I had prepaid for the room with the plane tickets. I booked the trip through Expedia and I think it came to about $3,000, including four nights in a five star hotel, business class flights on Lufthansa, and trip insurance in case we couldn't go for some reason. When we checked out, we paid another 438 euros for food and bar. That was actually less than I was expecting. Could we have done it cheaper? Of course! But I wanted this to be a really nice experience, and it was. The Merrion Hotel certainly deserves all of the accolades it gets. I'd stay again... if I can afford it, that is! Seriously, if you're going to Dublin and want to splurge, the Merrion Hotel is a great bet for that.
We had yet another entertaining ride to the airport with cab driver who told us he was one of eleven children. He said back in the 60s, there was no TV, so what else were you gonna do with your time? He was a very nice fellow who bid us a sincere farewell. I think Ireland is one of those places where you have many friends you haven't yet met. It's got to be one of the friendliest countries I've ever visited... and at times, I felt like I was back in the USA. Lots of Americans were in Dublin, too.
Obviously, other people wondered if that all purpose lounge was seriously the only one... Oh well. It had free WiFi, fruits, cheeses, drinks, and limited seating space. In the morning, there's no beer to be had, but they do stock it later. Don't ask me how I know.
Our flight to Munich was populated with a lot of Italian teenagers. I guess they were in Ireland for the same reason the Spanish teens were there-- to learn English. This, even though English is Ireland's second language. It's easy to forget that Irish is a language, too. The flight was trouble free and pleasant, complete with food...
The flight attendant seemed nervous about giving me this tray of food. It wasn't bad. The cookies were extras from coach because she was afraid I wouldn't like it. There was burrata, a shrimp with asparagus slices, wurst with pickles, and some kind of vanilla mousse that was pretty tasty. I also got hot bread and white wine.
We had a two hour layover at Munich's fabulous airport. Given a choice, I think I'd take Munich over Frankfurt. It's just a nicer place to spend time. The guy who checked our passports at passport control seemed confused by the concept of the Status of Forces Agreement. But, to his credit, he figured things out quickly and sent us on our way. We hung out in the Lufthansa Business lounge for an hour, then got our rinky dink flight back to Stuttgart. It took about twenty minutes and yes, they fed us. Actually, it was a nice snack consisting of part of a wrap, a brownie with nuts, caramel, and cherry filling, and grapes. Seems crazy to wait two hours for a twenty minute flight, but it is what it is.
A couple of sky shots I took. I think I got these on the first flight from Dublin.
When we got to Stuttgart, our bags were the first ones off the plane. We grabbed them, got to our car, and drove to Max's just in time to hit Stuttgart rush hour traffic. Zane and Arran were delighted to see us and Max gave us the lowdown on what we need to discuss with their vet. He really does take excellent care of the boys and they love going to see him, although sometimes I leave his place feeling like a negligent dog mom. But I'd rather it be like that than worry that my dogs aren't being taken care of and I know he does take great care of them.
I don't know when our next trip will be. I'm hoping to visit Armenia in the fall, if we can get enough time off and Max has availability for the dogs. But we'll have to see if we can pull it off. For now, I'll get back to blogging about restaurants and local fun stuff. Stay tuned!