A Travellerspoint blog

The end.

A few wee lists...

Things I will miss:
- friendly people with awesome accents (and linguistically appropriate speech impediments)
- checking out of hotels at 11 or 12o'clock
- glasses with the name of the drink written on them (no more forgetting which one is the light beer!)
- knowing a song about every place we visit
- pints
- interesting flavoured crisps (e.g. haggis, pickled onion)
- taxi drivers that know where they are going
- constantly singing the Haymarket ad in Edinburgh with Steph
- museums that are free because they are funded by the National Lottery

Reasons I'm excited to be coming home:
- seeing friends and family again (just so I can tell stories and bore you all to death with hundreds and thousands of photos!)
- sleeping in the same bed for more than three nights - especially my own bed, with my own pillow
- having a wardrobe, not a suitcase
- not being on a plane for 24 hours

Things I never thought I'd say:
- "gee this vegetarian haggis is delicious"
- "oh it's twelve degrees today - nice and warm..."
- "fly fishing in Dundee? Great idea!"
- "I got this bruise from falling off a Segway"
- "actually I don't feel like bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning"
- "a castle? Meh"
- "Simon you made it through that museum so quickly!" (just kidding, I never said that... Haha!)

Posted by Buccas 00:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The homecoming

Next time, we're flying Emirates...

Urgh... Early early start. The night porter was decidedly cheery, as was the taxi driver. These Irish just don't know how to be grumpy!
Airport was, as always, a great spot for people watching. There was a small child dragging her suitcase along behind her very proudly, but then she dropped it and ran to something else that had caught her attention. Mum to the rescue - child then reclaimed her suitcase, only to drop it and run again about five seconds later. And then there was a lady wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a pink fascinator in her hair... Off to some casual races, perhaps?
Through the security check, where my backpack was studied very carefully. VERY carefully. It went through the X-ray, paused, back under the X-ray, long pause... I could see the screen and the only thing that attracted my attention was the outline of a certain Segway medal... Anyway, the bag finally came out onto the conveyor belt, and Irish Security Man approached me. Uh oh. "Is that just a wee whistle in your bag?" "yes, just a recorder." "alright, no bother." Phew! Who would've thought my recorder would get me into trouble at the airport?
Onto the plane, a little behind schedule, but nothing too drastic. Quite a few empty seats, obviously not too many people wanting to fly from Dublin to Abu Dhabi on a Friday morning. Time passes, no sign of take off. The hostesses keep saying "it won't be too much longer"... but after an hour and a half, we're told that due to some engineering thingywhatsit, we all need to move to the back of the plane for take off and landing. A slightly unusual request, but if it means we can get going, then I'm only too happy to oblige. So it's off to the back of the plane, but only temporarily - once we're up and cruising, back to our original seats. And then we can settle in to watch Madagascar 3 - yay! A few more movies later (including Brave, which makes me miss Scotland again) and we're touching down in Abu Dhabi - sitting at the back of the plane, of course.
Due to the delay, it's a pretty swift transfer to the next flight. Onto the plane, everyone's seated and this time the plane is full so we should be able to stay put and take off soon, right? Hmm not quite. An announcement from the captain - we can't take off for another hour and a half, due to congestion in the skies near Abu Dhabi. Fan-fecking-tastic. Ah well - they appeased us with biscuits shaped like hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. Seemed to be enough to stop most people from rioting. Once we took off, it was a mere 13 hours of movies, sudokus and even a little bit of sleep. The food was unappealing, living up to the stereotype of "plane food". Sandwiches filled with onion not exactly what i would have chosen for several hundred people in a confined space, but anyway... Low point of the trip was being given a cup of apple juice, only to find that the cup had a crack in it, meaning that a giant puddle of juice formed on my tray and ended up on my leg. Mmm apple juice on my pants... Great. Air hostess wiped it up and transferred remaining juice to another (more functional) cup, but didn't bother to top it up. So I had 1/4 cup of juice to drink, and 1/4 cup of juice to soak into my pants. Thanks so much. And on any other day, that would not be an issue, but it was hard to be amused after four hours sleep, and 24 hours cramped on a plane. The air hostess wasn't even particularly nice about it! Definitely not Irish...
Finally we arrived back in Melbourne, huzzah! Collected our duty-free purchases, gotta love pre-paid purchases. I said to Simon how great it was to return to the country and be given "free" grog - a lady nearby remarked "can't half tell you're Australian!"
Got to customs and ticked the box that said we had food to declare. Customs lady noticed that we'd spent the most time in Scotland. Time in Scotland + food to declare can only mean one thing. "Got any haggis?" "um... yeah..." "Good. Just show the quarantine people, it'll be fine". And yes, ladies and gentlefolks, canned haggis is a perfectly legal product to bring into our fine country. Probably the closest I will ever come to smuggling anything, and also the closest I will ever come to being on Border Patrol. Happy days.
With that final brush with authority, it was through the gates and into the welcoming arms of Mama and Papa Buccheri. Ah it's good to be home...

