Our holidays were getting to an end, what a pity it was so short! Well, we will return to Ireland, that’s for sure, because we liked it a lot and we had many things left to know.
We got up, had a breakfast, we clean and tidy our campervan, and pack our bags, and at about 11 we left Galway back to Dublin. Luckily, the motorway is right outside Galway, and it was so easy to drive from there that it seemed that we were on a flying carpet hahaha… Of course, driving a campervan is slower than a car, so the trip becomes longer than expected.
We arrived at the gas station where we refueled on the first day, at about 1 pm. This was a planned stop because we knew it was a Burger King there, and we promised it to the kids. Funny that Blanca said that the Whopper’s meat is tastier than in Spain…
We continued our route and after another hour we arrived at the Indie Campers farm to return the vehicle. After checking everything was fine, we chatted for a while with the guys who ran the office. Their English was easy to understand for us because they were Portuguese. They told us that they just started their business in Ireland just the month before, and that’s why all the campervans were so new, and that’s why the one they rented to us only had 3500km. And I guessed that we were lucky finding them on the Internet, because none of the other rental campervan companies had one available.
The manager of Indie Campers told us to get back into our campervan to get us with it right to the airport. Goodbye Indie!!!!
And that’s the boring end of any holiday trip: we waited in a long queue of kids returning from their interchange to check in our luggage, the flight was smooth, but it arrived Madrid half an hour late… And our friend Vicky picked us up from the airport to kindly take us home. Thank you Vicky! And thank you all for the reading! I hope you enjoyed our story as much as we enjoyed the trip.
We started our penultimate day of our tour of Ireland. Tonight we slept great! The heating and hot water circuit worked better than the previous days and we almost had heat compared to the nights before… I’m not sure what we did, maybe we started the heater earlier, or it was warmer tonight.
After our breakfast in the campervan, we set off from the Westport House camp site, in the direction of Galway. Our trip was smooth, we had to drive slowly like the rest of our trip on Irish roads, but everything was OK. We arrived in Galway at about 1 pm and we looked for our new camping site, just outside of the town. We arrived so soon because we needed to refill the water tank, it was dry!
After filling the tank, I prepared our meal, a tasty pasta salad! After our lunch, Maria needed to take a nap to rest, so I went for a walk with the girls.
We took the opportunity to look for another Geocache nearby. We found it soon, it was really small, hidden behind a signal, and we got back to the camp site walking along the beach.
We arrived to the campervan and Maria had already woken up. The friendly owner of the camp site suggested us to go to the city center by bus, because the traffic is awful and parking a campervan is really difficult there. And we realized that the man was right as soon as we got on the bus.
We got off the bus at the end of the line at Eyre Park, and took a walk through the medieval quarter of the city. This is a very nice and lively neighborhood. We visited some shops on the Store Street to buy some souvenirs. Olivia always finds something she likes and Blanca always struggles to decide for something. Oh and Maria chose a magnet for our fridge, this is a tradition on our family…
After the walk, we started to get tired, but we realized there is another Geocache nearby so we decided to look for it. This one is more difficult than the others because the hints in the app were badly set. But we managed to find it! After signing the guestbook, we went back to the center for a drink and to have dinner. But all the bars on the Store Street were too crowded, so we resorted to Eyre Park. There we got into a pub where we had a great Irish dinner. Maria had a hamburger, the kids chose fish’n chips and I chosed pork loin. Everything was really tasty. Something funny happened, the hamburger included a pint of beer and the lady at the next table ordered a hamburger too, and since she didn’t want the beer, she gave it to us.
And it was time to get back to our campervan. The bus seemed to have just passed 10 minutes before, so we chose to take a taxi to avoid a 50 minutes wait. The cab driver was very friendly and he was willing to talk, so we practiced our English a bit hahaha
And this was all our day, we went to have some rest, because we still had to drive more than 3 hours to arrive Dublin.
