Monday, May 18.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Step one of planning a trip is deciding when and where to go. Ireland beckoned, largely because of my Irish heritage. I don’t know a lot about my mother’s family background. My mother was a person who zealously guarded her privacy and I learned early on not to ask too many questions for fear of hitting on a sensitive topic. What I do know is that she was very proud of being Irish, and that her beloved Irish grandmother was born somewhere in County Cork. Ireland was the only foreign country that she ever expressed an interest in visiting. I also knew of Ireland’s reputation as a land of whimsy and legend; filled with friendly english-speaking people, open spaces, beautiful green landscapes and dramatic seascapes.So, Ireland was high on my unwritten list of places that I must visit someday. When my darling daughter gave me a copy of Rick Steves’ Ireland guidebook for Christmas, it was decided that Ireland would be this year’s primary destination.
Deciding when to go was a little trickier. There are a number of factors to take into consideration: babysitting commitments, medical appointments, weather considerations, avoiding the crowds and inflated prices of high-season,etc. After weeks of tracking airfares, taking note of the days when prices would be lowest, we decided to go for late May and early June. Late enough in the year to have a possibility of enjoying pleasant weather, but before the traditional European holiday months of July and August.
As we researched airfare, and possible departure and arrival airports, Trog noticed that it is considerably less expensive to fly from Canada than from anywhere on the west coast of USA. So we booked passage to British Columbia on Bolt Bus (a subsidiary of Greyhound) and booked one night lodging for the beginning of our trip and a night for the end of our trip near the Vancouver airport. Bolt got us there in the early afternoon, so we had an afternoon and an evening for sightseeing. Vancouver is a beautiful and charming city with beautiful waterfront vistas, but like any American city, it has problems with homelessness and drug abuse. By all means, if you get the chance go visit it. Enjoy the parks and museums, and the Aquarium, but be aware of which neighborhoods to avoid when the sun goes down.