Around the year 2002, I began traveling with lots of anxiety, lots of inexperience and a big suitcase. I took off into the friendly skies and headed for Ireland. I decided to go there for the simple reason that I had to make a decision, and, at that time in my traveling life, it seemed one place was as good as another. It’s a weak reason, but as it turned out, it was a good choice. I liked Ireland; the public transportation is efficient and convenient, English is spoken, Irish people are friendly and they are great storytellers, and there are stunning sites in Ireland. How can one go wrong? I’ll tell you how: not paying attention to the weather.
People would say, ‘Why didn’t you come last month? -That’s the best time.” Luckily, my hooded, long raincoat and a pair of shoes that could stand up to any downpour were perfect – most of the time. I will always remember Galway and Connemara for the times I was caught in heavy winds and buckets of rain. I was whipped into traveling shape with those experiences. And I remember exactly where I was when Venice popped into my mind. I was facing Galway Bay, walking from town to a B&B when the rains came. There was no place to go, and it felt like a beating. I was soaking wet, and when the worst was over I continued walking to the B&B. Along the way, I remembered reading about Venice in a thin book I’d bought at a shop in Galway, and I grabbed onto that thought. Venice? Why not?
I came through that traveling experience in Ireland intact, mostly due to the kindness of people I met along the way. Not that I made any effort to meet people. No. I was too busy keeping myself together dragging a big suitcase from one B&B place to another. The B&B package I’d bought Stateside made the trip a bit difficult because tourists from other countries had a similar package, and the owners of the B&Bs wanted money in hand, not a voucher. I don’t blame them. But because of this, I had to spent a lot of time on the phone inquiring about availability.
Maybe someday I’ll return to Ireland; it will be when the sun is shining, the days are warm, and people say, “You’re lucky. This is the best time to be here.”