Monday, August 5, 2013

THE ITALIAN (NOW IRISH) DIARIES - DAY TWENTY-TWO


DAY 22, JULY 29, 2013
We decided on taking breakfast for the first time in a long time. We always seem to have intentions of eating a good morning meal but by the time everyone has showered and dressed breakfast is in our rearview mirror. This time we motored in to a full Irish breakfast at the hotel. I'm still not sure how.
Adrian, our cab driver from the day before, told us the best shopping
and the most interesting pub run happens around Grafton Street about a ten-minute cab ride from our hotel.
The info on museums and other cultural sites went in one ear and out the other. We didn't have time for culture,
shopping and eating were far more important.
The day was a Ping-Pong match between sunshine and rain. We hopped into stores when the weather turned nasty
and walked the streets with our iphone cameras at the ready when the sun was out.
Street entertainers lined the pedestrian walkway; from a bloke with the ingenuity to set up a photo station were you could take a picture of yourself as a miniature leprechaun
to a geriatric jig dancer who amazed us all with his limber moves, the envy of any yoga instructor.
We had set a four-hour limit on our shopping for fear that after four hours we'd loose total control and start buying four-leaf clover underwear or sequin studded socks that looked like the face of Jesus if you stared at it long enough, besides we had a plan of returning to the hotel in time for high tea.
Since we're not drinkers the pub run didn't hold a lot of interest for us
but the architecture that housed the pubs was sufficient reason to brave the rain for some beautiful photographs of their painted facades.
Emmy had never had a high tea and her interest wasn't too keen until our hostess came out with the goods: tea for her, an iced coffee for Rick, a cappuccino for me
and then the finger sandwiches, the ├ęclairs and tarts,
and of course the sconces with Irish butter, jam and clotted cream. We sat the rest of afternoon and early evening sipping tea and biting into our delicious array of Irish tea treats.
Emmy and Rick were finished after this but I'm the restless one. I took off for a walk to the sea to an area called Blackrock. The hotel supplied me with a map and written directions for the twenty-five minute walk. I was completely lost after the very first turn. Possibly driving on the wrong side of the street has befuddled them with left and right because the path indicated never quite matched my understanding of those two directions. The other flaw in their directions had to do with road signs. The written directions were very specific as to the street or lane you were to follow but the streets had signs only at the beginning and end points not at any intersection in between.
I did finally make it to Blackrock, a quaint little hamlet by the sea. Being after six everything was closed.
I still walked around through some residential areas where the defiance of the Irish toward Queen Victoria still exists on the doors of many homes.
Upon her death the British ordered that all doors in the Commonwealth be painted black. The Irish took the opportunity to flick their noses in the air and in response painted their doors in a rainbow of colors. The tradition stuck and to this not a drunken Irishman who isn't colorblind can still find his front door if he can just remember the right color. The evening turned cold and although I hadn't tipped a pint of ale I'd be damn if I was going to try to retrace my steps back to the hotel. I found a cab and in ten minutes I was safely back in our room

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