Ireland: Day 4 (Enroute to Galway)
Still day 4 and just finished visiting the incredible Cliffs of Moher, our final destination for the day is the charming city of Galway. We plugged Galway on the GPS and went our merry way. The thing with Ireland I noticed is there are so many of the country lanes and very few national or motorways. So you end up driving in a country road more than you like. And While I enjoy seeing charming small towns, grazing sheep, rolling hills and plenty of wide open spaces, the trip gets long and longer even when driving in the dark, as we were doing.
We went past ocean side and then went inland. Along the way we passed by an imposing church St. John the Baptist church and we decided to stop at a parking spot across the street from the church. The signage says we are in Ballyvaughan, a small harbor village. It was twilight, and the decision to see the church came quickly. I was curious about the interiors, hoping it was open, for one thing.
It was open, but without light, photography was difficult to do. We did not linger as there are more miles to go before our destination.
Leaving the church, we hit the road once more following the directions of our trusted GPS. However, as we went around the curve, there was a street sign for Galway pointing to the opposite direction our GPS was telling us. We listened to the GPS, only to find ourselves back at the front of the church. This time around, we followed the street signs and good for us. The sign took us to the main road. The GPS was giving us the fastest route, but it made us go through all the muddy, rocky country lanes in the middle of nowhere. If we blew a tire, we'd be there forever. No one would find us.
It was very dark when we reached Galway. Thankfully, we found our hotel. It was located near a busy roundabout, and a very nice hotel. However, the lift was out, under repair at that time, so we have to use the stairs. Fortunately, they have us on the first
floor only, and the porter brought our bags to the room.
For dinner, we wanted to go out and eat at Riordan's at Quay Street in Latin Quarter. Reviews were good online for this small hole in the wall in the touristy part of town.
Getting there was a challenge. We couldn't find the Latin Quarter in the first place. We knew it was close to the waterfront and since we were in the waterfront, we thought we'd grabbed the first street parking we found and just walk there, where ever it is. According to the GPS, from here Latin Quarter is two minutes away. So it was decided that we would park here, in this dimly lit, quiet, industrial-looking part of the waterfront. We found the parking meter and for the love of us, we just couldn't get a parking ticket. No one was around at that time. Very few people were out in this dreary and frosty night. I thought, hey, it's nighttime and no one is going to park here, why bother paying for parking ticket - we were not able to make the machine cough up a ticket anyway.
Thus blindly, we went away from the waterfront and walked the length of another long empty street in the rain. Hardly anyone is still out and most of the stores are closed. I got really nervous and for a touristy area, even in the off season, there should have been people still walking around. I got the husband to go back to the car and try our luck finding Latin Quarter by driving.
Luckily we happened upon Latin Quarter. True it was a very short drive away from where we parked. Despite of it all, we managed to snag a street parking in front of St. Nicholas Church. The church was closed, but you can peek inside.
Latin Quarter is full of bars, restaurants, and shops. I cannot wait to see it in daylight.
Riordan's is easy to find. The small restaurant was quite confusing. We entered through the door and climbed up to the second floor (or first floor, by Europe's standards) and no one was there. On the way back down, we were ushered in the ground floor where a handful of tables were set up. Two elderly gentlemen sitting separately looked so comfortable as they enjoy their meal in lingering fashion - both of them having their end-of-meal coffee and reading the papers. I love the vibe of this restaurant - looks like a local hangout, but a tourist like me felt very at ease too.
We ordered seafood chowder (my new favorite) and Shepherd's Pie and an Irish coffee. After dinner we walked around the area for a bit and noticed most of the restaurants and bars we researched are in this area, including the pub we marked as a must-go.
Still raining, we left for the hotel. Along the way, we saw a grocery store, Lidl, and stopped for some supplies - bread, cheese, fruits and juice. I love this grocery store, it has a lot of Polish goodies. On this trip, we have visited Lidl a few times.
OUR WORLD TUESDAY