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No Crumbs Were Left Behind

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For Christmas, my husband surprised me with a gift of a weekend getaway for both of us at the Ann Bean Mansion in Stillwater. As the temperatures dropped, my vision of wandering around Stillwater to shop sunk like the rapidly decreasing temperatures. We knew it was going to be a hibernating sort of weekend, and we decided it would be a great time to hang out in a mansion instead of being cooped up at home.  Besides, it gave us a reason to be lazy and just relax, which is always nice.

Before we went to the mansion, we stopped at Pub 112 in downtown Stillwater for dinner.  To warm my bones, I had a Sunburnt Nutty Irishman which is made with Tullamore Dew, Frangelico, Bailey’s Irish Cream, River Moon Coffee and topped with whipped cream.  I also ordered the Guinness Beef Stew.  The beef was tender and accompanied by root vegetables, peas, mushrooms, fresh herbs and topped with baby red mashed potatoes.  The green stuff that adorned the plate tasted like kale.  When I asked the waitress what it was, she confirmed my suspicion and said it was deep-fried.  The crisp kale was different prepared that way, and I wondered if all the nutrients got fried away too.  As I savored each bite, hubby enjoyed his burger.  After we cleaned our plates, we were off to find the mansion which was just a short trip away.

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When we entered the place, it felt warm and cozy even though the entryway is quite large.  We were greeted by Jeremy, the innkeeper.  Jeremy and Erin, a husband and wife team, have been innkeepers since 2004.  Jeremy told us that the mansion was built in 1880, and he escorted us to the Hersey room.  Mr. Hersey was part owner of Hersey, Bean and Brown Lumber just when the town of Stillwater was getting settled.  To read more about the history of the mansion, click here.

Jeremy brews his own beer and told us about the never-ending supply of warm chocolate chip cookies that can be found in the dining room.  After we got settled, we ventured off to find the cookies with melted chocolate chips.  We had to restrain ourselves from visiting that room too much, but we did go there a few times!

We explored the living room, and I took these photos.

I enjoyed looking at the antiques and the beautifully carved woodwork that surrounded the rooms.

Mr. Hersey’s room, below, was quite large and is heated by a fireplace.

Looks like someone forgot their shoes!

That night, besides eating cookies, we lounged, watched TV, and I browsed through the History of Stillwater where I discovered that Mr. Hersey was quite the lumberman. It was very quiet even though we heard other guests come and go every once in a while. I was surprised that the old windows in the building didn’t make the place too drafty, but closing the shades helped a lot.  The still night turned into a peaceful morning.

We had breakfast in our room, but guests do have the option of eating in the dining room, if they’re feeling social that is!  Somebody knocked at our door, and left a sumptuous tray of food without being seen.  No crumbs were left behind at this meal either!

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Menu:
Merlot Poached Pears with Yogurt and Granola
Cheddar Gougere with Tomato Jam
Buckwheat Blini with Dutch Apple Compote and Sausage
Peach Mango Crumble

St. Michael's

Thankfully, our old van turned right over even though the temperature was still below zero.  We visited the Church of St. Michael for mass a few blocks away.  We got to explore another beautiful old building that is one of the oldest parishes in Minnesota that was built in 1853.

We had such a nice and relaxing time, we’re thinking about going back again when the weather gets warmer or maybe we’ll go when it’s below zero again…

To Walk Along the Jagged Rocks

“Let’s run over to Itasca before they get here,” my son-in-law Michael said. The four of us grabbed what we needed and went to the car. Michael drove while Laura, Matt and I watched the scenery go by. As we bumped along the highway, we listened to some old tunes back from when I was growing up, and no one wanted to change the station!

The day was just like the others since the four of us got there. It felt a little warm even though the sun wasn’t shining down on us. The smoke from the fires in Canada floated to northern Minnesota making the sky hazy. Some could smell the smoke, and I felt like I got a whiff once in a while, but I think that might have been my imagination. We sort of enjoyed the blanket of protection from what would have been a steamy summer day.

“This is the road I took to get here,” said Matt. “I think I went around the lake the other way.”

“Ya, this is the way you should go home,” we chimed in together. I thought about how our family get together was a hodgepodge of an event. Laura, Michael and I arrived at the resort on Wednesday night, Matt drove in on Thursday morning, and the rest of us were waiting for Dad and Katie to arrive that afternoon.

