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Oh No, We're Stuck in Ireland!

This entry is part of a series, Ireland 2009»

Yard Sign

Travel is such a pain, sometimes. We got up early and skipped breakfast, as we had a fairly early flight scheduled for our return to the States. (We didn’t want any breakfast, as we were afraid it would spoil our planned beef dinner on the plane.) PJ was slow to get started, and grumpy. Actually, she claimed I was the grumpy one, but I’m sure I was just refleccting her angst. Whatever the situation, we grabbed all our stuff, now grown to four carryons and two big checked bags, and hurried out to the shuttle.

Old TowerIt took us all of three minutes to get to the terminal. The Clarion Dublin is that close! However, there are no safe walking paths, what with all the traffic and construction. Besides, we’d have taken an hour on foot with all that plunder. We checked in just fine, but were notified that our plane would be late. Very Late. Like, four hours late leaving Dublin! Seems they had to replace our scheduled airframe in Chicago, and there wasn’t a spare handy at the time. Seems pretty silly, doesn’t it? I mean, those thingies only cost about $300 million or so. Pretty petty of them not to have several spares just lying about.

We adjourned to the lounge. There’s no Admiral’s Club in Dublin; they sub-contract that all out to Aer Lingus. They aren’t even partners with American anymore, but we were still treated nicely. We snacked, worked on photos and trip notes, and I watched about a bajillion airplanes land or take off. It was a very short four days hours, actually. However, when we got to the gate there were more delays.

All’s well that ends well, and at least we had a good airplane to ride. New appointments all ’round, like on the trip over. And we even got the beef! Good, Irish beef, as it turned out. Yummy! I watched the movie that Paula Jo had watched on the first flight, and she watched something else. I fell asleep readily enough, and snoozed until nearly time to land.

Then the fun began in earnest. We knew we wouldn’t make our scheduled connections. We had confirmed seats on a direct flight from Chicago to Austin, though, and that would make up some of the lost time. If only we could catch the flight! We had two hours on the ground between planes, after all; easy, right?

Not so fast. In fact, nothing was going fast. Passport control was abominably slow. There was only about 20% of the booths manned with Immigration Agents, and there were several planeloads of supplicants to make up for that. We ran from Immigration to the conveyor and quickly located our checked bags, then strolled through Customs. You don’t ever run through Customs, unless you specifically want several agents rummaging through your gifts and dirty undies! We cleared that hurdle smoothly, then dropped the two bags off at the re-check station.

Time to get from the International Arrivals terminal over to our domestic flight. No problem, we’ll just catch the train! Only, the train was busted. Broke down just as we arrived. Of course, it knew we were in a crashing great hurry to catch our flight, so it broke out of pure spite. Eventually it got going again. The key word is “eventually.”

Church

We scooted through security as best we could, but things were jammed beyond all reckoning. One we were “on the inside” we located where our flight was scheduled to leave from, on one of those nice, big monitors. Unfortunately, the sign said the flight was already in final boarding. Time to run!

We made it to the gate in time to see the last few folks in the queue. We handed our boarding cards to the gate agent and they had to print us up some new ones; more delay! Sad thing is, because of all the delays leaving Ireland we didn’t have First Class for the hop to Austin. We had the next-best thing, bulkhead seats with good legroom. We were too tired to complain.

Stained Glass

Our daughter, Jessica, and Deniz were there to gather us up and take us home to our cats and Sonia the Red, our Golden. We shared out gifts and showed off the rest of our loot spoils boodle acquisitions. That lasted until bedtime, although I think poor Jessica and Deniz were almost to the point of feigning death to get us to stop. PJ and I chatted as we relaxed towards sleep. We compared best memories, and laughed at some of the things that had happened along the way. We both said we were glad to be home, and there was absolutely, positively no way would ever do such a trip again.

Before next week, that is…

Enjoy the (Home Again, Home Again) Heat!

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