Random thoughts my minds-eye has taken note of during this trip that remind me I’m not at home.
In no particular order:
~ Where are all the homeless people? We saw maybe one street person in Barcelona, a handful in London and Wales and of the six places we have visited so far in Ireland it wasn’t until we got to Galway that we have seen a total of three men sitting on the sidewalk with a blanket and money cup. The blankets are so clean and comfy looking they give the appearance it could be more of a day job.
~ Smoking is still a thing. Real cigarettes not too many vaping. Outside restaurant patio’s have ashtrays, people walk down the street happily puffing. The occasional trash bin has a place on the side of it to butt your cigarette out before throwing the stub away.
~ Trash bins are few and far between. I’ve taken to watching out for them because ever since Covid struck I have to blow my nose a lot. It has been almost three weeks since I tested negative but still can’t shake the congestion. The lack of trash bins has not impacted the cleanliness of the streets. They are impressively clean.
~ Healthy restaurant food options are hard to find. There were a couple of good restaurants in Killarney, the Mad Monk for one (thanks Charles for the recommendation) and Galway also has an array of restaurant choices. But the ruling menu in most restaurants we’ve checked out, consists of fried foods that come with mushy peas, lamb, beef and sausage. Once in awhile a salad option appears usually sprinkled with bacon. I am happy when we come across an Indian restaurant. Whether in a Airbnb or a hotel we make a point of buying some fruit and muesli to have a healthy breakfast. It hasn’t been easy in every place to find a good selection of fruit. And in Doolin, where we stayed a week, we had to take a half hour bus ride to find a grocery store, that was more of a convenience store. Days old fruit and vegetables.
~ Locals are open and friendly. As much as we have all wanted to resume travel they have wanted to welcome us back. Even when faced with hoards of people, service has for the most part come with a smile. It is impressive how busy everywhere is. We so loved the quietness walking the Cliffs of Moher. We learned that the entry where the tour buses go and the visitors office is was jammed with people who had to pay an entrance fee. We were lucky and stayed at the other end of the cliffs, few people, no fees.
~ Hotel amenities are not what we’re used to. Not sure if it is as usual for Europe and the UK or if it is a cutting back while trying to recover revenues after being closed down for so long. With one exception, the Mercure Hotel in Wales, not one accommodation provided what I think of as basics like kleenex or body lotion, or hair conditioner. Not to sound like a princess but they all advertise toiletries and we’re not booking hostels, we are paying premium. Our latest hotel in the Latin Quarters of Galway is big enough for a bed. But the location is amazing.
~ Traveling with bags that can’t hold anything extra is helping to curb my consumerism. I love to wander the shops and appreciate the local handicrafts. The cable knit sweaters are ever so tempting. But really, how often would I wear one in San Diego, and I’m allergic to wool. But still tempting.
Next post I’ll be talking about how I accidentally met a young man who chances are good shares some famous blood ancestry with me.
Photos – Two old time buildings serving new time food. Snug Townhouse in the Latin Quarters, Galway where the bed takes up the whole room and the scene out the window is the busy pub that rocks until 2 in the morning. A photo sample of clean busy street 🙂