australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd

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Lunch in Leeds, the Royal Armories & Dinner in Doncaster
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First to finish out Ireland, I have some fun statistics! We drove 457 km from Cork to Dingle to Shannon, rode on the bus for 1318 km on tour, then another 965 km around Northern Ireland...so that makes a grand total of 2740 km around Ireland in two weeks! Not too shabby!

We checked out of the hotel, got the rental car returned & in the shuttle to the airport all before 6am, but let's just say I will never fly RyanAir again if an international trip's worth of luggage is involved. First since we couldn't print out our boarding passes ourselves they charged us more than the original airfare just to print those, then they forced us to check our carryons at the gate, to the tune of even more money since we had only prepaid one bag each. On top of that, we sat on the runway over an hour before finally taking off. Let that be a lesson to anyone else ever planning to fly to Ireland. Aer Lingus from Heathrow to Cork was much better, but they didn't fly Dublin to Leeds unfortunately.



Leeds greeted us with solid gray skies and constant drizzle as we disembarked down the steps onto the tarmac, but at least our luggage was just coming out when we arrived at the carousel, and Janet was already waiting for us, so that was easy. She gave us a hand-drawn map of the area around her office, so we strolled around the shopping areas, including the Victorian enclosed arcades, City Market and the Corn Exchange, until meeting her & a co-worker for lunch.



I had a Strongbow cider (missing Bulmer's already!) but unfortunately their Guinness tap was broken, so Cyd had to choose something else to drink! We had the pizza special, but even though we had never had any breakfast, we were both overly full by eating it all. After lunch, Janet went back to work while we walked along the canal over to the Royal Armories free museum.



The Royal Armories has several floors of exhibits which were all interesting, including Henry VIII's armor masterpiece that was never used even for show, but I was most impressed by the complete set of elephant battle armor, the only one known, especially since before the museum it was housed at Powis Castle in Wales, one of the places we sang on the 2004 choir tour. :)



We spent the whole afternoon at the armories, and Cyd loved Henry's Horned Helmet, Henry VIII's helmet for jousting that was used at the musem logo, but she was disappointed by the lack of the logo in the gift shop, so she pouted with the sign out front. We walked back the other side of the canal, where I saw my first water lilies actually blooming, making it back on time to meet Janet for drinks with some of her co-workers for a couple rounds before her husband was off work & drove the half an hour to their house in Doncaster. Cyd was 0 for 2 since this bar didn't ever serve Guinness at all! She was glad she had her daily Guinness after midnight at the hotel bar before we left Ireland. ;)



At their house in Doncaster, Janet & Chris made a delicious Chicken Kiev dinner with carrots and roasted potatoes with sausage, and even chocolate cake for dinner. I am so stuffed! They have wifi but have no idea what the password is, so I have to wait until Cyd is done with their computer so I can unplug it to use the connection. Good thing there aren't many photos to upload today! I'm hoping to catch some photos of their kitties eventually, since Elsie is a cute shorthair black cutie, and Walden is a hefty guy, black as well. Gwen is black & white, shyer so far so I've only had a glimpse of her peeking at us from up the stairs.

The two hours sleep has caught up to me, so a shower and bed is in order soon...tomorrow's forecast is more rain, so we're planning on a castle & a manor house since they're mostly inside sightseeing. Janet & Chris are fun company, and they are very generous letting us stay with them, but I think Cyd & I are already missing Ireland...her especially because of the unexpected lack of Guinness today! ;)

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(Anonymous)
I had to go to your itinerary to figure out which country you are in. Sorry you had such a lousy flight. The good news is your luggage arrived with you.

We're following the Lewis and Clark trail part of the way (unknowingly)--so beautiful and so inspirational when you remember how they were traveling!

love mom

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