their own comfort zone of the familiar. That's good as it would be difficult to travel if everyone did it!
Our trains all ran on time, and Bill did very well driving on the left. Ireland has two disignations for secondary roads: N-roads and R-roads. We decided they stand for narrow and rough. I must say the new motorways are wonderful, and except for near Dublin, there is little traffic. We got lost once in Connemara, which is not surprising. All roads lead somewhere, and we ended up on a very N and R road which finally joined back up with the one we should have taken.
Let me hear from you. I'm glad so many friends and family came along on our trip through this blog. Please excuse spelling and grammar errors. I usually wrote in the late afternoons or under pressure to get back on the move to the next event.
It's time for a glass of wine.