Posted by Buccas 28.10.2012 00:53 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

In Dublin's fair city...

... where the girls are so pretty!

semi-overcast

Well Simon slept like a log last night... Barely stirred when I got back to the room, and didn't wake up until nearly 9am. Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky, and had a very restless sleep - kept waking up to see if he was okay!
Freeway all the way to Dublin, and the frequent appearance of the toll plaza gave us a chance to offload some of our coins. It rained most of the drive, but cleared up when we got to Dublin. Checked in at our hotel, and I was finally able to remember my travel phone number without consulting the note stored in Simon's wallet. Only took me a month!
Into the city to the Guinness Storehouse, which really should be called the Museum o' Guinness, or even GuinnessLand or something fun like that... We learnt all there is to know about the black stuff, even the six steps to pouring the perfect pint. Got to have a go ourselves, and have the certificate to prove it from the Guinness Academy!
Took the hire car back to Hertz, couldn't have been easier. Take note, Manchester Avis lady!
Then to the Molly Malone statue, also known as the Tart with the Cart, or the Trollop with the Scallop, among other things... The cockles and mussels certainly didn't look very alive, alive-ho, but I suppose they were made of bronze.
Strolled down Grafton Street - but we weren't tripping lightly along the edge, of a deep ravine where can be seen, the worth of passion's pledge... Because it isn't November, sillies! (listen to the song Raglan Road if that confuses you)
St. Stephen's Green was an oasis of calm and greenery in the middle of the city, and the ducks and swans certainly seemed fairly happy with their choice of home.
Back to the hotel with an Albanian taxi driver who had embraced the Irish ethos of being friendly to customers, and time for dinner.
After dinner we were befriended by Joan and Kathleen, two lovely ladies (think Nan and Nell with Irish accents), who promptly admired my rings, declared that we were a "lovely couple" and thought that we were "very well suited". Then the musicians turned up, and this time it was JUST like being at the Mac's on a Wednesday - except that we were in Dublin, on a Thursday. They sat around a couple of tables and played lots and lots of tunes I didn't know... But eventually found one I did - Forty Pound Float (aka Sean Ryan's Polka, aka the song Simon and I first played as a married couple). Ah familiar territory... So I was allowed to join in, and have now played real Irish music with real Irish people in Ireland. Winner! Joan and Kathleen were now my two biggest fans, and I think we'll be getting a Christmas card from them this year...
Finally time for bed - so much for an early night!! Oh well, it was worth it...

Posted by Buccas 19.10.2012 00:03 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Simon the sick panda

Um, ketchup please?

