On Thursday, June 14th, 2018, I flew home from London, England, after spending 5 days in Essex, 5 days in Ireland (Dublin and Cork) and 5 days in north London.
I have 2 close friends in England. I met them in Israel in the early 1980s and we have remained friends ever since. I do telephone them every couple of months (it’s cheaper for me to call them) and we meet every 5 years or so but, when we meet, it’s like we were just together the week before. I’m very lucky to have them as friends.
You may not believe this, but the weather was amazing. It was hot (25-27 Celsius) and sunny with blue skies every day. No one could believe the beautiful weather. I even got a good tan!
I guess the highlight of the trip was visiting Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney stone. It was so busy that it took 2 hours waiting in line from outside the castle up to the stone, but luckily behind me was a lovely, young Belgium couple who chatted with me the whole time.
Do you know how you have to kiss the stone? You have to sit down, lean back, hold onto 2 long poles, bend over and kiss the stone upside down. That was a lot of fun. Kissing the stone gives you the gift of eloquence.
In Ireland, I spent my time between Dublin and Cork. I took the 2½ hour train ride between them and viewed some fabulous countryside. Saw lots of cows. The train is very comfortable with 4 seats on each side, facing each other with a table in between. There was a socket for plugging in anything and wifi on the train. Also a cart comes by with sandwiches, donuts, coffee, pop, etc. I had a delicious egg sandwich on a multi-grain bread and a fantastic cup of strong coffee.
I enjoyed Dublin and Cork. Spent much time walking around the city centres. Dublin is very clean and huge with interesting modern homes with ancient churches and buildings. There were lots of trash containers with a place to put out a cigarette. It was very beautiful.
While in Dublin, I went to the Guinness factory. You take the tour at your own pace, while reading plaques all over the 4 floors, all about making the Guinness beer. The 5th floor was a 360 degree window, highlighting Dublin. You also received a free pint of Guinness, which I loved. People here told me I wouldn’t like Guinness because it’s so dark and a stout, but I loved it. It’s so delicious.
But, while in Cork, you drink a variety of Guinness called Murphy’s which is similar to Guinness but a little sweeter. Had a few pints of that at pubs in Cork.
My last day in England was spent at the Globe theatre to watch the Shakespearean play: As You Like It. It was well acted and very funny. My seat was on the 3rd/top level right in front, but a family of parents and two young kids sat beside me and talked during the whole performance, driving me nuts. I gave them dirty looks but they didn’t stop.
At intermission, I spoke with the usher and asked if she could please tell them to not talk during the performance. I spent the intermission looking out a window at the crowd below. A few minutes later, the usher came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t tell them to stop talking but I will speak to the manager.” I thanked her and returned to my window.
Then the manager came up to me and asked, “Would you like to move?” I said, “I’d love to,” and she pointed to a seat right in the front. She escorted me there and even gave me a free pillow. (The seats are all hard wood and you butt does get a little sore so was so nice to have a pillow to sit on.) The seat was fantastic in first row level with the stage. Pays to complain eh?
All in all, it was a marvelous trip. I have learned to eat better after eating at my friends’ home because they both eat very healthy. I have also changed some other facets of my life because of the trip; like not drinking Glucerna every morning or listening to a movie before I go to bed. I didn’t do either of these things while away so got used to go without them.
There’s nothing better than travelling somewhere and hearing new things, seeing new things and feeling new things. It’s always an experience and I always grow more as a person.