What a night!!!! It was raining hard until 2 in the morning. Suddenly the rain stopped so I thought I would be able to have some rest, but there was a amazing wind wobbling the campervan… So as you can imagine, we haven’t slept. Luckily, yesterday we were able to get out of the campervan to put the hot water and heating on, so at least we rested warmly the time we managed to sleep.
But let’s not think about last night anymore. After our breakfast we dismantled our camp (disconnected the electricity, the gas, we cleaned up the dirty water, cleaned the kitchen pots, and put the stairs in the trunk…) with the ease of the one who has been in this all his life. Of course, the wind was still very hard, as Olivia can tell you. She opened the door of the caravan to get out of the van and the wind opened it so suddenly that it dragged her and she got hang from the crank! Thanks to God she did not get hurt.
We headed to Keen beach, very close to Keel’s campsite. This was an old whale shark watching (and fishing) spot, which has now been left for recreational use. A nice visit, here it is supposed to be a path to the cliffs but were not able to see it with the fog and the wind (we also did not know exactly where to start walking). Anyway we spent some time in the beach playing some time before getting frozen.
Then we visited the Balleroy National Park, which Alfonso recommended us because there is a small and easy trekking route the girls could do without any problems. This park is a peat bog, and they tell how it was formed and how peat is used here as fuel. Before starting our trekking we cooked some pasta in the parking lot (that the cool part of traveling in a campervan) and after having lunch we started our walk.
To make the walk funnier to the kids, we started to play Geocaching. This is a GPS mobile app that allows people to hide small treasures in the real world, and the app warns you when there is an object around, so you can look for it. It’s a fun game because the app tells you the coordinates but you need to find out where the treasure is hidden (you don’t even know how the treasure looks like). At the end of the walk there was one of these treasures and after some seeking, I was able to find the hidden treasure under a stone… The girls were so happy an excited!
The treasure was a sealed box with some “jewels” inside and a guestbook to sign. We signed the guestbook and left it just as it was before, taking care that no one sees us hiding it again.
It is still too windy! My head hurts because of it, it’s awful.
Just after this trekking it was time to start our return, Dublin was far away and our holidays were finishing the day after tomorrow… So we drove towards Newport, the small but picturesque little town where we couldn’t stop yesterday. So we had to do a small stop here. After having a Expresso coffee, we noticed that that there is another geocache in a nearby park called Princess Grace park, so decide to go to search for it. We entered the park which is a very closed and beautiful forest, and when we get to the place the GPS told us, we started looking for it.
This time it was Maria who found the chest, hidden under a hollow of the tree, but no one dared to take it, so I wondered no spider lived here and put my hand in. This time the chest had a lot of little things but you should not take anything from a treasure without leaving anything in return, we just signed the guestbook and hid the chest back to its place.
Oh, here the weather was way much better, the sun was appearing and the air had already calmed down.
We continued our trip, we left Newport to reach Westport, a town that we already liked a lot a few days ago. We stopped by to buy some groceries and here we went for the third geocache, which was in a very nice forest next to Westport Quay. We found it after a short walk, thanks to the clues left by the owner, since the GPS was not accurate because we were surrounded by trees. This one was hidden under three stones. Like the first one, the treasure only had a guestbook we signed and left it in its place again.
We had a beer in a bar with live music, we were so comfy that we realize that it was getting too late to look for a camp site and the one in Westport was going to close in about 15 minutes! We had to rush! When we arrived at the campsite they seem to not open us… Oh oh itf it’s too late we had a problem because there wasn’t any other camp site nearby… But in that moment the barrier opened because a car was coming out and we decided to sneak in with the campervan. There was no one in the office… We managed to find the security guard in the bar of the campsite having dinner, and very kindly attended us, letting us stay with the condition of paying tomorrow morning.
Great! Our problem was solved, we parked in a free spot as the guard told us, and then we needed to dinner… Wow, it looked like the camping bar was closing, luckily we had some we have dinner in the fridge! As you can see how cool is traveling with a caravan! haha First we went to have a shower in the campsite facilities and then I prepared the dinner, something easy to prepare because we were already tired. Our day was so long and exciting! After the dinner the girls were exhausted so everyone to the bed. Good night!