“I think I’ve been here before a long time ago with my family when I was growing up,” I said. When we entered the state park, trees towered high above us. Pristine lakes with names of women poked out to show us not only trees grow there. We only saw a few of the 100 lakes during our short stay.

After parking, we headed toward the path, and the Headwaters – Caretaker Woman greeted us:

We read the sign above to learn that the woman is “releasing a clutch of small turtles from a basket, renewing the seasons and continuing the waters of life.  Her flowing hair is like that of flowing water.  The turtles, strong water symbols, also symbolize the universal cycles of life in Anishinabe (Ojibwe) belief.”  Then I understood why all the lakes are named after women.  Click on the picture of the sign to learn more!

A few more steps down the road, we found the spot where the mighty Mississippi starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s traditional for visitors to walk over the jagged rocks just to say you crossed the spot where the Mississippi River begins, but for some reason we didn’t even think to make that little journey. Funny that we traveled so far and didn’t do what everyone else does when they get there. That doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the view.

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We continued to walk down a path along Lake Itasca. Just as we were on our way back to the parking lot, the phone rang. Katie let us know they were waiting for us at the cabin. We left just as quickly as we arrived anxious to all be together again.

Maybe another time we’ll all get to walk along the jagged rocks together.

The family is one of nature’s masterpieces. ~George Santayana

 

Sun Set Golden on the Horizon

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When we approached the host of the restaurant at the Pierside Grill, we had to tip our heads back to see his face.  His long, straight hair was pulled back tight and was the same color of the sand we could see off in the distance.

“Table for four, please.”

“We have a policy that your entire party has to be here before I can show you to your table.”  I looked down at the podium.  The policy was posted beneath the spot where our host was resting his elbows.  He held tightly onto each of his hands as if he felt the same way about the policy as we did.  There was quite a crowd and almost all the tables were full even though it was pretty early in the evening.  I couldn’t imagine which table we would get by the time our party was complete.  The parking lot was far away, and it was probably difficult to find a parking space.

“Oh,” we said together in monotone voices.  The sun was still a little high in the sky and wouldn’t be setting for a while.  A hostess stopped by and ushered a complete party to their table, a table that could have been ours.  My stomach moaned in protest but was only heard by me.

“He’s just parking the car.  He should be here soon,” said Gran.

The host fanned some of the menus back and forth in front of his face as if he was nervous, so we scooted over to the side to make room for other customers.  Some of the sunbathers on the beach were packing up, getting ready to go.  I briefly surveyed some of the tables to see if others were finishing their meals and wondered who might leave next.

When Gramps arrived, our host showed us to our table.

“I saved you this table by the wall,” said the ponytailed man as he tucked a loose strand of hair behind his ear and dealt menus to each of our spots at the table.

“This is great,” exclaimed Katie.  We were surprised to get a spot where we could see the waves of the Gulf gently glide along the shore.  Our waitress brought water, and we ordered coconut shrimp and iced tea.  As we watched the wide open space before us, it seemed as if the beach was a stage, a show for us to watch.  A man rode his bike to make a trail in the sand.  His parrot held tight to the handle bars.  We wondered if the bird was tied to the bars or if it held tightly of its own free will.

Now that the sun was setting lower, the day felt cooler, and dogs were getting their walk along the beach.  A set of black labs that resembled our family dog waded out into the water while being led on leashes.

“Don’t drink the water,” I said to them even though they were too far away to hear.  It was as if they heard my advice and held their heads high, careful not to dip their heads.  They must have tasted the salt of the water sometime before.  Seeing the labs made me wonder how our dog Lila would have liked the beach. When I thought about her earlier that day, I knew she wouldn’t have liked going on a walk with me because it was very warm that day, in the 80s.  Lila loves cooler weather, and I doubted she would want to vacation in Florida because there are snow banks.

As we sipped tea and munched on coconut shrimp, we noticed how more and more people were lining up on the pier ready to watch the sun set.  Our waitress checked with us several times, but we pretended we couldn’t make up our minds as we briefly looked at the menu.  We didn’t want to get ushered out of the restaurant too quickly, and we noticed many tables were empty at that time.  We had gone there to watch the sun slowly slither away on its daily journey.

