In a few hours I board a plane for Stockholm to begin a new chapter of my trip.

After 18 days in Ireland, I find it hard to leave. The people, the scenery, and the pubs have been more than outstanding. I will probably break my legs and my budget coming back here again real soon.

I spent last night in Waterford with my friend Trish who I met in Kentucky last summer, and one of her friends visiting from France. It was a great little town on the sea, I wish that I had more time. We went to a bluegrass music festival of all things. The craic was awesome, one huge party, but they had the music turned down so low that the performers were more of a stage spectacle with their straw hats and suspenders, than musicians. I drug myself out of bed this morning and learned the beauty behind Irish doors. Once locked, you still need a key on the inside! I was locked inside and had to climb out a window to retrieve my rucksack to get ready for my 3 hour bus ride back to Dublin. I find it so strange that Europeans have more strict fire codes than the US, there are red breaker switches for appliances, hot water, etc mounted right on the walls next to every device instead of hidden away in a basement somewhere like we do it in the US, but you cant unlock the damn door from the inside if the place is on fire!
We made it home sometime around 04:00am and sat around playing guitars and trying to sing the lyrics to Fields of Athenry with her friend Adan until 06:00am. I was up again at 10:00am this morning to catch the bus. Its going to be a nice sleepy flight. 🙂

Trish also introduced me to the old Irish sport of Hurling. It is basically a bunch of guys in a field with clubbed weapons that look like hockey sticks beating the hell out of each other trying to hit a ball the size of a baseball. It took some practice, but after an hour I could at least hit the ball to her using the club. These things look more like skull splitters than athletic equipment. It was cool though, and as simple as it was, one of the highlights of my visit. Where else am I going to get to play hurling?

I must have the worst luck with buses in the world. Unlike airplanes, where I almost always end up sitting next to someone friendly or interesting (have even made existing friendships on planes), I end up with the grand finale of a freak show sitting next to me. This morning it turned out to be a French guy that boarded the bus on rollerblades. No shoes at all, just rollerblades. WTF? He rolled down the bus aisle in my direction and I tried to look angry and asleep at the same time so he would roll on by. But no, rollerfreak decided to plop down right beside of me, after passing scores of empty seats, and immediately began an assault on my nostrils. This guy smelled like B.O. so bad that I could taste him. He kept lifting his arm to adjust the air vent and even the people behind us were talking about him. When he took off his rollerblades to air his bare feet out, I threw up a little in my mouth. For 3 hours he held me in his reeking embrace. I just pray that there was no permanent damage to my olfactory nerves.

On a happier note, I received an email from Erin Barnard, the Rose of Texas and the Rose of Tralee contestant that I met in Chicago. We never exchanged emails, she just randomly found my blog, so now I have a celebrity reader! 🙂 Thank goodness I didnt take my crudeness to its usual levels when I was talking about the Roses in the festival.

Life is good!