A holiday well spent traveling
Well I can hand on heart say that this was definitely a well traveled holiday season. From a work trip to Vegas, followed by 11 days in Ireland then a last minute trip to Bozeman Montana, I’m pretty confident that the PDX airport staff think that I work there!
Vegas round 2
Vegas was great but strictly work. This was my second time there and again, I didn’t leave the hotel for the 3 days. Well unless you count my quick walk up the strip at 7:30 am the day that I left! But hey, I’m not complaining. I was put up in The Palazzo and I’ve never felt so fancy in my life! My bedroom suite was absolutely fab and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen the absolute spam of images I was blasting out. Sorry – I couldn’t resist! 😉 Having set up a yoga section (in my sitting room no less), while ordering some swanky room service, my standards of accommodation have hit a new high. I’m truly just setting myself up for disaster though at this point going forward for travel lol! Anyhow, Vegas was fun, I gambled $3, went up to $8 and then lost the lot on a slot machine so I may not have had the ‘true Vegas experience’ but I got some sort of a rub for it. Next time, I will get my s*it together and book Britney Spears and Cirque du Soleil!
Galway, here I come
A few days later, off I took for my surprise trip home to Galway. Only my lovely sister knew and I commend her on not letting out a peep. The flight over was just lovely. I couldn’t help myself and upgraded to business a few months prior to departure. With Aer Lingus, you can put in a bid for an upgrade, which I did back in September. They let you know around 3 days beforehand if they’ve accepted it or not, and I was delighted to get the notification while in Vegas! So from Washington D.C (where my layover was) to Dublin, I was back to being classy. Before my flight, I hung out in the British Airways Lounge (so relaxing!) and managed to shoot off some emails for work. From here, the next 7 hours were luxury. I’m never going to be the same after being able to lie down for an entire flight, binging on Harry Potter and episodes of New Girl. Something that I noticed though, is that closer to the departure day, the minimum for a bid does decrease. So if you’re willing to take the gamble, maybe wait it out and see what best price you can get!
Holding in the secret of heading home was worth seeing the expressions on my families faces! Pat’s was the best though – but I think this was partially because he thought Brenda was bringing him down a broken laptop to fix haha! We dropped in to him on our way to Yoga Yoga and his reaction was priceless!
While home, I did spend a night out in the city. There are a bunch of new bars and restaurants that have popped up in the last year, which is always great to see! One that I loved was Caribou though (thanks Rachel for the recommendation!). It’s a busy little spot but not manic like some of the other places can be. They’re meant to do really good food as well which could lead to a few hours playing Jenga, chowing down and drinking away the sins.
One of my favorites from the holiday though is the day Brenda and I took off for Westport, an area I always highly recommend visiting. It’s such a beautiful town, with cute stores and cafes dotted around. It also helps that it has Crough Patrick as it’s backyard! Our goal was to get up and down the mountain in 2 hours, which we successfully did – just by the skin of our teeth! I guess it helped that we basically flew down the mountain running and a nerd joke may have been cracked that we were like The Flash. 😀 The mountain is a little over 2,500 ft high with the incline broken up by switch backs. There was literally only a hand-full of people on the Reek that day – probably because it’s winter and it was sort of raining – making it way easier to summit. Since it’s considered a Holy mountain, it can be quite busy with pilgrimages over the summer, especially on the last Sunday of July each year.
Close to this was taking off back the fields to the Turlough with dad, my aunt and uncle one morning. I hadn’t been back that way for a good 15 years I’d say and was reminded how untouched, green and natural the countryside can look. You couldn’t see a telephone pole or hear any cars. It was perfect!
The music scene is something that I do miss from home though. You can’t beat a paddy and a guitar. Thus leading me to the incredible Mick Flannery. I’ve seen this guy play a number of times and he did a topper that Saturday night in the Roisin Dubh. He was absolutely insane! If you ever find yourself in Ireland, look up this beautiful soul and see if you can catch him. If not, check out any of his albums, you can’t go wrong! Another highlight on the music side was going to ‘the Deans‘ before I left. These guys just get better and better every time and I’m sickened I’ll miss them next Christmas. The night they played was a Christmas highlight for me and they always do an awesome job. Campbells tavern (where they played and is the local) is flying it as well and has now introduced a pizza kitchen. Willie sure knows the way to a persons heart!
All in all, Ireland was exactly as I had left it. Wild, mysterious and wet. I was so fortunate to have grown up here and am lucky to have family on the ground I can always go back to visit. It’s not the place for me to live permanently anymore but I love it all the same.
Oh Montana. You are just awesome. From walking out to an airport lounge focused around fireplaces to mountain ranges exploding in every direction. I was hooked. Although I’d spent time in Glacier National Park over the summer, Bozeman quickly showed Montana in a whole different light.
After getting in late to Portland on the 31st, I scrambled together a carry on bag full of snow gear. First thing the next morning, I made my way back to PDX for the first leg of my journey to Montana, (my layover was in Seattle). So I may have gate crashed the end of a family holiday but they were amazing! Not only did they take the time to teach me how to snowboard – and not get concussed but brought me snow shoeing for the first time and introduced me to this hugely addicting game, Five Crowns. A certain someones head is going to be plagued every time there are more than just the two of us in it haha!
We stayed near Bridger Bowl and arrived at the slopes at 8:30am on the 2nd of Jan. This was a great idea as the parking lot quickly filled up shortly after we landed. Lift tickets are also only $60 (which is a steal) and to rent snowboarding boots, it was $40. The resort has all of the rentals you could need and the staff were really helpful in making sure you were taken care of.
I’ve been up Mt Hood a few times and it’s been nice (well last year anyways, this year there wasn’t great snow conditions) but Bozeman was a game changer. As well as it being a blue-bird day, the snow was so deep that the few times I did fall, there were no bruises, bangs or tears. My limit originally for mountain action had been 3 hours but I honestly could have spent all day up there this time around. An appetite was worked up though and a delicious minestrone soup back at the cabin was beckoning. 🙂
We drove back from Bozeman to Portland and made it in 12 hours on the 3rd. It was bittersweet. I love Portland so much and it’s home for me, but I could have done with a few extra days in Montana. Between great company, beautiful winter conditions and a spectacular setting, I’ll always look back on this trip as a memorable one.
So the holidays this year were adventurous. Pretty much how I plan 2018 to be. So kicking it off the way I plan to continue, isn’t a bad start.