For a very long time I have had a crush on Ireland! It all started back in 1996 with a two-week trip together with my friends from the hotel business. One morning we had breakfast after our nightshift, and during our chat we decided to go on vacation together. One of the guys in our group, Ken, is Irish, so it was obvious to go and see his home country. Within a short period of time the entire trip was completely organized and all six of us embarked for Dublin. Sailing on the Shannon River. Galway. Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher. I was sold! My interest increased further when Ken showed me the university where he studied tourism. At that time I was also studying tourism in Munich. After the trip I decided that I wanted to take one semester (Erasmus) in Ireland. In addition to that I stayed for one internship semester in a hotel. Already on the first day at the university in Waterford I met a another girl from Munich. We started to study together in a small tourism class and we became good friends. Together with her I traveled through the entire island and we enjoyed our relaxed life together with many other foreign exchange students. I was fortunate to meet such a good friend, who had the same attitude towards studying, traveling and enjoying time. 

Apart from the great student life I also got a glimpse of the Irish working life. The Irish have a more relaxed approach to work than I am used to from Germany. They are simply more “laid back” people. This means that if they are not feeling well (maybe because of a hangover) they will stay at home. This was the first time I really became aware of my German roots. That I am German all the way through! With the pros and cons that come with that!

I was always thrilled about the green landscape, the mountains and the hills. So hilly! The grass! The special green colour had (and still has) a special, calming effect on me. And all the sheep! White sheep with black legs. Almost as if they were wearing socks. Apart from the fascinating nature there are also many historic buildings. Monasteries and castles. Some of the are just ruins, towering above the surrounding area. Others are maintained and well kept. Grey on a grey background. Everything enhanced when the sun is shining or “mysterious” in rain.

And then I fell for the Irish and their charming accent. Mostly though, for their relaxed approach to life!

Apparently I have contaminated Anders with my enthusiasm and he also got an appetite for the country. So we went here twice and now we are back!

Ireland simply seemed like a good way to end our round-the-world trip. The first stop back in Europe. But apart from its position on the globe, we do have great memories about the green island. We like to re-visit old favourite places. Not that we are afraid of going to new places. Quite the contrary! But it has been a while since our last visit. This time everything is different... We are traveling as a family. A large one at that, due to our reunion here. At one point we were 5 adults and 3 children. Automatically the pace and means of travel changes. We have all learned a lot about the dynamics of such a travel group. We are really all still parents in training. Lots of lessons learned!

Although we did not have much luck with the weather - rain every day with occasional snow showers and fury storms - I must say that I am still a great fan of Ireland and I am certain that we will be back again. I am not sure that my sister and mother share my enthusiasm though!

Click here to read Anders’ blog about Ireland.

/Alexandra

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