Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Diary of a World Traveler

Galway Day 8-9: "Piefi 2016."

I am so full of good food that it astonishes me. This last week has been a conglomeration of one great meal after another, but we just keep going and finding more places to enjoy. But now, we have been introduced to McCambridge’s, and I don’t think we can ever forget this magical culinary honey hole.

Yesterday was a lazy Sunday for both of us. We wanted to go out to get food for lunch, but we also wanted to see the market and browse a bit. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with our plans—rain and intense winds followed us the entire day. In fact, as we were walking around trying to find a place to eat, an older Irish man said, “You girls got the authentic Irish weather today!” Yes, sir, we did sign up for this. But we are beyond happy to be here, bad weather or not.

The market only had a few stalls open, and many restaurants were closed because it was 10:30AM on a Sunday. Diana bought two little pendants from one of the few market stalls open, and then we went to one of the only restaurants open for brunch: McCambridge’s. This is the place that two of our professors recommended us on separate occasions. They sell specialty groceries on the bottom floor and have an amazing restaurant upstairs. This is where we chose to eat some brunch, since we wanted to sit down out of the cold for as long as we could before heading back to the hotel. What a good choice that was! The prices were not too expensive, but the food was top notch. I ordered a veggie breakfast with two poached eggs, which came with spicy beans, rocket and feta salad, a roast tomato and portabella, and a delicious cauliflower hash point. It was so good—I don’t even have words to describe. Diana ordered an avocado, tomato, and spinach toast dish that was my second choice and also looked amazing. I got tea and she got a dirty chai for after the meal, while I nibbled on my chocolate croissant. Everything was so wonderful: the food, the staff, the atmosphere in the loft space, the shelter from the horrid weather.  

We finally could not stretch out our stay any longer, so we hit the road back to the hotel. The day was very peaceful after that. I did some homework, had a lazy workout, and then ate dinner. We watched a movie to end the weekend, then slept until the morning.

Today, the wind is a little better, but still cloudy and rainy. I got up at my normal 7AM time, but we did not leave the room until around noon for lunch. Yesterday, we decided that we wanted to try a shop called The Pie Maker for lunch, and boy—that was the right choice. This is probably the smallest restaurant I have ever been in. It is literally just a narrow slice of building in the Latin Quarter, barely big enough to fit the tiny wooden booths and the counter where the pies sit in their warmer. All of the pies are made fresh every day, and the menu has an equal mix of traditional and modern flavors. Each pie comes with a choice of mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and red cabbage or a green side salad. Diana and I both got the chorizo, mozzarella, pesto, and gravy pie with the mashed. Can’t eat a pie in the British Isles without the mashed! Green salads exist everywhere—mushy peas are an art only mastered here. I don’t need to say that the entire meal was delicious. I am a pie fiend to begin with, and a meal stuffed with locally sourced cheese and meat and served in a ceramic dish just topped it all off. I left that shop full and happy, which seems to be a pattern in Galway.

After our lunch, we meandered a little more around the city on our way to Treasure Chest. This involved a quick (not so quick) stop in at McCambridge’s for some biscuits. Which turned into a hunt for the coolest liquor bottle. Which turned into a browse around the chocolate selection. Which led to a look at the pastry selection. Which turned into us buying not what we came for, but two glorious doughnuts for eating as a snack later. I think we made the right choice. We will definitely be back for another meal and probably another look around. That place is dangerous. Very dangerous.

Our final stop of the day was at Treasure Chest, where Diana bought her blanket and I had a look at some of the Royal Albert china. There are tea sets, teacups, tea pots, mugs… anything a tea fanatic would love to own. It is terrible to let me loose in a place like that, but I loved it. I wanted to take home just about everything I saw, though, so I may have to be watching my pocketbook—especially because of what we planned after our shopping trip.

We are headed to London!!! We booked our hotel (The Z Piccadilly) for three nights, four days in late May. We are going to see Phantom of the Opera in the West End, which is a one minute walk from our hotel. We have so many things planned to do, and we are beyond excited to fit them all in. It will be so expensive, but I really hope it will all be worth it. I cannot wait to finally get to see the number one city on my bucket list! And in just a month and a half!

Short review today, since we haven’t really been doing much. The weekend was rainy and windy and we spent a lot of time indoors to avoid being blown away, but we did eat a lot of great food and do some cool shopping. Tomorrow, we are off to the Aran Islands for our overnight stay! I’m loving Galway, but I am very excited to see some different parts of the west of Ireland when we leave the mainland.

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