Saturday, May 19, 2012

Travel Tips and Other Random Observances

So I have decided to write a travel trip blog intermingled with stories. Or will it be stories intermingled with travel tips? I’ll let you decide. As far as my trip to Ireland thus far…WOW! I actually could just stop there because that is all that really needs to be said. But then that wouldn’t be much of a blog now would it?
In the Beginning:
So for me, no trip would be complete without a ride to the airport from my bro-in-law, accompanied by my sister in the front seat gripping the “oh shit handle” and wondering if we are gonna make it out alive.  My brother-in-law is the poster child for road rage driving. He has the unique ability to make one shit in ones pants whilst also hysterically laughing one's ass off . The assortment of curse words tempered with a wide variety facial expressions and fist and/ or finger waving are, in my mind…priceless.

 So travel observance # 1 Airports are fun. Planes are big. Waiting in line sucks. There you go; my in-depth analysis of plane travel. But hey if you need a ride to the airport let me know.

Travel tip # 2. Check in on-line 24 hours before your flight. This may or may not be widely known but because I did so a nice lady at the airport who asked if I had checked in on-line took me from the back of a VERY long line and plopped me down in a line with only one other dude in it and who was, as am I, a genius. It seems he also had enough sense to check in ahead of time. Obviously the other poor slobs, the ones in the line that stretched around the building, weren't as smart as he and I. Yea us!

Travel tip # 3. Freakin’ smile and say hello to people. This in turn will always get a smile and hello back which in turn gives you someone to talk to. A trip like this is not meant for an introvert that’s for sure. In just the few days I have been gone I have met a lovely woman from Louisiana who lives in Hamburg and who, much to my surprise, sang for me while we were waiting for the plane in Miami and by chance happened to sound just like Etta James. On the bus leaving the airport I met a super hot college professor from Berkeley who by the end of our bus ride had invited me out to visit. I also met Danielle, a study abroad college student from Iowa who was heading the same direction as me. After realizing she had no cash and only a debt card  (buses in Ireland don’t take debt cards) I paid for her to get on the bus. She became my travel companion and when we arrived in Waterford she gave me back my Euros and introduced me to Paddy the boy she had met in Dublin. Go Danielle! And last, but not least, Faye and Robert who kept me company on the ferry and were from my mother land, Canada. Now that is just a chosen few. No sense in taking a trip like this if you aren't going to enjoy the people you encounter. And they enjoyed me, whether they liked it or not.

Travel tip # 4. Do your research!! It will pay big time in the end. Case in point; as I got off the plane at the Heathrow Airport I really did not want to go east 40 minutes into London to catch a train west to the coast…duh! But the folks I asked all said that was what you had to do. So never listen to the first (or second or third, or…well you get my drift) well meaning person you talk to and if it seems to make sense that there has to be a way to go the direction you want to go then listen to your gut and make it work. Here comes the “do your research part.” A dude at the airport hooked me up with a bus that was heading to Reading (pronounced Red-ing) and then I could catch the train to the coast; all of the above heading west as required. Thanks dude I do appreciate that. So as I was digging my money out of my wallet he said “that will be 144 pounds.” I was like “WTF are you talking about my friend?” and promptly put my cash back in my wallet. I politely made him aware that “I know for a fact that I can get a ticket from London to Fishguard for 65 bucks.” He said, "oh well the price he had quoted me was for 'peak travel.'” I said I’ll wait or I’ll go elsewhere. I got my ticket for 65 Euros. Hence, my Sherlock Holmes type wit and finely honed investigative skills served me well.

All in all, this entire trip, so far, has been awesome. I happened to make the conscious decision to fly into London as opposed to the Shannon Airport in Ireland. One; there was no stinking way I was going to pay an extra 400 buck to get stuck in JFK for a 5 hour layover. I would rather have taken a plane into London, a bus to a train, a train to a ferry, a ferry to a bus, a bus to another bus which, gratefully, took me to Kilarney. Good thing, cause that’s exactly what I did. It took me an extra 10 hours of travel but just think If I hadn't of gone the extra mile, or 100, I wouldn't have met all those cool people that I was able to meet along the way. Nuff said.

Kilarney: My layover, before I get started on the Kerry Way trail, was in Kilarney. As a matter of fact I am sitting at my hostel writing this. If you are going to go to Ireland you must go to Kilarney. It has that small Irish town feel but it is…well, bigger. The greatest thing about Kilarney, other than the pubs, the music, the hot Irish guys…ummm what was I saying? Oh yeah, is the fact that it lies snuggled up to the Kilarney National Park. So you get the best of both worlds; the wonderful town and the vast expanse of the park to explore. Kilarney is a must see. Of course I didn't see it last time, but still…

Other handy tips for traveling in Ireland: (thus far)

Keep in mind that ALL roads are N25, period. And, they are never straight and seem to have no end.

The toilets cost 20 cents, even at the bus or train station, so keep some change in your pocket or get use to doing a running slide to get under the turnstile. (My personal favorite.)

Don’t forget your sunglasses because when the sun does make an appearance you want to be prepared.

Making time with the desk clerk will get you a free bowl of cereal.

If driving yourself remember: one near death experience will keep you in the proper lane for the rest of the trip.

If you do take the bus, only look across the horizon. If you look down you will certainly shit your pants at how close the driver will get to other; cars, signs , ledges, cliffs and any and all other objects that happen to get in the bus driver’s way.

Trust your bus driver as they have been blessed with balls of steel…no really.

If someone tells you to meet them down at Murphy’s Pub, it is always prudent to ask “which one?”

And last but not least: It is cloudy in Ireland ALL the time and it rains…well…a lot. Keep telling yourself it’s called “ambiance.”


  1. I feel like I am right there with you.Im looking forward to the rest of your trip and the blogs that are sure to follow. God bless you on your journey and keep on smiling!! Love you sweets.--Donna

  2. AWESOME Kristine!! Look forward to hearing more :) Safe Travels.. Love you, Angie, Chuck and Jeremy

  3. So wish I were the for this adventure. Thanks for sharing, love ya my friend!

  4. Okay, I've read every one so far...aren't you proud of me? (eyes are batting coquettishly). Glad it's going so well - keep on truckin'...or er, trecking? :)