Sunday, February 13, 2011

Galway Getaway

So young Tobington and I decided to use our new found access to vehicular transport and hit the road for a mini-adventure yesterday. It really is an amazing novelty to be able to step out the door and drive to another town, solely in the name of exploration. Our only true plan was to find the Farmers Market in Galway. And we did indeed find it. We also managed to gorge ourselves on delicious food, drink (a little wine--what? It was early in the afternoon and I only had 1.5 glasses!), and shop (I needed a new umbrella...I live in Ireland, ok?) Apparently being poor makes me defensive about every single purchase I make. 

If you don't know exactly where I live in Ireland, look up where the cultural epicenter of the nation is---then go as far away from that as possible. I am sure that many of you do know but for the sake of the few remaining strands of anonymity, let's just say that our home town here is known for gang violence, abject poverty, and closed-down-industrial parks. So a chance to breathe in the sweet air of Galway for the day was truly divine. Even getting snubbed by the wine snob that runs the wine and cheese shop was fun (almost as fun as trash-talking him in French and later figuring out that he probably spoke French).

Tobie endeavors to eat an entire wheel of cheese.

I was pretty excited about the fact that this coffee shop served soy latte's. Really. I can count on one hand the amount of places you can get a soy latte in this country. Yes, I know that sounds unbelievably uppity and bourgeoisie but I LIKE SOY LATTE'S DAMMIT AND YOU CAN'T GET THEM HERE!!
I also enjoyed how similar my hair looked to a hockey helmet.
I love the street scene below mostly because when I uploaded the photos at home I saw that the dude front and center is walking with a case of beer in one hand and a bottle of Buckie in the other.  He is definitely going to have a stellar afternoon. For those that have never had the pleasure of Buckfast, just imagine the sweetest wine you've ever tasted, mixed with Buckley's cough syrup, fortified with more alcohol and then injected with an unnatural amount of caffeine. Voila. Irish night out.

We snuck in from the evening wind and rain and enjoyed a lovely meal in a little Italian bistro before hitting the road back home. Tobie, as you can see, is a connoisseur of fine soda pop, and after a brief tasting, settled on a 2010 7-Up to round out his lamb ragout. (Not that I am one to tease, I paired my grilled salmon with crab and potato mash with a spicy, yet fruity, glass of ice water.)

Home sweet-sunset-from-my-office-window home.  
It was a fabulous day. I am still mentally adjusting to having a car again. After a year and a half here without one it is amazing how much life changes when you don't have to depend on a shite bus system or lifts from friends to do the things you want to do.

Even groceries are a dream now. The closest decent grocery store is a 4km walk which feels MUCH farther when you have 50lbs of groceries on your back. It is just so unbelievably annoying when you are standing in the aisle trying to decide between yogurt or canned tomatoes based on weight instead of what you'd like to cook that night for dinner.

Now I can make a nice butternut squash soup or buy a whole chicken for roasting without sacrificing toilet paper or milk for the week.

Oh the little things make me so happy sometimes.



Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had an amazing adventure! Love the pictures. You've got me interested in trying Buckie now. :P Sounds like an awesome beverage.

OMDG said...

Yes, having a car helps A LOT with the finer things, like grocery shopping. I can't tell you how much my life improved when Luca moved to Philly and brought my car with him. It was paralleled only by the time Chipotle opened a restaurant here.

Anonymous said...

That looks awesome!

I've always wanted to travel Ireland. One of my bigger regrets is not taking an opportunity to do a semester abroad at Limerick when I had the chance.

Absentbabinski said...

So jealous! I've spent the weekend writing an essay, putting furniture together and prepping for a mock OSCE on Monday :(

And anyone who doesn't love a soya latte can bite my shiny metal ass.

Susan Green said...

AS a regular Irish reader I can tell the city you are in from the descrpion, it is rather charmingly also called Stab City. However I must confess I've never even heard of Buckfast, never mind tasted it! Certainly agree about the rain though. I am in Co.Carlow, on the other side of the country. I enjoy reading, keep posting.

Anonymous said...

To answer YOUR question, I was signed up to do a semester abroad at U of L, but backed down at the last minute due to a variety of reasons.

I really picked it because it was the only school that had a partnership with my school that A) Spoke English, B) Wasn't super competitive and C) Would accept my late application :P

Dragonfly said...

Tobie looks like Ted from How I met your Mother there...

ERP said...

Holy crap that Buckie is like the stuff here the got banned called Four Loco. Basically tonnes of ETOH and caffiene. Drunkness in a can or two!