Monday, August 6, 2007
Today was a bank holiday in Ireland, and we went crazy trying to figure out what for. Turns out it was just because they thought it would be a good idea to have a three day weekend at the beginning of August. Anyhow, because it was a bank holiday a lot of things were closed and the area around our hotel was very quiet. We had our nice breakfast and then walked to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. It was looking like it was going to be a nice day, with sunshine and few clouds. We stood in line while the kids stared at the grass and wished they could play on it. At least now that Genevieve can read she could see for herself the “keep off the grass” sign and so did not think we were making it up to torment her. The line moved quickly although we were treated to listening to the American East Coast woman behind us deal with her obviously overprotective mother on the phone. For 20 minutes we got to hear how she didn’t need her mom to change her reservations, where they were staying was just fine. I was about ready to grab the phone out of her hands and yell at the mom myself “Leave her alone, can’t you see she’s an adult!”. Anyhow, we got into the museum and I got to use my Heritage Island guide again for the discount. The exhibit was interesting but very crowded and hard to see anything. Then we got routed to the library which is really cool, and into the gift shop where I got the girls and myself each a celtic art bookmark of our initial and the girls got feather pens, which were a big hit. While I was in the gift shop the clerk looks out the window and swears–rain! Oh well. The girls were pretty upset because they knew we could only go to the zoo if the weather was good, but Mark and I figured it wasn’t raining that hard so we would just go for it. We purchased a picnic lunch and then got on the public bus to the zoo. By the time we got to Phoenix park the weather had gotten better and it was actually sunny, so we stopped so the kids could play in the playground. The line for the zoo was super long, obviously we weren’t the only people who thought to go there. This was the first place I realized that the default number for children in Ireland seems to be four, rather than two. We got in and started to see the exhibits. They had a lot of baby animals–baby chimp, gorilla, orangutan, etc. The zoo was set up a bit different than the ones I’m used to. At the front of most of the cages there was a big wooden enclosure with windows cut out where you could see the animals if they were inside. To see them outside, you had to go around and look from the side. Just an example of their poor weather, I suppose. Half way around the zoo we could hear thunder and it was obvious the weather was about to change. Sure enough, huge downpour that sent everyone running for cover. We ate our lunch huddled under an awning with about 100 other people. Eventually we got sick of waiting for the rain to stop and just zipped up the raincoats and went for it. The best thing we saw was a baby elephant, very small, that was covered with reddish hairy fur. I didn’t know they looked like that as babies! It stopped raining as we were ready to go so we were able to make it back to the bus stop and onto the bus. We went up to the second level, and as we approached O’Connell street we headed down to get off. But silly us didn’t realize 1) how steep those stairs are, and 2) how unstable it can be, and 3) the fact that 4-year olds don’t have great balance. Charlotte flew off of the top step and out of sight. I just had time to yell “Mark!” but he was watching the stairs from below and he saw her and caught her before she hit the ground. She was very shaken and upset but pretty much unhurt. We went to find a restaurant for dinner, opted for the Thunder Road cafe for dinner. I know, I know, who goes to an American diner in Ireland? Us apparently. It started to pour just as we were getting to the restaurant, and we all got a bit wet. After dinner we were set to walk back to the hotel but all of us were tired from so much walking that we took a cab instead. That night we were awakened at midnight by crying–Charlotte was having nightmares brought on by her fall. I stayed in their room that night and cuddled her through two more. Poor baby.