“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, June 27, 2008


On Friday I decided to rent a car and get out of Dublin. It wasn't really the smart choice as going on a tour I'm sure I would have seen more and spent less money. All up, the rental cost me around 30 euro. Okay, not bad, but then I filled it up (it was a quarter full). I felt the price of fuel--it was 50 Euro to fill it and it's a tiny wee vehicle. Later I had to put more in for a further 15 euro. Total: 95 Euro. Average tour--no more than 50!

I haven't driven a car in quite a long time. The last time would have been in the states in October. Now, it's just like riding a bike, you don't forget, but I got very flustered and kept stalling, giving myself several heart attacks in the narrow lanes and one way streets of Dublin. I ended up on the road south, but wanted to be heading north, and then when I got there, it was a toll road that went underneath the harbor (+1.60euro) in a tunnel (+6 euro). It took me at least 45 minutes to get out of the city--it is not that big!!

It was a new car--I was the first renter. That was pretty exciting at first... there were only 8km on the speedometer, so I watched it track into its numbers. I should have known that I would be jinxed because of it. I also felt very very foolish after searching everywhere and asking someone else to help me find the gas pump switch (there wasn't one). At least he couldn't find it either. It turns out there wasn't one, but the door was sticking which was why it didn't open at first.

I headed north to Bru' Na Broinne, the most famous ancient site in Ireland. I didn't really plan anything, you see, and that seemed like a good plan. I stopped off at a few castles, but it was raining, and they looked like just big houses and I was feeling cheap and didn't want to pay the 7 euro entrance fees.

As interesting as Newgrange was, they've made it really complicated to get there. You have to visit the information center, where they give you a time sticker (or several), you buy a ticket, you wait in line for the bus, and then it takes you 10 minutes across the creek where it would have taken 5 to drive there myself. A tour around it--nice history, but the real value was seeing the simulated winter solstice sunrise from inside the tomb (the only thing worth it if you're asking me), the bus left as soon as people were on it (too bad if the tour ran over and you were walking down the hill--the next one was 30 mins later). Another 10 mins back to the bus, and I didn't even get to see Knowth and Dowth, the other tombs because there wasn't enough time! I hate tours they're too slow! I could have driven myself past, I suppose, but it seemed like a lot of trouble for a photograph, so I climbed to the top of the hill of Slane to look at the monastery instead!

After that, I drove to Galway--I don't know why I decided I needed to see it, but I heard it was bohemian, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was a long drive, but yes, a neat city. However, outside the sailing club, I also must have somehow decided it would be a good idea to get a nice long scratch on the back of the lovely new VW Polo I was driving. And because I'm so cheap and stingy, I'd excused myself from the 0 excess and so will have a nice 900 euro charge on my credit card by Monday morning (I spent Friday evening making sure I even had that much money in my balance allowance!!) So it was an expensive Friday... and I learned a nice lesson in stingyness... I should have just taken that tour!! :)

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