My Irish and USA passport is always ready and up to date, and in my toiletry bag. My wallet is on my key chain. I have a few hundred dollars in my toiletry kit and a credit card. Except on Friday, the day i was suppose to leave. it was all chaotic. I, Mr. Pro Traveler was discombobulated. I loaned my car to a friend and my wallet was misplaced, my fault. My passport was moved from my toiletry case. The bag that I had packed five times was unpacked again. What is wrong with this? Two months of traveling – what do I need? Dress clothes? Rain? Tennis? Food? What’s the weather like in Paris? Always sunny and a delight. The weather in Portugal? Perfect? Ireland? Dreary in the morning and if I’m lucky sun! Always, good to be home in Ireland. A hundred things that need to be done fixed. My art studio is still a mess from the big art show in New Orleans. The studio is damp, the paintings scattered about, and I needed to get all the fragile pieces stored. The packing should be easy. Which guitar – the Alhambra or the small travel one? Which computer? Is all the music photographed? The last minute phone calls? Ayman visiting from Maine at the last minute? Friends I need to say good-by to. Clothes for a wedding, clothes for tennis, and finally the suitcase zipped. Only a half hour late. Mr. Pro-traveler still rattled by getting out the door. Part of me wants to stay, so much work to do, but I am a portable poet/ artist and wherever I roam is home, as long as I’m with Zoe.
A great travel partner is essential. The cliché is true, “If you can’t travel with your peers, then travel alone.” For many years, I had always preferred traveling alone and meeting friends along the way, but with my terrific travel buddy Zoe, it is like the right and left hand working together. Where I was discombobulated getting out the door, she was organized. At another time, I will find our way. Finally, getting to Hartford airport, but I had dropped my passport on the passenger seat. Zoe found it. What is going on with me? Do I really want to miss this trip? Hell, no! The book the Accidental Tourist comes to mind, always the reluctant tourist, but my thirst for travel has remain unabated.
On the flight over there was a marvelous movie the “Orient Express,” on Aer Lingus. Flying into Dublin, about 5 ½ hours, and finally touching down at 5 AM. I didn’t sleep a wink. And I knew a sleeping pill would have grogged me out the next day. Dublin was bleak, grey, and storm clouds. Maybe I should stay at the airport? Nice and warm? Have friends come and visit? Blearily we grabbed a breakfast and chug coffee and then took a bus to Temple Bar downtown. Moving to Ireland? The magnificent countryside, the vibrant Dublin? No, a good visit now and then is fine. Vermont is what Ireland probably looked like 500 years before the English cut the forests for the ships and factories.
Traveling should always open our eyes to the new and unknown, and deepen our understanding of our own home. I endeavor to make notes of my travel, but sometimes, I admit it is a chore. When we were in Tenerife last November 2017, though I enjoyed being by the ocean, I could not really muster anything new to say about the place, the same dreadful golf courses, the obese ruddy red English waddling around the pool side, and a land that should be left wild is so overbuilt. That is the secret, finding the hidden jewel even in the prosaic.
Dublin in a daze at 8 am waiting for the Trinity College Museum with the Book of Kells – the holy tome. We got to the door and there was a swarm of French retired tourists and we joined the tour group. We were waved through by the guards, saved 20 Euros, and were immediately overwhelmed by the huge crowds. A taste of the ancient book with the large panels. I can appreciate the intricacies and care, where each page and letter beautifully hand painted, but I didn’t have an A Ha Moment… only an appreciation.
The best part of Dublin was a rather pudgy Elvis on the sidewalk drinking coffee. So that is where he went!
Massage at 11 Am with YanYa a Slovenian gal – the First Flower of spring that emerges from the hard earth and frost. And shines brilliantly because it reminds people of the promise of spring. Always treat yourself to a foot massage, it is a great way to get a nap in the city.
My Fair ladies
One of my favorite things to do is lunch and a play at Bewley’s Café in downtown Dublin a stone’s throw from Trinity College, Des Keogh the Irish actor was performing “All My Fair Ladies.” It was magnificent to see this accomplished actor taking this on, but I was so jet-lagged and bored silly with this Shaw performance of an actor regaling an audience with Shaw’s loves and conquest. I had to step outside to take a nap and listen through the door. I know this had received rave reviews, but I found it dreadfully boring. Interesting, a revival of “My Fair Lady,” has come out recently with the original ending where Liza leaves the Professor. Bravo. In this age of the “Me Too Movement” and the horrific stories of piggy behavior by men, it was a little weird to hear this story of GB Shaw as this great romantic. Though I am not a fan of Political Correctness, I wonder how his “conquests” would have viewed him. Would he have been seen as a romantic or a rapist? I wonder if we could do a play of Bill Cosby as this jovial man recounting the tales of his seductions. Or Harvey and his tales and misadventures?
Loretta our dear friend from Skerries drives us to the airport. We are sad to be leaving Ireland so soon. But exhausted from not sleeping for 24 hours we tumble on the plane to Faro, Portugal. Far too short of a time for a visit home to Ireland. But we are scheduled to be back to Ireland around next May on our way over to Oslo. The goal for May 2019 is for the 100 Flowers of Peace exhibit at the Nobel Peace Institute. Next up is southern Portugal that I had first visited in 1959!