Germany – June 2017

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Day 1: To Munich

About two weeks out from this trip, I decided it may be about time I attempted to learn some German for my fifth trip to the country. Something tells me that starting so late to familiarise myself with a language that is probably more than a thousand years old is possibly going to leave me somewhat lacking. If only I could somehow forewarn those I will come in contact with and apologise in advance. Unfortunately, my explanatory t-shirt fails to arrive before we leave. Es tut mir leid.

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Glendalough – January 2017

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It’s an icy, 8 am start on a Saturday morning in January and the body refuses to get out of bed. With just enough time for breakfast and a few jokes Orla and I pick up Eamon (not literally) and head off to Wicklow. Making great time, and having concerns about parking en route, we arrive to a, basically, empty car park. I’ve never seen Glendalough so quiet. The place is stunning as always.

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Iceland – October 2016

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Day 1 – To Reykjavik & Staður:

By some bizarre coincidence, Orla’s second cousin (twice removed) Tyler is on our flight to Reykjavik en route back to the USA. So amazingly, we get to hang out with him for the day in Iceland. It works out pretty well for Tyler too as he has not booked anywhere to sleep in Reykjavik. A rental car does not make a good bed.

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Switzerland – July/August 2016

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Day 1: To Zurich

This trip started the planning phase all the way back in November or December 2015 with the tentative idea that we would ‘go somewhere’ on the way to Heika and Paddy’s wedding round 2. Switzerland was developed somewhere between then and now. We had some hiccups along the way, our excitement to discover a place called ‘Orla’ right there above Lucerne on Google Maps, only to breakdown in laughter when we realise Orla is just logged into Google Services and that IS her name at the top. Oh dear lord. Against all the odds, we somehow got through the planning stage and after what seemed like an eternity of exams, moving apartments and working, the time for holidays is here and hopefully, after a failed attempt to buy some 21 year aged Kilbeggan Whiskey, we should be landing in Zurich in a couple of hours.

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The Crystal Maze……almost – June 2016

There are few things that beat realising you have arrived 3 hours before your flight to London takes off. Just about made it so…..ahhhhhhnd relax. Apparently, there are no seats pre-security in Dublin airport either, which only adds to the benefit of arriving real early. So if my screenshot boarding pass from Dave’s phone doesn’t work, I’ll be standing for another hour before the lads arrive. Full success. With fingers crossed, and Guy Garvey’s ‘Courting the Squall’ serenading me, I approach the turnstiles. Boooooop, I assume, and we’re through.

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Djouce and Maulin – May 2016

After some short negotiations on our commencement time, we settle somewhere in the middle for an 8 o’clock kick-off. Some homemade flapjacks, bananas and walnuts in the bag to help us power through and I’m fully packed. After a quick revision of the old inventory, everything is not where is should be, the need for appropriate footwear being, apparently, only an afterthought for me. Trekking some part of Wicklow in my bear feet is probably not advisable. I have very sensitive toes…..

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Berlin – March 2016

Day 1:

It’s a snowy start to Friday morning. A quick look at Dublin Airport departures shows a high percentage of delays. It’s not looking good for us getting out on time, our plane has to get to Berlin and back before we get on it, but sure we live in hope. After an unannounced gate change, and a little bit of a dash, we’re only about 40 minutes behind schedule. Berlin bound for round two.

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Mayo – February 2016

Friday; and I start my day with a haircut; I won’t be able to navigate later through the hedge that is atop my head otherwise. Needs must. A three and a half hour drive awaits us, Friday evening, hopefully afternoon. We anticipate the journeys start, which arrives at around 16:30. We tear into it……as far as the M50 and the queue at the Ballymun exit. Fifteen minutes later we’re reaching the dizzying speeds of 60 Km/h, just. But alas, our joy is short lived and we’re once again bound by traffic to beyond Lucan. After that it’s a straight shoot to Castlebar. More or less. The odd truck slowing us down. We make our destination by about 20:30, to a charming welcome from Angela (Orla’s best friend-cousin), Kevin (Angela’s husband) & baby Grace. Within minutes of our arrival we’re tucking into a much appreciated Chicken Korma. Angela and Kevin are incredibly welcoming, a real family style embrace. Grace is a bundle of energy, always busy. She never stops. Almost always smiling and laughing. Or just staring. We settle into a delightful evening with a couple of beers and way too much apple tart.

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