Monday, September 21, 2015

Dingle to Galway

Saturday was our big drive to Galway, where we planned to return the rental car and rely on public transportation for the duration of our stay. I was nervous about the drive because of the distance and the high probability of getting lost and because I'd rashly promised to have the car returned by noon, which didn't give us any margin of error, considering our B&B's breakfast schedule and the fact that it's a 3.5 hour drive.  We could have just skipped breakfast, but I was afraid of offending our hostess. And I'd become addicted to the Irish breakfast, with its bountiful selection of toast and jam. (I'll insert here a tip about Irish B&Bs--many do not accept credit cards, so you must be prepared to pay cash for your room.)

We got on the road a bit later than I wanted to, but we made good progress for a while.  By this time, I was a confident driver and was even overtaking the slower cars on the road.  "Americans," I'd say to Jon every time we passed someone. We got a bit lost in Tralee, which cost us about fifteen minutes, but otherwise the route was easy to follow.  Roads in Ireland are very clearly marked and it seemed we were on track for arriving only half an hour late, which by Irish reckoning, isn't late at all.

I had arranged to drop the car in the Galway city center, thinking that we'd want to leave the car where we wanted to be.  This was a mistake because once we got into the city center, we became horribly lost.  There don't seem to be street signs in Galway, or if there are, I didn't know where to look for them.  We knew which roads we needed, but we had no idea which road was which.  In addition to this, it was a Saturday afternoon, close to the start of the Rugby World Cup Ireland vs Canada game, so the streets were thronged with people.  Jon had to ask for directions three times.  Yes, there were tears (mine), but we finally found the correct car park.

The Budget rental guy came to meet us and he was so kind.  The car was due at noon, which meant it was actually due at 12:30, and now it was 1:30 (shocking to me, because it felt like we'd been driving around the city for hours) so since we were only an hour late, they didn't charge us any extra.  "You're grand!" the man said.  "No bother!"  What I learned is that I should have arranged to return the car to the airport, which would have been easier to find.  Then we could have taken a taxi into the city with far less stress.

The whole experience was so deeply unnerving, we didn't have much enthusiasm for Galway and trudged out into Eyre Square and immediately hailed a cab to our Airbnb rental in Salthill, a Galway suburb on Galway Bay.

Our rental apartment was deliciously cozy, with a peat-burning fireplace and a big comfy couch-- just the retreat we needed after such a difficult morning. We were both quite angry with each other and matters weren't helped by the fact that Jon's back was hurting.  We had some tearful, shouty moments, but then I remembered that I had some Starbucks instant pumpkin spice latte packets that I'd bought at Dulles.  So I made myself a yummy, sugary, processed-pumpkin coffee drink and it was as good as a prozac.

We headed out to the Salthill Promenade, which is spread out along Galway Bay, and stopped in a pub to watch the rugby.  We had wanted to watch the Ireland vs. Canada game, but with all the tears and getting lost, we were too late, but we did see Japan beat South Africa.  Everyone in the pub was rooting for Japan.  I gather they're a big underdog, but I really don't know anything about rugby.

We ended the night with a delicious dinner at an Indian restaurant in Salthill and walked home to go to bed early.

A terrible picture of Salthill
D'Arcy Roundabout in Salthill--Jon's grandmother was a D' Arcy.

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