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October 3rd 2016
Published: April 18th 2017
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Our journey from Prague back to my hometown turned out to be quite an eventful one. First of all our train from Prague to Ostrava was late so I was sure we were going to miss the next one – the one that was supposed to take us all the way to the northern Poland, to Malbork... As always I should’ve just stayed calm and not stress out at all as even though we arrived at the platform well after our scheduled time, it turned out that Malbork train was late as well, so we made it in the end. Pheeeew... I wasn’t too impressed when it turned out that it was the regular 8-seater cabin train though as you never know who you will be stuck with in that cabin during your journey. Fortunately we had some really nice company throughout our journey so all worked out well here as well... For most part of the journey at least... As we were getting close to our final destination, the train decided to break down more or less 60km away from it... In the middle of nowhere it would appear as well... First there was an announcement that there was a small technical problem and we would be leaving in no time at all, shortly after it became a half an hour delay, then an hour and then they just said the train would not be going anywhere at all until a new locomotive would come along as this one simply refused to go any further... oops! Sounded like a good few hours delay then... I managed to contact my dad who was already waiting for us in Malbork and it looked like they made an announcement about our train there already as well – only there they said the train had 2,5hours delay... Not great at all... All around us people started getting anxious, it was becoming a bit of a chaos actually... A couple of hysterical laughs here and there, people were slowly losing it... Finally there was another announcement advising people another train was going to pull up next to ours and we would have a chance to get on it! It took a few seconds and the corridor was packed with people queuing for the door already... It was a bit of a workout to get all the people off one train and put them onto another since we stopped in the middle of nowhere and there was no platform in sight... Thankfully there were a few helping hands around and some improvised ‘ladders’ and soon after we were on our way to Malbork already... Well, that was a first! Interesting finish to the first leg of our journey for sure!

The next few weeks we spent at home with my parents and my sister (as she came over for a visit as well) not doing much really – just relaxing, spending some quality family time and entertaining/babysitting Millie. Eventually the time has come to leave the nest once again and check up on my second home – Dublin of course! Again it turned out to be an interesting trip as it appeared we slightly miscalculated Grant’s stay in the Shengen zone... We had fewer days left than expected so even though we had our return tickets booked already, it looked like it was going to be a shorter stay back at home this time around. We would need to book something out of Poland fast not to overstay the visa, meaning we would miss celebrating Millie’s first birthday with the grandparents... A shame, but not much we could do about that at that point. It also meant that going to any of the Shengen countries was out of the question and we needed to plan some trip to non-Shengens instead. Thankfully there were still a few left out of the zone and we were thinking of going in that direction already, so all we needed to do was to move the dates slightly forward. Done!

And then we were back in Dublin! I can’t say I loved this city from the very beginning as when I moved over there back in 2006 I really got a good taste of what the weather could be like in Ireland and what they meant about having one season only – yep! I got a taste of the rainy season big time! It seemed as if it was never going to stop raining, seven months or so of rain without any breaks... I started wondering how on earth did the Irish stay so positive all the time??? It couldn’t only be the Guinness right? With time I learned that it definitely wasn’t only the Guinness that made people happy here – the Irish simply are genuinely positive and friendly! Add to it beautiful countryside and good standard of living and it makes Ireland a very pleasant and desirable country to live in for sure! So after making it my home here, it was a bit of heartbreak to leave it all behind and move to the other side of the world... What can I say? I simply had to follow my heart... I definitely have no regrets about making this decision as I am really happy where I am now, I just wish my second home was a bit closer so I could visit Dublin and my dear friends (and sister of course!) a bit more often...

But now I was back in Dublin once again... It was the second time I landed here with Grant and both times Dublin welcomed us with a beautiful weather – nice blue skies, no clouds or a drop of rain in sight... Yeah, if only it was always like this around here... For the next days we had a bit of a hectic schedule, well mostly Grant had a hectic schedule to be exact... It was about time my apartment in Dublin got a bit of a makeover, well maybe not that drastic, but it definitely needed some fresh paint on the walls and a few things to be fixed – tenants were basically begging for it... Ah well... Thankfully a handyman all the way from New Zealand just arrived in town! 😉 So the first few days it was all about getting the supplies and organising ourselves a bit and then 3 days of painting for Grant (definitely a keeper!) and 3 days of mum and Millie time. Then of course there was some catching up with my sister and friends in between... and a bit of sightseeing as well – wandering around the centre of Dublin, discovering some beautiful parts of the Phoenix park and spending evenings in various pubs of course... Days were flying by!

