Tuesday, May 5, 2009

where were we?

We are home from our trip now, hanging on by a thread in a jetlagged haze.  I realize that I left you all hanging when our days just got too long and nights too late to adequately update you.

Then we flew to London and the Hilton wanted to charge us the equivalent of $23 per day to have internet access at the hotel.

No thanks, I'd rather have a nice dinner out.

Anyhoo... so there we were on the verge of 36 hours of free time in Ireland.  We'd seen some basic sights in Dublin and the surrounding areas and had the itch to get out of the city for a while.

At this point we'd already made some great new friends who we really enjoyed hanging out with.  Kenyon's two buddies from various classes Brandon and Dylan were on the trip and Dylan brought his delightful wife Natallee, who is just a sweetheart and we became fast friends.  Brandon's wife did not come on the trip, but his cousin Andy is in the Westminster MBA program as well and completed our "sensational six" that ate and traveled together for the majority of the trip.

The six of us decided that we really wanted to go see the coast of Northern Ireland during our free day, but being a three hour drive, we thought it would be less exhausting more relaxing if we left Monday, spent the night and toured the coast Tuesday.

Commence:  The road trip.

I've decided that the only difference between a road trip at age 19 and one in your mid-30's is the fact that you can rent a car and stay in a nice hotel.

Because for sure, there are very little changes in the conversation and
the humor.

So, we contacted our friendly Dublin Enterprise Rental Car and reserved a Ford Galaxy (minivan that is nowhere near the size and comfort of an American minivan) AND a GPS system.

The GPS was worth more than the car itself to us.  We were not interested in the Grizwald type of travel - arguing over maps and winding up in neighborhoods where we didn't belong.

Only the GPS didn't work when we got in the car.  Our non-deodorant wearing Enterprise rep declared that it was a simple repair - just needing a new fuse - and we'd be on our way shortly.

You can see below how simple it wound up being:

Left to right:  Dylan, Andy, Natallee, Kenyon, and Brandon all waiting patiently anxiously in the repair shop for our trip to start.  We were NOT leaving without a GPS.


Finally after begging for a different car with no dice, we were sent on our way with lies promises of discounts being given to our bottom line upon our return.

Dangerous crew:  Dylan took the wheel and Kenyon was the navigator (to aid the GPS and remind Dylan to stay on the left).


I sat with Natallee in the middle.  Natallee is 17 weeks along with their third child, so I think Brandon and Andy felt guilty and gave us the middle row.


Yeah, they deserved the back row!


We drove two hours to Belfast, which is not too impressive of a city from the drive through point of view.  After a series of hilarious and indecisive stops, we navigated our way to a McDonald's (free wi-fi) and got on the internet to find ourselves a hotel for the night.

IMG_1820To our surprise, we found ourselves at a BEAUTIFUL Hilton out in the countryside of Belfast set on a gorgeous golf course.

Cheers!  I decided to celebrate with TWO long island ice teas in a row.  See, I told you it was the same as road trips in college!


The next morning the guys got up early to play a little golf at the hotel while I slept off my hangover got a little extra sleep.  Natallee and I joined them when they were all done and after a nice Irish breakfast we set the GPS for Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway.

Giant's Causeway is an area of Northern Ireland's northern coast where the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic meet.

IMG_1880The Causeway formed as a result of volcanic eruptions. The lava cooled and hardened, it formed layers of basalt rock to become the Giant’s Causeway.  It is by far the most unique natural land formation I have ever seen.

We started out walking on the high cliffs above the coast and then down a steep stairway down to a trail that took us right to the water.  The pictures don't even do it justice.

Here are some snapshots (side note:  this was the only sunny, dry, and relatively warm day we had during the entire visit to Ireland):




Here is the stairwell we came down:


This is called the Giant's Boot:


This is the pipe organ:







We finished up by taking a bus ride to the cliff tops and getting back in our little blue van to venture to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.  That was an adventure... but it will have to be a post of its own.  I need sleep!


Natallee said...

WOW!! You did such a good job at documenting this "road trip"- maybe I will just have to send people to your blog to check it out! ;)
great job!! We miss you guys so much and we had so much fun with you!!

Keepin' Up with the Joneses said...

the red coat was essential for your trip, glad you bought it!

Lynette3boys said...

Welcome home. Your pictures are fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Cooper Clan said...

Hope you don't mind me posting...This is Andy's wife, Emily. You are hilarious!!!! I loved reading your post. Andy said he had a great time with you guys and after reading about the trip from your perspective, I can see why. Glad to meet you!

Candis Daugherty said...

Awesome pics! Glad you are home safe and sound, what with driving on the wrong side of the road and all! I'm sure you could use another vacation to recuperate...but hang in there! Looking forward to more pics and tales of adventures!!

Natalie said...

Awesome pictures and trip report. Can't wait to hear more! We definitely have to get to he Giant's Causeway.

Mountain Mama said...

Oh WOW!! What beautiful country.
Little did you know, no need to pack anything else. All we ever saw was your red coat. Very cute!
Is that color on your palette? :)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin