Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ireland, Day Three

We arose early today and went to breakfast, opting again for the overpriced hotel buffet simply because it was easy and available, but this would probably be the last morning we opted for that.

We got to the rugby pitch early, led by yet another route into town. Damn! We just can't seem to get the same route ever. And there's another problem...Dublin City University isn't shown on any map we have (most maps of Dublin are only the City Centre, with any outlying areas showing very little detail), and our hotel is located far enough outside Dublin that trying to pinpoint it on a map is very difficult, because most of the maps don't have that kind of detail that far out of the city). So we have two problems: neither the place we're coming from nor the place we're going to appear on printed maps, so we are forced to rely entirely on EverLost. That's lousy. So last night, I went to the hotel business center and went onto Google maps, entering the location of the hotel with the intention of printing out a map of the area so that we would at least have that. Guess what? The hotel printer was broken. Grrr. This morning, I talked to the front desk and they suggested I e-mail the document to them to print out, which I did, but it was so small that you still could not make out the detail! Totally insane.

Today, we were smarter with coats and such, and I brought my sweater along to wear over my shirt, and then the windbreaker over that, which worked nicely. Jess wore his leather jacket rather than leaving it in the car. We watched our team play the team that would become this year's tournament champions (and they were the champs of the last tournament, too). The opposing team played brutally and used guerilla tactics, blocking kicks at point-blank range using their entire bodies, faking passes, etc. And yet, our team, the Gotham Knights, did something that no other team in the tournament was able to do: they scored two tries against the Sydney Convicts, which ended in a score of 12-35. The highest any other team scored against them was 3, so Gotham kicked ass. Go Gotham! The tournament was a parade of hot men who were really into rugby, and the best part was that 95% of them were gay. The best thing about this tournament? Proof that gay men aren't sissies; I'd put Gotham or the Sydney Convicts up against a straight team any day. They are some serious ruggers.

It was a bittersweet end to the day, because our guys really wanted to win. They came in third, which, based on all the competition there, was highly admirable. There were very tough teams there, like the San Francisco Fog, King's Cross (London), and Cardiff (Wales). Our guys did a great job, though they were pretty dejected about coming in any less than first place.

After the game, we decided to head on out and get a little sightseeing in, since it was still early in the day. Heading back to the hotel briefly to freshen up, we left and headed south to Enniskerry to the Powerscourt Gardens. Wow. It was a spectacular place. Too bad we weren't here about two weeks earlier, when all the rhodies and azaleas would have been in bloom. There were plenty of other things in bloom, though, including peonies, poppies, foxglove, geraniums, iris, lavender, and about 25 different varieties of roses. And like the layout of the gardens (I'll post pics when we return), the roses were spectacular in form and fragrance. Now I want to plant some roses, though I know I will never get the types they had here...they smelled exquisite. Just wait until you see the pictures. Too bad I can't post in John Waters' Smell-o-Vision.

We had a nice dessert after the stroll of the gardens, which was a dense chocolate cake on the bottom, topped with a browned meringue, then topped with a white mousse and atop that, pieces of chocolate malted milk balls drizzled with a caramel glaze. Absolutely delicious. There was a store inside the house that the gardens sit behind. We bought some things there, including a couple of chocolate bars (one was an Irish Coffee truffle chocolate bar, the other was a Dark Chocolate and Key Lime with Black Pepper chocolate bar. We also bought a loaf of cheese Irish Soda Bread (which was absolutely divine and tasted nothing like the nasty breads I've been so unfortunate to eat in the U.S. that were represented as such...most by home cooks), a small tub of Irish herb butter, a small tub of trout and salmon spread and a jar of tartar sauce that looked to be quite good.

On the way home, we stopped by Marks & Spencer and picked up a package of Chili-Lime Chicken pieces and a package of chocolate cake rolls (yes, I know, I'm a pig...I'm on vacation, okay?!) to go along with our bread and spreads.

Once we got home and started sampling, it was quite amusing to find that the best items of the whole lot were the two Marks & Spencer items. They also happened to be the cheapest. Oh, well.

So now we're winding down and making blog posts. This was a nice day, all in all. Can't wait to get started tomorrow - we're considering Galway as our destination.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!


At 12:24 PM, June 16, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Glad you got some sightseeing in --can't wait to see the rugby and garden pictures!

Hope you guys have an easier time with driving as the week progresses.

At 12:20 PM, June 18, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

Well, okay, perhaps they do a nice job with the dessert part of the whole business of Cuisine, anyway...and really, what else matters. Totally drooling for your description...

Actually, I'm doing that about the roses and foxgloves and such, too--can't wait to check out all those pics.

At 3:27 PM, June 18, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

Greg - actually, no, not that great in the desserts area, either, so much as we've found...just pricey. It's all so pricey...


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