Home at last, home at last - a brief overview

The family pisses me off just as we leave, but then we're on our way. We all piss off our FIL who is watching our dog and driving us to the bus. Yay, we're at the airport! Boo, flight is delayed. Finally, we're in Paris. Charles de Gaulle looks unsettlingly like it belongs in the movie A Clockwork Orange. We figure out the train system as we go, lugging 38 kg of luggage around. We found our hotel! The room is clean and we all take a nap while Loki is in the bathroom for an hour and a half...maybe he took a nap, too?

Montmartre is the picture next to the word charming in the dictionary. Climb the hill to Sacre Coeur - oh, my, what a view! Back down the hill to the hotel.

Pre-dawn hours, head for the other side of Paris, catch the bus to Beauvais. Although no one at the airport speaks English and our French sucks, we make it to the right place and board a plane to Dublin.

Rent the car, drive to Dublin. The first locals we encounter scare us. We are accosted by a man who wants to talk about Bush with us. Nous ne soutenon pas le President Bush! Guinness factory...I think Loki actually cries.

Drive out of Dublin halfway to Galway. I need a bathroom and a phone, and miraculously, all the bathrooms and phones between Dublin and Galway are out of order. Loki meets a fellow who saves Ireland's reputation, and finds us a very cheap and very nice B&B for the night.

Morning, en route to Galway. The roads are ridiculously narrow, but oh, man, is it beautiful. Athenry, the mirror incident, and then we're in Tuam. We make our way to my ancestral home, built by my great-grandfather on land that's been in the family since forever. Meet cousins. Not hungry? Doesn't matter, because you can't say no.

My kids decide they want to live on a farm. Meet more relatives, eat more food, drink more of whatever they won't let me refuse.

Connemara, unbelieveably beautiful, and the best Chinese food I've ever had in the westernmost point of Ireland.

Spend the day with the family - Loki rides in my cousin-in-law's sports car and lives to tell about it. Monkey has joined one cousin's family, and Sio has joined another.

Galway City - shopping, shopping, shopping. Again, great food in Ireland. Worst traffic I have ever seen - I commend the forces of evil for designing the Bodkin Roundabout.

Sadly, we leave Ireland and go back to France. Yay, Paris! Our apartment is divine, the location is amazing, and we explore.


stairs, stairs, stairs

Tour Eiffel!

stairs, stairs, stairs

Musee D'Orsay!

stairs, stairs, stairs - yay! an escalator! Oh, it's out of order

Arc de Triomphe!

stairs, stairs, stairs

Notre Dame!

stairs, stairs, stairs

Sadly, we leave Paris and go to the airport. Uh, oh - they sent us to the wrong terminal. Uh, oh, everyone seems to be leaving the counter as we approach. Uh, oh, even though they can see I am clearly a person of reduced mobility, they aren't willing to extend themselves to let us on the flight, even though it's not boarding for THREE FUCKING HOURS!!!!! No flight for you!

Back to Montmartre, great Chinese food, and Sio gets the e-mail address of cute French/Chinese waiter.

Back to airport, we get on the flight that lasts for what felt like 43 hours. Yay! Philadelphia! Boo! US Airways SUCKS and we bounce from gate to gate on standby, each time our hopes dashed. We finally get confirmed on a flight at 8:05, 1/2 hour flight becomes an hour and a half, we get our luggage, get our bus home, and hug the relatives who are waiting to pick us up.

Yeah, that's the short version.

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