Well, after breakfast and start-up (and I suspect to my brother-in-law’s desperation, because we are slow to start) we set off for Newport. The After having breakfast and getting started we headed towards Newport. I suspect my brother in law got a bit impacient because we are slow to get going. Today’s plan is to do a trip to the National Parkl of Connemara, where there is a very nice track Nature Conservancy Center. When we are starting to walk it started to rain so much so that after parking in our destination we got so wet that we had to abandon the trip.
Plan B, we are going to see Kylemore Abbey, near here, but unfortunately the weather is still unspeed, we can still take a couple of pSo we resorted to Plan B, we went to see the Kylemore Abbey, just nearby, but unfortunately the weather continued without letting up. Even so, we could take a couple of pictures… but no way, we got soaked and we had to got back and get changed.
That meant that we had to continue towards Westport. Blanca y Alfonso went ahead int the car and we followed behind after the speed the traffic allowed to. When we arrived Westport, the rain seemed to stop, so we had the opportunity to take a walk without the raincoat. When we met again, the kids had a pizza, Alfonso some gnocci, Maria a Caesar’s salad and I had a peasant’s omelette at a creperie. It was very tasty, but I bet the Nutella crepe the kids ordered after was tastier! haha
After our lunch we had to say goodbye to Alfonso who had to return to Dublin for work. So we are on our own from here. We continued our journey towards Newport but it was so rainy there that we resorted to just continue our way to Achill Island.
After a couple of hours driving, it’s still raining hard and there is a rain so strong that it shakes the campervan… So when we found a campsite we decided to stay in out little our little home playing cards, Parcheesi…
I made some sandwiches for dinner and we went to bed soon hoping that tomorrow this storm will calm down.
Despite the overnight downpour and the wind that rocked our campervan, I have to say that we had a good night and we had a fairly good rest. We met with Alfonso at approximately 1 o’clock in Galway, so we left Doolin about 10:30.
We drove back through the same road, from narrower to wider road, driving through a road that looked like a bike lane. After more than an hour we managed to reach the motorway and we continued on our way. At about 1:30, just before arriving in Galway, we received a message from Alfonso, telling us that he was waiting for us a little further along the road, in a lay-by on the route.
We arrived at the meeting point and we left the campervan parked there because it is much faster and easier to drive a car on those tiny roads. And it was good for me to have the opportunity to rest a bit from driving. Immediately we made a stop at a small path, in the middle of nowhere en route to Roundstone. We hiked a bit and we saw a lovely river, a fishing stand, some ponies… A pony even tried to eat my backpack.
We resumed our route and after some time we arrived at Roundstone. There was a rowing competition in traditional Irish boats, and it seemed to be a street party, because there were a lot of people on the streets. We went to have some launch and we got some very tasty sandwiches and some wraps in a cafe.
Then we decided to visit the beach, and here we took a very nice walk admiring the white sands and the turquoise water. Don’t talk about the wind, it was too windy to have a dip in that cold Irish water, I think we were willing to do that but the air didn’t allow us to do so. Anyway the kids were brave enough to get their feet wet.
And right after our walk we went back to our campervan to have some rest, and to look for a camp site in Clifden. We found a nice one just outside of town. I think it was a bit expensive, because they charged us 42 euros (including Alfonso’s car). Right after parking our vehicles, we went to a pub in the village with live music. We tasted some delicious Irish dishes (fresh salmon, hamburger, fish soup…). And the desserts, a Bailey’s cheese cake and an apple pie.
And the day was over! We went back to the campsite to play a Parcheesi game and then to have some well deserved rest. Alfonso slept with us in the campervan, the kids shared their bed with him because it was big enough for all of them. Good night! Good night’s sleep!
Today we got up quite early. Alfonso picked us up at 9 o’clock, because he was going to take us to pick up our transport. After a long trip to a small town north of Dublin, we arrived at the rental company. But we were in the middle of nowhere, there was just a farm without any signs regarding the company!
