I actually got to the point in my super-amazing birthday trip that I was saying things like this in my head. I started losing track of who’d told me that really neat thing about that really neat yarn and had to start combing my brain for landmarks that would remind me where I’d been when I’d heard the thing. It was disorientingly kind of neat, in a weird way.
Anyway, when we left off last week, I was saying farewell to Glasgow, after a much-too-short visit. There’s a whole country of green highlands and beautiful country that I never got to peek at because I scheduled myself too tightly. Have learned lesson.
My new BFF, Sharon, drove me to Glasgow airport, where I cursed not having asked my brother-in-law his historical family name [Christian isn’t on the list, but he’s got strong Scottish roots] so I could have snagged him something cool at the airport shops. Like I said, next time.
On the other end of this flight, I met the smiling faces of Lisa and her mama, Jacqui, of This Is Knit. One Irish smoothie later [I have a thing for crushed frozen fruit when I am super tired] and I was on my way to downtown Dublin, settled in a lovely attic-style room in hotel where George Bernard Shaw once lived [!] and passed out for the night. It was late and I had a big day coming up.
My knee had started to recover, so in the morning, I slowly ambled to the shop. Look at my neighborhood:
The blue sky had me fooled…I didn’t bring an umbrella.
Stopped for what would be a favorite breakfast: a simple bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket. [You could put rocket — aka arugula — on anything and I’d be the happiest girl in the world. Why don’t we do that in North America? So much better than boring lettuce.] And a proper latte. And free wifi. Many of the Twitter posts I made while in Dublin came from those breakfast stops. Then onwards, to the Powerscourt Townhouse, which I imagined to be a weeny building, based on the name. Couldn’t be more wrong, me. It’s a beautiful, huge, soaring historic building that takes up a good part of a city block, with a large central atrium open all the way to the roof, filled with perfect little jewels of shops, including the aforementioned This is Knit. What a fabulous place.
I taught some serious lace design knitters my Plug+Play technique all day, and that night, fellow Canadian but now Dublin resident Lilly made sure I had some authentic Irish pub experience. And cider.
Of course, by this time, the skies had opened and it wouldn’t stop for two days. It got pretty bad in Dublin.
Next day, I had a late start, which meant I could saunter slowly to my new favorite breakfast spot, have my rockety bagel and coffee, tweet and then get on with the afternoon’s teaching. SiobhÃ¡n, a This Is Knit patron and clever photographer, was too good a brain not to pick, so I asked her to give a few extra photography tips to those learning about putting their best design foot forward. I learned stuff, too — thank you, SiobhÃ¡n!
That night, an absolutely delicious Thai dinner, and a quick [ha! in Dublin? where all the streets go the opposite way you want them to?] cab ride home and boom, sackout me again.
Tuesday was walkabout day for me, as the knee continued to feel like it was improving. I went slow and explored galleries andÂ museums, and took illicit pictures:
I am, to the dismay of my friend, Jillian, not a museum girl. I saw a freaking HUGE dugout canoe the length of one hall in this museum and though, “oh, that is a BIG canoe” and walked on. So it was pretty neat that, the next day, I’d decided to take one of those touristy bus tours I usually avoid like the plague, just to see some Irish countryside Â and learned something interesting. The canoe will return in a moment.
The next morning, I got in a big bus driven by a nice guy, and he gave me the Peter Ffrench seat [aka the seat for the tour guide, if there is one. in this case, HE was the tour guide]. So I had a prime spot. The bus filled right up, and off we went to county Wicklow, to see the green hills and movie filming locations, right on Dublin’s doorstep. Here’s some of what we saw:
there is a tiny dot in front of the garage in the middle of the photo...that dot is an older man (70?) diving in to the VERY chilly ocean for his daily swim. he was not the only one we saw.
Around here, the driver told us about the bogs, and how they dug up strips of peat to burn in their houses for warmth. And that big dugout canoe? Was found in the bogs! How cool is that?
As everyone on the bus headed for the Upper Lake at Glendalough, I realized something had happened to my knee some time that day and turned back. I had walked too much, or I jumped down from the lowest bus step too hard and now something new hurt in the same bad knee. Unhappy, I headed back to the pub to wait for everyone to return so we could head home.
That night in my hotel room, I could barely limp to the bathroom and resigned myself to more Â slow moving on the rest of the trip. An exercise in patience, this all was. I had had such great plans for walking and walking and walking, and it just wasn’t to be.
But I was having a blast anyway, and next on the itinerary was London…on my 50th birthday.