Our last day in Ireland. I can't believe it is coming to an end! We have been here long enough that our circadian rhythm has adjusted and driving on the left wasn't too much of an issue, but not long enough to feel like we've seen everything or gotten sick of all the green.
On our last day, the main thing we needed to do was finish shopping. We both had a few gifts to get for friends. I personally don't much care for traditional souvenirs such as keychains and beer glasses. I like things that you couldn't get in America, things that the Irish use regularly that are unique to the Irish culture. I am not going to post this blog until I've given out the gifts, because I want to detail what I got people!
Before we headed out on our shopping mission, we decided to get a few nearby geocaches. Are you surprised? There was a huge string of them along the coast where we were staying, and we looked for five. One was a nontraditional cache and it was a bit too confusing for us so we skipped it. But, not before we had walked down the side of a cliff to the beach and subsequently back up a near vertical climb. We got back to the top exhausted but having been rewarded with some great views along the way.
We found two of the next four we looked for along the beach-side road. In the process, I met a Hungarian woman walking her dog. She was super friendly and we chatted a bit. When she heard that I was interested in living abroad, and had enjoyed Budapest a lot while I was there, she suggested a Hungarian company that hires Americans reguarly. I won't go into too much detail but the company was called Prezi and I do think I'll look into it when I get back, even if just to check it out. But, for now, back to geocaching! There were some really awesome views from the area we were driving along and I took a bunch of photos. After those five caches, we were tired and ready to get to shopping! So, off we went.
We decided to go to some stores that would be frequented by Irish people. We made for Marks and Spencer's in Dublin. We got lunch at the cafe in the MS, then poked around the home section. I bought myself some CUTE measuring cups (why am I so domestic?!) as well as some cute Mother's Day cards. I guess Mother's Day in the UK and Ireland is a lot sooner than ours, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared! I didn't find anything by way of souvenirs there, so we headed to another staple store: Tesco.
Tesco has been one of my favorite stores in the UK since I went there with my host-family in Gloucestershire, England, back in 2007. It's not really anything special; just a grocery store. I guess its more of the unique English and Irish products you can buy there that I love so much! Anyway, there I found the bulk of my gifts. I got bags of just-add-water Irish Brown Bread for a few of my coworkers, Irish chocolate made with actual liquid milk (most chocolates are made with milk solids, whatever that is!), and a few jars of whiskey marmalade. These are things that are totally Irish yet affordable!
We left Tesco loaded down, but I insisted on stopping at Penney's (aka Primark) as it is the UK/Ireland's answer to Forever 21, but better. I got quite a lot of loot there! I got some PJ bottoms, a canvas print for the apartment, a throw pillow that is beyond adorable, some hair accessories, a makeup bag, and two water bottles made to be gripped in your hand as you run (one for me, one for Romeo). I feel like there may have been a few other small things in there, but basically I got a bunch of stuff for like 30 Euros. Total score! Now... to fit it all in our suitcases!
We finally headed back to the hotel with a bunch of shopping bags and a big task ahead of us trying to get our suitcases to close AND be less than 50lbs. Back in our room, we set about doing this, but soon realized we needed sustenance. So far, we had avoided eating at the generally-overpriced hotel restaurants, but we were just too tired to try to find somewhere in the town to eat, go there, order, wait, eat, then come back again. So, we headed down to the bar and ordered some food as well as the cocktail on special. I finally got one of the food items I'd wanted to have on the trip: Atlantic salmon! It was incredibly delicious, and as a kids portion, not terribly priced. The size was decent, just perfect for me actually.
Full and a bit tipsy, we headed back upstairs and completed our packing while sipping some whiskey we had bought. It was a really good finish to the trip, and I felt very successful in all my purchases, both gifts and things for myself. We needed to get up fairly early the next morning, so we made it an early night. By now, I'm quite ready to get home and start planning my next adventure, wherever that may be!
Until then... cheers!