I've finished organizing my online photo albums from last month's trip to Ireland, just in time to get back on a transatlantic plane.  This coming week, I'll visit six cities -- Sofia (Bulgaria), Bucharest (Romania), Vienna (Austria), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Umag (Croatia), and Paris (France), with eight border crossings, in eight days.  This trip will include four new countries (bringing me to 45), two new airlines, and a seventeen hour stop in Paris just to see some old friends.  I'm especially interested in Bucharest, as my paternal grandparents were born there.  If only we knew what "Brill" was before Ellis Island...

As for those Irish photos.  My album is online here.  I've posted three sections -- Co. Galway and Clare, Inishmor of the Aran Islands, and Dublin/Newgrange and the Irish Lotus User Group meeting.  Some of the things I haven't written yet about the wonderful week in Ireland:

  • Driving 60+ MPH, on very narrow roads where stone fences line either side, in a Volvo S80, was quite a white-knuckle experience at times.  Kudos to Sandy (her pictures posted here and here), sitting on the side next to the stone fences, for only occasionally freaking out.
  • And what is with 1½-lane roads that have a posted speed limit of 100 km/h?  Or 500 metre dirt roads with a posted limit of 80 km/h?  This was explained to us as "well, when we went metric, all roads had to have a declared speed limit."  Yeah, but how about a realistic one?
  • Of six full days in Eire, rain only fell on two of 'em.  The day on Inishmor was perfect weather.  Thankfully so, since we flew the tiniest plane I've ever been on to get over there.  First time I've been weighed before a flight.  Alas, no frequent flyer miles for the seven minute journey.
  • There seemed to be more B&Bs than private houses in Co. Clare and Co. Galway.  I exaggerate a bit, but even on the most isolated roads, you'll find a B&B.  If I had known that before going, I probably would have been willing to be a bit more spontaneous about where to stay.  Also would probably have considered flying into Shannon and then heading east, rather than driving out to Galway from Dublin.
  • Thank you to Ben Rose, Wild Bill, Warren and Kitty for coming over to Eire for the meeting and day out.  Thanks to Declan for driving part of the gang for Saturday at Newgrange. And special thanks to Paul Mooney for being an amazing host all week -- from the airport meet&greet, driving and restaurant advice, meeting and Geekdinner arrangements, tour guide to Newgrange, and post-meeting follow-ups.  First class, mate.

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