Archive for August, 2011

same day, more pix

.. just so you have the full stereophonic experience of Salt Hill Amusements (incidentally, the nicest, cleanest, least skeezoid amusement park I have ever seen), let me add a few snaps from my camera:

with the wave? how cute is that?? and she's ladybird number 4! And she's 4!

while Barrow practiced driving ...

Strummer, with Kevin as her (hilariously tall) chaperone, hit the jr. miss rollercoaster

But the piece de resistance ride of all rides was this one.

Step one …  remove the shoes,

step two … wait for the bubble to inflate …

Step three … some guy pushes you into the kiddie pool…

And it’s …  AWESOMETIME!

No, seriously.

How much crazypants fun can you stand?  We’re going back tomorrow.

piggyback ride home! 

(Hey, sometimes we give them piggyback rides, sometimes they give them to us.)


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Today was a very good day. One with very few tears. It started with the girls putting on their brand new boots that we got them yesterday:

As an aside, we spent so much time shopping that we had to go out to dinner last night. We went to a nice pub and had a basic ‘inexpensive’ pub meal with the girls sharing an entree — it cost us over $75. This place ain’t cheap!

Anyway, we spent most of the morning today playing at a nearby playground. There are four playgrounds nearby, code-named the harbor playground, the canal playground, the skate park playground, and Griffin playground (which is this one, really called Father Griffin Park). Here is Strummer striking a pose with the jumprope that we also picked up yesterday:

They were putting on a  show for us, doing all sorts of acrobatics and performances. Here is Barrow belting out the end of her original composition “The Caramel Foxes”:

And here is a picture of my lovely partner, taking in the show, with the slightly bemused look she frequently gives me:

In the afternoon, we took a city bus over to Salthill, which is the neighboring little seaside town that is connected to Galway by the longest promenade in Ireland (people walk the 4 km from Galway to Salthill to ‘kick the wall’). Here we are checking out the scene on the beach. Please notice that in the background is an outdoor amusement park that was our planned destination.

Well, the water looked inviting and there were a few people actually swimming. So we decided to dip out toes in Galway Bay, which turned out to be quite cold. Here is Anna, freezing her toes off:

And here are the rest of us. Note the swimmer in the background:

And here are a few pictures from the amusement park. I don’t have many, because I was on the rides with the girls. Barrow and I both rode the big rollercoaster. It was her first rollercoaster. She screamed and laughed for the first third; then screamed and cried her eyes out for the middle third; and slowly regained her composure at the end. By the time we left, she wanted to ride it again. But here is Strummer on the much tamer ladybird cars:

One of the biggest hits was the basic trampoline:

We took the bus back to Galway. Here are the girls, in a slightly posed picture, waiting for the bus to arrive (contrast this one to the one of Barrow waiting for the bus with Alicia in St Andrews 2 1/2 years ago). Yeah, it was a good day.

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graffiti and ducks

There are a couple of things I’ve noticed about Galway. One is that it is impossible to find ANY English beers in the stores. They carry beer from everywhere else (e.g., Mexico, US, Poland, and even Scotland) but they refuse to carry any of that imperial swill. It is kind of interesting. I thought they had re-established open trade by the 1970s, but I guess that doesn’t extend to a good pint.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that there are some pretty good graffiti artists running around this town. Here are two of my favorite stencils from the last day or two:


Our apartment is in an old granary right on top of a canal next to a river. Here is a picture of it from the bridge over the river. The building is the one with red windows behind the tree; and the window that sticks out on the top left is our living room.

When I came home this evening, I could see the girls sitting at the table in the window. I stood across the river on the toepath and waved until they saw me. It was pretty awesome to see them jump out of their seats, jump up and down, and wave back. After dinner, we walked across the river to the canal on the other side where the swans and ducks hang out.

We brought some old bread scraps to feed the ducks.

And if you feed them, they will come…

And keep coming.

