We really don’t have decent Internet access, so I hope that we’ll manage to post whatever we manage to write whenever we get the chance! 🙂
First of all, I forgot a few amusing things about Camden street in London – it has the funkiest clothing and accessories out there.. We did find some amusing geekware, though, that on second thought we should have bought.. One is a shirt I would have bought for E (who probably isn’t reading this, but those of you who are and know who I’m talking about can point this out to him) except that I didn’t think he’d appreciate the humor.. We have a picture of this T shirt – An Autobot symbol with a classic “disguise” mask of big glasses and a fake hat – with the tag “Robots in Disguise” (it’s brilliantly funny when you see it) and the T shirt we should have bought Oded – “Fuck Google! Ask me.” Also amusing accessories, like the black and white D6 necklace..
Off of Camden is the Inverse Market, where I found blackberries (Blackberries! My absolute favorite berry! 4 months after they finished their season in Israel! Yay! Happy me!) and almost got filmed for a Canadian TV show – but they wanted to talk to Londoners about how the crisis is affecting prices, and since I was only in London for about 15 hours, I couldn’t really help them..
Then we had the ferry to Dublin.. Do Not Do This unless you really have no other choice.. Admittedly, they almost canceled the ferry due to bad weather and the fast ferry (which we took) is worst on the system than the slower ferry (or so rumor has it) but I curled up and slept the whole way in order to deal with being seasick and my man was in a bad state for most of the trip as well.. That, and the single attempt to climb on deck and smell the ocean almost had me overboard.. But ti didn’t, so no worries.. Honestly though, with the exception of small craft (canoes, kyaks, etc) I’m not really a boat person.. Anyway, it was bad, but not horrible, and we reached Dublin fine.
And of course, on reaching Dublin, we get hopelessly lost.. Holistic driving is fun (and we managed to find a few nice spots, like the Forbidden Planet) but ti doesn’t really help you get there when you have a specific destination in mind.. We ate some really nice Irish Stew in a bread bowl and some veggie soup, and gawked at the shinies in the Forbidden Planet. (For those of you who don’t know, the Forbidden Planet is a chain of Comics, Anime and all thing Sci-Fi memorabilia stores.) That done, we accosted the cute Forbidden Planet clerk kid for directions to the Tourist Center, since we are in desperate need of the Irish Book of B&B’s and a map.. He gave great directions – for walking.. We then proceed to take the car and get lost again for another half hour.. Fun, though.. Dublin’s a nice city to drive around in.. Anyway, we finally found where we want to be and relevant parking, but we get sidetracked on some tech related project of Oded’s (mostly to get us GPS and possibly an IP phone so we can call Israel cheaper) and we get to the Dublin Tourism center 5 minutes after they closed.. The Horror! We can’t get anywhere because we don’t have a map and we can’t sleep anywhere because we don’t know how to find a place to stay.. Freaking out outside the door, it suddenly opens and the guard lets out the very last customer.. We catch him and plead with him to let us in because really, all we want is a map and a book of B&B’s.. I must have looked the correct combination of desperate, clueless and cute, since he relented and let us come in and buy them.. Thank you Dublin Tourism Center for saving our trip and being so great! For all of you planning on visiting Ireland, an up to date Book of B&Bs is essential and if you can, pick it up in the Dublin Tourism Center – just don’t be late!
We drove around Dublin a little longer, looking for Avis, since, as you must realize from my last post, I can’t drive the car yet since Avis doesn’t have a copy of my license..Of course, at this point it’s passed 6PM and even if we would have found the right place (which we didn’t) we wouldn’t have had anyone to talk to.. Nevermind.. As consolation, we walked into a bookstore (nominally to buy the Ireland Lonely Planet – which we did) and ended up (completely by accident! Really! Honestly!) buying an almost complete collection of Mr Men books.. (Mom, Dad, if you’re reading this – I now have Mr Forgetful!) The story is that I used to have a decent collection of Mr Men books that got lost (along with the majority of my child and young adult books) in the move from Canada to Israel.. For a while now, I’ve been looking for them and I didn’t see any Mr Men books in a format that I was willing to buy until this bookstore.. So I pick up about 15 of them that I remember liking, and Oded looks at me, looks at the stand and says “No. You’re at critical mass. Now you need to buy them all.” So I got all the Mr Men they had available there! (About 500 NIS worth – 100 EURO) We’re nuts, yes we are! 🙂
Finally, we got out of Dublin and drove to the Castleview B&B in Kildare. Ireland scenery is *amazing* – but it gets pitch black here at night.. We had a wonderful drive – and got lost.. Actually, we drove into someone’s backyard by accident, since road sign distances in Israel are *much* smaller than typical road sign distances basically anywhere else in the world.. I felt a little bad that I frightened the family at 10PM at night, but as soon as we parked someone came outside to ask us what we’re doing there, we explained that we’re looking for Castleview B&B and he laughed, told us we’re alright, and explained how we’re supposed to get there (which, of course, didn’t stop us from getting a little lost again along the way!) Iris people are *really* nice and friendly..