People of all ages and sizes strolled along the water’s edge while I watched a lady perfecting her hand stand.  Sometimes she tipped right, then left, but most of the times she was able to keep her balance upside down tightly clad in a bikini.  I wondered how the rush of blood to her brain must have felt as I watched a cloud stretch out to make different shapes.  At first that cloud looked like a spoon which somehow turned into the shape of a bird.

We ordered ribs and burgers, which were quickly delivered and deliciously devoured.  As the clouds drifted away, the sky became a pale, soft blue as if it was dimming, ready to sleep and show its stars.  Getting closer to the edge, the sun set golden on the horizon turning parts of the blue sky pink as it set.

Good night soft sky.  See you tomorrow.  It’s always a blessing to see you.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just Going Here was Worth the Trip!

“It’s been years since I’ve seen an eagle,” I said. All four of us murmured our awes.  Just as we were rounding the corner on our way to Lanesboro, Minnesota, we spotted two eagles hovering over the remains of a deer. The closer we came to the deer, the higher the eagles flew towards the cloudy sky. Their wings stretched out and up to lift them higher.

The charming town is nestled in and surrounded by colorful bluffs. Some trees were bare, their leaves blown off by some earlier wind. Others were green, holding tight to their leaves. The ones that changed showed us rusty colors or yellow leaves that mimicked the sun.

Denise drove us down Parkway Avenue and we passed by bed and breakfasts, little shops, restaurants, an art gallery and theater. Bicyclists and walkers could be seen travelling over the bridge that crosses over the Root River.

After we found the Cottage House Inn, the bed and breakfast where we stayed, we stopped at one of the gift shops. We talked about how fun it would be to go on an Amish tour.  There were guided or self-guided tours available.  We decided on the self-guided tour. We bought a CD, and when we went out the door, we noticed that the clouds had magically disappeared.  The sun greeted us as if welcoming our decision to explore on our own.

We got back in the car to find our way to the beginning of the tour. On the way, we traveled a scenic route where we saw the beautiful valley. Patches of bright green and tired yellow fields made patterns below. When we found our starting place at the intersections of Highways 52 and 16, we started the CD and listened to the narrator who gave us directions on which way to travel. In between directions, the narrator talked about the living and working habits of the Amish people. He instructed us that we were only to visit the farms that had signs that said they were open for business. He also told us not to take any pictures because it’s against the Amish people’s beliefs. We traveled along the white dirt road and found the first farm.

The farm was large, and the white house stood tall. White shirts hung upside down in front of the porch. The sleeves swayed in the wind waving and welcoming us. We got out and walked to the small red shed. There was only one other car in the driveway. It belonged to a family of customers inside the shop. A teenage boy was on duty as the cashier.

At this shop we found handmade rugs, quilted pot holders, baskets, wooden turntables, rockers, jams, honey, and pickled beets. We each bought something. I got a jar of raspberry jam and a jar of honey.  We were proud because we made it this far on our adventure! When we arrived at the next farm, we were greeted by a beautiful brown horse that was hooked up to a buggy. The horse looked at us as we smiled back. We wondered if someone was getting ready to go for a ride or if the horse was just there for the customers to admire.  The shop was surrounded by large pumpkins and multicolored corn. When we entered, we were greeted by a teenage girl. We noticed how dark and cold the building was. The other shop’s stove kept us warm. This shop had handmade furniture, cashew candy and vegetables for sale. We didn’t buy anything but went back in the car to find the next farm. This is where we had a little trouble finding our way.

The narrator instructed to restart the odometer after each visit. We figured out how to do that, but when the narrator’s instructions said to go south on a road that only travels east and west, we got confused. He told us that “when we went past the little school-house,” but we couldn’t find a school-house.  We travelled south the way we thought he meant.  If we wouldn’t have travelled that way, we might not have seen the Amish man plowing a field the old-fashioned way. There were farms with modern equipment mixed in with farms surrounded by buggies. After trying to find our way and after a very large semi-truck raced past us and kicked up so much white dust that we weren’t able to see, we decided to return the CD and get our $20 deposit back in Harmony, Minnesota.

After we returned the CD, visited a couple of shops where we admired beautifully handmade Amish quilts and furniture, we went back to the bed and breakfast in Lanesboro. When we got to our room, we noticed that we didn’t have a TV, but there was a radio in the corner. A little diary on the dresser explained how we were staying in the Penny Room, and the visitors are supposed to look for and then hide their own three pennies. I only found one penny inside the dresser on top of the bible and didn’t think to hide my pennies because we all were too busy gabbing and munching on cheese, crackers, dips and salami.  We talked about how the narrator must have been mixed up on his directions and wondered if someone turned the street sign around as some sort of joke or if there was a scratch in the CD. We realized we liked the experience even though we couldn’t find the way we were supposed to go.

 

Can you find Slant Avenue?

We explored Lanesboro some more. We found the Scenic Valley Winery which was only a block away and has been in business for 20 years. We sampled three different types of wine. The first one I tried was rhubarb. It tasted tart and was hard to swallow. I also tasted the harvest wine, and we each decided to buy a bottle to bring home.  The cranberry was my favorite.

We walked to Riverside on the Root, a restaurant that is home to the Dirty Martini Lounge and enjoyed delicious cosmos and sandwiches.

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After dinner, we noticed that the Lanesboro Art Gallery was hosting a show. Many beautiful paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewelry, lawn ornaments, and post cards were for sale. After wandering around town a little longer, we went back to the Cottage House Inn where we saw people playing cards on the main floor, with a bottle of whiskey as the centerpiece. We chatted the night away like old friends do while munching on peanut M&Ms and licorice.

All the adventures of the day made for a sleepy group.  We quickly fell asleep, but were jarred awake when the town’s siren went off around midnight.  A few minutes later, sirens from firetrucks could be heard and traveling off in the distance.  The volunteer fire department was quick to respond, but we never found out where the fire was.

The next day we asked a man who was working at the gas station where to go for breakfast, and luckily, he told us how to get to the Pastry Shoppe.

We got a table next to the window just in time as many people arrived after us and had to wait for a place to sit. The specials were listed on the chalkboard on the wall:  Ham, Onion and Cheese Quiche, a Pastry Breakfast, and Biscuits and Gravy. A framed article explained about the menu at the place, but the waitress explained it better.

“Is that your menu?” I asked as I pointed to the chalkboard.

“We don’t have a menu. People can order whatever they want, and we see if we can make it, but we don’t make pancakes or waffles. We have French toast. He makes the best hollandaise sauce in the world,” she said as she pointed to the chef with her pencil.  “We’re out of the Biscuits and Gravy.”

Kathy and I ordered the Quiche, Denise ordered the pastry that was piled high with hash browns, ham and eggs, and Judy ordered Eggs Benedict and agreed that it was a pretty great hollandaise sauce.

“Just going here was worth the trip,” I said. It was a very tasty breakfast.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to bring you more coffee,” the waitress said when we were in line to pay our check. “The next time you come, just go grab the coffee pot and help yourself. This is a casual place.” We asked her to let the chef know how much we all enjoyed our breakfast.

We ended our stay by exploring trails and walking along paths that used to be an abandoned railroad track.  The next time we visit the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota,” we might have to rent one of those bikes built for four.  If you’re ever in the area, it would be worth your while to stop by for a visit!

New Place to Explore

The first time it rained when we were in Ireland was early Thursday morning. A soft bit pitter pattered on our hotel window. We took turns getting ready and headed out to the rental car. Not too many souls were about that time of day, and the wet roads were made to look even darker by the rain.

After we strapped ourselves in the car, I quietly prayed. Maneuvering windshield wipers was the least of my worries. Curbs frightened me because the streets were so narrow. I wondered if we might have scuffed up the tires a smidge. The further we got away from Galway, the fewer curbs there were.

After we passed through the small town of Barna, we kept on the lookout for the Park Lodge Hotel sign. As we drove by it, we realized we missed it! We turned around and found our way after being sure to stay to the left.  The cottages were quiet because most of the kids were traveling with friends or family during their break. Cottage No. 4 felt cold. Katie kindly offered us some instant coffee. Even though earlier Dad and I talked about going to Spiddal for breakfast, we decided to stay and sip warm coffee instead. We snuggled in blankets while Katie packed for her trip.

After a short time, the sun crept up and chased the rain away. I walked around the playground hoping to spot some fairies, but none would show themselves to me. I found a magical tree living behind the cottage. Vines intertwined around it and were part of it. It looked like a process that took many years.

