Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The start of the Irish Adventure

June 4
My husband, Duncan, and I headed in our car to Seattle well after mid-day. Shortly into the trip the radio quit working. Hmmmm, we hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come. Fortunately the trip to the west side of the state had no further incidents and we got to our friend's old house that is now up for sale and picked him up for a quick, albeit late dinner. Too late for normal, especially when you have to be up at 4am to head to the airport.

June 5
Yes, up that early and out the door. Duncan is taking a much later flight so he was able to take me to the airport himself. The scales at the curb revealed his suitcase was heavier than mine! GO FIGURE. And since he can check 2 bags for free, he decided he could shuffle the goods and take both suitcases and I wouldn't have to worry about one to be checked. yeah!!!

Unfortunately the travel agent had booked my flights using my maiden and last name as all one name. Not sure how they even knew my maiden name, but anyway, I had been instructed to carry my  marriage certificate to avoid any issues at security. For the last six weeks I have been carrying it in my purse. I went to check in at the self-serve kiosk and it wouldn't let me add my Frequent Flyer #. So, I went to the check-in counter for assistance and they couldn't do it either because the names don't match on the ticket vs. the FF#. So...I'll have to petition it when I get home. As I went to get the marriage certificate out to prove to the attendant my situation, I suddenly couldn't find it. Slight panic....Oh mind raced to figure out where it might be and it hit me that I had put it in my checkbook and last minute decided that I didn't need to take that with me. DOH! am I going to get through security?

I surveyed the TSA screeners and decided the female would be most sympathetic. As I came to her I just handed her my passport and boarding pass. She didn't ask me one question, stamped it and let me through. WHEW! That was easy and a huge relief.

At the gate others from my group had already gathered. Here is our crew. We hail from Idaho, Oregon and Washington. A couple of them are even within an hour of where I live. This will be a fun group.

Other attendees were also there from another group.

When we got to New York we had to exit security in order to get to Terminal 4 for Aer Lingus. We had plenty of time, but it made me nervous about the return. We learned that if going TO a Delta flight from that terminal, there is a shuttle that goes directly. We will have to clear customs though, so hopefully we can stay inside and re-check our luggage and then go back upstairs and get the shuttle. I really want to stay inside security due to the name issue again. The travel agent had been able to change the Aer Lingus booking so that it was just 'Oddie', but not the DELTA flight. rrrrr.

At our NY gate there were more joining the group from all over the country. None will be in our specific bus, but fun to meet them anyway. Our fearless primary group leader, Pam Holland, from Adelaide, Australia, caught up with us too!

My seat mate was delightful and we enjoyed sharing various (mostly quilting related) stories. She is from Nebraska and knows the quilt shop in Elk Horn, Iowa where our friends the Peterson's live. Apparently that shop did close --sorry Shannon, I know you wanted me to take an interest in purchasing it! :-) Small world!

The final images of sunset as we crossed the pond.

And some of the rest of the group keeping busy or trying to get some sleep.

June 6
First images of dawn.

Arrival at the rainy Dublin airport at about 5am local time. Sleep....not too much.

There are two other flights coming in, the last at 8:45am. Originally thought we'd leave with a full bus and the rest would get a second one, but no, our hostesss indicated that we would be waiting until the 8:45am arrivees ---which includes Duncan!!!!! That will be a fun surprise.

While waiting, most enjoyed an Irish breakfast.

I waited at the exit area hoping to surprise Duncan, and he ended up surprising me

Out of about 30+ people we anticipated, only a couple didn't show. Another 19 are flying into Shannon and will meet us in Galway. It seemed like half a day had gone by since the first group arrived at 5am and the last group came out of the customs hall about 9:30am. We loaded up the bus, Duncan helping to load the suitcases because he just can't help it. I got a good one!!

Our busdriver is Mike, but pronounced differently in gaelic. He seems like he will be a great care taker of us on this adventure.

We finally got away from the airport just before 11am and headed west. About lunch time we stopped at a Carvery --- a little cafeteria style eatery at a hotel, there were other options including McDonalds, Subway, and a deli. Even Woodie's DYI :-)

Duncan got his first go at some local 'chips'. They had been frozen, so he is still pursuing some FRESH 'chips'.

I don't remember much of the remaining hour on the bus before arriving to our hotel at the Menlo Park. This hotel is named after a couple of Irish brothers, originally from Menlo, Ireland, who established their ranches in California and erected an arch similar to one at the Menlo Castle and called it "Menlo Park". Go figure....made the world seem small again to learn a bit of history from home. These photos are from the hotel website, but the room photo looks like it is our room--seriously.

Once in our room, Duncan and I both crashed.

It was soon 6:30p and time for dinner with the whole group in the hotel including the others who arrived into Shannon. Several starts were available and we chose the cream of vegetable soup. There was quite a selection of meats --most seemed to select the salmon but there was pork and beef too and when I asked for a vegetarian plate they provided a "lentil burger" that had a curry taste to me and some sort of sweet chutney on top. It wasn't served like a burger, but was called that. Anyway, everyone was then personally offered sides of small white potatoes and veg. (Yes, they just say "VEG", not the whole word of 'vegetables'.) that included carrots, parsnips, brocolli and green beans from a large tray served by the server. A couple of types of bread were available on the table, a dark bread that looked like it might be a German bread, but didn't taste that way and white rolls with butter. A lovely individual apple pie was served for dessert.

Pam did introductions and each small group leader (3 of us combined with Pam's) also did introductions of their groups. One is Grannie Suzannie from Palm Coast, Florida (well known for her bus trips to Paducah from that area for many years) and the other is Cathy Van Bruggen, from Southern California and does beautiful applique designs. Four at our table at dinner that are part of Cathy's group are from the Oakhurst/North Fork area of California.

There is a bit of confusion about tomorrow's "Optional" tour, but hopefully it will all get sorted out with everyone by tomorrow morning.

We're off to a great start. The sun has gone down just before 10pm. Thank you for following along. I'm ready for some much needed quality durational sleep! :-) G'nite!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are all on your way! How exciting!! Thanks for sharing!