Happy New Year!
We just got back to Lagos after a couple weeks visiting relatives in Southern California. We booked our travel on Aer Lingus. They offer good rates, especially if you book early. We can make the trip with one connection, Faro to Dublin and Dublin to LAX. They fly A-330s on their long hauls, and that lets us sit without a third person in their 2-4-2 seating configuration. Plus, we can clear US Customs in Dublin and avoid the nightmare of LAX Customs. On the downside, the flights didn’t line up for a convenient connection and we needed to spend the night at a Travelodge near the airport to catch the LAX flight in the morning.
As we exited the Arrivals area in Dublin, we were surprised and pleased to be greeted by a choir singing Christmas Carols for the travelers. Here we were, a couple days before Christmas, and surely these people had better things to do. Yet, they gave up their evening to sing for travelers.
After baggage check, Irish security, and US Customs, we arrived at the gate to find that the flight would be delayed due to a mechanical problem. After a one-hour delay, we finally got on our way. Delay notwithstanding, it was sweet to arrive in LAX at a domestic gate.
As always, it was great to reconnect with family. We had a few meals in really nice restaurants. Soo had a fairly lengthy shopping list and accomplished most of it, though shocked at prices relative to Portugal.
While staying for a few days in Buellton, we took a drive up to Morro Bay where we had a great lunch on the pier overlooking Morro Rock, then took a hike out to the rock to see the sea otters.
Finally, it was time to return home to Lagos. After an overnight flight to Dublin, we stayed two night in Swords, a charming market village about ten minutes from the airport. We stayed at the Carnegie Court, a small hotel/pub/restaurant complex. We had a super meal in the restaurant, rib-eye for me and baked cod for Soo. The next morning, we walked through the main street to explore shopping options. Right by the town center, we found the entry to the Swords Pavilion, a medium-sized shopping center. Though a modern shopping center, they managed to make the outside blend in with the older town center buildings. After a breakfast of Americano and pastries, we checked out the shops and lingered in Dunne’s. We were impressed by Dunne’s the last time we were in Dublin and were once again in the Swords store. This department store manages to combine great prices with really appealing merchandise. In fact, we are kicking around the idea of looking for a cheap fare and returning to Dublin with an empty suitcase when the weather warms up.
Back out in the town proper, we found a good Asian market. In their fresh produce section we were shocked to find a stock of perfectly fresh drumsticks, an Indian long bean that is great in sambar. After a wonderful Indian lunch, we headed back to the room for the night.
The next morning, we took a short cab ride to the airport for the three-hour flight back to Faro. An hour after landing, we pulled up in front of our villa, to be greeted excitedly by the two cute little dogs next door.
Bob and Soo