|John, the fish guy with Tom. John will stop by once a week. Last night I had the haddock, which was fabulous without a single bone and the fresh crabmeat.|
“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle. This is because of its lush greenery and rolling hills. The country receives a lot of rain each year, which keeps the grass green and the plants blooming.”
Regardless of how well equipped a holiday home may be, there are specific nuances to which we must adjust each time we move to a different country and subsequently begin living in an unfamiliar holiday home.
No holiday home is perfect. For us, the primary factors when we book a house is its location, price, views, WiFi, and other amenities. A good kitchen is a must, along with laundry facilities, at the least a washer. (We gave up interest in clothes dryers shortly after we began traveling).
Neither of us cares to live in an apartment unless it’s necessary, such as in big cities where private homes are either too costly or too far from the hubbub of the town, which we may explore on foot.
Hotels are another matter. Location is critical for access to sightseeing, along with price, breakfast, and free WiFi, if possible. We do not book hotels where we must pay for WiFi.
|Freshly caught fish in John’s truck. He may have different options each week. The crab meat was delicious when I sauteed it in a bit of Kerry Gold butter.|
This morning Tom booked a hotel for August 9 to August 11, 2019, when we’ll have two nights to spend in Amsterdam before the upcoming Baltic Cruise. Location was significant mainly for walking and accessibility to the port.
Amsterdam is very expensive. Using our accumulated credits for past bookings on Hotels.com here on our site, the cost was still Euro 364, US $408 for the two nights at a conveniently located and highly rated hotel. We selected a canal view when the scenery in Amsterdam is important to us.
However, holiday homes and hotels always seem to have some type of issues that impact our stay and require us to adapt to the nuances. This home in Connemara, Ireland, is no exception.
The most substantial issue is that the three bedrooms, including the master, are located upstairs, requiring climbing an open wooden spiral staircase. Not only are the steps a bit slippery with the finely finished wood, but they are steep.
As mentioned earlier, Tom and I agreed I wouldn’t go up and down the spiral staircase other than once per day. He placed a plastic bin at the top and bottom of the steps to allow me to add items to go up or down, which he’ll handle.
|Fishing boats in the bay.|
This wasn’t an issue for me when we booked this house, but since the surgery on my legs, I’m unstable until I build up my strength and balance. I’m working on both of these each day, by walking no less than 6000 steps per day or more some days. After all, I was only starting walking about 10 days ago, after lying down with my legs up for months. Slowly my strength is building.
Another issue with this house is the double bed in the master bedroom, with no larger bed in the other two bedrooms. Typically, this would work for us, but with the necessity of finding a comfortable position for my leg, I’ve slept in the twin bed and the bedroom the first few nights. This is unusual for us.
Tonight, we’ll try to sleep together again, and if a problem, we’ll have no choice but to sleep separately during the balance of our 90-day stay in Ireland. If the bed were a queen, such as we had in Marloth Park, there would be no issue.
Another concern is the tiny below-counter refrigerator in the kitchen without a freezer. Another fridge is located in the laundry room with a very small freezer, enough for our ice cube trays, a bag of ice, and a few packages of meat or chicken.
When the fish guy comes weekly, I’ll eat fish for two days due to lack of freezer space, as I did last night making a fantastic salad with haddock, crabmeat, and tons of vegetables. Tom had a taco salad. Running back and forth to the two refrigerators is good exercise for me but annoying.
Shopping for groceries is challenging when we can only purchase enough to fit into the tiny freezer. Nor can we make larger quantities of our favorite dishes to freeze and have for dinner on the days we’ve been out sightseeing. The refrigerator space between the two is sufficient to handle our cold products.
|Closer view of boat hauling fishing equipment.|
Otherwise, the kitchen has every conceivable pot, pan, gadget, small appliance, dinnerware and flatware, and spices that we can use. The knives are wonderfully sharp. There are plenty of dish towels and a newer dishwasher. There’s even food in the cupboard (very few items we’ll use) and condiments in the little fridge.
As for the pluses, the views from almost every window are stunning, overlooking a bay surrounded by mountains. The WiFi signal is superb, the flat-screen TV set up with satellite and many channels (we only watch the news) and there’s an upright piano.
No longer will we need to watch our favorite shows on my laptop. We hooked up our HDMI cord and can watch our shows from the living room. We could have done this in Marloth Park, but it was always too hot to do so comfortably.
The furniture in the living areas is in excellent condition and exceedingly comfortable. We have two areas when we can lounge and work on our laptops. It would be nice if there were an ottoman on which I could put my feet in the evenings, but the big comfy chairs do not have this, nor have we been able to find a comfortable alternative.
The TV is located at the end of the living room, preventing us from seeing it sitting on the sofa. We may ask the owner if we can move the furniture around to put my feet up at night.
There are few annoying insects other than midges (tiny biting insects) at sunrise and sunset. Of course, as we often experience throughout the world, there are no screens on the windows. If we want fresh air, we must risk flies and midges entering the house.
Although full of vegetation, the lot on which the house is located is impossible to use with uneven land, bushes, and wild plants. There is a picnic table on the side of the house which we’ll seldom use when it is fairly cool outdoors.
Down the road, if I start drinking a little red wine, as recommended by the doctors, we may sit at that table at happy hour. For now, neither of us is drinking any alcohol since Tom never drinks alone, nor does he miss it.
Once we get a little more settled, we begin the process. We’re quite a distance from some of the areas we’ll research, but others are within an hour’s drive. Overall, we are content and look forward to researching Tom’s ancestry, which motivated our coming to Ireland.
Tomorrow, I’ll work on the documents to apply for the waiver from our status as “undesirables” in South Africa, hopefully enabling us to return in 2021 instead of the five-year ban we received from immigration at the Johannesburg airport last Saturday.
This morning a cleaner will come to clean the house. We were surprised at the high rates charged by cleaners at Euro 20, US $22.41 per hour. That is more than we’ve ever paid for a house cleaner, although these may be the current rates in the US and other world areas. We’d considered having her clean the house twice a week, but instead, we decided on three hours once a week.
After she’s done cleaning, we’re taking off to check out Carna, another quaint town with a few shops. It’s only five kilometers from here and may prove to be handy for odds and ends we may need between shopping trips to the distant Clifden (which requires a 90-minute round trip) but has a fantastic SuperValu market. We plan to shop in Clifden once a week.
That’s all for today, folks! We’ll continue to get out to take photos as often as possible. For today, we didn’t have many photos to share, but we will be heading out after a while to see what we can roust up on this cloudy day.
Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2018:
|A small but substantially packed ferry was arriving in Zambia from Botswana while we waited. This reminded us of the ferry boat when we arrived in Mombasa, Kenya, in September 2013. Click here for that post. For more photos from the above Chobe visit, please click here.|