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Saturday, October 27, 2007

IRELAND--DAY 1

DAY 1

I chose the bookmark Michael gave me and find it amusingly ironic that I stuck it on page one of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods—his adventure on the famed Appalachian Trail where he reconnected with the America he had not lived in for twenty years. He wished to experience its green beauty. Meanwhile I’m sitting in Newark Airport in New Jersey waiting to leave for Dublin to tour another country of beautiful greens and marvelous vistas. Is this the literal “The grass is always greener…?

Anyway, see this month’s Travel Tips to see what a big mistake I made in planning this trip. Avoid doing the same!!!! I’m not sure this is exactly what they meant when they said to be a lifelong learner. Next time we’ll leave the house earlier and battle traffic on our side of the pond. We’ll fly out of Kennedy.

DAY 2

Great to land in Dublin. We are promptly met by our Trafalgar Tour Director, Harry Gray just as we emerge from Customs. He spotted our Trafalgar bags. What a friendly gentleman. We had no idea just how fond we were to become of Harry who was not only an innovative and informative guide, but also a caring, warm person we would cherish. By the time we arrived at the Trinity Capital Hotel, right in city center and not more than a short walk to Trinity College, we had a good idea of our schedule for the next few days.

With the remainder of the afternoon to ourselves, Rob and I took Harry’s suggestion and took a stroll toward Trinity College and Grafton Street. Think of Trinity College’s famous graduates as well as the Book of Kells. We were in the midst of greatness. We ambled down Grafton Street, a marvelous shopping area and pedestrian mall filled to the brim with college students and tourists looking for a gay afternoon among other exuberant people. Grafton Street mirrors the vivacious energy of Dublin’s young population. Street musicians, punky (is that term outdated?) looking kids—one who even wore horns on her head in preparation, I guess, for the forthcoming Halloween celebrations that would surely rock the city.

We stopped in Marks & Spencer to sit in the window and people watch over a cup of coffee Americano. We saw the statue of Molly Malone with her cockles and muscles. We stopped in a golf shop, and a glorious pipe store, Peterson and Dublin where we ogled the handsome straight-grained pipes and recalled the days gone by when our home was filled with the pungent aromas of Balkan Sobranie tobacco.

Dinner was lovely but better than the meal at the Landsdowne Hotel was the company. Our companions, a couple from Saskatchewan, Canada, Owen and Aggie, and a couple from New Zealand, Eric and Claire. No searching for conversation and lots of laughs. We knew this was going to be fun!

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