|Looking across the Corrib from Claddagh Quay, where hundreds of seagulls like to gather|
You know that “old Irish blessing” one often sees on plates and plaques in kitchy souvenir shops:
May the road rise to meet you
And the wind be always at your back …?
Well, someone must have forgotten to offer the second line of that particular prayer in Nancy’s behalf today, because the wind was in her face all morning, and it was cold. Fortunately, she had gone out prepared: thermal tights under her pants and a pair of wool socks inside her hiking boots, a long-sleeved thermal shirt under a turtleneck, a thermal cap under the hood of the down jacket, gloves, and the long hooded raincoat over everything. She needed all that weight not just to stay warm, but as ballast to keep from keeling over in the wind—and even though it never rained, the waterproof coat provided a needed barrier against blowing sand.
|Salthill Beach. Can you spot the two bathers at center right?|
|The Irish have tremendous respect for the power of water.|
Life-savers like this one are all over the place.
Salthill has a wide, sandy beach and is obviously a popular resort area—in season. Today, however, it was nearly deserted, and most of its amenities were closed. A notable exception was the golf course at the far western end of the Promenade, where more than a few intrepid golfers were attempting to steer their balls through the wind. When she turned back toward Galway, Nancy also was surprised to see two human figures in the surf: two women wearing regular tank suits. She happened to meet them as they climbed up the stone steps to the Promenade; one of them was probably in her twenties, but the other looked close to seventy—likely a grandmother and granddaughter.
“You women are a lot hardier than I am!” Nancy shouted as they approached, so they could hear her over the wind.
“Oh, we’re used to it,” the older one shouted back, smiling.
After walking for almost four hours without any potty breaks, once she got back into Galway Nancy headed for the first public toilet she could think of: the well appointed facility in the Galway City Museum. Since she hadn’t seen anything beyond the ground floor on her first Museum visit earlier in the week, she walked upstairs and perused the contemporary works in the art gallery, an educational exhibit on marine conservation, and a display called “Galway Goes to the Movies.” She had expected the latter to feature items from films set or shot in Galway, but instead she found an old reel-to-reel projector, a set of wooden speakers from Galway’s first cinema, and a wall covered with old movie posters (including, of course, some for The Quiet Man).
Back at the Radisson, Nancy again ate a late lunch consisting of bread, cheese, and fruit saved from the breakfast buffet, then worked on the blog while waiting for Michael to return from work.
The only seats that were available when we arrived at the tiny Latin Quarter restaurant were at a counter overlooking the street, so we sat there and watched the passersby while sharing a broiled hake fillet with sides of couscous, beets, and greens, and a baked brie with walnuts and truffles, decorated with dabs of cranberry and apple coulis. For dessert, Nancy ordered a pear poached in black currant juice, which came with champagne-flavored whipped cream and two miniature madeleines; Michael’s crème brulée was served with yummy little bars of chocolate cake.
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