Cruise upcoming...6 days and counting until we leave Connemara...Favorite photos continue...


Sunset across the bay.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland "Halloween originated in Ireland.  Halloween as we know it today actually originates from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when the people would light bonfires and wear scary costumes to ward off unwelcome spirits. Samhain is an old Gaelic word which translates to ‘darker half’, thus marking the beginning of winter."
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It's been easy living in Connemara Ireland.  We didn't go out more than necessary for shopping and minimal sightseeing.  We had Ann as our weekly house cleaner each week with the exception of three weeks when she was ill.  Tom did the bulk of the cleaning in her absence.

We cooked easy but delicious meals, healthful and suitable for my way of eating.  The kitchen is well stocked with almost everything we'd use during a three-month stay. (We've since replaced the French Press coffee plunger which Tom accidentally broke last week).

The only drawbacks to the house were the spiral staircase and its difficult-to-use oven which prevented us from using it more often than absolutely necessary.  It's part of the complicated stove used for heating the house and water system and requires 30 minutes to preheat the oven with inconsistent temperatures.
Kylemore Abbey castle...quite stunning.
Everything else has been ideal.  There are two beds in the master bedroom which allowed me to avoid the risk of Tom bumping into my still-healing incisions.  Going forward we'll be sharing a bed once again, as we always had and ultimately prefer...in a mere six days.

The living room has been comfortable for us after we moved the furniture around to suit our needs with comfy chairs with views of the sea and other comfy chairs facing more ocean views and the flatscreen TV.  
Kylemore Abbeys Victorian Garden.
Unusual for us, we've spent a lot of time with the TV on, not necessarily watching anything during the day but enjoying our streamed shows in the evenings which we download from various sites, some free, others paid.

At 1630 hours, 4:30 pm, each evening we've settled into "happy hour" seated in the two comfy chairs looking out to the ocean from the big picture.  Tom had a cocktail while I had a glass of red wine.   
World-famous food truck, Misunderstood Heron, draws tourists from all over the country.
An hour later we'd be drinking iced tea (for Tom) and Pellegrino sparkling water (for me) as we'd get busy putting dinner together with a plan to sit down to eat by 1800 hours, 6:00 pm.

After dinner, Tom cleans the kitchen while I figured out the evening's viewing, setting up my laptop with the HDMI cord hooked to the TV.  Since it stays light so late I've stayed up later than in the past and we often "knocked off" three favorite episodes.
View of Killary Fiord from the Misunderstood Heron.
Endless chatter and laughter between us ensued during the day and well into our viewing time in the evenings.  Often, we've had to replay a portion of a show when we were talking over it.  Needless to say, it has been a favorite time of the day for both of us.

Going forward?  Everything will change.  Two days in Amsterdam and then onto the cruise won't necessarily allow time for lounging.  I'm so used to lying on the sofa when I run out of steam.  I'm going to have to push through these periods.  
Formerly an actual food truck, the Misunderstood Heron changed to a renovated shipping container which provided more space for food prep.  However, it's still referred to as a "food truck."
We've never enjoyed spending time in our cabin during the day.  Mornings will be busy with breakfast in the dining room at a shared table in order to meet new people.  No doubt, we're ready for some socialization.  

After breakfast, we'll get our laptops and head to a comfy location in order to prepare the day's post taking the better part of the day when friendly folks stop by to chat.  We never say we're too busy for socializing!
What a spectacular spot for boating!
This particular cruise only has a few sea days.  We are booked on one two-day tour in St. Petersburg but no others.  For the other ports-of-call, we'll grab a taxi at the port to give us a tour of the city for a few hours, allowing us to take photos and experience the local charm.

Evenings, we'll head to the Crown & Anchor Society complimentary happy hour(s) for priority club members such as us, usually hanging out with other passengers.  Appetizers are usually served at this time, often items I can have: raw veggies, prawns and a variety of imported cheeses.

After the happy hour, we'll head to dinner for a shared table in the main dining room.  We prefer not to have assigned seating which requires sitting with the same passengers each night.  
The Misunderstood Heron's view from their backyard.  
We've found the option to choose when we want to dine and the freedom to be seated at a shared table with new passengers each evening creates a more well-rounded experience for us.  We seldom make dinner reservations and simply show up at the dining room, usually by 1930 hours, 7:30 pm, whenever we're ready to eat.  Generally, the queue is short and the wait is insignificant.

I can only hope and pray I can do all of this.  At this point, I have no idea.  Thank goodness Tom is totally supportive of what I will and won't be able to do. This takes a lot of pressure off of me.  So, we'll see how it goes.

Have a fantastic weekend!
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Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2018:
What an animal!  We feel fortunate to have been able to get today's photos of lions.  For more lion photos, please click here.

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