We got back from our 9 days (10 days? who knows with the time zones, it is not knowable) in Ireland. And I’ve basically spent all week since then trying to rally.
The trip was sort of a blur, but after way too much drinking and not enough training I got really worried about Escape from Alcatraz this upcoming weekend. (I mean, literally, I did not have a day while we were on vacation that I didn’t have at least two drinks and I averaged four or five per day. While in Ireland…) So, last weekend, while we were in Belfast, I got very concerned about this and decided I needed to do something to snap back into gear.
Time for a local 5K with Steve’s cousin!
The 5K was ugly and the super-fatty lamb belly I had the night before, at a hip/trendy Belfast restaurant, btw, where we saw the girl who played Ygritte in Game of Thrones eating next to us, did not sit well while running. But I did not stop for a bathroom break until after I finished and I managed to do the two loops around the park in 20:03ish. We’ll call that a success.
While I was running, spectators kept yelling things and it turns out Ireland is, like, a totally different country and they yell different things than we do. Instead of “You can catch him,” people yelled, “He can be gotten.” Which is, really, just so much more theoretical. Like, they’re not saying you can do it, just that it can be done. And then, since I was pretty far in the lead of the women’s race, someone yelled, “Now, make it a good one!” I like that.
That’s the goal for this weekend now. That, hopefully, when I jump off the boat it’ll all come back to me and I’ll make it a good one.
First, we had an 8-hour layover in London, during which we saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and had Indian food and a beer with Ming. Much better than hanging out in an airport:
In Dublin, we got a little lost trying to find the visitor’s part of the Guinness factory, but the actual factory was so much more interesting:
And I learned the right way to pour the beer, even though I don’t even like Guinness:
Then we caught the train to Galway and a bus to the ferry terminal and a ferry to the Aran Islands off the west coast, which have a total of about 1,000 people on the three islands. But a drunk guy on the bus let us know that, “The big island’s gotten so commercialized. The have a police officer now.”
As you can tell, it rained a little bit. But when we got up to Belfast I really wanted to see the Giant’s Causeway, which is super crazy. You can’t tell that well in pictures (especially the picture where Kelley and I are doing some kind of candid photo imitation), but those hexagonal rocks are not man-made. Which is insane.
Don’t you really feel like instead of using this rope bridge for 300 years to harvest salmon, they could have just eaten all the sheep everywhere?
We also saw the Peace Wall in Belfast, which is very, very much still there and more walls are being built even now. And, Steve’s cousin showed us all the murals, for both sides of the Troubles. Belfast is definitely a safe and up-and-coming city, but the amount of conflict still there is insane.
And then we had a 6-hour layover in Philly, which also has a lot of monuments dedicated to fighting the British and gaining independence, but they have a very different tone to them. Almost like the dominant narrative has been established and isn’t still up in the air.
Now, I’m home for about two weeks? Sigh.