Finally, We Explore the Country - Ireland Day 3

September 14

I woke up this morning not knowing where I was. That never really happens. Usually I have a vague memory, or I wake up and know I'm somewhere not normal. This time I really had to think about it..."Last night, I...no, there was no tequila involved...I should know this...". It finally dawned on me that I was waking up for the first morning in Ireland. Yesterday was hard because we really didn't do too much. We landed. We drove to Killarney. But in regards to activities, we hadn't seen anything yet. Today, we had high hopes.

I sang the praises of the hotel yesterday, but the praises continue for breakfast this morning. They put on a fantastic spread for breakfast. I'm not a huge fan of buffet meals. They look great in theory, but in practice, you get a little bit of everything, then eat too much but not enough to actually sustain your hunger. I end up with 12 desserts/pastries, but not enough actual food. Today, I did a little better. I think they had me at the oatmeal. I love me some oatmeal. And if I can just eat the oatmeal every day, I'd be perfectly content. They also had the Blood Pudding (and White Pudding) on tap. I figured, let's try the Blood Pudding again. Just to see. And this pudding...leaps and bounds better than the other. I tried to get one of the ladies to try it, but she wouldn't. Again, wussy.

Today, we had a tour of the Gap of Dunloe. This is where two mountain ranges come together to form a narrow pass between Macgillycuddy's Reeks and Purple Mountain (majesty). We started off with a pony-cart (or a horse-drawn trap). A strapping lad and his horse, Tom, took four of us through the seven mile jaunt to see the Gap. I am happy to note that Tom made two sets of plops during the seven mile journey.

The trip was beautiful. I felt bad for Tom, though I'm not about to get into the treatment or usage of horses at this time. Especially since I've been eating Blood Pudding. I have no room to be judgmental right now. Our guide said this was one of the nicest days they've had in weeks. It was chilly (similar to our mid-October weather), but it was manageable. And the sun was shining. Apparently, that doesn't happen as often as they'd like. It would have been fun to actually hike the trail. But seven miles is a haul and it was our first (real) day. And hey, the pony-cart was already there. I'd have hated for Tom to not have his exercise today.

Post-pony, we had some lunch. Let me just say this...an Irish Breakfast is honking large. I had my fair share of food and by 11a, I was not in any way in the mood for lunch. But we were there and they were serving, so you kind of had to have something. A half a sandwich and a few bites of a vegetable soup was it. Well, and tea. I'm becoming a tea drinker (more on that later).

The ride back to the hotel was going to be different. We took a coach bus to the start of the Gap, but we were taking a boat back 14 miles to the hotel. Considering the extent of my boat knowledge is going back and forth from the World Showcase to Future World at Epcot, I was not fully prepared for the one hour trip. But we had a treat for our boat...a cocker spaniel named Charlie.

Charlie the dog was possibly the best dog ever. He just walked around the boat. He stood on the railing when he wanted to. He curled up on the floor when he wanted to. He got some loving when he wanted to. At a certain point, he walked on one side of the boat, looked around (like a dog with his head out of the window), then moved to the other side of the boat and did the same thing. The driver said, "Normally, we turn over here. Charlie's trying to figure out where we are going.". Cute!!

We saw bridges and mountains and streams and everything. About a mile or so from the hotel, the weather started to change and we thought the rain was moving in. Apparently this is normal. But because Mom had her umbrella, we think the rain stayed away. Yay, Mom!!

Once we got back to the hotel, we had a funny moment. I have to share, because they make me laugh and they didn't happen to me. But before I tell the story, I have to tell another one. One of the stories we love to laugh to (and tell often) was the time Mom tried walking through the glass sliding door when it was closed. It is just something that can get us laughing (especially Dad). Today, we got back to the hotel and went through the revolving door. It is a self-revolving door and it turns on via motion sensors. Mom went in first and started walking with the door. I think she didn't entirely remember that the door was moving on it's own accord, and she was a little quicker, so she ran face first into the glass part of the door. It still makes me giggle, several hours later. She also had a Midvale School for the Gifted moment in Killarney. Hee...

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to go to Killarney for shopping. Unfortunately, the hotel is a little out of the way, so we had to cab it to the center of town. We did a bit of shopping. We found a place that was like Meijers...clothes and grocery shopping. I love grocery stores abroad, because I want to see what people actually buy. There are many things I want to get to bring home, or at least try. Most things are because of my love of BBC America. I will come back with Jammie Dodgers (Doctor Who) and Jaffa Cakes (Spaced).

Speaking of TV, this morning, I saw a promo for the new season of Downton Abbey. I gasped when I saw the promo, because I knew they were filming, but PBS isn't going to air the new series until the beginning of the year (probably at the earliest), so I didn't know the production had finished. The promo was great (I will try to find it and post it on FB), but the best part was when the announcer said, "Premieres Sunday at 10p". What?? I will be here, Sunday at 10p!!!!!! Woo Hoo!! Now I need to find out when Doctor Who airs. And maybe Sherlock Season 2 also starts this week?? Nah...that would just be too much to hope for...

We did a little bit of window shopping in Killarney,but once you've seen one tourist shop, you've seen them all. As we waited for our cab into town, the hotel manager/concierge showed us where to ask to be dropped off. We asked where he would recommend eating or at least stopping for a snack. He mentioned Mrs. Courtney's Tea House. We could get tea and some sugary snacks. Lovely. When we opened the door to Mrs. Courtney's, we knew we made the right choice. Then when we sat down, I saw the tray of cupcakes. Score!! We decided on the Afternoon Tea for Two. One of my goals for the trip was Afternoon Tea. We thought it would happen in Dublin, but it could easily happen in Killarney. Four sandwiches, four scones and two cakes. One was a cupcake. We drank tea, we ate and we brought home the leftovers for dinner tonight. It was just lovely. I've had tea for every meal today and I love it. The only problem is that I doctor my tea up so much (a liberal amount of sugar and milk/cream) that making it at work is not an easy option. Though we do have milk at work...hmmm...

We we plenty tired early, so we went back to the hotel where we wanted to christen the pool. The spa area is beautiful and the pool is no exception. There's the indoor pool (cold), the indoor jacuzzi (nice) and the door that takes you from the indoor jacuzzi to the outdoor jacuzzi (really nice). One of Mom and my favorite parts from the cruise last year was when we sat outside as the boat left port every night. This is like that moment. We're reading (or writing), staring out a glass window at the mountains and the lake (Lough Leane). The sound of the pool is in the background and soothing music is playing. There is no one else in this room and everything is just so peaceful. I don't have many moments like this in my daily life and I want to take advantage when I can. I plan to spend as much time as possible in this chair, doing nothing at all. I know what awaits me when I get home. The crazy lives there. This is the moment I want to think about when the insanity begins to happen. Nothing bad can happen here...nothing at all...

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