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Published: December 28th 2006
Waking up at 5am we packed a bit more had quick showers and were off! The fog was intense barley able to see more than a car or 2 in front of us, but all in all much better than being at work! We filled up at the exorbitant Christmas diesel rate of 1.02 a liter(usually 0.92), and drove through the classic British Christmas scene white frost covered grounds and trees looking a lot like snow, it was really beautiful almost worth waking up so early=p I tried to get some pic’s but I’m not sure if they came out. Using the software Conor “sourced”(net) we were able to find our way through all the twists and turns magnificently, it has all the roads and maps for most of Europe so getting lost should be a thing of the past… ya right!
Well we made it about 5min into Wales before tragedy struck, Conor was merrily driving away when I felt a bit of a weird vibration, so I got him to slow down and just as we did it started getting worse and a thumping sound started in! So we hastily pulling to the side of the road we jumped
out to inspect the damage, the tire had started ripping itself apart! So grabbing the spare we had inflated that morning(along with the rest of the tires) we changed the tire over to find it was flat! Lucky the van has a 2nd spare, a tad more difficult to get to hidden under the van which I had to scramble under and man handle out. So grumbling a just a little we took off the first and added the second spare on. Flat… being the enterprising resourceful guys we are Conor had a bicycle pump in the van which I suggested we try pump up the tire with, fortunately I managed to get a good 20psi in it just enough to get us happily to the next gas stop. Turns out in the bellow 0 temperatures we started out in this morning and pumped the tires up in, the air pressure had expanded as the temperature increased over inflating all of them! So we got out my nifty tool kit and rechecked all the tire pressures and got them down to a reasonable level. With this little delay we had to hightail it to Hollyhead and our ferry arriving just
the drive in
the vans christmas decorations
before the 45min cut off point. The ferry was massive, restaurants shops a cinema! And very boring as they wouldn’t allow us back to the car while the ferry was in open water, so I explored all the levels(that I was allowed to;-)
And did a lot of reading, luckily it was only a 3hour trip, so arriving in Ireland after dark we drove through Dublin to the Temple bar area where we found a parking about 100m away from the central bar district. We parked up and set about making diner while all the Friday evening crowd passed us by giving us smiles, waves and laugh’s I’m sure. After dinner if pasta(again;-p) we headed down the road in search of a good bar, after talking to a few local and learning a few new words e.g. Santi = Santa clause, Three = tree and so on, at one point I had to get Conor to translate for me as we walked off to the next place=) and as usual I managed to meet an Ausie well Ausie/Irish girl in one of the bars which was an absolute crackup I seem to be plagued with Ausies haha.
the drive in
whats left of the tyre
nice and early 7am because of parking charges we headed off towards west Ireland and Conors family’s place in Westport. It was a nice drive through some incredible mist, even worse than the pea soup we were driving though the day before, after an hour of driving we stopped on one of the side roads and had breakfast right next to a frozen/frosted over field and trees, it was amazing to look at even though it was shocking to get out the van. After breakfast it was only another hour or so of driving before we arrived, after driving through the picturesque little town we headed out of the town towards the Croagh Patrick mountain which is the pagan home of the mother goddess just at the foot of the mountain and about 10min out of Westport Conors aunt has a great house with the most amazing ocean view with all the islands and out of there kitchen window. When we arrived I meet conors Aunt and uncle and his cousin and his wife and child(so so cute) Later that day after meeting everyone we took a bike ride down to the ocean and had a bit of a look
the rear of the ferry
around. We cycled passed a ship sculpture with skeletons all around it! Turns out it’s a memorial to the great famine called “an nGórta Mór” I thought it was both scary and cool. That night after a great home cooked meal, and a minor embarrassment on my part for not telling them I was vegetarian, we went down the local pub with Conors uncle and cousin. It was quite an place, A family run place, they lived next door and upstairs, there while drinking our drinks the family dog came out to say hello to all the patrons and their 5year old daughter headed out a few times to say hello. Great little place, had a great evening there.
The Next morning after a great breakfast we took it easy, relaxing around the house and chatting, with all sorts of home baked goodies to keep us happy. Later in the afternoon Conor and I headed down to the beach to check out the mid winter swimmers, quite a crackup they jump in have a swim then either go for a run to take a nice big swig of whisky, I was tempted but didn’t feel quite up to the
view out the front
cold bike ride home, we did however find a great track around the head land that took us all the way out to one of the island with just a short crossing to the island(pity it was so cold haha) then we did a bike of mountain biking back, lots of fun when the rocks and sand aren’t testing your biking skills!
That evening we tried to help up out as much as we could cook and prepare for the Christmas dinner.
Week 5 - 25th
The next day we woke up and were as helpful as we could be and ended up looking after Luke most of the time he’s a 9month old baby with a quick smile and an easy temperament so he had to guys pretending to like babies and not be to intimidated by drool and crying;-p but I think we did well😉
Just before lunch they started handing out presents, I even got one! Well Conor and I haha, it’s a Ireland guide book, with some really great info in it! And we got some drinking money form Conors uncle. The highlight was of course Luke’s pile of prezies he had lots of fun
playing with the wrappers and box’s, never mind the presents. After that I got out the gifts my parents had sent all the way from NZ, I had explicit instructions not to open them till Christmas day!! But I prevailed, I got a great silver ferns flag and 2 DVD’s, which was great the flags already up and the DVDs were great😊 At around 4 we all sat down for an amazing Christmas dinner, where I volunteered to be a waiter lol which I think they appreciated and I had lots of fun and felt a lot happier now that I was actually doing something helpful. It was delicious and the deserts were amazing as well! Afterwards I spend the rest of the evening drinking and chatting with the family.
The day after we didn’t do much at all just relaxed watched the dvd’s and did the art and craft my mom had sent over, they were supposed to be geckos or crocodiles? But I think we got them almost right it was good fun none the less.
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