Friday, April 1, 2016

Diary of a World Traveler

Killarney Day 11: Saying Goodbye

We might have had horrible weather, and as a result did not do much, but I had a very enjoyable last day in Killarney. I ate horrible (yet delicious) food, stayed in and watched movies, and had a drink on the house from our lovely hosts here. Overall, I have absolutely loved exploring this town and the whole of County Kerry. It has been my favorite city so far for seeing the sights, and I would love to come back to continue exploring and see it all again.

Saying goodbye to Killarney is hard, since we have spent half our time in Ireland here. That is crazy to think about, but true nonetheless. The two weeks simultaneously flew by and drug on, which was good in some ways and not so great in others. Being stuck inside on rainy days was a bummer, but the great days we got to see the areas around Killarney were some of the best times I’ve had here. But today was our last day, and we were not quite sure how to spend it.

Originally, we had planned to do some leisurely shopping and maybe end the day with a hike. Unfortunately, we woke to blustery winds and heavy downpour. That effectively ended our hopes of strolling downtown and definitely prevented going hiking, so we instead went to town around noon on a mission: Murphy’s, pizza, home. We got our ice cream first, since the store was furthest from our hotel—not just because we wanted to ruin our lunch. I got chocolate and crunchy peanut butter, which has been the only two flavors of ice cream in my entire life that I actually mixed together whilst eating. It was delicious. We all sat in the upstairs loft, watching the rain fall and the umbrellas walk by. After about a half hour, we had all finished and were ready to continue on.

The rain was getting worse, but we couldn’t avoid it any longer—we would have to get a little wet. All of us trekked down the puddled sidewalk to Four Star Pizza, the local brand of “good” pizza. I ordered a personal pizza deal with mushroom and black olives and garlic cheese bread. When our orders were ready 15 minutes later, though, he had accidentally put onions on it. I said I would eat it anyway, since it would have been too much trouble and time for him to bother remaking it, even though he offered. Thankfully, he handed it over and we began our lunch. I am not a huge pizza person, but by the time it was sitting in front of me and I had been smelling the shop for that long, I was ready to eat it. Even with the onions, it was a delicious pizza. The garlic cheese bread was also pretty good, though I would prefer to eat more pizza than just the bread.

Either way, I was full and happy when the worker came sheepishly over to our table, quickly dropped a plate of cookies down on the table, and embarrassedly said, “Sorry about all the trouble.” I thought this was the craziest surprise ever, since I clearly told him it was no trouble for me to eat my pizza with onions. Plus, we had six people with six separate transactions happening all at once, and I don’t blame him for messing one small thing up. It was not a big deal, but he was willing to make us these wonderfully gooey, melted cookies as a consolation. And seriously, these cookies—I wish I had a picture, but even that would not have done them justice. They were basically cookie dough conspicuously enclosed in a hard shell, but with magically melted chocolate chips. They were warm and delicious and utterly great. There is a Four Star in Galway, and I would absolutely go in just to order those cookies. Well done, sir. I thanked him profusely as we walked out. The kindness from strangers never ends here, and that I am grateful to have experienced. Those cookies made the gloomy day a little brighter.

After the pizza, we stopped quickly in a gas station to get movie supplies. I contemplated buying some snacks, but remembered I had Oaties and tea waiting for me in the hotel. My friends wanted to look through the liquor shop, so we wandered into the adjacent room and marveled at all the bottles of wine, whiskey, and beer. I snapped a picture of the local brewery’s bottles, since they have some cool logos and funky bottles. Once we had our curiosity sated, we left for the hotel.

Warm and dry, we decided to watch the National Treasure movies until dinner. Long live Nick Cage as Benjamin Gates. When it was time for us to go eat, the hotel manager told us that after dinner, there would be a drink of our choice waiting for us on the house at the hotel bar. Pleasantly surprised, we all ate our meals happily and then proceeded down to the Saddler’s Pub. I ordered the lightest, smallest possible drink: a half pint of Bulmer’s. It was a good way to end our stay here, and we thanked everyone profusely. We chatted as a group and the pub’s walls echoed with energetic conversation. We laughed quite a bit, reminiscing on our time here but excitedly anticipating our journey to Galway in the morning. After some time, we decided to call it a night and go upstairs to pack. I’m all ready to leave now, more eager than ever to get to the next city and have new adventures. 

All in all, this day has been a very relaxed but very rewarding final day in Killarney. It may not be as cosmopolitan as Dublin or as small as Cork, but it certainly has beauty and charm. Nature is only a few footsteps away, and for that, I am thankful. I got to climb a mountain! I got to see landscapes I thought only existed in movies! Nothing can top having those memories. Killarney might be a tourist town in the summer, but we caught it at the perfect time. Quiet, peaceful, and calming. Galway will be a good change of pace, but I am happy to have had so many amazing experiences here. Hopefully I’ll be back someday to do some more climbing, eat some more ice cream, and see some more of the beautiful County Kerry. 

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