Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wednesday, May 15th

      Went on the same loop running this morning,  and enjoyed every second of sunshine the morning briefly
granted.    After breakfast, we packed up and drove out to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced moor). It was amazing to see! The wind picked up before we even made it to the outlooks. Here by the ocean, the wind is always blowing. And up on the cliffs, it is an incessant, unwavering force.  We walked through the extensive tourist center. I had no idea this area has dolphins, otters, grey and common seals as well as the many birds and puffins! If I had I would have found out when they were most likely to be seen and tried to do so. (Next time perhaps).

   Out on the cliffs, the wind snatched away our words and was determined to pull my hair in every direction for every picture we tried to take.  A walkway followed the edge of the cliff, paved in most directions, and having large concrete barriers between the path and edge (most of the way).  We leaned over the sides of these walls to look out on the edges and went nearly as far as we could (It took over 20 minutes in the one direction, and there was still another 10ish before we would have to turn back).  Lydia and I continued on to the somewhat less padded pathway  that was somewhat less protected and in my fear- of- heights biased opinion, was unreasonably close to the edge. (it wasn’t unsafe though. Just not for the toddlers). We loved seeing the waves rolling into the cliffs base, and we wondered at the erosion of the rock that was gradually taking place. We also enjoyed the seeing the traces of different mineral’s colors. Okay, Lydia was more excited, she could even identify some! I just liked the variation of color and depth of the rock and admired how cool it looked.

                Following this we ate in the car and drove to Galway.
The city where everyone seems to go for University, if not there it seems they go to Dublin. The crowd is younger, the streets are crowded with all kinds of shops with lovely things inside, food for every appetite, and singers don’t just stand in pubs, but on the street, and stand on the little car barriers that are  about 3 feet high and leave only enough room for two well balanced feet. We found a place to stay, the Western Hotel, and walked into the center. Dinner and the Lyd and I departed from the family. Before we ventured into a pub though,  I insisted on dessert…a Nutella filled crepe!
     At the first pub our plan to paint the town was put on hold as Mom and Dad were already there with the last few seats in the place.
I tried my very first Irish Coffee (coffee and whiskey). Two ladies sitting at the bar told me that it is singing juice right there, and they expect me to be singing and dancing (at the same time!) in the next 5 minutes. I can see how that is possible with that drink. It was so delicious though! Sipping it went down too smoothly.

    The next pub we had more luck. We stayed on the Quey Street (pronounced “Key”) as this seems to be the hub of the area.  We spent most of the evening with 3 Americans there studying in between semesters while in grad school to be lawyers. Normally it goes against our policy to spend so much time with Americans.. we have those types at home! But they were nice and the place was packed! Once the band got to playing (not just traditional but a good mix of all kinds of songs, including some good rock and roll classics) it was hard to hear, and harder to meet people in the the loud crowds.
    I did meet one Irish fellow. Flirtatious in a way that would many an American man to shame. But not in the practiced way of the players you find, just in the up front honest kind of way. No games, if they think you are cute, they talk to you and tell you so.  Well, at least when they are drunk they will. Who knows about normal circumstances. We got to talking (which took some effort with the noise of the band).   He was hilarious, talking about how in Ireland if you bump into someone in a crowd, you don’t get all offended and bent out of shape, you ask if they are alright-are they good? And it’s all fine! Of course, typing it here without his expressions and accent, a lot is lost. He pointed out the difference in people’s shoes. May have been just pulling my leg, but I thought it was interesting. Hiking walking shoes- American. Boat shoes, American. He pointed out others, German, French etc. Converse brand though…those are hard to tell who they belong to. I found that very interesting.
                We finally left a bit after 2. The music and stops and the lights came back on, but we slowly trickled out of the pub. Everyone who had been crammed into all the pubs were being deposited out onto the roads, but that did not mean the groups were dispersing as they left for the night. Instead, the crowds  broke off and re-congregated in groups or around late night food places. It was well lit, and everyone was dressed up nice for the evening. The girls especially. There were clusters of giggling, teetering girls. There were packs of guys, we saw a few trying to go at it being held back by their fellow mates. Couples would make out wherever they were unlikely to be jostled. Everything felt lively and had a feeling of denial that the night was vanishing. Note to self: make room in suitcase for high heels next time. Will do wonders for self-esteem and overall presentation. I feel as though I am in a perpetual state of backpacking.  However, with our wonderful shoes, Lyd and I had no problem speed walking  across town to where the hotel was (in an impressive manner that gave no indication of how tipsy we actually were).  The beer here is so very good though, so very worth it and an excellent thing to include while on holiday. 

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