If you are going to
- Layers. If and when the sun comes out it really warms up! You’ll want to be able to peel things off to a t-shirt level. And then it gets a lot cooler when it rains.
- Raincoat! This is probably obvious, but make sure it’s a good one. What you see me wearing in photos wasn’t really good enough – with a good drenching, my wallet in my pocket got wet and my clothes underneath were slightly damp.
- Rain pants! We really kicked ourselves for not having these when we were out for like 2 hours hiking in pouring rain. If you’re going to be inside most of the time it’s probably not a big deal, though. At the very least, don’t go hiking in the rain in jeans, they get heavy.
- Contacts, if you wear both those and glasses. Glasses are a pain in the rain!
- Good shoes. And by this, I basically mean hiking boots. Damon had more sneaker-like shoes and it wasn’t long before rain got into those, and they never managed to completely dry out after that. I had hiking boots which did start to get wet inside after really long stints in the rain, but not very wet, and they dried out quickly. There’s mud and water everywhere, so even just getting around town you don’t want to be in your nice, pretty shoes.
We tried to not get too excited in advance about all the English-speaking fun we were going to have in
It was so nice to be without the language barrier. We saw Italians, French, and Spanish struggling at the B&Bs to communicate with the hosts. The hosts spent more time on us because we were easier to talk to. One even commented to us that she was having a “language problem” with the Italians. Sarah at the sweater shop said she liked German tourists better than other continentals because they could speak great English. Now we see what people are probably saying about us as we travel around in countries which aren’t English-speaking, and see that maybe we aren’t getting treated as well as we could if we spoke the native languages of the places we go. I guess this works out for/against everyone as they move through the world – in some places one is favored for his language, and in others he is not.
Ireland for Americans
It’s easy to see why Americans love to visit
Sandwiches seem to be the way to go if you want cheap food in
And speaking of food, the short eating hours can be pretty rough! Breakfast at the B&Bs where we stayed started at either or and generally lasted around an hour. I love to sleep in as much as the next guy, but when you’re on vacation and itching to get started on your awesome itinerary for the day, it ends up being kind of a late start. On top of that, some places that serve food stop serving it as early as ! You’re burning daylight if you eat before then! Plus we usually had an overall late eating schedule because of the late breakfast. So we always felt like we were burning daylight on both ends of the day!
One thing I was eager to get back to at home was our mixed sink tap. Nearly all the sink taps we encountered in
This is probably not something that most people would think about, but since I’ve developed a habit of photographing them, I did: the Mary statues in
Irish radio wasn’t too hot. There was a surprising amount of talk radio going on! At any given time more than half of the stations were talking rather than playing music. Those who did play music did not play a very big variety. I guess this is probably normal for radio, and I’m just out of the loop because I don’t have a radio at home. There were 5 songs which became known to us as The Five Songs because they were played over and over:
* Madonna, “Give It to Me” – this was easily played twice as much as the other 4 combined. It was on all the time!
* The Blizzards, “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” - I didn't look forward to hearing any of The Five Songs, but this was probably the best of them, with Madonna coming in second.
* Kanye and somebody, “American Boy” – this is the only one I’d actually heard previously, on German MTV while Damon was flipping channels
* Something about taking off your clothes. I realize that in the current pop music atmosphere this does not narrow the field very much.
We also kept ending up back at a station that was obsessing about something called a “Naked Bus” that they were doing. The Naked Bus was mentioned several times per hour. There is also an Irish-language station which was mostly talk.
Coming Back to Germany
I thought coming back to