It only feels right to be drinking a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale as I sit in the pub at the Newcastle Airport. It also only felt right to be running to catch my train out of Edinburgh this morning – running late when traveling seems to be how I travel best. The Newcastle is lovely … better, I venture to guess, than it tastes in Iowa. Maybe it’s my proximity to the Newcastle Brewery? Or, maybe it’s all in my head. I have – I must say – become a connoisseur of pints of the Black Stuff. Guinness. I’m excited to return to Ireland and see if my pallet notices the difference between Edinburgh pints and Ireland pints. I reckon it will. Aren’t you proud, Mom and Dad? Maybe even slightly better than the club I joined in Iowa City?!
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been stressing out over the upcoming week. I’m so excited to see Lauren but I’ve felt pressured to ensure the week goes as smoothly and as well as possible. In my head, I know it will. One of my concerns has been traveling Ireland without a car. The bus system in Ireland is class – it goes to nearly any village imaginable. This being said, however you often have to wait for buses and considering the nature of the Irish roadway infrastructure, the ride often takes longer than one would desire. I’m excited though as I think I figured out the ideal situation.
I was sitting on the train this morning yet again checking various car rental websites for their rates. Considering I’m living in the UK, the rates aren’t ungodly expensive – in fact, they’re quite reasonable. The problem arises when one takes into consideration my age of 23 years. Most rental agencies either won’t rent to me or if they do, they tack on a 10 or 15 quid a day surcharge because I’m not the magic age of 24 or 25 or 26 or whatever bloody age they’ve decided to pull out of a hat.
After continuing my research today on the train, I’m fairly certain I’ve figured out the best option which includes busing for a couple days and then picking up a car in cork for the second half of the week. I looked over to the girl next to me (not the lady across the isle who was the unlucky target of my pack as it fell from the overhead storage area – she at first seemed to be okay with the unfortunate introduction to my pack, but ten or so minutes after it happened, she looked back at me and said – ‘Sure is going to leave quite the bruise on my leg’ – I continued my apologies. No one told me about the luggage storage area …) and said, “Nothing like considering a last minute car rental for my trip to Ireland, huh?”
I explained to her the scenario, my thoughts, and the potential itinerary I had just developed. “Go on, book it,” she said. “You’ll regret it if you don’t.”
So I booked it. Assuming all goes as planned, Lauren and I will be picking up our car on the 27th. And then, who knows?
I think the key to the week will be finding the proper balance between relaxing and taking in the pub culture of Ireland while stilling ensuring we are able to see the many sights which Ireland offers. When Brian and I traveled Ireland, time was essentially our oyster (thanks Shakespear). If we stood on the side of the road for four hours to wait for a lift – no worries. If we drank too much Guinness the night before, slept through our checkout time at the hostel, and had to stay in said Irish village one more night – no bother. But we had not timeframe. We were, I guess travelers and not tourists – check out this link for an eloquent explanation of the difference between the two . This week, Lauren and I will be both – and I’ll be the traveler/tour guideperson. It promises to be an unforgettable week. best,