What is really of value? What things do we cherish? It’s interesting to me that my favorite “tourist” experiences have to do with the people I meet and experience Ireland with. Galway City was wonderful. I loved the stone streets that are open only to walking. I loved the old pubs. I didn’t love the tight parking garage. But I really enjoyed walking the streets with my family and friends. I loved Kylemore Castle. The green, manicured landscaped contrasted with the rugged limestone marshlands typical of western Ireland. I loved driving further around the west coast. But I really enjoyed talking with a couple of local Irish lads. The Cliffs of Moher were incredible. Awe inspiring. But the new crew of friends I experienced it with, and the dinner we had together afterwards felt better. I loved the drive from western Ireland to the eastern side. I loved the way the landscape changed from rugged marshland to cultivated farmland. The real kick, though, is being able to spend all day with my wife and kids. It reminds me that that’s what this trip is about; being able to figure out how to spend more time with my family. Both now, and in the future. Will that happen in Ireland? Mmm… Not sure yet. It is dreary here. I mean, I’ve already lost all tan lines. Me and Isla look more alike than ever. But it seems like kids here don’t get into as much trouble. That’s appealing. Irish people are so straightforward and honest with each other. I really like the concept of my kids growing up in that culture. I like the idea of me growing up in that culture, too. 🙂 So we shall see. It’s too early to make a definitive decision yet, especially with our journey not being finished.
Two days ago we went to the Guinness Brewery. For a mere 20 euro (or 22-23 bucks) you can tour the amazing Guinness Brewery.
Honestly, I’m not much of a museum person. It’s probably just me being a product of my culture; I like to get to the point of what I’m involved in. I generally walk through museums, and walk out.
Or, I just get bored too easily and need to appreciate the beauty in front of me a bit more.
Regardless, it was still a good time. First of all, I really enjoyed Dublin. A lot of the city sits on the Liffey River. There are lots of bridges and walkways going from one side of the city to another. I like the way it looks, and I like the feel of the city. Several years ago, I was doing the 9/11 stair climb at the Quest building in Denver. Afterwards, some firefighters and I were having lunch at a downtown pub. I remember in particular one firefighter looking around him and remarking, “It just feels different up here.” We all lived in Colorado Springs. In my mind, I immediately agreed with him. Denver felt different. All cities give you a different “feel.” I enjoyed the feel of Dublin. Lots of brick and stone building, old gothic churches, the river…. and a Guinness brewery resides there as well. Or, should I say, the Guinness brewery. Dublin, like Ireland, looks like it was originally built for a smaller culture. The sidewalks and streets are more narrow than we are accustomed to (especially the streets). So, I hope to go back again before we leave. Like New York, I hope to walk a bit of the city, discover a few things, and, of course, eat some good food.
Today, we drove through a portion of the Wicklow Mountains. It was breathtaking. I can’t ever describe it other than to say it was something out of a movie. Driving through low-lying wisps of clouds, green rolling hills, bubbling streams and rivers… It was beautiful. It felt ancientand rustic, but with all the greenery, still felt new and fresh. Vanessa and I would ride silent and still for long periods trying to take in what we were seeing. The hardest part was driving while being trying to take my eyes off some of the sites I was seeing. The roads are impossibly narrow for an American driver like me who is so accustomed to having plenty of space on the road. The worst part is that in a moment when I feel like I’m going at a good speed, someone will aggressively pass me. In a moment where it’s so tight on the road with a car passing that I feel I need to slow down, even stop, the opposing car will accelerate past me. Growing up with these roads has obviously givin the local drivers a much better sense of special awareness (or I’m just a lame driver). In any case, it was worth the drive, so much so that we plan on going again, but leaving earlier in the day.
Yeah. It’s been talking us awhile to get going in the morning. Mostly because of me; I’m still having issues adapting to the time change. I’ll probably get in sync just when we leave for Ecuador. 🙂
Some fun facts: all water for Guinness comes from the Wicklow Mountains. About 100,000 tons of barley is used every year to make Guinness. Guinness is not, in fact, black. It is a deep ruby red. And there is, in fact, a definite science and technique to pouring Guinness.
We are literally staying on a farm. Tomorrow the owner (and our host) has offered to show Jude around the farm. We hope to have some pictures of that for you. Till then.