But no worries, we phoned the company and the person in charge told us that it would take about 10 minutes for him to get there. That’s enough waiting time for us to think that we had been scammed by someone on the Internet and we had lost our deposit. What we are going to do now in the middle of nowhere and without any transport….
But nothing could be further from the truth. The explanation was simple, this company had just started their operations the week before, and they didn’t have any signage yet. Their headquarters is the farm, and after about 20 long minutes, our friend finally arrived. He was very kind and friendly, and his English was very easy to understand! Haha
He took us inside the farm and showed us our vehicle for the next 5 days: a campervan. What a surprise for the kids!
We signed the contract and paid the full amount + a deposit. He showed us a small bump at the back of the campervan, and he told us how to operate the thousand little things inside; gas, refrigerator, cooker. We arranged a return time with him… and we finally started our trip towards our destination of the day, the Cliffs of Moher.
We drove around some roads around the rental company to get used to driving on the left with such a big vehicle. And after that we immediately got onto the motorway towards Doolin. At first it was a bit tough for me to get used to it because of the height of the campervan and it was very windy, but after some time we even dared to overtake some trucks! What a brave driver! Haha
On this motorway there are several service areas with fast food establishments, so we made a technical stop halfway there, where we ate a pizza at a Papa John’s. Not exactly Irish food but we wanted to have something fast.
Shortly after continuing on our way, the motorway ended, and we had to return to ordinary roads. The route indicated by the GPS did not seem to be the most suitable for a campervan. The road got narrower and narrower until it became a little road just about as wide as the campervan, although luckily there was no traffic ahead. Those 200km took us about 5 hours, much more than the GPS predicted. Maybe it was not a good idea to follow it, I thought later.
On bright side, we finally reached the Cliffs of Moher, and we liked them very much, the trip was worth it. We started admiring the scenery from the viewpoints and then we had a good walk at the top. It seemed a bit dangerous to walk without taking care because there are not any handrails or similar, so I had to keep an eye on the kids, just in case.
After some time admiring the views, we got back to the campervan and went to Doolin to find somewhere to park and to spend the night. We found the campsite of Doolin, located past the village. We parked the campervan, we connected it to the main current, the gas and once we were settled, we took a walk of a couple of km back to the village to have dinner of fish and chips in a local pub. Luckily we took our raincoats because it started to rain cats and dogs before entering the pub.
Our dinner was wonderful, and our walk back to the campsite was very relaxing as the rain stopped. Let’s go to bed, see you tomorrow!
We woke up early in the morning eager to visit Dublin, as always when we start a trip. After having breakfast, we looked for a bus to go to the city centre. We had to ask in a supermarket and nobody knew for sure which bus we had to take and where the bus stop was, but finally a guy gave us the proper information. Beware, you will need some coins to take the bus, you cannot pay with notes and they don’t have any change on the bus. Sadly we didn’t have that information, but luckily the driver allowed us to pay with a 10 euro note, because he saw us with the kids, I guess (but we lost the change, 3 euros). By the way, it was the first time on a double-decked bus for the kids, and they enjoyed it so much!
Our first stop was Trinity College. It was a very pleasant walk through the university, quite quiet and away from the crowd. After the walk, we had a take away coffee, and rested on one of the campus playing fields, while we observed a group of students playing frisbee. There was a huge queue for the visit to see the book of Kells (an ancient book dating from the seventh century), so we skipped it.
Then we headed to Christ Church Cathedral. A very nice and quiet church, and then we continued our walk towards St Patrick Cathedral, the largest and oldest cathedral in Ireland, dating from the eleventh century. Here we sat on the lawn of the cathedral park for a while, and we left the kids playing some children’s game for a bit. We always wonder where they get all that energy, because we were a bit tired already!
They began to feel hungry, so we returned to Christ Church, because we saw a cafe advertising a daily menu for 9.95 there, so we headed over there. It was a great success because it was cheap, the food was awesome and we were treated very well. The girls chose some carbonara pasta, Maria a tuna salad, and I chose a hamburger.