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settling in

Let’s see if this works.  I haven’t blogged since last time I was out of the country.  Maybe I can only do this from a world away…

boo zones out at jfk

Seeing the world is amazing and we are lucky ducks.  But transitions are tough.  So let’s begin with a little recap:

We left a day late.  We waited in JFK for a looooong time.  Then we scored some cush seats for the flight over the pond.

strummer living large

I woke Strummer up to see out the window as we descended in the morning — Ireland really does look amazing from above: like a bright  patchwork of green felt.  “I don’t see any leprechauns!” Strummer said.  Barrow, sitting across the aisle, refused to be roused to look out the window.  Understandably: we had about 4 hrs of sleep.

this is what jet lag looks like, people.

A very nice taxi driver delivered us to our doorstep:

yeah! only 4 flights of stairs to go!

And we’ve spent the last two or three days (that late start threw me off, and I cannot figure out what day it is nor how long we’ve been here) settling in and finding our bearings.

The apartment has its shortcomings, but the location and the views are fantastic.  We are right in the center of town, overlooking the Corrib River out one window (above) as it spills into Galway Bay.  We are only a couple blocks from the town center, and have already been hoofing it all over the place to set up shop.  Yesterday we got groceries,

somehow we spent close to $200 on these... and a couple other things.

And we visited the university, and found some of the cool parks in town:

Today, we did a bit more shopping at thrift stores for WARM CLOTHES (it was totally freezing — ie., 51– yesterday).  We got lots of nice veggies and some lunch, at the farmer’s market this morning (Nina and Pa, note the dirt!) —

Let me say up front that I can forsee losing most of my money into the hats and instrument cases of the unbelievably talented street musicians in Galway.  We were at the farmer’s market  when we heard these guys — the singer was belting the lyrics out so beautifully, we were drawn in completely, and just stood there, jaws dropping.

Later, we heard another group singing “Dirty Old Town,” which is a family favorite.  By the time we saw two little middle-school aged shaggy-haired brothers hammering out Led Zepplin and AC/DC and doing stage dives over their guitar cases, Strummer was running up to drop coins without any prompting.

But since today was so sunny and warm, this afternoon went on an open-top bus tour of Galway, which was super cool.  We got to giggle and learn some stuff …

… while getting a more distant vista view of the town:

Yup, today was a good day.

sisterhood is powerful!

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we’re here!

We finally arrived in Galway.

Our original flight out of Rochester was cancelled due to bad weather over NYC. So we were unable to make the connecting flight to Ireland. Unlike all the other passengers, who were really jerky to the Delta workers, I was calm and understanding. They booked us out the next day, so we had to spend the night at a hotel in Rochester. It was disappointing, but we all persevered. We had a leisurely breakfast and then swam in the hotel pool for over an hour. The only snag was that when it was time to go to the airport, our taxi was 40 minutes late. By the time he showed up, I was stressed and angry. We had an ugly scene. One of the girls cried when she witnessed my wrath. It was bad. But we got to the airport just in time to make our flight. Here is a picture of Strummer and I in the plane:

The downside was that we had a 7.5 hour layover at JFK. We killed time by visiting other terminals and trying to find the best place to eat (we failed in that regard). But here are the girls holding it together on a moving walkway:

They were totally punchy the last few hours of waiting. Granted the flight was at 11:30, four hours past their usual bedtime. But we got on and enjoyed the benefits of my being nice to the Delta worker the day before — she had bumped us up to Business Class for the trans-Atlantic portion of the flight. It was very posh. I had to explain to the girls that we don’t usually travel in such luxury:


The girls slept the whole way. We had a little bump at immigration, but it all worked out and was relatively smooth. When we got to Galway, we went walking around and we took the girls to the closest playground, where they worked on acclimating themselves to life in Ireland…

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Yesterday we took the car service to the Rochester airport. Here are two photos of the girls in the back of the car:

Unfortunately, our flight to JFK was cancelled and we were stuck in Rochester and unable to make our connecting flight. We had to spend the night in Rochester and are now sitting around hoping to our rescheduled flight this afternoon doesn’t get delayed or cancelled.

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almost there

wait for it…

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