Sunday, August 3, 2014

New hotel, New Wi-Fi

After that last experience, I start this post with some trepidation.  The Wi-Fi signal looks strong, but this, apparently, means nothing.

So, after our early start this morning, we went ... someplace.  (Long day.  Wait.  Wait.  I'll get it.  Oh!  Spending money!)  We went out to Blarney Castle for the traditional tourist Kissing Of the Germ-Riddled Piece of Rock.  Should we not wish to kiss said rock (at the top of a one-way winding, uneven 110-stair staircase), we could wander the grounds and appreciate the gardens.

Here's the problem:  I came to Blarney Castle before.  I had passed on the stone smooching then for the same reason I'm passing on it now -- my knee could not handle the walk down from the top of the staircase.  (It could probably handle the walk up, but I'm trying very hard to break my habit of spending vacations climbing to the top of things it hurts to climb back down from.)  And, when I skipped the stone that last time, I engaged in about as much garden-appreciation as the Blarney Castle grounds could provide.  So that was out today, too.

Conveniently, our tour guide offered up yet another option:  one big-ass store cheerfully providing All Things Irish.  (And blaring the "Riverdance" recording over the speakers -- probably 24/7.)  I had a few people on my gift list and about an hour to myself (before the rock-kissers made their way over to the shop) and I scouted every damn corner of that store, until such time as I'd found all necessary gifts (and :::cough::: a few items for myself as well).  I was actually buying small, easily-packable things ... until such time as I bought something for myself that totally put me over the "free shipping" minimum.  My purchases are now preparing to race me home via alternate channels.

After the Spending of the Cash, we drove over to Waterford for a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory.  (I asked about free samples, but there weren't any.)  Got some pictures, though.  This here is (duh) a crystal harp.  (The harp being the symbol of Ireland.  This explains its appearance on Guinness.)

Also, had not expected to see my local racetrack (Santa Anita) hanging out there, but they had this one on display, and we saw a dude actually working on its twin.

After the tour (exit through the gift shop, natch), we piled back on the bus and made our way to the next hotel.  It's a stately home with acres of golf, equestrian, and other sports.  This is my room:

The room has a name (which I forget) but that's just as well, as the numbers are kind of useless.  My parents are in room 5.  I am in room 6.  They are not only not next to each other; they are on different floors.  (There's been something of a running joke here about the way they number hotel rooms in this country, as our last hotel had rooms which started with "2" on the first floor, and you had to hit "3" in the elevator to get up to the second floor.)

We were also told that tomorrow is a holiday.  That's all well and good, excepting it means that there's no laundry available -- and since this is pretty much the halfway point of my journey, I've been sort of counting on being about to do laundry tonight.  Ack. I just washed out some delicates in the hotel room sink, using whatever "bath and body soap" they provided.  If all goes well, my underthings will smell pleasantly of lavender.

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