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It doesn't seem possible that is has been almost two weeks, since returning from our Aug 09 trip to NorthWest Ireland. It seems that no matter how much time you spend and carefully plan, sometimes things don't go exactly as you would like. Over all, the trip was great, and like many others on this web sight have said, I'm already thinking about the next trip to Ireland......
This report will be in many segments due to the length of the trip....and well, I'm long winded, even though I did not kiss the Blarney Stone on our first trip three years ago!
When starting a big trip report project like this, I have to remember advice my Dad gave me as he and I were restoring an old 1953 airplane. He said: "It's like eating an elephant....just take one bite at a time!"Our trip started out after work on Tuesday Aug 4. We departed Ocean Shores, WA about 5:45 PM for the 3 hour drive to Portland Oregon. Since our flight departed at 6:30AM on Aug 5, we opted to go in the night before. "Murphy's Law" will come into play several times during this trip, and Murphy's law says that a flat tire or car trouble on the way to the airport is possible! So going the night before always gives you options, just in case....
We had driving help from a close family friend who is retired, and he took our car back home instead of parking at the airport for 15 days. It also came in handy to have a chauffer for our jet lagged, 3 hour trip home, after a scheduled 11PM arrival back at PDX on the 21st.We secured a room at the Howard Johnson airport hotel, since they offered a 4:00AM van shuttle to the airport. After a 3:30 AM wake-up call, a quick shower that was going to have to last for several hours, and we were off! We had printed our boarding passes the afternoon before on our home computer, so with all carry-on luggage (2-21 inch roller bags, and 2 smaller daybags for under the seat in front) our check in was easy...went right thru security and to the boarding gate. We waited for the boarding call and got in line. When we got to the ticket agent, he looked at our ticket and informed us that our passports had not been validated! Oops... out of line and back to the boarding gate desk to have this less-than-1-minute detail taken care of! I wasn't aware of this the last time, since we had checked luggage, and the pass port was taken care of at that time!We had on-time boarding, and on-time departure for an uneventful 4 1/2 hour flight to JFK NYC. Had a little turbulance a couple of times, and the crew and passengers were on alert, due to the turbulance injuries that occured on 2 flights the previous week on other airlines. We had not flown trans-continental before, and due to the length of the flight I was able to sleep about 1 hour. We did a circular approach to JFK out over the ocean, and the beaches were loaded with sun bathers, as it was over 90 degrees in NYC.We had a dreadful long 7 hour layover at JFK. We noticed that JFK airport looked rather well-used, with much wear and tear, as opposed to PDX, which was voted the nicest airport recently. Probably due to the sheer numbers of people who go thru JFK vrs. PDX. Made a few cell phone calls to family and friends back in Washington and Nebraska to let them know the first leg went well and we had arrived safely. Also called my Uncle who lives in NYC but he was unable to get together with us during the long layover, as he had to teach a college class that afternoon.The lengthy boarding process took place on time about 9 PM for a scheduled 10 PM flight to Shannon. We were loaded for quite a while before we were able to back away from the gate. Then there was an extremely long taxi to get to the take-off runway. It was almost 11PM by the time we lifted off. The NY and eastern seaboard lights were brilliant as we circled once, then headed NorthEast, as best I could determine. We were informed that it was a 5 1/2 hour flight, with a meal served 90 minutes after take off, and breakfast served 90 minutes before landing. That left about 4 hours to sleep, of which I managed about 3 hours. We had a chatty seat mate in the isle seat. Since she and I were both teachers, we had to talk shop for about 1 hour before I drifted off.They offered complimentary beer or wine to all passengers, so we chose a small bottle of wine to have later on in Ireland. It wasn't long after breakfast that we noticed daylight outside the window, and then shortly after that the 40 shades of green started showing up down below, as we started our decent for landing. We arrived early, about 9:23 AM. (to be continued)
"Ireland Expert" Michele ErdvigClick links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland ItineraryVisit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.
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