When I went back inside, Katie was ready to go. Katie’s friend and traveling companion, Sarah, came over. Sarah had been traveling around Ireland with family members who visited her too during that week. While we drove back to Galway, Sarah told us about her family adventures which included driving incidents similar to ours, day trips and stories of good food at local restaurants. Their excitement about going to visit friends who were studying abroad in London was contagious.

Mike and I dropped them off as close as we could to the bus station. We pointed the way and quickly told them to have a good time. Our farewell had to be brief because we were sitting at a stop sign. They grabbed their luggage out of the trunk. When they slammed it shut we were jolted into a quiet mode. I turned back to watch them walk along the street. Each bouncy step showed the world how excited they were to be going to a new place to explore.

Mike and I were ready to explore a new place too. We went back to our hotel, ate a quick bit of breakfast, packed up our things and returned the car. No one noticed that the tires might have got smudged, and the lady said we did a good job of filling up the tank. We did not admit that we did not even fill up the tank. We just did not drive the car that much! A friendly chap from the rental company gave us a ride to the bus station.

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I let out a sigh of relief, and we relaxed on the coach happy to let someone else do the driving. Soon we were out of the town passing by mazes of stone walls where cattle, sheep and lamas lived.  A few hours later we got dropped off by the Liffey River in Dublin. Our luggage bumped behind us as we pulled it along the streets keeping pace with others who were rushing about. College kids were mixed in with business people. Once in a while we saw little kids being pushed in strollers bumping along the way too.

When we entered O’Callaghan’s Mont Clair Hotel, the beautiful woodwork was a pretty sight to see. We didn’t stay in our cozy room very long. We had a great map and were able to find our way around easily. No car was needed because everything we wanted to see was within walking distance. The Temple Bar area was busy. We had a lunch of Guinness beef stew at O’Shea’s while watching firefighters stand in the street. The waitress told us that before we arrived, there was a little fire at the massage parlor across the street. The firefighters stayed a long while, I guess to make sure that the fire was really out. They watched the passersby just like we did.

After lunch, we walked along cobblestone roads and found a busy little bait shop amongst all the bars. We heard the song, Galway Girl, entered the Temple Bar and had a pint while listening to the singer. Most of the seats were full even though it was earlier in the afternoon.

We took another stroll and found a restaurant called The Elephant’s Castle. Many women were there enjoying glasses of wine. Only a few men could be spotted amongst the crowd. We ordered chicken wings and were surprised to see that they were so tiny. The large plate was plenty for us to enjoy.

We went back to the comfy hotel and watched some fascinating TV shows about gypsy weddings and authentic Irish cooking. We admired the reporters on the news broadcasts who weren’t afraid to ask people difficult questions during interviews.

I wondered if we would be lucky to have another sunny day on our last day in Ireland. All the beautiful and pretty warm days were not what we expected while traveling there. Whatever the next day brought, we would be happy to explore a new place.

Enough to Go Around

When we were in Ireland, we enjoyed the little breakfasts that we had at Flannery’s. We always got seated in the little area where the sun rays shone through the sheer curtains. That area was a little bit more private than the crowded, large dining room. Just moments after we were seated, a waiter brought hot coffee, fresh cream and hot toast. We had the option of getting hot food from the menu or buffet, but we always chose the cereal, rolls or yogurt. The only sort of fruit that was available was canned prunes and canned grapefruit. Luckily fruit juices were offered too!

After breakfast, we called a cab from the hotel desk lobby. Our cab arrived shortly after we called. When our cab driver discovered that we were from America, it seemed as if he felt like he was doing us a great favor by telling us about some new up and coming politician from Nevada who could hopefully whip our country back into shape. In his jolly way, he couldn’t believe that we never heard of the fellow. He also mentioned that it was funny that visitors could get lost in the small town of Galway. We didn’t mention to him that we had gotten lost a few times!  Instead we just chuckled. When we told him we enjoyed seeing the Cliffs of Moher the day before, he really didn’t think it was that big of a deal, really…  We guessed that when you live right next to such a grand thing, that maybe you take it for granted?

Galway City Cathedral

After we got dropped off at the Galway City Cathedral and figured out which door to enter, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful stone walls. I admired the craftsmanship of the building that was dedicated in August of 1965. We sat down in one of the pews about 15 rows back from the altar and joined about 50 other people, which was a good showing for a Wednesday. A priest from Scotland said mass, and it was a little difficult for me to understand his thick accent.  The mass was so short, that by the time I began to understand the priest, it was over!