overcast

Well I suppose this holiday couldn't be 100% perfect, could it? Poor Simon spent the morning dividing his time evenly between the bed and the toilet... Bleurgh. Not a great feeling at the best of times - but I think he would've much preferred to be on the road to Dublin! Managed to get an extra night in our Galway hotel, so he can convalesce for 24 hours and then hopefully he'll be humanoid again tomorrow.
I went to the nearest shopping centre for supplies for the invalid - Dunnes store is the most confusing store I've ever had the privilege of visiting. Eventually made it out and back to my poor patient. He gradually started to look a wee bit better, and seemed to be spending more time in the bed than on the toilet. He fell asleep, so I left him to it and went for a little wander. Checked out the shops nearby - found Penneys, the Irish version of Primark. Change rooms were a bit different to what I expected - just two cubicles, and then a big communal changing area. Hmm.
Walked straight past a shop that said "deposits accepted" - sounded like a store that wouldn't quite be within my price range. Although now that I think about it, it's probably just a posher way of saying "lay by available". Still...
Needed some food, and it seemed that food of the fast variety was the only option available. Supermac's seemed like a good choice - they sponsor a hurling team, and they are 100% Irish. So far so good. I approached the counter, to be faced with a young man called Krisztian. Here is how it went:
A: "hi, can I have a chicken wrap please?"
K: "sure,whatsaucewouldyoulikeonyourwrap?"
(what sauce? Looked quickly around for a list of available sauces... Can't see one.)
A: "umm, what types of sauce are there?"
K: *looks confused that someone wouldn't know about the sauces* "well there's asdklfjnasdkfjn, sweet chilli, ddiifnf, sdlkdee, sdfndf, oefhsm or ketchup."
(Just to clarify, Krisztian's accent is NOT Irish, but it is very fast. He looks like he's going to roll his eyes in frustration if I ask him to repeat, so I do what any self-respecting Australian would do in this situation and ask for sauce. On my chicken wrap).
A: "just a little bit of ketchup please."
Somehow I think that was the wrong answer from the look he gives me, but oh well, I've now ordered my first fast food meal in Ireland. Phew! You get to add your own salt to the chips, and all in all, it's not too bad.
After that trauma, it's back to Mr Buccheri - who is slightly more awake and a slightly more normal colour. We celebrate his improving health by watching Pointless, a very silly gameshow.
I went down to get some dinner - but dining alone just isn't as much fun. Highlight of the night is having someone say "could I be ever so bold as to take that serviette?". I *think* he might have been English... Bit of reading and sudoku-ing, and hopefully Simon will be fast asleep and feeling better by the time I get back to the room.

Posted by Buccas 19.10.2012 00:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Simon vs the lobster

Adventuring in County Clare

sunny 12 °C

Dawdley start to the morning... Breakfast featured our first experience of white pudding, which I rather enjoyed. Starting to run out of new foods to try! We dawdled a bit more, thinking about which castle to visit and working out how long it was going to get from A to B. Finally a decision was made - Simon needed seafood for lunch. So off we went to Moran's oyster cottage, sun shining on us all the way. Lunch there was amazing - and I don't even eat seafood! Simon had oysters grilled with garlic breadcrumbs, and a lobster. It really was a case of Simon vs the lobster, and even armed with a selection of weapons it seemed the lobster was winning at times... I probably confused the waiter by ordering seafood-less veggie soup, and seafood-less duck. Absolutely scrumptious!
We needed a bit of a walk after that, so we circumnavigated Dunguaire Castle, which was in a bit of a sad state of repair, but set in a lovely location with views over the bay. Walked into Kinvara for a coffee - really, could Irish people BE any friendlier?
Headed off to the Cliffs of Moher - the information centre thingy was not very exciting, but they did sell ice cream so it's not all bad. We must be getting used to the weather to be tolerating ice cream when it's only ten degrees! The actual Cliffs were impressive... The tourists were not, so many people ignoring the warning signs and going over the fence when it specifically says "do not go over the fence". Duh. There were lots of signs saying "need someone to talk? Call the Salvos" which made me think it might be a popular spot for jumpers... Gave the place a bit of an eerie feel.
We went through Ennis on the way back to Galway, but couldn't see any sieging going on (Siege of Ennis - it's a song...)
Into the hotel bar to watch the end of Ireland vs Faroe Islands - Ireland won 4-1, so the locals were happy! And the most rebellious thing we've done all holidays - we just had dessert for tea!! Apple pudding + Baileys coffee = winner. This is the life...

Posted by Buccas 16.10.2012 23:35 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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