Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Good Time Had By All

I must still be recovering from our recent trip to Dublin. Kent, KJ and I flew out from the other Oslo airport last Friday evening. I can't believe they say it is an Oslo airport as it took us one hour and forty minutes by train to get there. We had no choice since Ryan Air only flies out of Oslo Torp which is in the city of Sandefjord. Does this sounds anywhere near Oslo to you? We did save some bucks using the Irish airline. I must say the whole process of getting the passengers on board is a tad stressful. There are no seat assignments but they do let people who payed for priority board first. KJ decided to run ahead and secure seats since we had all the bags. It was a great strategy; people are mad about getting seats. I decided we needed a beer after that! The flight was short and Bill was there to meet us once we got through passport control.

Sharon and Bill proved to be outstanding hosts. We really enjoyed our trip and reconnecting with them. We hadn't seen the two of them in awhile. Kent used to work with Sharon in Austin and Sharon and I were in book club. Bill works at National Instruments and has a position in Dublin until next January and Sharon just landed a job. She is very excited. They both are totally enjoying Dublin and I can see why.

We had a fun and busy time and I would love to highlight the attractions. Saturday morning Bill, who is a wonderful cook whipped up an Irish breakfast which included eggs, bacon, sausage links, fried tomato,mushrooms, white pudding (reminded me of a Jimmy Dean sausage patties) and toasted brown bread. It was delicious! After breakfast we walked through the park across from their apartment. It was a beautiful day and we had fun exploring their neighborhood. It was a day of good eating. Later that evening we went to a fun area called Howth which is right on the coast and had dinner at a restaurant called Aqua right on the water. We all had very tasty dinners.

Sunday we spent a day in the countryside. We got an early start as we squished into Bill and Sharon's European size car and headed to New Grange to see an amazing, ancient religious ruin and then onto Trim to visit a castle. It was a day of history!
The day concluded with dinner at one of Bill and Sharon's neighborhood pubs.

The Dublin City Tour Bus was the plan for Monday. It was exciting to tour Dublin which is a very lively, hopping city. We snagged seats on the second level and sat back and listened to our driver/guide. I love the Irish accent and the stories the guide had to tell. The big stop of the day was at the Guinness Storehouse. It was really fun. We self toured, learned all about the history of Guinness and the process of how it is made. The storehouse is a super cool place. As you go through the tour you are gradually working your way to the top where a pint of Guinness awaits you. Kids receive the soft drink of their choice. The bar has a spectacular view of Dublin and is a great place to enjoy a well deserved beverage. FYI, this was my first pint!

Our last day in Dublin, we found ourselves at the zoo. Dublin has the third oldest zoo in Europe and it is situated in Phoenix Park. The park is one of the largest around; it is 5 times the size of Central Park in NYC. There is even a herd of deer roaming around in the park. We found out over the weekend a baby elephant was born and were hoping to see it but unfortunately it didn't happen. We had a blast anyway. It was an awesome zoo and a good time was had by all. KJ is going to give you her report as my little guest blogger.

We ended the day at a chipper, which if you don't know serves fish and chips. This was a must stop for Kent and me as we've recently gone through a fish and chip phase. This was a very appropriate ending to an Irish vacation.

Remember these are only highlights of our trip. We really had a wonderful time with Bill and Sharon. Thanks again guys!

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