Lots of memories are resurfacing as I continue to edit the photos from our trip to Ireland last year.
Exactly a year ago, to be precise.
I wouldn't have believed a land could get into my blood like this one did. The Man feels the same way. We've decided to go back next fall for a return visit. We both want to see more of the country but also revisit the small town we stayed in last year.
The bakery we stopped in surprised us. The food is just laid out, on top of counters and tables and display stands. There are no utensils or wax paper to pluck the one you want - just some plates and forks to eat with. Kind of nice serving yourself that way - felt like we were visiting a friend.
We took the bus up to Galway on day five. Neither of the guys wanted to drive into a big city and us gals didn't blame them one bit.
Not after what happened on day four.
On day four, we had started out bright and early to find a new place to eat breakfast. T had found one in a guide book and we decided to try it.
There are not a lot of places that serve breakfast in the small town we were visiting. Only one pub in town was open for breakfast and their idea of breakfast was not our idea of breakfast. For one thing, breakfast didn't start until ten o'clock. By that time, we had been up for hours and were starved. They only served two basic dishes - porridge or some sort of egg sampler plate. You couldn't choose the way the eggs were cooked, it was at the cook's discretion, and they were served with baked beans, a slice of tomato, some very dry toast, and several pieces of some sort of animal intestine. After eating there one morning, we were looking for another spot for breakfast on day four.
As the Man was driving along the road, we heard a loud bang and realized quickly that something bad had happened. He pulled over to the side of the road, not that there was a side of the road since all the roads have stone walls along the edges and there are no breakdown lanes to speak of, and we all got out to look at the damage.
A popped tire. Flat.
While the guys figured out how to change the tire, T and I figured out the insurance part. Luckily we had purchased the extended coverage which included blown tires. We made some calls and got the information we needed and then waited for the guys to finish.
It took some time. A lot of time. T and I got a bit restless. We started cracking jokes and making nuisances of ourselves which irritated the guys. We decided we better skedaddle before we got into trouble.
We walked up the road and crossed over to talk to some cows that were lined up watching us. We could see the Atlantic in the distance and the beautiful coastline since we were up in the hills a bit. Very peaceful with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds floating by. Every now and then a car would pass by but it was pretty quiet.
Eventually the guys finished the tire and we turned around to head back to a petrol station we had stopped at before we got the flat. The man at the station was kind enough to point us in the direction of the tire man.
I loved his directions. "Just go back down the hill and look for John Sharry - he'll fix you up."
So we headed back down the hill and found a sign that said, "Punctures and Tires Repaired" in hand painted letters with an arrow pointing down a back road. We turned onto the road and kind of stumbled upon the place.
John Sharry was the friendliest fellow. The Man was feeling pretty badly about popping the tire and mentioned that to John. John brought him out back behind the garage. There had to be hundreds of popped tires back there. He said it was very common to hit rocks and pop a tire - just a way of life on those roads. We had a nice visit with John and he got us back on the road in due time. Not in time for breakfast but in time for lunch.
Of course, that was the day we hiked through a billion fields to look for a castle and almost got attacked by a crazy dog. Not our best day.
And yet we can't wait to go back. Go figure.
Back to Galway.
The guys weren't keen on driving a couple hours north to Galway, and then have to deal with city traffic on top of that, so we opted to take a bus instead.
Worked out beautifully. We sat in front and got great views both ways. The guys got a chance to have a relaxing day and not have to worry about driving. It was a good break for them.
When we got to Galway we headed toward the shopping district. A friend had told me that I would find some nice sweaters here. I found a couple sweaters for K and one for J's girlfriend, at the time. I also picked up a couple wool blankets. T found some things for her grandson and herself. The guys stayed outside and the Man grumbled a bit about all the shopping. I'm not sure what he expected in a city, but it wasn't shopping. Huh.
Our neighbor back home had told us to have lunch at a fish 'n chips shop called McDonough's.
It was delicious.
We will be repeat customers, for sure.
We walked all over the city, exploring nooks and crannies. We stopped for gelato somewhere. We found the Spanish Arch and learned a little bit about the history of Galway. Took lots of pictures.
And then it was time to go back to the bus station. A long day, but a good one.
I am totally enamored with the color of this pie shop. And with the big, black window. And with the lanterns in the window. And all the signs.
I love this shop.