There are some who are excellently equipped for world travel. I am not one of them.
Our second day in Ireland was reserved for one purpose: sleep. After going well over twenty four hours without any decent sleep, a traveler should deserve a break. And yesterday was just the day for that.
Our daughter, attending class at University College Cork, just happened to have a fully-packed day that very same day, so we thought the schedules aligned nicely.
As it turned out, it hardly mattered, though. Sleep deprivation or not, I awoke with a start after seven hours...and the day began. Sometimes, that internal clock does not pay any attention to reason.
The day turned out to be a day for taking care of the business of daily life. The first two hours were spent over a delightful breakfast at a coffee shop across the street from our hotel--I had a smoked salmon covered serving of scrambled eggs, while my husband opted for the Irish "works" of a sampler of sausages, bacon, and (I think) there were eggs somewhere in the midst of all that meat. We enjoyed our meal, as did our daughter and one of her American friends here.
The coffee shop was called Serendipity, and that is exactly what I have been hoping for, now. I am sorely missing my iPad, and the day was partially devoted to following up on that unfortunate misplacement of my scheduler and external-drive brain.
We got ourselves an Irish cell phone. The original idea was to have our American service provider "unlock" our phones so we could purchase an Irish SIM card and swap out here, but though the Verizon rep assured us that was no longer a requirement--apparently, legislation was recently passed which spoke to that very issue--when we arrived here (sans international plan, I might add), we found out that was not the case. Another Plan B kind of day later, and we had a "burner" phone for our temporary use for the next month. One insurmountable challenge down.
In the meantime, we took the opportunity to walk through a lot of downtown Cork. Well, part of that walk was thanks to our inability to follow directions. We got lost. A lot of walking later, we accidentally stumbled upon our destination. And spent some time shopping.
The next step was to get to the airport to pick up our rental car. Remember how I was concerned about fitting five adults plus luggage into a Toyota Corolla? Well, thanks to several cab rides during afternoon traffic our first day here, my wonderful husband was re-thinking getting that stick-shift rental car. Keeping mindful about not only shifting gears with the opposite hand, while also remembering to keep to the left, even on the roundabouts, was weighing on his mind. On our ride to the airport to get the car, our helpful cab driver suggested switching his watch from his left arm to his right arm. That would be to remind him to Look Right!!!
Duly noted. And heavily insured.
In the meantime, I have noticed that a lot of the Google Maps driving instructions seem to repeat the same sequence: go to next roundabout, take the second exit. Rinse. Repeat.
In the spirit of the adventure, we had not been able, before leaving the States, to secure all the hotel reservations we had needed to line up. Does that strike you as crazy? We seem to be joining the ranks of a good friend of mine, who has always claimed she is the "Queen of Wing." We are learning to "wing it," too.
Thankfully, though we had received no response from our inquiry to the Bed and Breakfast establishment we chose for our weekend in County Tipperary, with our new Irish cell phone, we were able to call the place directly. Reservations are now secured. We will be headed north shortly to begin our exploration of the places where our Tully and Flannery ancestors once walked. The adventure will now begin in earnest.
Above: Yes, this is fried chicken; no, it is not the South. This is Cork, I promise (note the street sign above the business sign). Only someone who spent his boyhood years growing up in Texas would find a place like this in Ireland.