After a long, long drive through the rainy night on the wrong side of the road we´re finally there: Galway. One thing worth pointing out is this: Unless you have a death wish take the motorway and avoid country roads. The cobblestone walls basically end ON the street and blocks roll off the walls every now and then. Also, nobody slows down so cars pass each other with only an inch in between going 80 Km/h or faster. All that while driving in a car that is hopelessly overloaded. The darkness in Ireland is a different one than you may have seen where you come from. It is a complete darkness that absorbs everything, unlike anything I´ve ever seen before. I didn´t know it could get this dark anywhere. So pay attention where you´re driving.
Anyways, where was I? Ah right, good ol´ Galway. So we´re coming up the M6 which we took from Tullamore on. Before that it was country roads all the way from Rosslare. Seeing the Clayton Hotel a few minutes later must have been one of the most beautiful sights in my life. Finally a hot shower and a bed that doesn´t move! It is Friday night now which means we´ll have weekend to get adjusted to the new environment.
We enter the hotel, check into the room and then head down to the restaurant to eat late dinner. The very first thing I noticed: Is everyone here so friendly or is it only because we´re in a Hotel? Coming from Germany where people are very distanced and overly reserved it´s a weird thing. But hey, I like it! Speaking English to an Irish person for the first time is kind of weird – The accent is very different from the English or American one. It sounds like they´re singing the words more than talking, very pleasant. After a while fiddle music starts playing and a leprechaun runs past me with a pot of gold – Well, that actually didn´t happen, but it could´ve! I have my first Guinness down in the hotel bar and it tastes… different. Very good to be fair but way different from Germany or France where I did not like it in the slightest.
A few days later I ask a barkeeper in the Kings Head pub why that is. He explains: “The lads on the continent don´t know how to pull a proper pint. You have to let it settle about half way through and then pull the rest of it. Then you let it settle again until it turns from brown to black. Only then do you drink it.” He also says that Guinness does not like to travel and that they ship the worst of it to England. This makes sense to me and really the Guinness gets better with every pint I drink.
I sleep like a rock that night and the next day we travel into town and check city center out. Shop Street is great, loads of stores and restaurants. Galway is way bigger than I expected, the actual area that is. The pubs are insane. I´ve never seen a bar or restaurant of that size. Some are so big they take in half a block. The Skeffs, Kings Head, Front Door and Quays are possibly the first address to go to since they are the biggest. Here is a tip: for the full Irish experience go to the Tig Cóilí in town or the O´Connels in Salthill. Both are proper Irish pubs where mostly locals will go. The other pubs are often overcrowded with Students and Tourists. Also, both pubs have nearly always live music and an amazing atmosphere. Of course it´s raining 😛
In the next part I´ll talk about house hunting and the first day at work.
Catch ya later,