Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IRELAND Chapter 2 Travel Buds

The key to having the Most Wonderful Adventure, is going with the absolutely perfect travel mate. Someone who shares your VPA – your Vision, your Passion and your sense of Adventure. And my, was I blessed to get to have my first visit to Ireland with my dear friend, Jan. It was the third trip for her, so I was fortunate to be the recipient of all her knowledge & experience and believe me, I took advantage of it at every possible opportunity. She must have grown so weary of me saying ‘Tell me again about ….’; ‘Where was it we were yesterday?’ ‘What was the name of that town again.'

It is such a gift to travel with someone who is a total kindred spirit in every way. Someone who shares a sense of possibility, who is fun & flexible and ready to change directions at the drop of a hat. Some who also wholeheartedly embraces the philosophy that 'where we are is exactly where we're meant to be'.

We spent the first three days in the wonderful city of Dublin and went from there on a bus tour out to Wicklow. Then we jumped on a six day tour of the entire country, which was just the perfect thing to do. 

Our Paddy Green bus.
 We got to sit back and relax while we were chauffeured to all the ‘must see’ spots. It was excellent to be given the details and history of the areas – stuff that we might not otherwise have known. We started in Dublin and made a sweeping circle, up through Belfast and Londonderry/Derry in Northern Ireland, down through Galway to Killarney. The only difficult part of that for me was driving by a thousand potential photographs. It was driving me crazy. I kept busy bookmarking them in my mind, pretending that there was a possibility that I could return and capture it. As it turns out, I didn't lack for photo opps at all - in fact, by the end, we were driving by them ourselves out of sheer over-exposure to beautiful sights.

ROOMIES ... Team Canada with a token Auzzie
It was a fun group – 37 of us from all over the world  - Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the USA, Australia, Britain, South Africa, a virtual United Nations.  There were only 10 of us over 35, the rest being wonderful young people who were quite entertaining on their own. 

Jan and I were the only ones of the ‘older’ group who stayed at the hostels with the young folk. And I am so glad we did – it was an interesting experience to say the least. Over the five nights we shared a room of 4, 6, 8, 10 and 14. I must say, I had never experienced 14 people sleeping in one room; sharing a single bathroom and shower.  It worked just fine. One night the hostel miscounted, so Jan & I, coming in last, were given a room to ourselves in a townhouse.  The young ones were very sweet including us & we joined in their BBQ and pubbing and Karaoke night and enjoyed the partying spirit of youth. That's the side we want to be on. I was surprised how you could get attached to strangers in such a short time. We were a little sad to leave the group a day early to go off on our own.

Jan is always, always up for any crazy idea. She  jumped enthusiastically into ‘Thelma & Louise’ mode in a darling little red Yaris, which only had one minor flaw. The steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car. She navigated us through colourful little towns; narrow, brambly tree lined roads and skinny mountain goat paths. She patiently reminded me when I was on the wrong side of the road & didn’t laugh or roll her eyes as we chugged & sputtered & lurched while I got the feel of the shifter being on my left side.
A lovely breakfast at Bridge House in Skibbereen.
The perfect travel companion for sure.  She loves her camera as much as I love mine and was every bit as anxious to pull over and capture the moment.  Again. And again. And again. We LOVED the freedom of that.  And we loved having no agenda, just going where the road led us and discovering our own treasures. 

We had such a time meeting wonderful folks each day, we surely could have written a story with the characters that came into our lives each and every day. In fact, there were times it truly seemed that we were living in a novel or even a television show with the most delightful personalities.

As IF we would ever run out of things to talk about, we certainly have added to our repertoire of stories and cache of memories.

I am ever so grateful to her for agreeing to usher me around that wonderful country. She has successfully passed on her love of all things Irish - the cities, the countryside, the history and the people.  And just like her, I left with the words, 'I shall return!'


Mel said...

I am enjoying of the journey to Ireland, as we are heading there next May for the first time! Very excited!! Tossing around so many ideas of where to go, what to do! Keep the info coming!!:D

EvScott said...

Oh you will SO love it - when I go again, I will pick May - it is beautiful beyond words with the fresh greens, lovely blossoms and brilliant gorse. Heaven on the Emerald Isle.

Mel said...

So what you are saying is my allergies will L-O-V-E- me in May:( ...it will all be worth it, i'm sure!

EvScott said...

oh dear:( you'd have to have a pint of Guinness to ease the pain. :)

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