Ah yes, the drive from Powerscourt Waterfall to Waterford City. As I mentioned in my previous post, we somehow managed to turn a two hour drive into a five hour nightmare. Our new Volvo came equipped with an in-dash navigation system so we figured we would be adventurous and just follow it’s promptings. Well….. we learned a couple valuable lessons in the process. First, Ireland has no zip codes, no post codes, really no legitimate addresses for anything. So when you only have half a street name and a city, your GPS will not cooperate very well and demand more specific information. Information like the latitude and longitude of said destination. And here’s the next important lesson – latitude and longitude are very specific measurements. DO NOT just leave out a few numbers and assume you will get close to your target. For the love of your sanity, your marriage, and your relationship with your children, never, ever do this.
After getting ourselves utterly lost in the deepest, darkest parts of who-knows-where-Ireland, we finally saw a small beacon of light in the form of a Londis shop. I am still saying prayers of gratitude that this mishap occurred in the friendly country of shamrocks and leprechauns because had we been in the States, I am absolutely confident we would have either been shot or abducted by those terrifying monsters from The Hills Have Eyes. Forget about street lights as we weren’t even driving on actual roads. At one point, we almost hit a large animal and it’s possibly due to the fact that we were driving in a field of some sort. We still don’t know; the trauma of it all is too fresh to process.
And that is how I found myself sitting at a giant computer from the late 90’s, attempting to connect to dial up internet and find a phone number for our next hotel. When I asked the shop keeper if we were close to Waterford, she actually turned white, said “Oh my God” several times, and then offered to let me sit behind the counter and use their computer. Just as I got the phone number pulled up, an old man walked into the shop and I do believe he was an angel sent from heaven. According to him, however, he was a truck driver and knew where we were trying to go. So he came out to the car with me and relayed the most detailed driving instructions to ever exist while I wrote everything down and Jason pretended to understand his thick Irish accent. The directions included the following gems: go down the road .2 miles until you see a large tree. Turn left. You’ll then see two old pumps. Take another left. Drive 4.5 minutes until you hit the second round about with a broken fence and keep right. After dictating two full pages to me, he wished us luck, said “oh my god, you are so far away” just like the shopkeeper had said, and we were off. And let me tell you, Grandpa Truck Driver’s directions were on point! Every.single.detail was spot on and we were so delirious and frazzled, that we couldn’t stop laughing.
We FINALLY made it to our next hotel and thankfully, the front desk guy was very accomodating despite it being nearly 10pm. The fact that he was completely drunk may have had something to do with it.
The next day was gorgeous and we headed into the beautiful town of Waterford. Our first stop was at Waterford Crystal. We decided not to do the museum as we didn’t think two kids and thousands of dollars worth of glassware made the most winning combo. So we checked out the gift shop instead and even got this complimentary photo where it looks like Lena and I are attempting to rob the store. Neat-o!
We had promised Lena she could see some Vikings (or Spikings, as she calls them) as Waterford has a rich history with the warriors of the sea.
Reginald’s Tower was the highlight for her, to be sure. It was built in 1003 as part of the city wall and is deceptively large once you’re inside. There is a huge spiral staircase and each floor has it’s own special display. They had everything from ornate carvings, to miniature replicas of the city from ancient days, and even artifacts that had been excavated from the site. The excitement of it all had Lena in rare form. I have no idea what this face is but it was her signature look for the day.
While we were inside, Jason and Aksel took a little stroll along the waterfront. When we came out, I noticed Jason had his signature smirk on his face; telling me something had happened. Apparently, he was approached by two girls with nametags and they started talking to him. I can only imagine how awkward this must have been as he’s not the most outwardly social person. They eventually asked him if he knew anything about the Mormon faith and he made some comment about “John Smith” and magic underwear. Apparently, their nametags and modest dress didn’t alert him to the fact that they were missionaries. When they corrected him about John Smith really being Joseph Smith, he realized he had likely just offended them completely and then tried to end the conversation so he didn’t do any further damage.
Not wanting him to be the only person embarrassed that day, we all took turns posing for these super dorky photos. This is what European vacations are all about, people. We are living the dream.
Just up from Reginald’s Tower is the Irish Handmade Glass Company. We were able to see the artists at work blowing glass for lamps, vases, and even jewelry. I could have sat here all day watching them work but everyone was starting to get hungry. So we picked out a small glass ornament and were on our way.
The artwork throughout town was really vibrant and I loved the giant murals on the walls. I didn’t get a picture of our lunch, but we stopped in at a small local shop that was sort of like a deli. The shopkeeper was so friendly and suggested some local dishes for us to try. The main dish was an Irish variation of Shepherd’s pie and it had almost a cheese type sauce with the meat. That disappeared almost immediately. He also said we had to try a blaa (pronounced blah), which is a white bread roll distinct to Waterford. It was square in shape, super soft, dusted with flour on top and served with butter. I could have eaten a dozen.
With everyone fed and pottied, we made our way back to the car, checking out a few more shops and sculptures on the way and then loaded up for our trek down to Cork.
After the GPS fiasco the day before, we weren’t taking any chances. So we had two navigation systems going plus handwritten instructions on how to find our next hotel. With the kids passed out in the back, I was free to take pictures, pretend I wasn’t petrified of getting lost again, and make fun of Jason for offending two innocent girls on a street corner.