The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

Ireland to Luxembourg (and a Stop in Between) January 6, 2017

Filed under: Family,Life tales,photography,Travel — lizardesque @ 2:39 pm
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On the morning of the seventh day of our trip, Ian and Friday got up unfathomably early so they could get to the airport with ample time to catch their flight home. Michelle and I were continuing on our trip to meet my family in Luxembourg and had a later flight. So, we groggily bid our husbands goodbye and slept for a few more hours.

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Pylons in Dublin kind of look like small people wearing bowler hats.

We Ubered to the airport, got there  plenty early for our flight, and decided to spend some time souvenir shopping. I think just being in the airport elicited premature end-of-vacation panic in me, and I had to continually remind myself that I still had a few days of vacation remaining, lest I buy all the things before leaving Dublin.

Once we were en route to Amsterdam, it began to dawn on me that the connection to our flight to Luxembourg City was pretty tight. Living in Chicago, I guess I’m a bit spoiled by having direct flights available for most of my travels So, when I booked the tickets, I didn’t stop to think that making a connecting flight in 40 minutes, while not impossible, was not terribly realistic. Still, our flight out of Dublin left on time, and I tried not to fret. We even landed in Amsterdam on schedule, so I was still hopeful we’d make it as we taxied for what seemed like a really long time…ah, but that was just my anxiety, right? It probably just seemed like a long time.

The plane parked at a gate, and we were finally about to be let off when an announcement informed us that there were problems with the jetway. People were working on it, and it shouldn’t be long. Deep breaths.

Eventually, we got off of the plane and rushed toward our gate, still hoping we could make our connection. We followed the signs that pointed us toward the right terminal but gave no indication of the distance to our gate (which I believe, although don’t quote me on this, was about 17 miles). Our hearts and stomachs sank a bit when we saw the line at passport control (so much for easy movement between EU countries), but our flight was still listed as boarding by the time we made it through. So we ran. We ran until we couldn’t run anymore, then speed walked for a bit, and ran again. I had seen people running through airports before, and whenever I did, I felt glad not to be them. I hate being late for things. But alas, I was now one of those people–running awkwardly, dragging luggage behind me, sweating, and gasping for breath.

Insult was added to injury when we reached our terminal only to encounter a broken people-mover, which could have shaved precious seconds from our journey if it had been operational. Still not about to give up, we ran some more. Breathless, we arrived at our gate to discover that our plane had not yet departed, but its doors had been closed, and we weren’t going to be allowed to board. Disappointed, we walked (at a more leisurely place) to the rescheduling counters and were rebooked on the next flight (roughly five ours later). With some time to kill, we decided the best way to cope with our missed flight and at the same time celebrate the fact that we did still have a few days of vacation remaining was to visit an airport bar.

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Coping with a missed connection

 

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This bench/sculpture looks comfortable, but it actually was not at all.

We killed some more time by wandering around the airport and browsing in shops until hunger prompted us to see out some dinner. It became quite apparent that we were still discombobulated by the wrench that had been thrown in our schedule when we both accidentally bought non-alcoholic beer (when meaning to buy real beer)–at airport prices even!

notbeer

Damn it! Oh well, at least there was pie.

Thankfully,things were relatively uneventful after that. We made our flight without any problems. As luck would have it, we arrived at the lobby of our hotel in Luxembourg city at the same time my mom and brother had decided to visit the lobby vending machine (which has beer and wine!). Instead, we all decided to visit the hotel bar once Michelle and I were checked in. There we enjoyed some beer–this time, the real stuff–and toasted  our impending Luxembourg adventures.

beer

That’s more like it!

 

IRL IRL Day 6: 30,000+ Steps in Dublin December 13, 2016

Filed under: Food,Life tales,photography,Travel — lizardesque @ 11:33 am
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We began our final full day in Ireland with breakfast at Herbstreet in Dublin. My waffles with fresh berries and clotted cream were delicious, despite the fact that I strongly feel that clotted is one of the least appetizing words in the English language and really has no place on a menu.

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I dig the Dublin doors.

After breakfast, we went to Trinity College, where we saw the Book of Kells, which was pretty amazing and a tough act to follow. But I could have sworn I heard a choir of angels singing as I entered the Long Room and beheld more old books than I could likely read in a lifetime…although I do enjoy a challenge.

longroom

 I would like to live here, please, thx.

Our self-guided walking tour of Dublin continued with stops at Christchurch Cathedral and Dublin Castle. We intended to visit the Jameson distillery, but it turned out to be closed for re-development.

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Christchurch Cathedral

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Dublin Castle

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Bridge on the River Liffey

We had also planned to tour the Kilmainham Gaol, but we didn’t plan quite well enough–tickets for the day were sold out by the time we arrived. Since we were all ready there, we  perused the museum there for a while, and that was quite interesting.

deadgeese

I have so many questions.

