Travel # 1 -- March 22, 2005
Pre-Trip note: Some thoughts on packing

By Bob Corbett

I'm laying some things out on the dining room table that I'll take. I have 6 books out there, but hope to cut that back to 4. I discovered I had a few Euros left over from my last trip; that was a delight. I don't start off with nothing.

My plan has been to pack one relatively small wheely cart -- the sort that could fit into the over-head bin (though I will check it), and one small back pack. However, as I'm running down my list of what I'm taking, I may get by with just the wheely cart and not the back pack at all. We'll see.

Each traveller has his or her own strategy for travel. Some like to take all they can in their carry-on so they can get out of the airport more quickly and don't run the risk of any lost luggage. I rarely to that.

I don't like to travel without my wine opener; that's critical, and a pocket knife to be used on picnics in city parks or lovely meadows for cutting cheese, bread and the like. One can't take wine openers or pocket knives on as carry-on luggage any more. Plus I just HATE to have things to care for on the plane. And I'm just not very worried about lost luggage. I have several times had my bags lost for a day or so, but the airline always then delivered it to my hotel. Since I'll be in Killarney for the first three days, I'm comfortable that they'll get it to me if needs be.

This is a strange trip to Ireland for me. Until Terri and John's accident I had been to Ireland several times and used a rental car. On the trip to Tralee to be with John and Terri I did take a bus from the Shannon Airport to Tralee and then walked and bused around town.

But this will be my first real travel trip in Ireland by bus. This is so different from my many many times in Europe where I've NEVER used a car. I don't think I've ever driven in Europe and I've been there countless times. I always use trains, busses, streetcars and such there.

At any rate, I decided I should begin this transition into the public transport mode on Wednesday. My plane isn't until noon time, so I have lots of time. I'll walk up to Clayton and Tamm in the morning, probably early enough to have coffee at Cairdeas, then catch the east bound Forest Park bus (not called that any longer, # 52), to the Central West End metro station and take the metro out to the airport. I kind of like that idea. I'll get myself into the spirit of things before I even leave Dogtown!

I will be posting a second note to you all shotly. A list of the url's for the various B&B's we're styaing in. Again, this is a HUGE divergence of my normal travel mode. I have almost never made reservations before. My travel style has been to go with the wind, and wherever I am when mid to late afternoon approaches, seek shelter.

Several things have changed. The first is that so many of the Irish B&B's are on-line and have web pages. One can see a lot of what one will get, and there are directions from the bus stations to the B&B and so on, so one has a good idea how long the walk is and such. Once I started it making reservations it was so much fun and I was so incredibly happy with the results, that I have all but one B&B place booked. I'm still waiting for confirmation from two -- Galway and Donegal Town. The others, however, I have booked and received confirmation. Three of them are places I've stayed before -- The one in Tralee where I stayed across the street from the Kerry General Hospital in November, one on Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula where John and I had our best meal in Ireland in 2003, and finally, the cute B&B in tiny, tiny Doolin, which is directly across the street from the best music pub in all of Ireland.

I didn't both to book one in Dingle Town. We get there on Easter Sunday. It is a small town with the main street on a hill. Mainstreet seems to have a zillion B*B's, one cuter than the next, and we're travelling off season. Finding a place there won't be any trouble, and there are all in two blocks, right by the bus depot, so there's no question of any long walks.

I will be sending the list of all the B&B's and their url's on the next travel post, and I would guess, the last one until I get into Ireland. That way you can see where we will be staying and have some visual images.

I still have no idea how often we will get to cyber-cafes to use e-mail, but, if I don't get the notes written there, I'll write them in my notebooks and send them when I get home.

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Bob Corbett