Sunday, July 19, 2015


July 19, 2015
Kinvara, Co. Galway, Ireland

The last few days were a whirlwind. Relocating from Nova Scotia to Ireland wasn't particularly difficult (I worked ahead so I had lots of free time), but the journey was long. Something like 30 hours from my NS bed to my hotel room in Galway.

Despite a tropical storm off the East Coast, I was able to fly out of Halifax on Wednesday (7/15) and make it to St. John's, Newfoundland where I hopped a second flight to Dublin.

The second flight was only 4 hours. It was a pleasant enough WestJet flight, although somewhat cramped -- even in the 'plus' section.

We touched down in Dublin around 7am local time (GMT+1; ET+5; PT+8!). The next leg of the journey was a bus ride right across the country to Galway. I had already booked an express bus for 11:15am -- which meant I had to hang out in the airport for a while. I took advantage of this time to get an Irish SIM card for my phone (€25 for a month of pretty much unlimited everything). Then I grabbed an overpriced coffee and banana and stared at the clock until 11am.

At that point I wandered out into the fresh air and hopped on a very comfortable bus. It came complete with power outlets, WiFi and a toilet.

Small Countries Rock!
The bus took about 2.5 hours to cross the country. Traffic was heavy when we arrived in Galway. I hopped off the bus and was met with my first bit of Irish friendliness: a woman gave me a 20 Eurocent coin so I could access the bathroom to freshen up.

Then I grabbed my bags, asked for directions to my hotel and off I went.

I had two big bags, which was a bit of a pain but they were free to bring on the plane. A lot of the stuff inside (old clothes, nearly worn out shoes) I will simply leave behind.

The Hotel Victoria was quite close and I was checking in in no time. The room was €109 taxes in. It was also huge:
Room 204 - Victoria Hotel, Galway, Ireland
I was pretty knackered from the flight, but I went for a short stroll in search of food and then popped into the hotel's pub for a pint. Well, three.

Caught on Camera!
In the pub I met an old Irish couple. They were nice, welcomed me to Ireland and mentioned that they were connected to the McCain family in New Brunswick.

I crashed at midnight, thinking I would wake up early enough to get out and snap some pictures of Galway before the tourists showed up.

Wrong. I woke up Friday morning at 10.

With checkout at noon, I scrambled to shower and hit the nearby mall for some provisions.

At 1pm James, my Kinvara taxi driver, picked me up. It's about 40km one way and with my bags a taxi made the most sense. We also stopped at a Tesco so I could grab more provisions and plug adaptors for my electronic gadgets.


We arrived at my new home mid-afternoon after zipping through the quite small town of Kinvara.

Home Sweet Home
Kate, the owner was quite welcoming. We spent the afternoon going over things like how to feed and water the cats. She showed me around the rather large yard that includes a ton of berry bushes and apple trees in the back. Raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants and more.

The neighbours came over for a short visit and then it was time for dinner, then bed.


Saturday (7/18) morning was a bit of a blur. Kate was getting ready to leave and she was taking care of last minute things. The neighbours came by again and I discovered that I had picked up a cold. I never get colds and here I am, just days into my Irish adventure and my head is completely stuffed. Bah!

By noon I was all alone, save for the two cats (George and Moley).

There was another afternoon visit by the neighbour and his guest from the UK. She was interested in housesitting. We chatted about that for a spell.

The weather was quite crappy, with lots of wind and rain all day. But shortly before sunset (which is still at 9:51pm -- at 53 degrees north, we're at the same latitude as Edmonton) there was a small break in the clouds during a heavy shower. The result was this:

Double Rainbow - iPhone Panorama - No filter!
I rushed back to the house to get my good camera, but it was too late. Still, the iPhone image is pretty good. I made sure to put the phone down and stare at the nature's wonder (which is why I was too late getting the good camera).

After all that excitement, it was time for bed... ready for my solo Ireland adventure to begin on Sunday (7/19).


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