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Back from Holiday

July 15th, 2018 at 06:21 pm

We had an amazing 3 week holiday, and are now back! It's nice to be back (as we were landing, my daughter said excitedly "Look at the brown grass!" - this is what happens when you grow up in New Mexico - you think grass is supposed to be brown).

Here are the highs and lows of the holiday spending:

- We bought only one souvenir (a plate to use for olives with two sections - one for olives and one for pits, from Portugal) - 12 euro. We usually buy one useful thing (in France several years ago it was salad tongs that we use all the time) that are a great reminder of our wonderful trip every time it's used. F bought some things at the Harry Potter Studios with her money.

- We did not check any bags, so no bag fees.

- We stayed in apartments, so we were able to cook a lot of our meals.

- We did eat out a fair amount, probably more than previous trips. Eating out in Portugal was not expensive. We took D's dad out to dinner in Gloucester (UK). That wasn't cheap. But we had a lot of picnics. Carrots are super inexpensive, and butter and cheese. A lot of our picnics were of the cheese/olive/bread/fruit variety. Cherries were in season in Portugal and they were huge, yummy and cheap! We were taken out to dinner by family a few times (who I think were appreciative that we spent the money to come see them rather than them having to buy plane tickets to the US).

- We used public transport exclusively. They were having a "kids ride free" promotion in Ireland, so F was free there. We bought Leap cards in Ireland; any unused amount on the Leap card is refundable later if you register the cards online (including the deposit for the card).

- Some of the experiences that were so worth the money: Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, Palacio de Pena/Quinta de Regaleira/Moorish Castle in Portugal, pedalo and stand up paddleboarding rental in Cascais Portugal, kayaking on the Liffey in Dublin, Powerscourt gardens outside of Dublin, rented bikes in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, played footgolf in Howth outside of Dublin. We used the money in our Irish account to pay for all of this; I have not been transferring any money from this account to our US account for several months.

- We had what I think was a lot of spending on experiences (which I far prefer to stuff), but had some big savings, too:
-In Cambridge, we paid only 16 pounds to punt on the River Cam because D has his alumni card and has punted before so we didn't need to do a tour (which is like 150 pounds - yikes!).
-In Dublin we got in to see the Book of Kells for free because D is an alumnus of Trinity. That would have been 28 euro.
-Visit to an English park with a little zipline that kept all three of us amused for a long time. A lot of English parks have ziplines!

- We brought home some gf food we can't get in the US or cost a lot to get online (Irish brown bread, crumpets).

- Free souvenir from Ireland - a rock from Killiney beach and lots and lots of photos.

I hope your summer travels are also amazing! Have you been to Lisbon/Cascais/Sintra? Incredible, right?

9 Responses to “Back from Holiday”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Glad you had a wonderful time. Good idea on buying a useful thing as a remembrance instead of something to sit around and then years later wish you hadn't purchased.

    I chuckled over the brown grass comment. Here in Central Illinois is is "Look at the corn and soybeans." Smile

  2. Buendia Says:

    I love that! To us, corn and soybeans are super exotic! I remember being in Illinois (near Galesburg) - we stayed with my friend's parents who lived in a lake in Dahinda. It was so beautiful! We drove by so many fields, and everything was so green! I saw my first ride-on mower. I couldn't believe people had lawns that were big enough to warrant a ride-on mower!

  3. Wink Says:

    Sounds like you all had a wonderful time! Ziplines always look like so much fun!

  4. shiela Says:

    Sounds like a great holiday.

  5. Dido Says:

    Sounds wonderful, and glad you were able to economize so well.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Sounds so lovely.

    I used to ride on the train with a man who was an alumnus of Trinity. I loved to listen to him talk, no matter what he said! That Irish lilt was captivating.

    Re: the corn and soybeans. When a young California cousin visited us in Indiana, he remarked in wonder to his dad, "The corn is growing right up from the ground! And there's dirt on it!"

  7. My English Castle Says:

    How fun for you all, Buenida! And in the middle of WC Fever!. My husband laughs at my swooning over green grass in the English winter.

  8. Buendia Says:

    English Castle - it was so fun being there during the World Cup - there was honking and yelling all over town - in Ireland we watched in our Airbnb because the games were at 7, but we could hear the celebrating from the pubs downstairs!

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    Sounds like a marvelous vacation. When we come back from somewhere its a toss up between look at all the green and look at all the snow on the mountains. Unless it is early spring and then it is look at all the plowed fields.

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