Have you ever set your expectations too high? Maybe you expected something from someone and they had a different idea. Or, maybe you thought an experience would end up being the most amazing memory of your life and it was just OK. You know, those expectations that had no chance of being met and you were destined to be let down? It is hard to go into a situation without expectations but I think traveling has helped me to learn to appreciate things even if I imagined them ending up different than they actually turn out to be. I was still nervous about this phenomenon before I arrived to Ireland. I have always dreamed of visiting and I had a detailed image trapped in my head. I imagined a fun mix of artsy/gritty cities/small traditional villages, beautiful mossy green countryside, live music twenty-four hours a day, perfect Guinness, guys immediately offering me dances with their girlfriends, etc. Luckily, it was all true…
I met up with the Legends again! We danced and sang along to all of the traditional Irish tunes! Yes, we went to the crazy Temple Bar area and loved it. We also ventured to some more authentic pubs to watch the locals gather around with their banjos, fiddles and other traditional Irish instruments. At first it looked liked we were going to witness a very unorganized jam session. Then, one person would start playing and others would join in with perfectly synchronized parts. This eventually built to a mesmerizing Irish folk orchestra. Dublin was a blast but I don’t think my lifestyle there was particularly sustainable. They said all of the beer was actually healthy but the loud music and singing might eventually be bad for your health. Wink, wink. Next time I am going to take my guitar and join in!
The first day we got to Galway the weather was perfectly sunny and everyone was outside laying in the main park listening to street musicians. What a treat! Galway is where I learned the art of random Irish pub banter. Here is how a typical night went: We would walk into a pub, some girl would grab my arm and say, “Hello Love, where are you from?!” Me: “Texas!” and then she would say something inappropriate about guns and horses in a somehow flirtatious way and the conversation would continue for a couple of hours and end with something about Donald Trump and/or sheep. Weird. So, I fit right in. I didn’t have to worry because Galway also had an endless amount of live music – the ultimate excuse to escape from an awkward Irish conversation. “I’m going to go have a closer listen to the band, BYE!” I also had a blast with my new German friends, laughing so hard for so long that the few nights turned out to be a big ab workout!
Small Towns and Cliffs of Moher
I took a couple of day trips from Galway to the west coast of Ireland to visit the small towns, cows, sheep and cliffs. One day I fueled up on some Irish beef stew and a fresh Guinness before I went to explore the Cliffs of Moher. I lucked out with the weather and hiked around the cliffs for hours. They were more spectacular than I had imagined. Expectations exceeded, again.
If you like music, sing-a-longs, witty people, smiling, rain, green, beer, laughing and pub food you HAVE to go to Ireland. I’m moving to Ireland. Well, let me reset my expectations… I will go back a few more times in my life for extended periods of time. Don’t say no, nay, never. Sell your TV and go sing some Irish tunes! Sláinte!