As hinted in my last post, our very first experience in Ireland was not very welcoming. Instead of the 2-3 months we’d planned to spend on the Emerald Isle, a cantankerous immigration officer only permitted us 5 weeks in the country. They not only needlessly limited our time, but they openly ridiculed us for our lifestyle. That set me off on the wrong foot before we even stepped outside the airport, but even that wasn’t the biggest problem we faced.

We had no place to stay for our first 4 nights in Ireland.

While we had already found a couple who had agreed to host us for a month on the island of Inishbofin (which is located off the west coast of Ireland), they wouldn’t be ready for us for another 4 days (a result of us buying airline tickets before lining up hosts). Despite the 40+ requests we’d sent out, no one could accept us on such short notice, and so we inevitably chose to rent a room through Airbnb. We booked a place that looked nice and was relatively affordable near Galway, and hopped on a bus!

The road from Galway to Oranmore, Ireland.

The bus dropped us off in Galway city center, and to keep costs to a minimum, we decided to hoof it to our Airbnb in nearby Oranmore. By the time we arrived 3 hours later, we were absolutely exhausted. Just to recap: the day after our 8 hour walk around Reykjavik we had a 95 minute forced march with all our gear to a Reykjavik bus stop, an hour bus ride to the Iceland Airport, a 3 hour flight to Luton, England, a 12 hour layover in Luton Airport, an 80 minute march with all our gear to get non-airport food, a 90 minute flight to Dublin, a 2.5 hour bus ride to Galway, and a 3 hour march with all our gear to our Oranmore Airbnb — all with little to no sleep. We were simply and utterly beat.

View of our Airbnb in Oranmore, Ireland.

View from our Airbnb in Oranmore, Ireland.

Dismayed. Not an exciting story to tell, but it felt so damn good to just do nothing but relax! We didn’t even leave our Airbnb until our 3rd day there, on which we took a day trip to Galway. Guess what? There was a fairly cheap train that reduced our 3 hour walk to a 1 hour walk! Nice!

We spent a good deal of time simply walking the streets, peeking in shops, and appreciating the plethora of talented buskers. I of course had to buy a new pin for my travel hat!

Walking the streets of Galway, Ireland!

This is my travel hat. I buy a pin for it in every country I visit (sometimes a region of the country).  *Unfortunately, I lost my Sardinia pin in Avellino, Italy. **I didn’t get around to buying one in Egypt before my unexpected return home.

After working up a healthy appetite, we indulged ourselves with a mouth watering burger from Burgerstory. I know, I know, It’s not exactly authentic Irish cuisine, but we were hungry and craving a taste of home! Also, the burger was much more affordable than other (more authentic) local restaurants.

Mmmmmm!

This picture was taken from their facebook page and used without permission. hopefully the free advertising will be enough to earn their forgiveness (and maybe even a free burger next time I’m in the area? 😉 ).

After our delectable and incredibly satisfying meal, we headed over to the Kings Head for an indulgence of another kind, cider! We imbibed our drinks on the outdoor patio to the relaxing ambiance of irish street music.

The King’s Head!

Bulmer’s (my favorite local cider) and Orchard Thieves (Aubre’s favorite).

Puffing my pipe to the tranquil ambiance of local street musicians.

After relaxing a bit, and enjoying the company of a local who was drawn to chat with us by the pleasant aroma of my pipe, we made our way back to our Airbnb in Oranmore. Along the way, Aubre made a friend!

Aubre makes a friend!

I made a friend too. I dubbed him Donkeh!

Outside of our day trip to Galway, we spent the entirety of our 4 days inside the Airbnb. Our time was largely spent recovering from our chaotic journey, but we also worked very hard on our blog/vlog, and brainstormed the next step in our adventure (since immigration foiled our plans to stay in Ireland for 2-3 months).

The next day we awoke bright and early, packed our bags, and started our journey to our next hosts: Anthony and Julia! From Galway we hopped a bus to Cleggan where a ferry would… ferry us to the Island of Inishbofin!

Next time on Exploring Alexander: Experience a month on the island of Inishbofin!

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions! You can comment here, or email me at ExploringAlexander@gmail.com

Affording Travel

“No,” The immigration officer said after interrogating us about our intentions and personal finances. “You cannot afford to travel Ireland that long. You’ll run out of money,” He continued, matter of factly. “I’m doing this for your own good. I’ll give you six weeks, and you’re lucky I’m giving you that much.” He finished, and messing up his own math proceeded to write a date on our visa stamp that alloted us 5 weeks in Ireland. …Read More

Aubre and I flew out of the MSP Airport shortly after 10:00pm on Tuesday, August 28th on direct flight to Iceland with less slightly of a “plan” than I was… we’ll say accustom to. …Read More

After spending 8 months Stateside, I am finally heading back out into the world! This time however, I’m not going alone.

I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Aubre! …Read More

Where did we leave off? Oh yes, I was alone in Syracuse at night and had just missed my train to Ispica to meet my new host! Oops. So what does one do? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that a quick stroll to the nearest bar for a glass of Sicilian red would be most people’s reaction to this situation. …Read More