Anyway, Castleview B&B is decent, but not really that great.. If you can find other accommodations, you probably should.. Though, to their credit, it’s on a working Dairy farm and you can go and see how cows get milked and other such amusements..
After leaving Castleview, we drove the 10 minutes to the Irish National Stud. Mind you, it was raining outside (not that heavily for Ireland, but about a descent’s day-long rain for Israel..) I *love* rain and I like being wet.. Oded and horses – not so much.. The National Stud is fun, you get to look at horses later (some of them will even occasionally deign to come close enough to pet, but not that many or that often) and the tour explains how it all works, which is fun.. If you come earlier in the year you can see pregnant mares and foals.. Also, it has a rather big and quite beautiful Japanese Garden adjacent.. Lots of fun, and we spent way too much time outside – in the rain – looking (and trying to pet) silly horses, sheep and cows.. (Apparently sheep and cows calm the yearlings down *and* eat the longer grass that horses don’t like, so the Stud rents the pastures out to local farmers.. Very cool!)
We enjoyed the Irish National Stud immensely, then we decided to go to Kilkenny.. We stopped on the way in Carlow for lunch (entirely uninteresting) and then decided that since it’s already 4PM, how about we just skip Kilkenny and drive straight to Tipperary for Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel.. We found a rather nice B&B called Tir Na nOg (wow, the presumptuousness!) that despite the name is really nice.. The host is really friendly and helpful, though if given even the slightest leeway will entirely rearrange your trip so that you stay at least another night at his B&B.. Anyway, Cashel itself is an incredibly boring town, and if you’re going there for dinner be prepared to pay though your eyebrows.. On the other hand, the 60 Euro meal (for 2 people) was delicious! Ireland is beautiful and amazing and *everyone* should spend at least 3 weeks here, but it’s horribly expensive.. Oh, and if you don’t eat meat, you may be in trouble.. We finished the evening by driving up and looking at the Rock of Cashel at night, which is particularly pretty, then went off to sleep..
Some amusing randomness.. I totally made some cute girl’s day when I stopped in a local grocery and went to look at lunch meats and happened to mention that I’ve never had ham.. She looked at me as if I came from another planet then proceeded to hand me tastes of each of the different lunch meats there! (Ham, or at least the ham I tried, tastes remarkably like turkey, only saltier..)
Anyway, this morning we went to the Rock of Cashel, which is a gorgeous and rather incredible Castle-turned-Church from the 12-15th century.. And we have impeccable timing, because it seems that next month they’re closing the Rock down for about 3 years to do serious restoration work on it.. (Or at least that’s what the rumor says..) Anyway, the Rock is beautiful, and (to the dismay of our tour guide who said they are ruining the rockface) is also apparently home to every Rook and pigeon in Ireland! 🙂 (Rooks are Hooded Crowns and rather pretty, if you like crows.. I *think* I have a rook tailfeather that landed at my feet as I was walking out.. Oded thinks it might be pigeon, but we’ll see. Meanwhile, I’ll keep to my belief that it’s a rook feather.. Happy me! 🙂 )
Ireland is amazing. Especially in the autumn.. Everywhere you look there are hundreds of shades of green, peppered with reds and yellows of turning leaves, and black and white of cows and sheep.. The buildings are beautiful and picturesque.. My man is wonderful and sweet.. He’s enjoying driving, I’m enjoying being driven around, though when we get to an Avis I’ll probably start driving too.. Which is scary, since they drive on the left here.. And some of the country roads, while amazingly beautiful, are scary to drive on.. hopefully we put pu pictures soon.. If not, then we will at some point after we get home..
Now we’re off to see Cahir Castle and then probably off to Blarney.. I will faithfully let you know what I remember when next I get a chance to write up a post! 🙂
Have fun, everyone!
Lots of hugs!