Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 4 - Days 5 and 6

(returning to Ireland posts)


We are currently lounging in a hotel just outside the coastal city of Wexford. Yesterday morning, after everyone woke up feeling worse than we did the day before, we ultimately decided not to continue on the trail at all. We ate, got a ride into Rathdrum with the cook, and spent about an hour in an internet cafe, canceling our B&B reservations and booking new accommodations in Wexford.

Why Wexford? We could have just caught taxis to our B&Bs and kept our plans mostly the same, but Keller wisely suggested that we find a place to finish out our vacationing that has more to offer in terms of things to do, than the littler hamlets along the Wicklow Way. Wexford is by no means a big city, but it's not a village, either, and we figured we'd have a better chance of entertaining ourselves there than at the B&Bs.

So, after making arrangements, we ate some lunch, and caught a train to Wexford. The ride was pleasant, and it helped me appreciate just how small Ireland is (and how large the US is). If the Wicklow Way didn't go up and down through mountains but instead cut straight across flatland, we'd make across the entire country in no time.

It was about an hour ride to Wexford. After arriving, we stocked up on cough drops (that contain anti-biotics), and then foolishly decided to walk the (it turns out) 3km uphill to our hotel, learning later that it only costs 6 euro to travel between the town and hotel. Due to some confusion regarding the reservation we had made, we end up with a room in a private building caled The Lodge, with a king, double, and twin bed, private bath, and full breakfast included. We make tea and lounge around for a couple hours, just chatting and resting.

Around 6:30, we head to town (by taxi this time) to get dinner. We wander around a bit before deciding on a small second-story Italian place called Amalfi Coast. It's new, apparently, and has real, Amalfi-style Italian cooking (by the way, the next time we all travel, Keller and I are going to push for a cycling and culinary tour in Italty). We enjoyed a speciality tasting menu with four courses and shared a bottle of a dry Italian wine called Soave. We toasted to getting off the trail and getting to Wexford. Full of food and plague by sinus headaches, we returned to the hotel and went to bed.

So far today we've eaten breakfast and taken showers, at the most leisurely pace possible. We'll head back into town shortly, maybe to find a castle or ride in a boat. Andrew and I leave for Dublin tomorrow morning.


If I had one piece of advice to give when it comes to having a good vacation, it would be: Don't let things that are out of your control happen. However, since that is by definition impossible, here are some real pieces of advice that may help you survive when things do inevitably get out of your control:

1. Be flexible/open to changes of plan. Along the same lines,
2. Plan to spend more money than you think you'll need to. Having a plan is important, but it is also important not to be too attached to or invested in those plans because if something changes you need to be clear-headed enough to come up with (and be accepting of) a realistic alternative. The four of us have been pretty good about this--right now, we are in a town we hadn't planned to visit, we are spending money on meals and hotels and medications that we didnt know we'd need. And we're still having a pretty good time, considering that we're sick as dogs.

I think the one area where we could have had more forethought would have been:

3. Know your limits. For us, I mostly mean this in the physical sense. We've been saying this whole time that getting sick was not something we could have avoided, and mostly I think that's true, but maybe it was foolish of us to think that we could do 5 days of rainy mountain hiking without consequences.

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