Then we got invited to spend a few days with my sister and her boyfriend Brian in Sligo. We were never going to say ‘no’ to that for sure! Absolutely love this part of Ireland! We would have been perfectly fine just chilling around these parts but it looked like they even planned a few trips for us and included some attractions into the itinerary as well! First though there was a nice stroll on the beach and catching up with friends from high school – in Sligo! World has become quite a small place these days... In the morning we were ready to do some exploring. First we stopped at Ireland's largest sanctuary for raptors and owls, Eagles Flying. It was a second visit there for my sister and her boyfriend and they highly recommended it. I was a bit sceptical when we pulled up to the place as there were no cars around and I could hardly believe they would run a Birds of Prey show for a small bunch of people like ours... and yet I was wrong! We were the only people there but that didn’t seem to bother the owners at all... On the contrary, they were more than happy to show us around and go on with the show. We got a private tour and got to meet all the animals, some very close up! As much as our adult bunch enjoyed the birds of prey show, for Millie meeting the farm animals was the highlight of the day. We all had an absolutely brilliant time and were ready to see what more Sligo had to offer.

Every time I’m around these sites, a visit to Strandhill is a must! It’s such a picturesque little town, with a great pub I might add! Great place to warm you up after being blown away by the Atlantic winds or to have a refreshing drink after getting a sun stroke – naaah, very unlikely for that to happen in Ireland... 😉 A pint of Guinness is always tasty around here though. So this time we stopped by Strandhill and had a bite to eat and a drink in the pub as well. And after that we headed off to Knocknarea – a nearby hill overlooking Strandhill. It is a burial place of a mythical warrior Queen Maeve, which ruled over these sites. A short trail but so rewarding – absolutely amazing views from the top of the hill! We came across some rescue action on the way up. It looked as if someone slipped on the stones pretty badly and needed to be carried down – I guess you can never be too careful, doesn’t matter how easy the trail may seem...

The following morning we went for a little drive around another famous Sligo hill – Benbulben. I’m always amazed about the beautiful Irish countryside, every place simply has this eerie wow factor to it! Next we drove up to Mullaghmore for a quick drink and off we went to Bundoran – Irish surfer’s paradise... or so they say... No surfers in the water this time, only a beginners group practicing on the sand, or maybe warming up? Can’t say I know much about surfing... We had a nice stroll by the shore and on the way home stopped by a local pub for a small bite to eat and drink – I have to say that scones have become my new addiction since we’ve been in Ireland, they know how to make them here for sure! So tasty!

On our last day in Sligo we went for another drive which finished with a nice stroll by the sea once again. So many lovely spots around here and no people in sight! Well, hardly any people... Sligo is definitely worth a visit! In the afternoon we headed back to Dublin. There were still a few friends we were to catch up with and hardly any time left to do that... So during our last days in Dublin there were a few quick catch ups with my friends, then the last wander around the centre of Dublin, meeting up with my sister and Brian in between and it was time to get back to Poland once again. It was sad leaving Ireland once again, but at the same time we were excited about starting the second leg of our European adventure soon. A few days in Poland and then we were heading off by the Adriatic Sea.... First a few days in transit... Next stop: London!

Additional photos below
Photos: 63, Displayed: 29


18th April 2017
Our blue eye happy traveller :)

Happy traveller
I bet you have hundreds of photos of your little bundle Anna...but this one is for the ages...scrumptious!
22nd April 2017
Our blue eye happy traveller :)

Happy traveler
Yes, lots and lots of photos! But there are a few that I'm particularly proud of, like this one. Thanks Dave:)
22nd April 2017

Late trains...dont stress
You really need to chill out. You can't change the system! Always enjoy reading your blogs and getting a chuckle. Happy travels.
22nd April 2017

Late trains...dont stress
Easier said than done ;) I know that stressing is totally unnecessary... One day I'll learn I hope... Work in progress ;) Thanks for reading
15th May 2017

Damn that Shengen!!
Yes we substituted "Shengen" for all our swear words whilst in Europe, you just wish you could get 30 days in each country rather than 90 days in Europe - just not fair. We are having trouble getting tradesman to work on our house at the moment so I am wondering perhaps we should be looking for someone from New Zealand as well. Just love the photos of Queen Maeve burial site and Dublin, I think we may need to start planning the next trip.
18th May 2017

Damn that Shengen!!
Yes, they definitely should make some changes in the Shengen visas - way too little time to explore the countries. We actually made it to Croatia just before it joined the zone! Ireland is really beautiful! Love Dublin, Wicklow, Sligo and Donegal but haven't even been to the south-west yet. From what I've heard Kerry and Cork are a must visit also! Next time...

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