Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Word on Rental Cars

Rental CarsAs an avid traveler I enjoy traveling both home and abroad.  My first trip outside the US was at age six months to Africa. Recently, I totally enjoyed a two week adventure in North and South Dakota.  I have a list of places I want to go and one personal goal has been to see all fifty states.   I only have ten left to complete that goal.

On this particular trip I had planned to fly into South Dakota and out of North Dakota.  I planned to rent a car at the South Dakota Airport and return it to the North Dakota  Airport.  I was easily able to purchase airline tickets in this manner.  What was impossible for a reasonable fee was the rental car.  Neither of the airports in question would allow rental at one airport and return to the other one.  I thought it might be because I was crossing state lines. So, I tried one rental car on one side of the state and another on the other side of the state.  I tried rental car companies both in and out of  several airports.  I called numerous rental car companies in each combination I chose.  I finally found someone that would do it or an additional $1,000.  Needless to say I flew in and out of the same airport.

I did rent a car from and returned it to the Rapid City Airport.  Unfortunately, this changed my route and travel plans based on the inability to be accommodated by the rental car industry.  So word to the wise call all modes of transportation and be sure you can book what you want to do before you start paying for reservations as there are fees to change reservations.  I did have to change airlines, and pay a fee, as I had booked one airline into Rapid City and another out of Bismarck before I discovered the Rental Car issue.

Remember, if there are to be multiple drivers get them all listed with the rental car company so they will be covered.  You will want to be sure your personal automobile insurance covers the rental car before you decide to decline the insurance coverage from the rental car company.  I have rented cars from various rental car companies in many states within the United States with ease.  I have been pleased with the cars and the customer service by the companies I have used.  In this experience I describe it was a lack of knowledge on my part as it never occurred to me that it would not be possible to rent in one airport and return at another airport as I have done it in the past in more metropolitan area of the country.

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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Dingle Peninsula

The drive around the Dingle Peninsula has magnificent views of steep sea cliffs, rolling mountains and sandy beaches. The Slieve Mish Mountain Range runs down the neck of the peninsula and then rolls down to the sea creating lovely vistas.

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The Beach from Ryan’s Daughter

The 1970’s film Ryan’s Daughter was filmed on the Dingle Peninsula and the beach in a scene from Ryan’s Daughter is still wonderful view. The 1992 film Far and Away was partially filmed on the peninsula as well.
Brian de Staic Ogham Jewelry
There is wonderful shopping on the Dingle Peninsula as well. One of my favorites is Brian de Staic and his Ogham jewelry. Ogham is an Early Medieval Alphabet used to write the old Irish Language. Brian de Staic makes lovely pieces with your name on them while you enjoy your drive down the Dingle Peninsula.

DSCN3393The Beauty of the Cliffs
There are over 2,000 monuments preserved on the Dingle Peninsula. There are over 6,000 years representing eight time periods; Mesolithic Period, The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, The Early Christian Period, The Viking Period, The Medieval Period and the 1600’s through modern Times are all archaeologically represented on the peninsula. See a fort from the Iron Age; standing stones from the Bronze Age; monastic sites form the Early Christian Period; or circle rock art from the Stone Age.
The Dingle Peninsula truly has something for everyone. Photographers and nature lovers will especially enjoy the ocean bluffs and vistas on the drive out Slea Head. There are sheer drops where the rocks meet the Atlantic Ocean. There are sights not to be missed. I enjoyed this drive every bit as much as the drive around The Ring of Kerry.

 

 

 

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Ring of Kerry

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Above: That’s me with a view of some of The Ring of Kerry scenery

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Above: Me in my new hand knitted Irish sweater at Torc Waterfall

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Above: The Muckross house

The Ring of Kerry holds breath taking vistas of mountains fields of green, and views of the beach and ocean. You will see stunning fields of lush green grass that give Ireland the nickname Emerald Isle. There is also a good bit of history to see in the old famine houses, forts and old monasteries. I recommend getting a guide book if you are planning to drive the Ring of Kerry so you will not miss any of the points of interest. There are several churches with interesting cemeteries and statues along the way you might miss without a guide book.

Ring of Kerry is a place to truly cherish the solitude and the grader of nature. There are lots of opportunities for scenic photography. The Torc Waterfall is a short walk through the forest up a slight incline to a beautiful waterfall. The Muckross house completed in 1843 is a wonderful house to take a tour of. It was the home of Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, Mary, a watercolorist. The rooms are furnished with period décor from the 19th century.

There are some quaint small towns along the way that offer a pub for lunch. All the pubs I visited had soup and wonderful Irish meals. One of my favorites is a toastie. A toastie is made like a grilled cheese sandwich but includes ham, onion, tomato and cheese.

It is recommended due to the narrow roads to drive around the Ring of Kerry clockwise, buses go counterclockwise. That way you do not get stuck behind a tour bus. It takes about four hours to drive the 109 mile Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is a relaxing drive around the Iveragh Peninsula and is not to be missed. It is Ireland’s most popular drive in the country. We had a debate on the tour I was on as to which was best Ring of Kerry versus Dingle Peninsula. The results were split almost evenly with a third choice of loved them both. It truly is a personal preference. I voted that I loved them both.

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Bathrooms of Ireland

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To left – is the double button.
Everyone has to use the bathroom at some point in their travels. It is always a bit of an adventure in foreign countries. Every time I leave the US I find something to marvel about in the bathroom. Ireland did not let me down!
I have found that when I enter a bathroom in a foreign country there are two things I have to take note of. First where is the necessary paper – sometimes it is behind you, under the sink, hidden in a cubby, or just hanging on the wall.

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Second is to figure out where the flushing mechanism is. This means you have to look high and low.  (To left – note the paper behind you and the high tank flush.) Sometimes, it is a pedal on the floor, or a button on top of the tank, levers on the front or sides of the tank, pull chains from the ceiling if the tank is high or any manner of other hidden combinations. I have been in some countries that do not flush as continuous flow of water over a trough type contraption. The Irish do provide the necessary paper in the bathroom. I have been in places in Europe where you had to pay for the paper or carry your own. The Irish have two buttons on top of many of their toilets. One button gives you a small flush and the other delivers a full flush to meet your individual needs and conserve water.

In Ireland you do need to carry your own facecloth, washcloth, as very few hotels provided them. During my stay in four hotels, all of which were four and five star hotels, only one had facecloths. I usually buy some cheap white facecloths that I can leave behind when traveling.
As a nurse I am always concerned about hand washing, it is scientifically proven to be the best method to prevention of infection. In Ireland I was impressed with the cleanliness of the bathrooms, availability of soap and individual paper towels to perform proper hand washing. Occasionally, there would be one of those electric hand dryers similar to what we have here, but
the majority of places had individual paper towels. I did see one or two of those old rolls of real towels where you pull out some fresh towel and then it retracts back into the machine. I have not seen them in use in the US for years.
All in all, Ireland gets an A for adventure in the uniqueness of some of their bathroom. To get an A one must be clean first and have something I have not seen before, the double button was the new thing for me!
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