Before Auto Transport There Was Ireland
New life, international travel and adventure
The day came when we loaded the car, left behind the new auto transport business and drove the two and a half hours to the airport. Living in California our attire does not vary much. Jeans and tee shirts are the norm and even during winter months, we just add a thermal long-sleeved shirt and call it good. Our daughter told us to bring our warmest coats. However, we would soon find California jackets are no protection against the biting winds of Ireland.
Boarding the plane in Sacramento, California, we settled in for the short flight to our connection in San Francisco. This was our first lengthy international flight. As it turned out it was a good thing we had all taken our supplement caplet to keep our bodies strong and resistant to the germs circulating in the cabin.
Navigating the Charles De Gaulle Airport
The second leg of our flight started in San Francisco, California and eventually ended in Paris, France. Charles De Gaulle Airport was very interesting. Since we had never been to France before we had no idea of how to navigate the airport to make our connecting flight. All of the signage was of course in French and we could not interpret them. We tried to get directions and instructions from the airport staff without much success.
Exhausted from the thirteen-hour flight, all we wanted to do was find the gate to our connecting flight to Cork, Ireland. Eventually we found the right gate. However, it was time for the staff to leave for lunch. Escorted to an exterior waiting area, they told us to return to the boarding area fifteen minutes before the flight left.
These procedures were quite different than we used to back home. The excitement of our trip, the length of the flight and the time difference caught up with all three of us. Our son pulled his hood over his head and caught a few winks.
Finally, it was time to board our next connection and be one-step closer to our new little granddaughter, Maebh. Air France-KLM would fly us to Amsterdam, Holland where we would board our final connection. Aer Lingus was our chauffeur to the Emerald Island, Ireland.
This is where I wish I had known my friend, Claudia Looi, a travel expert. She could have helped us to learn about traveling to all international locations with ease.
Back to my husband's family roots in Ireland
As we stepped off the plane in Cork, Ireland, we felt the first bite of the bitter winds of the island. Wrapping our coats around us, we hurried off the tarmac and into the terminal. Working our way through customs, we presented our passports and received the necessary stamp of entry. Finally, we followed directions to baggage claim and gathered our suitcases.
When we turned around with our luggage in hand, we caught first sight of our family. Joy filled our hearts and I could not wait to get my hands on that baby, and hug my daughter. To this day, I am not sure who was gladder to see whom.
After a few minutes of hugging and kissing and admiring our little baby, we headed off to the rental car. Our daughter had a car, but it was a small four door. Since there were five adults and the baby, we needed a larger car. We decided to rent a minivan so we all could ride together. The one small detail we did not know was that Irish minivans are not the same size, as American minivans. Trust me they are smaller.
We all packed our luggage and bodies into the small minivan. We were just glad to be on the ground, in Ireland with our family. Flying in was such a gorgeous site, the fields are the greenest green, almost like a postcard picture. That first look at the island from the sky made the long flight worth every minute.
The short thirty-minute drive back to our daughter’s home was an adventure. In Ireland, the right side of the road is actually the left side of the road. This was our first time experiencing riding in a car on the other side of the road. A few times I gasped as the small cars whizzed by, or what seemed to me to be whizzing by…we were only driving 45 MPH. The roads were winding through the countryside and very narrow. The fields were green as ever full of white and black sheep. What an experience for this country family.
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Carla J Gardiner