Monday, November 21, 2016

Celebrating 14 years in Ireland! Part twelve

We spent Saturday driving from Sligo to Dublin, eventually stopping in Mullingar for lunch.  As luck would have it, the weather happened to be beautiful on Saturday.  It would have been a great day to explore Sligo and the surrounding areas.  Ah well.  Now we have an excuse to go back to western Ireland.

We stumbled across the Newbury Hotel in Mullingar after a quick search.  The hotel was old fashioned and kind of cute.  I wished we could stay there a night instead of in Dublin.  It was a nice place to have lunch, though.  It appeared to be very popular with the locals, who were sitting around two televisions.  One was tuned to a rugby game and the other, which was closest to where Bill and I were sitting, was set to a steeplechase.  


Oops!


Obligatory shot of Bill.

I grew up around horses, so I'm always attracted to equestrian sports.  I don't remember seeing a lot of steeplechase in the United States, but it appeared to be a very popular sport in Ireland.  There were several guys watching the races.  Bill noticed that some of the horses had full body clips, which I had to explain to him.  Sometimes, horses involved in serious competitive sports have all of their body hair clipped off.  It makes for easier grooming as well as allows them to keep cool if they grow a heavy winter coat.

Steeplechase!

Anyway, the steeplechase kept us occupied while we waited for lunch.  A handsome but somewhat inept young fellow brought us a couple of overflowing Guinnesses.  I had a bacon panini and Bill had a chicken and cheese "whoppie", which was basically like a panini made with tomato bread.  The sandwiches were served with excellent chips (french fries).


Nice hotel!


Mullingar looked like a pleasant town.

After lunch, we finished our drive to Dublin.  I had booked us a room at the Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport.  We had a real problem getting to the hotel because it was located in a strange area.  Bill made several wrong turns before he finally managed to get there... just in time to run into a huge influx of people.  It turned out someone was having their wedding reception at the hotel and we happened to arrive just as they did.  The lobby was teeming with people in their Sunday best, swilling Budweiser and obstructing things.

I was pretty tired from the drive and really just wanted to go take a nap.  After a speedy check in, we went to our eighth floor "suite", which was really just a big room.  I took a shower and climbed into bed.  We spent the evening watching TV over a meal provided by room service.  I'm happy to report that the food quality at the Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport was much better than at the Clayton Hotel in downtown Dublin.

Unfortunately, the wedding party then proceeded to have a very loud reception, complete with blasting music that we could hear in our room.  The noise made me very grumpy because I just wanted to rest up for yesterday's journey back to Germany.  Advil PM came to the rescue once again!

Yesterday morning, we got up and went to breakfast, which I had pre-booked.  Unfortunately, the guy running breakfast couldn't seem to find where I had pre-booked.  It took a couple of minutes for him to tell us to just go eat and he'd sort it out with the reception.  The breakfast at the hotel wasn't all that good in terms of food quality.  Fortunately, there were plenty of things to choose from, from fresh fruits to cereals, that couldn't be screwed up by someone cooking.


This was the meal we had on our Dublin to Zurich flight.  They also had lasagne.  I might have had that, but I was too worried about fungus.

After breakfast, we checked out, paying the nine euros to park our rental car in the hotel's enormous garage.  Then we made our way to the airport, where we dropped off the car and checked in at Swiss Air.  This was my first time flying Swiss Air.  It was great to try it for the first time in business class.  In fact, I'd say I liked Swiss Air better than Lufthansa.  The food was better and the service was impeccable.  Aside from that, the business class lounge at the Zurich Airport is fabulous.

My only complaint was that Bill ended up sitting behind me instead of next to me.  The lady sitting next to me had a daughter who sat across the aisle from her, so we weren't the only ones a little put out by the seating arrangement.  But the flight was only one hour and forty minutes, so it was no big deal.  I noticed the flight attendants made a point of being nice to the lady's little girl and even invited her to go see the cockpit.

We had a long layover in Zurich, which we spent in the Swiss Air Business lounge after we got through passport control.  Once again, I had to explain SOFA to the lady who looked at my passport.  I guess next time, I'll give her my military ID, too.

Our flight to Stuttgart was super short-- maybe 30 minutes in all.  In fact, the pilot turned off the seatbelt sign, only to turn it right back on seconds later.  Even though it was a short flight, we were still given a snack and a drink in business class and it was actually edible.  Our Stuttgart flight was on Austrian Airlines.  It was a turbo prop aircraft.  Everyone in business class got an empty seat next to them, so Bill sat behind me again.


Edible snack on Austrian/Swiss Air.
Once we picked up our bags in Stuttgart, we were in a hurry to get to Dog Holiday to pick up Zane and Arran.  I had been fretting about Zane all week, worried because he had a mast cell tumor removed.  As it turned out, Zane was a little out of sorts while we were gone.  I'm taking him to the vet on Wednesday, so I'll have her take a look at him.  I did have him on Benadryl, though, so that could have been why he was so listless.  Despite that, both dogs were very happy to see us.  Arran kept his head on my shoulder the whole way home.  Both dogs gave us kisses and were very excited about getting back to their people.

I'm glad to be back, too... although now the heat seems to be off in the house.  It's always something, isn't it?


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