Friday, October 22, 2010
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig!
My first sight of it was from the air, as the sun was rising. The green farmland looked like a crazy quilt and I could not wait to get my feet on that ground!
I had only flown once before- from Idaho to Colorado. I've been more of a drive- the-car-cross- country kind of gal. So this was truly a grand adventure.
A few words about traveling internationally: It's long, it's exhausting, your bottom screams at you to get up and do something, and jet lag is a very real thing.
Jet lag is the reason I'm just now getting to this post. It's also the reason I came home, kissed my kids, climbed straight into bed and curled up in a fetal position. I even gave serious consideration to sucking my thumb- and I was never a thumb-sucker as a child.
I do have to give credit to Delta for their amazing in-flight meals. Seriously- their four cheese tortellini dish may have been better than anything I've ever had at any Italian restaurant. They break out the good stuff on international flights.
I also have to put in a plug for the ability to watch new release movies on your own screen and track your flight's progress on same screen. Amazing! Even more so that this is available on virtually all flights -domestic and international- now.
I would like to state here that although the JFK airport has been a familiar place to me through many films in my lifetime, it is truly nothing to write home about. At least not what I saw of it- leaky ceilings, mediocre restaurants, questionable cleanliness, and overly-expensive shops. Do people really buy expensive jewelry in airport jewelry stores?
But back to Ireland- the Emerald Isle.
I learned, when we landed in Shannon, that Shannon is actually not a city. It's only an airport with a few businesses and homes around it. I loved the fact that the airport was small. A cabbie recommended a nearby hotel and took us there- explaining the way of things as we went. He gave us driving tips. And boy, did we need them!
We stayed a couple of nights at the Oakwood Arms- a lovely, very traditional-style place. The food was great- and they served tons of it.
One thing we found virtually everywhere- the toilets don't flush well. The back tanks are built into the wall so the handle is also on the wall. They are typically large handles and you have to pull it way down to flush. Water then proceeds to pour into the basin- gallons worth. It's all rushing in powerfully and then....not much of anything. No pressure or gravity to take anything down. You might flush 4-6 times before it's done.
Each time we were in a new town, checking out a possible bed and breakfast, I would test the toilet while the Man of the House would check the mattress for comfort. I would place a square of t.p. in the basin and give it a flush. Seven times out of ten it wouldn't go down.
Mattresses were another thing. I'm pretty sure we, as Americans, are spoiled. It mattered not the town, whether the bed and breakfast was new or older, whether the price was moderate or expensive: mattresses were uncomfortable. They are your basic flat, springed models. No extra padding of any kind.
Toward the end of our journey, we decided to pay extra to stay in a hotel- and still we had to pay more for a mattress upgrade. It was worth it! Just for one night, to sink into a soft bed and have soft pillows! You see, the night before the hotel, the pillows felt like wet sand compacted in a pillowcase. The Man of the House used whatever fluffy clothing we had to also stuff into the pillowcase as padding.
Our luxurious hotel that we think of fondly: The International in Killarney, Ireland.
Walking distance to all the shops and restaurants, helpful staff, wonderful breakfast (included with your stay) and live music for families in the attached pub on weekends.
I'll be posting more about our trip to Ireland over the next few days.
For now, I'll leave you with my first impression when I arrived back here in the states:
It's very organized.