When it was time to receive communion, there was not an orderly formation to get in line like we are used to. People just went on up to the communion rail whenever they pleased, which was all at once. It all worked out fine, because there was enough to go around to all who were there.  After mass, while we were getting a better look around, a group of people were saying the rosary. Their lilting voices echoed off the stone walls.

Next, we explored the area along the River Corrib:

If we found a place we liked, we just stuck with it.  We went to The Cellar (again) for lunch and visited more shops where we bought trinkets and a chocolate candy bar.  We took our candy to Galway Bay and hung out there for a little while and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  Unfortunately, the day cooled off to give us a chill.  We ventured back to Flannery’s.

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After dinner at Frank’s Bar, we shared a delicious mixed nut, chocolate cheesecake.  We were happy that there was enough to go around.  We planned the next day when we would have to get back in the car and head to the cottages at Spiddal. Katie needed to pack for her trip to London, and Dad and I were going to go to Dublin to explore the city on our own.  I was sad that our visit with Katie was going to be over so soon.

Our time together was going by too fast and there wasn’t enough to go around.

Sights Like These, I Have Never Seen Before!

There was quite a friendly man from Dublin on our day tour, and he managed to ask practically everyone where they were from.  There was a big group from Finland and three smaller groups from Switzerland, Yugoslavia, and Dublin. As far as we could tell, our small group of three were the only Americans.

As we passed Galway Irish Crystal, the coach driver, John, told us that we could find chandeliers there that cost thousands of euros. The sparkling gems shined through the windows as we drove by. As we passed by Galway Bay, John asked if any of us knew who sang the song “Galway Bay.”  I never heard the song, until the friendly man from Dublin announced that Bing Crosby was the one, and he proceeded to sing to us.  Bing Crosby sang that tune during his musical tribute to Ireland that was filmed in 1966 in Dublin. Click here, if you would like to hear Bing sing with a wee bit of an Irish accent.

Our first stop was at Monks Seafood Restaurant and Bar, Ballyvaughan Bay.  We stopped to visit what the Irish call “the toilet.”  I learned not to ask about the locations of rest rooms in Ireland because that question will be received by an odd look.

As we traveled along, the Dubliner kept on singing tunes.  During his breaks, John talked about rock formations, the Celtic Tiger, and economic times.

Our next stop was the Ballyalban Fairy Fort.

I tried, but I couldn’t find any fairies.

We enjoyed the countryside, stopped to see a 5,000-year-old tomb, and drove by the O’Brien Castle.

Next were the high crosses at Kilfenora.

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When we stopped for lunch at Gus O’Connor’s Pub, we were instructed to be done in 45 minutes.  We rushed in and gave our order, worried about how it would be possible for the restaurant to get everyone’s food ready in that short of time.  When our food order came to us very quickly, we realized that they had a great system.

My salmon was very fresh and was served with mashed potatoes, mashed carrots, asparagus, and topped with a sauce and tiny little shamrocks, for good luck, I’m sure.

After we boarded the coach, John counted and noticed that some people had gone missing.  Soon our friendly Dubliner was back on the bus with his companions, being escorted onboard by John.

“I left a full pint at the bar,” the Dubliner said sadly.  He had grown a little quiet before we stopped for lunch, but the moment the wheels on the bus started turning, he was singing tunes again.

Soon we stopped at our destination.  We had an hour and a half to explore The Cliffs of Moher.  We guessed that the temperature was around 60 degrees, but the strong winds made it feel much cooler.

Sights like these, I have never seen before.

Towards the end of our stay, we visited the gift shop to warm up.  When we got on the coach, everyone was very quiet and seemed to have gotten their fill of fresh air!  We were not surprised that no one needed to get escorted onto the coach this time.  The three of us talked about how the cows were always happily grazing.  If only they knew what a lovely scene was just 400 yards away from their barbed wired fence.

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John drove us along for quite a ways.  We stopped briefly to look at the sheep.  They stopped munching and looked our way, as if they were happy to see us.

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The cows caused a bit of a traffic jam when their path crossed right in front of ours.

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It seemed as if cars disappeared when we traveled by each other.  See how little the car looks in this picture?

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When we got back to our hotel, the three of us had an “American meal” of pizza and Caesar salad.  It was a great way to end a great day.