Our thinking changed quickly once we reached Dublin and found out about the cost and aggravation of the M50 Ring-Road Toll Highway. It was not so much the price of the toll, which was 3.1 Euros each time you used the highway, but rather the onerous administrative process of trying to pay the toll on time (sometimes you have less than 24 hours) and the 30 Euro fee that is charged if you are late. Who needs such pressure while on vacation? So when we realized that Newgrange was right on our path as we returned home from our Northern Ireland road trip, we decided to tack on an extra day to that trip and stop at Newgrange before heading home. Although it meant staying another night away in a B&B, the cost was minimal at 50 Euros and it avoided the hassle of paying for two more trips on the M50.
There is a lottery each year, entered by over 35,000 people, that allows 50 lucky winners to actually stand in this chamber during the real winter solstice. That would be some experience but I would imagine it would be quite cold. I was quite happy with our amazing simulation held during the pleasant warmth of early summer.
first entry in May 2015. I have some closing thoughts to summarize the trip.
Amsterdam and Ireland were both wonderful but totally different experiences, which made for an eclectic, varied and entertaining trip. In Amsterdam, we enjoyed the canals and extensive culture, while Ireland captivated us with its gorgeous landscapes and its extremely volatile history. This was our first time flying between to European Union countries on the same trip to Europe. We decided to buy a return flight from Toronto to/from our original destination (in this case Amsterdam), and then purchase a second internal return flight between the first and second destinations (Amsterdam to Dublin). Although this took a bit more travel time, it was significantly cheaper than trying to arrange an international flight from Toronto to Amsterdam to Dublin to Toronto.
This was the second year in a row that we took advantage of our retirement freedom and traveled for 6-7 weeks consecutively (in 2014 we went to the South of France). I've come to the conclusion that this might be a bit too long a time to be away from Toronto, as I have missed the entire spring for two years in a row. As much as I enjoy vacationing abroad, I also really enjoy spending time in our own city and all it has to offer. Perhaps 3-4 weeks per trip would be more appropriate? We will consider that for future years.
It is probably apparent that when we visit a new location within the world, we like to explore it really thoroughly as it is likely we will not return soon if ever. There are so many different places on our bucket list to get through that we most likely would pick a new destination over repeating one we had already done. The exceptions of course are New York, London and Paris, which we could go to again and again and still have more to see.
We do so much on a single vacation that it takes me a long time to write about it all. Not having the greatest memory, I've come to understand that if I don't take a photo of it, then it didn't happen because I will have forgotten about it by the time I get around to writing about it. This is my main purpose for this travel blog, so that I can look back in years to come and relive our wonderful times. Although it took over eight months to record all of our adventures, I was determined to finish before the start of our next exciting vacation, planned for 2016... Mission accomplished.