From there, we headed to the Guinness Storehouse, where we took a tour and had drinks in the Gravity Bar, which offers 360-degree views of Dublin. I’ve taken quite a few brewery tours in my day and the brewing of beer occurs regularly in my kitchen, so frankly, learning about the brewing process is not all that interesting or novel to me. That said, I really enjoyed the Guinness tour. The building itself and the exhibits are impressive, and the tour was structured so that, for the most part, you could go through at your own pace.

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View through a waterfall or impressionistic painting?

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Ian wished this was a real beer. I wished it was a real turtle.

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Tiny Guinness is adorable!

At the conclusion of the tour, you have the option of (after brief instruction) being able to pull your own pint or to have one pulled for you in the Gravity Bar. We opted for the latter, mainly because I figured (incorrectly, as it turned out) that the bar might have options other than Guinness. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of Guinness (*gasp*!). I don’t hate it–it’s just not my thing. I think it has something to do with the fact that when I look at it, I expect something chocolate–not something with hints or notes of chocolate but rather some serious, deep, dark chocolatey goodness–and am invariably disappointed. And frankly, the assumption that everyone who takes the tour and is not a child would want a Guinness seems a bit short-sighted, but oh well. I drank a little, and my companions finished my portion.

gravity

In my experience, it’s the other way around.

After loading up on Guinness-themed souvenirs, we sought out food at Against the Grain and then headed back to the apartment to pack up. Packing is never particularly fun, and according to my FitBit, we had racked up more than 30,000 stops that day, so a couple of beers seemed well deserved. As we drank and packed, we pondered exactly what had compelled us to buy quite so much beer. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but there was no way we were going to finish it all. Ah well, hopefully the next occupants of the apartment enjoyed it.

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It’s true–the streets in Ireland are paved with potatoes!

Save

 

IRL IRL Day 5: Limericks, Literature, and Libations October 20, 2016

On the morning of Day 5, Michelle and I again walked in to the main part of Killorglin with hopes that, this time around, some of the shops would actually be open. They were, and they included this place, the name of which amused me, and where I finally purchased the sweater in the window that I’d eyed every time I walked past the store.

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I guess that sums it up

I purchased a few other souvenirs, including a picture book about King Puck and a photo of a puffin. Also, Michelle got a rock.

We spent much of the rest of the day on the road, and as we passed through Limerick, we (mostly I) decided that collaborating to compose some limericks would be a great car game. To commemorate our stay in Killorglin, we wrote one about His Royal Goatness, King Puck.

There once was a goat named King Puck
Who once a year ran quite amok
They took him to town
And gave him a crown
To bring all the children good luck

And how could we not honor our favorite songster from the previous evening?

There once was a urinal singer
A bit tipsy but still a real ringer
His notes never missed
When he took a piss
Which caused other people to linger

It also happened to be the birthday of a dear friend of ours, so we had to write a limerick for her as well. In doing so we learned that it’s harder than you might think to find rhymes for “September.”

On this fine day in September
Sara we surely remember
We stand up and yell
“Hey, we wish you well!”
May your party last into November*

We stopped to see the Rock of Cashel. We noticed this sign in the parking lot, which led us to wonder is castle tailgating a thing?

notailgating

I can’t say I would have thought to tailgate in a castle parking lot

The Rock of Cashel was by far the oldest and probably coolest looking of the castles we’d seen. My enjoyment of it was hardly dampened by the fact that I had “Rock of Cashel” repeating in my head to the tune of “Rock the Casbah” the entire time I was there.

grumpycastle

Grumpy castle is grumpy

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Irish High Cross at the Rock of Cashel

mindyourhead

Generally good advice

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Celtic knots

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Birds circling ominously

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The round tower at the Rock of Cashel

We headed to Dublin and arrived with just about enough time to check in to our new place and head out to the Literary Pub Crawl we’d booked. The crawl included stops at four pubs (The Duke, M.J. O’Neill’s, The Old Stand, and Davy Byrne) as well as Trinity College. At each stop, the guides regaled participants with interesting anecdotes about Irish authors and acted out portions of their work. It was great fun, probably not hindered by the fact that I’d had a few beers without having had a proper dinner. At the end of it all, the guides quizzed the audience on what they’d learned. I won a T-shirt, not necessarily because I learned the most but rather because I was quick and loud with the answers (also not hindered by the aforementioned beers). Eh, who needs dinner when you have beer and a free T-shirt in size XXL?

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Best pint glass ever

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It’s a major award!

*The line I originally composed for this was “And hope that you don’t get dismembered,” but I was overruled. I guess a birthday poem that contains the word “dismembered” might not make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but it was clearly expressing an anti-dismemberment stance. I mean really, birthday dismemberment is the worst.