Wednesday, 21 August 2019

9 New Dock Street (Galway, Ireland)

So quickly I get behind posting to this travel blog. Here I am finishing up my third day in Galway and I haven’t written about how I got here.

On Monday the 19th I was up early as usual and got ready to leave Sligo. I knew that Madeline would be here at 11:00 and take me to the bus depot. For a large place, surprisingly it didn’t take me long to put everything in order and get packed. I was ready at 11:00 and went outside to wait for Madeline. On our way to the bus depot I mentioned again how much I appreciated their hospitality and enjoyed my stay at their beautiful home. I was thinking about how to word my Airbnb that review, that I’ll write later, to convey my appreciation.

While waiting for the bus I happened to sit next to two interesting local characters, one after the other. The first was not in the best of health and felt sorry for him as I could see that he was very uncomfortable sitting on the bench while waiting for his bus. Somehow he started talking about being in service and was part of a NATO unit stationed somewhere in Africa. His bus came and off he went. The next gentleman was a retired plumber and he too was not in good shape, but was interested to know what I thought about Ireland. We talked for a bit before it was my turn to get on the bus. Nice to have someone to talk with while I waited.

I put my suitcase in the hold under the bus and made my way to a seat on the bus. Another journey of nearly three hours lay ahead and I sat back and kept myself occupied while we drove through the Irish countryside. We never got on a wide two-lane highway or freeway the whole way. Just drove on a good country road that was wide enough for two cars to pass, but just barely.

The bus driver didn’t provide us with the smoothest ride. It was a bit jerky as he put on the foot brake. My plastic sack of food items that I’m taking with me to my next Airbnb flat fell over and most of the items scattered on the floor beneath me and into the people sitting behind me. I got everything gathered up except for one lone potato that I could see on the floor several seats ahead of me. I made sure that the bag was securely in place during the rest of the trip.

Eventually we arrived in Galway and into the depot. The first thing I did was to find a restroom. I wasn’t about to use the one on the bus. Once finished with that task I was on my way to my Galway flat, which was about a ten minute walk from the depot. Thankfully the sidewalks were even and smooth for the most part so no need for a taxi.

As I approached the location of the apartment building I had a bit of trouble finding it. None of the streets were marked but I had a picture of the exterior from a picture in the Airbnb listing. I quickly saw it as I looked down the street. It was easy getting through the security gate and into the flat using the instructions I was given. The flat was on the first floor which is one level above the ground floor. The steps weren’t too steep and I easy got everything through the front door and into the flat.

As I looked around the flat it looked okay but the instructions were not well written. Also noticed that the street outside was somewhat busy but I have ear plugs just in case it gets noisy. It is a two bedroom flat and there was a full queen-sized bed in the room that I’m using for my bedroom. The bed in the other room I’ll use to open my suitcase and I’ll take out what I need from there. I did this in the last two flats. I only fully unpack when I plan to stay five days or longer.

It was a short walk to the nearest store which was a SPAR store. Not a full service kind of store but it had enough variety to suit my needs for the next few days. When I got the groceries back to the flat I pushed aside the opened items in the refrigerator and made room for the items I bought. The freezer was nearly unusable because it hadn’t been defrosted in perhaps a year from the looks of it. I threw out the frozen fruit popsicles from a previous guest to make room for my frozen green peas.

Just about when I finished putting away the groceries I received a call from the Airbnb host to check in on me. I let her know that I got in just fine and she said I could make use of any of the food items that were there. I mentioned that I don’t eat anything that has already been opened, but thanked her anyway.

I was ready for a nap and found the bed to be very comfortable. As I fell asleep I thought about the lone potato that was probably still rolling around on the bus. I’m sure the person who cleans out the bus later will wonder about the person who lost their potato.

That evening I was trying to plan when I’ll visit the Cliffs of Moher while in Galway and also to plan what I’ll see tomorrow. Then tried to find out how to work the TV based on the written instructions from the Airbnb host. I gave up and hooked up my laptop to the TV and watched a series that I started to watch in Derry. For dinner I fixed a hamburger steak with cheese on the top, mashed potatoes and green peas. I was in bed by 11:00.

On Tuesday the 20th I hung around the flat and waited for the rain to let up. Around 1:30 I noticed the sun was trying to come out so I knew it was time to explore a little of Galway. I found a tour company that was highly recommended and made that my first stop.

The tour company was a 10 minute walk away and after talking with the guy working at the front desk I decided to take their tour on Thursday. Tomorrow’s weather doesn’t look encouraging. From there I walked around the nearby Eyre Square (very large town square) then through the main tourist shopping street which was crowded with people enjoying their summer holiday.

I continued walking until I came to a bridge that crossed the River Corrib (one of the shortest rivers in Europe) that flows through the city. The river had a good volume of water that moved quickly along as it passed by where I was standing. No shortage of water in Galway this summer. In the area was a large carved rock with a medallion on top. I was surprised to see that the medallion mentioned Seattle, Washington. A Google search told me that Galway is a sister city of Seattle. Who knew? I took a picture that I might post to Instagram.

I continued my walk to the docks that served the city. Galway is known to be a major shipping center. They call the area The Docks and I’m staying a few blocks away. This was the old harbor and now used for recreation and tourists and I image the commercial port was now several miles away.

I had a good walk today and looked forward to returning to the flat to put my feet up and take a nap, which I did. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it here but I’m getting more comfortable as I settle in. In the evening I finally booked my flight to Dubai. Yes, I’m going to Dubai! I’m going to follow through with my plan to first visit Dubai, then go to India for a couple of weeks (maybe visit Nepal too), return to United Arab Emirates and stay in Abu Dabi before returning to Europe. I’m excited!

Today I woke to a very wet Galway. Not occasional sprinkles but solid rain. Again I took my time getting ready to venture into the streets, but I eventually put on my waterproof boots and parka and off I went. Due to the weather I think if I can make it to the Galway Cathedral I’ll be happy.

This is my first day of solid rain while in Ireland. Mostly the rain has been a quick shower here and there, but today it was just rain. Definitely fewer tourists walking around, but there were a few hardy travelers taking their chances. (They were probably from the Pacific Northwest.)

The Galway Cathedral is a little over 50 years old. Very large but somewhat traditional in design. I managed to take a picture of the building but only from beneath a tree from a point across the river. Once inside I had a chance to see a video that told of how the Cathedral was built and the features inside. Was a very comfortable building and enjoyed walking around before returning to the outdoors.

I stopped at a store along the way back to the flat and bought a few items to eat. Once I got back to the flat I took a nap. I’ll have dinner once I publish this travel blog entry then continue to watch my series (sci-fi of course) then get to bed early. Tomorrow I’m (hopefully) visiting the Cliffs of Moher, it the tour isn’t cancel because of high winds. It might be wet, but I’ll make the trip. If cancelled I can visit the cliffs from my Limerick, my next Ireland stop.

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