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Published: November 7th 2014
I took this one from a gas station.
The first time I got out to pump gas, I saw the sticker that said "Petrol Only." I look at the pumps - one says Diesel, the other says Unleaded. WTH is Petrol, then? I shamefully asked the clerk who kindly informed me Petrol was the same as Unleaded.
Today started off with another splendid breakfast. Eggs and tomahtoes. That reminds me, I expected nobody to know what tofu was (I'm not sure why, I guess my idea of "Bed and Breakfast" brings to mind lace and musty smelling houses with old people who are behind the times. To be fair, lace, must and old people have been present now at 2/3 of my B&Bs…so I don't feel I'm too off-base here) which is why I wasn't ready to make the transition to veganism until after the trip. I did see a health store in Limerick last night and stopped in to see what kind of things they'd have. It was super tiny, 2 aisles, with all kinds of fun things - types of things you'd find at Whole Foods, and it even had a tiny little refrigerated and frozen section. Anyway, I saw tofu in a can! I've never seen it in a can before and I was so excited I had to buy it.
After leaving Limerick, I made my way to Killarney. I made it here in pretty good time and had several hours to kill in town before I could check in to
my farmhouse. I thought 'farmhouse' meant 'house on a farm,' but apparently it just means 'house near farms.' From my window I can see across the street to a farm where sheep just hang out and graze right there. That's kind of neat, not quite as neat as walking into the backyard and right up to the sheep themselves, but neat nonetheless.
I learned a GPS trick - there's a category for Parking. This is super handy since I have no idea where I'm going and I get stressed out trying to navigate in the city (let's be real, I'm a suburban girl and I get stressed out trying to navigate my own downtown, how well do you think I do in foreign cities with one ways and two ways and roundabouts and weird street signs posted in both Gaelic and English…let's just say I'm willing to walk a ways once I do find that car park.)
Anyway, today was the first day since Dublin that I got to spend several hours walking around outside during the day. It was pretty cool. I ate at this little café called Spogler's Continental Bakery & Coffee
Shop. The rain stayed away while I was in town, that was much appreciated. It did rain on and off most of the day, but brilliant sun shined through when it wasn't raining - I even saw the most amazing rainbow while I was driving. I pulled off the road to take some photos, but of course, they don't even remotely do it justice (and I could only get half of it because I was peeking through a 'wall' made of trees and bushes).
After I walked through the entire town and picked up a few more souvenirs, I drove to RossCastle
in Killarney National Park. This thing is 600 years old. The guided tours that bring you inside had already stopped for the season, but I still got to walk around the grounds and get right up close. It was freezing cold and raining with a blustery wind. I was miserable, but I was already there, it was free, I had nowhere else to go, and man - it's a freakin castle! How many real life castles am I going to see? (OK maybe a few more yet on this trip, but I'm just sayin.) By
the time I'd walked through the rain and putzed around the castle for 5 more minutes, the rain stopped and the sun came out again. And of course out came the selfie stick! I wasn't about to forget it in the car for the second day in a row. One lady watched me take a selfie and afterward I smiled and said to her, 'selfie stick.' She got super excited and said 'Ooooooh sellfee stek, whut a greht invenshun - haff yoo evehr hehrd of soch a ting?' (to her husband and daughter). Hilarious. PS - don't hate on my attempt at phonetics here. I love the Irish accent and I wish I could mirror it.
After I checked in and set up my reservations for the next 2 nights (I'll be in Kenmare tomorrow and Blarney Sunday), I went back in to town. It started pouring shortly after I left the car, and I'd stupidly left my raincoat hanging up 'to dry' in my room, so in order to get off the street, I ate at pretty much the first place I could find - Golden Chopsticks. The tofu was good, the wine was good, and
I liked the little white appetizer thingies the waitress brought. They looked like deep fried flat round white noodles (you know - cinnamon twists at taco bell - those are fried rotini noodles), and reminded me a bit of rice cakes, but with an all-around smooth texture unlike an actual rice cake. They tasted pretty good and after a few of them I asked the waitress what they were called. She said… "Prawn Crackers." As in, deep fried starch and prawns - aka tiny little gross bottom feeding sea creatures. Dammit. Why do people insist on sneaking animals into foods then serving them up to unbeknownst vegetarians? Well, that was my first and last prawn cracker. Yikes. Even typing it grosses me out - prawn cracker. Barf.
Well, tomorrow I'm driving the Ring of Kerry. One website I looked at estimated it to be an 8 hour day including 3.5 hours of driving plus stopping for walking/sightseeing and coffee at all the fun places on the way. Yikes. Wish me luck. I've done a TON of driving on this trip; it's a little more difficult than I thought it would be. I've been comparing it to my
driving trip to Puerto Rico, but I was only the passenger on that trip, so I was free to take all the pictures I wanted and not miss anything along the road; I only had to tell my friend where the map told us to go. I didn't have to physically drive us around there (and try to figure out the little things like how nobody really stops at stop signs and everyone parks where ever the heck they want, and if we're on Highway 1 and the Sizzler is on our left, we'll get right into downtown San Juan). There is a little more to it when you're the one in charge of everything including the driving, the navigating, trying not to let too much pass by unnoticed while focusing on the road, and all stops along the way. There are definitely pros and cons to both versions of road travel, I just think I underestimated the lack of opportunity and comfort as the price to pay for 'being my own boss.'
And I do look forward to what tomorrow brings. J
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