Clothes, toiletries, a camera and a few zip lock bags, and I should be ready. I like taking the small kitchen size zip bags to keep small stuff from getting lost and a couple of the big garment ones for dirty clothes and whatever else (like dirty or wet shoes) that might need to be kept apart from the rest.
So, with 82 days until I leave, what am I working on now? I’m reading more travel blogs and books and learning more about the history and culture of the country. I have also spent a lot of time on Google Earth. It’s pretty cool to zoom in on a town and then “drive” down the streets. I’m also working on setting up the trip to Scotland for Cory and me.
There are a great number of YouTube videos and other information on Scotland and the castles they have. Ireland is not so well covered. I found some with great pictures, but they are more of a slide show with music than a video so there is no information on what you are looking at or any background on it. In their defense, they are beautiful pictures. I am hoping to be able to post some videos that will help people decide what they want to see if they get to visit Ireland.
I feel very fortunate that not only do I get to meet my pen pal after nearly half a century, but I am going to have a local tour guide to show me places that the tourists see plus the places they don’t. When my husband, Tom, was alive we went on fly-in fishing trips in Canada in the summer and always spent a week in Mexico in the winter to “warm up”. Even though we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of those trips, I consider this one the trip of a lifetime. I have dreamed of this since I was 14 years old! Florence is such a warm and wonderful person and for her to open her home to me and show me her world, is just so awesome. Of course I am hoping to talk her into coming to the US and letting me show her around. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Florence lives in County Fermanagh in North Ireland. For Christmas this year she sent me a calendar that has pictures of the attractions in just her county alone which is only 715 square miles and is surrounded on three sides by the Republic of Ireland. I couldn’t believe how much there is to see so close to her. Her note said she wanted to give me a glimpse of what I was going to see when I came over to visit. Her kids are even excited about my visit and my kids want me to talk her into coming here so they can meet her.
Here is a map from Wikipedia to review. The Red is County Fermanagh, the pink is North Ireland and the green is the Republic of Ireland. The largest town is County Fermanagh is Enniskillen.
Maps – One other thing I purchased was a “Streetwise” laminated folding map of Ireland from Amazon. I thought it would small enough to carry with me and I could check out where we were going. I Also bought one for the trip to Scotland. Streetwise makes hundreds of maps of different areas. I have other maps from them for the states I regularly travel in. They fold up small, are easy to read and don’t rip. Just a hint – if you are planning on writing on your map, you will need a magic marker. A regular pen won’t write on them.
As I was watching the YouTube videos, I made a very funny discovery. For 48 years I have been pronouncing “Fermanagh” incorrectly. I’m just glad I figured it out before I embarrassed myself in front of Florence and her family!