Written Sunday, April 17, 2016
I awoke this morning to sunshine – and frost! The temperature outside was about 32 degrees and it wasn’t a lot warmer inside. The inside temp was raised easily – there are many heaters in this country cottage – and as I write the sun is warming the world.
Yesterday was one of the most challenging travel days of my long journey and I’m proud to say I pulled it off without a hitch! The day began in SNOW! When my alarm sounded at 5:00 a.m. Lincoln was experiencing a heavy (but short lived) snowfall. I had to catch a 7:00 train to the Manchester airport so I was happy when the cab pulled up exactly at the time I’d requested.
The train looks like something out of Thomas the Tank Engine. I rode one like this in Devon when I first arrived in England. It’s two or three old cars that shuttles between Sheffield (in this case) and Lincoln, stopping at all the little towns and villages along the way.
You may recognize the name of Sheffield England. It has been famous for fine steel for many years – the best knives are made in Sheffield, for example. I’ve inserted a photo of a beautiful water feature in front of the modern station. Water falls over a very long, curved wall, presumably looking like steel rolling through a mill. I was very impressed by how modern everything appeared to be in Sheffield. It’s located in that part of England where the Industrial Revolution began and which hasn’t been treated kindly by the loss of manufacturing jobs in recent times.
The train to the Manchester airport was quick and much more modern. I arrived with time to spare and at 1:30 departed England on a quick flight to Dublin on Aer Lingus. I had arranged to pick up a car at Hertz for my time in Ireland. There were the usual snafu’s with Hertz, including the Romania car they gave me that I drove once around the parking lot and turned in, asking for a real car. Then I was given a VW Polo that is positively luxurious compared to the first car they offered. The cost is the same.
I had been worried about driving on the “other” side of the road, and about finding my way out of the airport. I really didn’t need to be concerned. The way out of the airport and onto the highway that encircles Dublin is so well marked that all I had to do was get into the lane marked with the number of the road I wanted. Really nicely done – clearly they are used to many tourists. There were also stickers on the dashboard and signs along the road telling me to “Drive on the Left!”
My husband George and I stayed in Southeast Ireland near the town of New Ross for four months in 2005 so I know it quite well. I’ve been back here twice since then. When I left the highway to make my way to New Ross (the nearest large town) and Campile (the town where I’m staying) I was traveling a very familiar path. All I needed to do was “stay left!!!” which I did almost all the time.
I found my way to the cottage I’ve rented at a place called Fruit Hill. The owner, Susan, became an instant friend via email from our first contact and I was happy to meet her finally. The cottage is a two bedroom house with thick stone walls located on the grounds of Susan’s family’s enormous old farm house. This place is equipped with everything I could possibly need. When I awoke this morning at 7:00 the sun was shining beautifully over the pastures and woods all around.
I am excited to be returning to many places that I remember well from eleven years ago. I will write to you about them. Susan has provided a mobile hotspot.