After our lunch we continued our visit the city. First we walked by Temple Bar street, with all the life of Dublin’s pubs (we need to come back without the kids to have some beers). And then we strolled towards the statue of Molly Malone. We waited some time in a cafe called Avoca, very close to the statue, and the kids asked for a creamy chocolate cake. It was so big that they couldn’t eat even half of it. Guess who finished it. 😉
First Emma, and then Alfonso arrived from work. They didn’t know each other so we introduced them. After the meeting, we went to explore the Dublin Castle, and we sat for a while, while the kids played a bit and we caught up with each other. What a great place to talk, the castle is really cool! After that we went back to Temple Bar to have a pint of Guinness and at about 8 pm we said goodbye to Emma and we got back home.
On the way, we stopped at phoenix park because Alfonso tells us that there are usually deer on the wild. This park is a gigantic park, it even has a zoo. Well, there are herds of deer in the wild that live in the park, and luckily we found them after looking for them a while, we got as close as we could to take a picture, the girls were fascinated (and so were we).
And I don’t have more to tell… We got back to Alfonso’s house to rest, and we are very happy because we’ve seen everything we expected, and the weather was excellent! We’ve walked a lot, according to Maria’s mobile, almost 15km, and the girls have endured like champions. And we have very high expectations for tomorrow!
Finally our holidays have finally begun! Our long awaited plan is to visit Ireland. We will have surprises, we will visit some family (as my cousin and my brother-in-law live in Dublin and we didn’t have time to go to see them), this is the first sightseeing trip for the kids…
I’ve worked today, because our flight was departing at the evening. Meanwhile I was working, Maria and the kids were preparing all the suitcases. At 6pm Noemi picked us up to take us to the airport, and the weather was so hot that we were looking forward to arrive Ireland soon to enjoy its lower temperatures. In Spain it’s being a very hot summer!
In the airport we checked in the luggage at the Ryanair counter and then we went to pass through the security check. In some minutes we were onboard. We went 2 by 2 in adjacent rows, and everything was quite comfortable (for Ryanair standards, not a single issue in boarding or during the flight). The kids enjoyed the flight so much…
Once in Dublin, we picked up our bags and then, we went to the Departures terminal, where Alfonso is waiting for us to take us to his house. He’s kindly letting us his home for the two days we are going to spend in Dublin, and meanwhile he’s going to sleep to some friend’s home. When the uncle and his nieces saw each other… what a happy reunion!
And finally we are settled here! Tomorrow we will visit Dublin, which we are very much looking forward to!
I’ve wanted to get into astronomy for a long time. Living near Madrid hasn’t helped me much due to the light pollution we suffer in the city, but I hope to take advantage of the trips to the countryside to start with this hobby that has always drawn my attention.
My first instinct, a couple of years ago, was to buy a toy telescope for my eldest daughter and to take advantage of it in the best way possible by trying to observe something. Big mistake. A toy telescope is no good for anything except to get frustrated and discouraged, and to realize that for astronomy, you need to use quality material, and before that, to become informed by people who know.
Therefore, I began to get involved in several astronomy forums. There I have been recommended to begin with looking at the sky with the naked eye, to learn the constellations, the mechanics of the sky and so on. Once I’m confortable with this, then to start making observations with binoculars.
And at this point, I am choosing some good binoculars. Again asking the experts on the subject, they recommend starting with some binoculars on a stand. Note: the measurements of the binoculars are classified by two magnitudes with this notation: 10×50, in which the first number is the magnification, and the second, millimeters of aperture of the objective lens.
In order to choose binoculars for astronomy it is important to take into account the relationship between magnification and objective lens since it is interesting to have a good exit pupil in order to have the greatest possible field of view and the greatest luminosity.
It’s not so important to have a great magnification since the more magnification the bigger the objective lens has to be, and therefore, the heavier the equipment will be (and it will not be possible to make observations by hand, but it will be necessary to use a tripod).
