Monday, October 7, 2013

Molly's Epic Vacation- Recap #1

Keeping with my theme of not being online all the time and giving myself a break from technology, I'm not (clearly) doing daily vacation updates with tons of stories, step-by-step replays and tons of photos. Just a quick summary and a few photos that gives a good idea of what each day was like. This way I don't have to stress about finding the time to keep things so updated and I still get an online journal of this trip. goes!

Day 1- Tuesday, October 1st.
Travel from LAX --> London. Not too bad. I was apprehensive about a 10-hour flight, but I managed to sleep for nearly four hours of it. And I got way into a book I started before leaving home, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (I totally recommend reading it).

Day 2- Wednesday, October 2nd.
Travel from London --> Dublin. I was beyond tired by the time I arrived, especially after my three hour layover at LHR (where I mostly walked around to keep myself from falling asleep and missing my flight). I did finish Zeitoun before getting on my Dublin-bound flight, which gave me time to sleep a little more on that second and final flight. My friend Teddy picked me up, brought me to a restaurant to grab some lunch, walked me around the James Joyce House (where he works) and then off we went to Gene's and the Thatch.

It was a great night at the pub. There were more musicians than I'd ever seen before- about 13 in total. Nearly more musicians than patrons. But as usual, things don't get going until late. And around 1130pm, more people kept coming in. We stayed up way later than we should and by 2am, I was behind the bar pulling pints and making Irish coffee while Gene entertained the guests. Around 3am, we shut down the pub and walked over and crawled into bed.

There were of course so many wonderful moments of the night, reconnecting with old friends I haven't seen in quite a while, listening to great music and just smiling from ear to ear from all the happiness I was surrounded by.

Thursday, October 3rd.
Today after a great breakfast prepared by Gene, we hopped in the car to take a walk at the sea. On the way there we made three unexpected stops (two different banks and an electric/light supply shop). Which is very typical of going anywhere with Gene. About two hours after we set off for a 50-minute trip to Strandhill, we finally arrived and took a gorgeous walk along the ocean. Dogs run freely and rain doesn't make people turn around. You just soldier on. We were rewarded with several beautiful rainbows and a few rain showers. It was beautiful, relaxing and fun (fun is always involved if Gene is involved).

When we got home, I met up with my friend Tina who joined us for stew that Gene made earlier that day and was simmering while we were off during the day. Gene joined us for our early dinner before jetting off to Philosophy class (which is just about the funniest thing). It was another pub night and even though I thought it was going to be a much earlier night, we ended up staying out later than the previous night. Running on fumes here for sure! Gene's friends Mary and Jim said they were going to call in on their way home and by midnight, they still hadn't shown up. Once they finally did, they stayed until nearly 330am. And once again, I found myself behind the bar pulling pints and making Irish coffee. I easily made 15 in the last two hours. At 415am I finally left the pub and crawled into bed. 

My favorite memory of the night was watching Gene's wonderful sense of humor in action. He put a gigantic stuffed gorilla inside one of the women's bathroom stall hoping to scare as many women as possible. He shut the door nearly all the way so the "surprise" wouldn't be spoiled, but all that did was make people believe someone was in that stall, so they'd go into the other one. Not satisfied with the lack of screams and near heart attacks coming out of the bathroom, he upped his game by placing a stool with an out of order sign in front of the stall without the gorilla forcing people to use the other one where they'd certainly get a fright. Around 3am, Gene was finally rewarded when Mary & Jim's daughter Amy ran out of the bathroom (without even taking care of business) holding her hand to her heart where she was focusing on just trying to come back down to earth. "Don't you ever do that again Gene Anderson!" she yelled at him while he had the most satisfied smile on his face. This man kills me! 

Friday October 4th.
The usual breakfast prepared by Gene and being firmly woken up by his smoke alarm going off, for the second morning in a row. Got very little sleep. I'm still running on fumes at this point and looking forward to going off to Amsterdam where I may be able to catch up on some sleep!

I ran some errands with Gene before he dropped me off at the bus stop where I took a very convenient bus from Carrick-on-Shannon directly to the airport. Everything worked out beautifully (must learn to trust this more often!) and I got to the airport with time to spare before boarding the plane to visit Jill in Amsterdam. Quick and easy flight with a beautiful sunset en route. Met up with Jill at the airport, grabbed a bite to eat and was in bed relatively early. Amsterdam is a very busy city. I almost got ran over by at least three bikes tonight alone. Will be more alert tomorrow!

Saturday October 6th. 
Jill and I explored the city on foot and on bike. We went to the farmer's market, the park, an Irish pub, walked through the Red Light district (sssssick) and had Thai food for dinner before biking back to the apartment.

I did zero research on Amsterdam and had no clue what to expect, apart from what everyone knows about the coffee shops and everyone gets around on bikes. But it's a beautiful city and very easy to photograph. The canals are so freaking cool. There's so much water everywhere! It's a fast-paced city, so I can already feel myself wanting to enjoy a slower pace of life (that's exactly what Ireland is for). Even still, it's been a memorable day.

Favorite memory of the day was when Jill and I sat down in the dog playground (as they call it here) to take a break from our bikes and a man next to us asked if we were American after hearing us talk. Once I replied yes, he launched into quizzing us on our knowledge of the state capitals. I nailed it! My grandfather used to quiz me when I was much, much younger on car rides from NYC to the beach house in Point Lookout. I can't wait to tell him this story! 

Sunday October 6th. 
What a day! Jill and I left the apartment around noon and biked roughly 50km (30ish miles) from Amsterdam to Broek in Waterland (adorable!) to Monnikendam (very pretty with lots of boats) to Volendam (reminded me of Venice Beach filled with tourists and souvenir shops every two feet). From there we hopped on a 30-minute ferry and landed in Marken (definitely my favorite and the most charming) before biking back to the city before we lost day light.

The entire day was gorgeous from start to finish. And even though my fn bike pedal fell off (and couldn't be revivied despite our best attempts to "hammer" it back in place with a nalgene water bottle and then a brick), it was so much fun and I'm so glad we did it.

Getting out of Amsterdam was the perfect way to spend our day. The countryside is truly beautiful and peaceful. This is a part of the world that is meant for enjoying via bike. It's fascinating how it's built with all these bike paths. Katie would love it. On Saturday as we were trying to figure out our day, I did a quick Moogle search for the best day trips from Amsterdam and that's how we learned about the one we landed on. We went with option 1. And it was an added bonus because it was a place Jill had never been to before.

We both loved it, took tons of great photos and fell in love with the Netherlands a little bit more!

So far it's obviously been an epic vacation. I have four goals each day and so far I've been quite successful in each area.

  1. Write in my (real) journal.
  2. Read.
  3. Take photos (on my real camera).
  4. Walk.
Now I just need to focus on the more sleep part and everything will be perfect!

I feel so incredibly grateful that I still have two more weeks of vacation left. I already feel like I've seen and done so much and this all feels like a gift. I've been able to connect and reconnect with some of my favorite people and see such beautiful parts of the world. Pinch me!


Unknown October 7, 2013 at 10:37 AM  

Molly - Loved reading this -your pictures are all beautiful. Sounds like a fantastic vacation so far. Look forward to reading next Monday's entry.

What's Already Been Said


  © Free Blogger Templates Photoblog III by 2008

Back to TOP