Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ireland, Day 3

Day 3 started very early. It was Mama's first day at the Dell office. This meant Diego and Daddy would be alone all day. The boys planned to go back to King John's castle and St. Mary's Cathedral. This time with a camera in hand. So after accompanying Mama down to the lobby, we said our good-byes and she departed for the Dell office. The boys then went back to the room and had breakfast. Leaving the hotel turned out to be harder than expected. Probably due to Daddy's inexperience with preparing Diego for a day of site seeing.

It was lunchtime before the boys would make it out of the hotel. Unfortunately it was windy and pouring rain. Daddy had a hard time keeping the rain off Diego who was riding in the stroller. Most parents on the street had a plastic cover fitted over the stroller to protect their babies from rain. So the first task was to find and buy that cover. Daddy asked two sets if parents for information. The first couple responded with possibly the right information but Daddy couldn't understand a word they were saying. The second couple directed the boys to Mother Care baby store. Twenty minutes and 30 Euros later, they were back on the street. The cover worked wonderfully! Diego was dry and out of the wind.

By now the boys were hungry so it was off to the nearest restaurant. They both had a quick bite to eat (a bottle for Diego) and started towards King John's Castle. On the way they found a cool sports store and stopped to browse. Daddy came away with a very cool Limerick Sporting team polo. Once again they started for the castle. It wasn't long before Daddy stopped at another clothing store where he bought a nice sweater. With garments tucked under the stroller, the boys started for the castle once more. They had to pass the cathedral but opted to see the castle first. Finally arriving at the castle entrance, they were shocked to find the doors were locked. They were less than 5 minutes late for the last tour! They quickly turned around and headed back to the cathedral. They couldn't very well go back to the hotel without having accomplished a single tourist task. The cathedral is surrounded by a high wall with a single arched entrance. Entering the grounds, the boys made their way to the side door just passed the cemetery. There are two cemeteries, one in the front and one on the side facing the street. The cathedral was empty except for a man sitting at a small desk near the door. He was there to take our 2 Euro entrance fee. If you have never been to a European cathedral, you will no doubt be impressed with its architecture. Having been to many, Daddy was interested in its history. There is an area off the main hall where tourist can read important moments in the cathedrals history. It begins in the late 1100s and goes on to modern day Limerick.

After browsing and taking pictures, the boys headed back to the hotel. By this time the rain had stopped but it was still windy. Diego remained safe under his new cover. Back in the room Diego napped while Daddy watched the Motocross of Nations. Mama showed up at 6:15 PM with plans for the evening. We would meet other Dell folks in the lobby at 7 then head to an Indian restaurant not far from the hotel. This would be our first Indian restaurant that was not a buffet so we had a hard time figuring out what to order. We basically guessed and ended up with some good but very spicy food. After dinner we all walked back to the hotel where we parted ways in the lobby then it was back to the room. Day 3 had come to an end.

More Pics from the day:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ireland, Day 2

Day 2 started at a late 12 PM. The goal of the day was to see the Cliffs of Moher. Since it takes 30 minutes for the hotel valet to retrieve our car, we decided to go shopping at a store across from the hotel. Daddy and Diego just browsed while Mama did the real shopping. Forty minutes later we were in our Jeep making the 2 hr drive to Liscannor, a small town near the cliffs. The hotel staff provided printed directions to which Mama insisted we follow. Daddy decided to use his new GPS toy to plot the trip. It wasn't long before we came a point where the directions differed from the GPS. Daddy insisted we follow the GPS route. Five minutes later the GPS had us exiting the highway (N18) at a point where the exit was closed for construction. At that time Daddy decided to use the GPS to get back to the directions provided by the hotel staff. Despite the occasional rain, the drive was very nice. The scenery was rolling hills of green pastures dotted with small towns and farms.

It wasn't long before we reached the parking area near the cliffs. Just as we parked it began to rain. We had no umbrella so we decided to wait in the Jeep until it passed. Mama used the time to feed Diego and change his diaper. Lucky for us the rain passed quickly. We then packed up the stroller and made our way up to the cliff's edge. Wheel chair access made it easy for us to push the stroller all the way to the top. As we approached you could hear the ocean crashing against the cliffs. Once at the top we took in the spectacular view. Our photos do little to capture the feeling of standing at the cliff's edge. We took several pictures from different locations then retreated back to the exhibition center. The exhibition center was very cool. It had a restaurant, gift shop and an area with huge screens displaying photos and facts about the cliffs. We only stayed about an hour then drove back into Liscannor for lunch. There we found a traditional Irish pub where we had 'fish and chips' (very good) then headed back to Limerick.

Once back at the hotel, we went to the lounge where Daddy tried 3 different Irish Whiskys. All very good. We found out the lounge manager was from Italy (Mama's home country). They chatted in Italian and we all discussed our travels and experiences. It all ended at midnight when we retired to our room. Mama went to bed because she had to work at 9 AM the next morning (go to the Dell plant). Diego was wide awake so Daddy pushed him around the hotel in the stroller until he finally went to sleep. Soon he was followed by Daddy.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Diego in Ireland!

After much anticipation, Diego's first overseas trip is underway. It started with a flight from Austin, TX to Chicago, IL. We had a very long 6 hour layover in Chicago followed by a 6 1/2 hour flight to Shannon, Ireland. Finally we drove our rental car from Shannon to Limerick which is where we'll be staying for the next 7 days. Diego has been a wonderful little traveller! He even received compliments for being "such a good baby" from other passengers.

We arrived at the Limerick Marriott at approximately 9 AM. The hotel here is very nice and in close proximity to shopping and many restaurants. Exhausted from the trip, we cleaned up and took a nap. By 3 PM we were out on the streets of Limerick. The plan was to get a few items we forgot to pack, grab something to eat then checkout the local scene. The weather was a pleasant 65 degrees and partly sunny. It was also a little breezy so we stopped at a local store to pick up a hat for Diego (pics coming soon). Later we stopped for lunch at an Italian Ristorante. After lunch Daddy used his Blackberry GPS to plot a 4 mile trek to King John's Castle, St Mary's Cathedral, Hunt Museum then back to the hotel. It was a nice little walk with plenty of shops to browse along the way. Some streets were paved with stone which made for a bumpy stroller ride but Diego took it all in like a seasoned world traveller, always sitting up to check out the new sites and sounds. Getting back to the hotel, Diego had a bite to eat and was soon fast asleep. His first travel day is nearly over. We'll have to see what the evening brings.