Sunday, November 13, 2016

Celebrating 14 years in Ireland! Part one

Bill and I are currently in Ireland, celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary.  This trip has been a long time coming, since Bill has Irish ancestry and last visited Ireland in 1984.  I think I visited Ireland when my father was stationed at Mildenhall Air Force Base in England, but if I did visit, I was much too young to remember it.  I've been wanting to see Ireland for a long time, especially since I also have a little Irish blood, though it got to me by way of Scotland (I assume, anyway, having examined genealogical research done by people in my family).

I'm not sure when we decided, once and for all, that this anniversary would be spent in Ireland.  Originally, I was thinking about a trip to Baden-Baden, of all places, because I love spas and Baden-Baden is chock full of them.  For all I know, I decided on Ireland after we bought tickets to the recent whisky/whiskey tasting we attended at The Auld Rogue in Vaihingen.  In any case, we're here and it's good.  I tried to make this trip as first class as possible.  

Business class on Lufthansa and Swiss Air (as well as Austrian Airlines)

As is my habit when I start planning a trip, I turned to Expedia.com for the initial planning.  I do that mainly because on Expedia, I can see prices for multiple airlines at one time and pair them with hotels.  I know everybody has their favorite travel site.  I've tried and used Travelocity and I've looked at Kayak.com, too.  For some reason, I just happen to prefer Expedia.  I also have a lot of rewards points there that I'm saving for a big splurge sometime.

When Bill and I fly, we usually opt for economy class because it's often difficult to justify the extra money it costs to fly business class.  For this particular trip, we ended up booking business class seats.  Although business class was a bit more expensive than economy class was, it wasn't prohibitively so.  I also wanted to try business class so I could write about the experience.  

We ended up paying about $840 for two business class tickets from Stuttgart to Dublin.  Our first leg took us from Stuttgart to Munich to Dublin on Lufthansa.  On the way back, we'll fly Swiss Air to Zurich to Stuttgart.  We have a long layover in Zurich and I looked at possibly taking a train back to Stuttgart.  Unfortunately, I didn't find one that would get us back home sooner than the plane would.  I guess I will get to write about Zurich's airport and maybe Swiss Air's business class lounge.

The Marker Hotel in Dublin 

The Marker Hotel is a very contemporary hotel located in the Docklands area of Dublin.  It's located in the center of town, making it a good place from which to explore.  As it's turned out, so far we haven't explored much of Dublin yet, because I bought us tickets to the Smithwick's Experience in Kilkenny.  Yesterday, we took a train to Kilkenny to use our tickets and that took up the whole day.  Today, we have plans to visit the Guinness brewery for a tour and a connoisseur beer tasting.  Hopefully, we'll get to see some of Dublin today, because tomorrow, we're headed to the west coast, where I've rented a cottage on the water for five nights.


Nectar of the gods?

The Water's Edge in Aughris

That is the name of the cottage I've rented.  I found it through Booking.com.  It's located in County Sligo.  I had originally wanted to find us a place in County Donegal, but was unable to find anything that really pulled at the heartstrings.  The Water's Edge is located steps away from a well regarded beach bar and is literally right on the beach.  I look forward to seeing the area around there because it looks absolutely beautiful!  Best of all, the price was right.  Just 440 euros for five nights.  I haven't seen the house yet, though, so we'll see if it was really a bargain.

We will come back to Dublin on Saturday, November 19th and stay a night at the Clayton Hotel, which is right next to the Marker Hotel.  I didn't know they were so close to each other when I booked.  I was simply looking for an airport hotel.  Now I know to check locations more carefully!  On November 20th, we will fly back to Germany.

Now that I've outlined our main plans for this trip, it's time to write about what's happened so far.  Stay tuned for part two.

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