I am just beginning my third trip to Europe in the last 11 months. If you haven't noticed I have been very bad about posting travel blogs, even though I have a ton of useful and interesting information I could share, The hold up was working on my photos, I took too many and it took too long to select and edit the ones I wanted to keep. The task is finally done. I have created galleries (posted in the Photo Galleries page) consisting of my favorite pictures from Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Austria, Germany, and the Italian Dolomites. I will create blogs, with a few more photos included, of my previous trips when I get back from 32 day journey in Ireland.
Since I arrived in Ireland yesterday, this would be a good time to start blogging about the Emerald Isle. I wanted to visit Ireland to experience the music and pub scene along with photographing the beautiful scenery. Being my third trip to Europe I have learned a few things. My luggage was lost going to and coming back (United Airlines did recover my luggage a few days later both times) from my first trip last summer, so lesson number one was to pack light. I hand wash what I bring every few days, and I don't bring much as it all fits easily in a backpack. Lesson two was to make sure I booked a flight with plenty of time between connections since airlines lately have been horrible about being on time. Lesson two did little good as Delta changed my departure flight, giving me a little over an hour to change flights in Atlanta. The international gates are never close to the domestic gates! Fortunately, my flight from Albuquerque left on time and the Atlanta airport tram system got me to the international gate just in time for boarding.
I arrived in Dublin 8:30 in the morning, going through customs consisted of going to a booth where a guy checked my passport and asked my purpose for the trip, that was it. No lines, no waiting, out of the plane and out of the airport in less than 20 minutes. Found the bus terminal right away, purchased my ticket to Donegal online, and four hours later arrived at my destination. My hotel was less than 50 feet from the bus stop. One of many things I love about traveling in Europe is that a car is really not needed. Most cities are very walkable. There are typically many small boutique hotels near the city centers. and they are not expensive considering the locations. In Donegal I stayed at the Reveller, which was a combination pub and hotel. Ireland is one of the more expensive countries in Europe, yet my spacious room in a great location only cost $440 for four nights. The picture below is the view from my window.
I have to warn you the toughest part of long-distance traveling is the time change and overnight flights. The flight, from Atlanta to Dublin, shorter than most European flights, was only 7 hours, but it started at 8:30 in the evening. I cannot sleep on a plane, which makes for a long time without any sleep. It is recommended that you stay up and avoid an afternoon nap. I was able to stay up the entire next day on my first two trips to Europe, but after having a couple pints of Guiness while waiting for my room to get ready and then having pasta at the La Bella Donna for dinner, I ended up crashing 7:30 in the evening. I did enjoy my two beers while making some friends at the pub. Ireland is known for the friendly locals.
Hoping for a good night sleep I wake up at 3:30 in the morning. My body thinks it is still Albuquerque time. Waking up the first few nights very early happened on my first two trips as well, eventually our bodies adjust. Even with no sleep I never felt really tired, I think the excitement of the trip pumps out some extra adrenalin. After a good breakfast at the Blueberry Tea Room my first full day was spent checking out Donegal. Below is a couple of photos of the town, a picture of the local castle, and a few pictures of a walking path along the river that runs through town.
One more photo below of Donegal Abby ruins.
To end my first full day in Donegal I had to listen to some traditional Irish music at the Reel Inn.