It seems that it is best to pull towards prismatic prisms of Porro, and if possible with BAK-4 prism. My first search was to shoot some binoculars 15×70, the style of these Celestron https://amzn.to/2PShH3V or even 20×80, the style of these Celestron https://amzn.to/2PRfCoK but I backed its high weight that forced me to use tripod. Again to ask the experts, they steered me towards others, measuring 7×35 or 10×50. They say that to begin the best are the 7×35, but that the most all terrain are the 10×50, that all astronomers tend to have some as aid to their telescope. So, in the end, I decided for the 10×50 Nikon Aculon A211 https://amzn.to/2PQDZ5V that has very good Guest reviews.
I have also bought an introductory book, where I am learning different techniques are highly valued by the community. The book is titled “Practical Guide of the Amateur astronomer” https://amzn.to/2PQiVg0. Then they usually recommend a celestial letter, although my idea is to use a mobile application like Stellarium (note: put the lighting of the application to red so your eyes do not lose the adaptation to the darkness of your eyes when in the dark).
And here I am, with my new equipment, waiting for the first time to go to the country side to observe the stars…
Ok. We’re on the plane, we’re about to take off, now it’s time for think about and remember the whole trip. We loved this country and its people and we will go back again when we have an opportunity. Perhaps a tour on the islands will be stunningly beautiful. Maybe a summer with the kids… We’ll see.
I cannot stop recommending the travel guide we used, which has helped us a lot planning our visits and documenting us about what we were looking to. This guide is called “Rough Guides to Greece”. You can buy it here: Rough Guides to Greece
Personally, I was very surprised by the country because of its geography, I didn’t know it was such a mountainous country. And so green, lots of woods! And, in my ignorance, I thought it would be like our spanish La Mancha or something close.
We’ve spent a lot of time on the road. 1600 kilometers in 5 days. The Greeks drive in their own way, and when you realize how to do it is not as bad as you could think. If you drive using the shoulders, it can really be helpful to fecilitate the overtakes (and they will do it even if it is forbidden, both in your direction and the opposite). On the double sense roads it is a bit dangerous for this but with a little caution… They need to improve signage especially in cities (signs either are difficult to be seen or just don’t exist). Finally the tolls are a drain, we paid more than 50 euros in about 21 tolls! Crazy. But it’s also true that highways are a marvel. Ah indispensable to carry GPS not to get lost!
The food. Wonderful in practically any place you stop. We’ve spent our time eating tzatziki, the yogurt and cucumber sauce that they use as if it were almost ketchup, but you can have a little strong digestion! We also loved the gyros, which is grilled meat more or less like a kebab. The Greek salads… They’re all good! And last and not least important: very fan of feta cheese! Much tastier than the one bought in Spain. And a curious thing, the Greeks used to ask for food to share, they always have the dishes in the center of the table, I guess that’s why the portions are so big, with a main dish two people can be satisifed, although we have almost always ordered an entrée , salad, tzatziki or grilled feta cheese… And eating is, compared to Spain, very cheap, maybe the half. We have eaten for about 20-25 euros the two without going on the menu of the day.
The people. I’m angry with someone who wrote in a book of signatures in the convent of Pandanassa in Mista, he was asking Greek people to smile (it’s very cheap, he said), I can’t believe it! they are the most hospitable and pleasant people I’ve ever met! It has treated us all great and if try to say any Greek word, you will have them in your pocket. We found Greek quite difficult, I guess because of its alphabet, but we memorized hello, goodbye, thank you, good morning, good afternoon… and they’re grateful for the effort. The funny thing with that, is that until the last day we said everything wrong, sometimes I figured out some words or Mary said hello when they brought us the account Jajajajaj
And the weather… It’s been pretty good to be December, actually. The first 5 days we missed the sun, and even the first day in Athens rained a lot, but the last two days in the Peloponnese has made us a great sun. We have been around the 15 degrees at noon and the 8 at dusk, depending on the places it was somewhat cold. This morning it was really cold, the car was totally frosted in the country side!
See you soon Greece, thanks for treating us so well.