Day 35 & 36 - Coming Home

This morning after a pretty restless night sleep, I got up, showered and then went downstairs with Gran and Gramps to get some breakfast. We then went back up to the room to gather all our gear and get ready to leave.

We went back down to the lobby, checked out and then made our way by foot to the bus stop on the other side of the river. Just as we were getting there, the coach arrived so we were able to load our suitcases straight on board, and then find some seats. 

This coach was to take us all the way from Cork to Dublin, about a three and a half hour drive. Once we arrived at Dublin airport, we made it through security and then got some lunch. I then did some last minute shopping, after which we made our way to the gate. 

We thought we were right on time, and that we wouldn’t have long to wait at all. When the time came to board though, there was no plane, and none of the staff were at the gate either. Our flight was getting more and more delayed, and the time was getting closer and closer to the time that we needed to be in London to catch our connecting flight. 

Finally, about an hour later we were able to board the plane. After more ‘technical’ troubles with takeoff, we got into the air and had a rather smooth and short flight to Heathrow. 

Unfortunately, we were still in the air when we had 20 minutes until our next flight left. There was no way we were going to make it. 

We arrived from Dublin at Heathrow Terminal 1, and had to catch a bus, with a lot of other transiting passengers, to Terminal 5. By the time we had made it there though, our plane had left and we were now stranded in London. 

We made our way to the ladies at the British Airways desk who helped us sort out what to do next. The plane we were supposed to catch would’ve gotten us home at about twenty past eleven, saturday night, in time to have a good sleep before Milly’s engagement party the next day. 

To our dismay, there were no other flights to Singapore leaving that night, and even if there was any others, they were completely booked out as it was the start to the school holidays. Our chances of getting home in time for the party were looking very slim, until we thought of the option to allow only one of us on the flight, instead of three. The lady helping us then found one spare seat on a flight from London to Hong Kong, leaving later that night. 

It was decided that I was to take the seat, and make my way home alone in time for the party. Gran and Gramps were able to get a flight out in the morning, but unfortunately it meant they wouldn’t be home in time for the engagement. 

The airport was able to look after G and G by putting them up in a hotel for the night, whilst I made my way through security to departures. After having a bite to eat, I found the gate and waited until it was time to board. 

The flight from London to Hong Kong was long, about 11.5 hours. Thankfully, I was able to doze for a lot of that time, only putting one movie on with about 2 hours to go. It was actually an ok movie too, a new Tina Fey and Paul Rudd movie called Admission

Once I arrived at Hong Kong airport, I spent some time figuring out where I was and then made it my priority to contact home to let them know what was happening. 

I found myself a seat with a nice view out at the mountains and taking off planes, and was able to connect to the wifi and chat to Mum. 

After we had sorted everything out, I decided to go and get some lunch. It was so weird sitting and eating at a restaurant alone! 

Once I had finished, I had a look up on the flight boards and saw that my gate number had been listed, so I made my way over there, and sat and watched some telly on my computer for a couple of hours before it was time to board.

With about 20 minutes to go before boarding, the staff at the gate called out a large list of names, and I just recognised the name Amy, but I didn’t quite catch the surname. 

I didn’t think much of it, and that I would just leave it, but as I was sitting fairly close to the gate and most of the other people had dispersed from the desk, I made my way up to check if it had been my name. 

When I told the lady who I was, and handed her my boarding pass, she took it and ripped it up and then handed me a business class boarding pass! 

God was certainly looking after me! 

It was just about time to board, so I went back to my seat and sat for a bit, whilst the line decreased. When I got to the gate, I showed them my new pass and they ushered me though the special door and, skipping the line, I headed straight onto the plane and found my seat. 

It was spectacular. I had my own little section, with reclining chair, masses of leg room and a big TV screen. The man next to me was taking pictures, so I asked him if it was his first time flying business class too, and he laughed and said ‘yes, in a very long time’.

The flight again was slightly delayed, but we finally left the runway and were in the air on the last leg home of the journey. 

It was fairly late at night, so within the first hour we were served dinner, after which I was eager to try and get some sleep. 

I then pressed the button and felt my chair start to recline all the way down until I had a completely flat bed. 

The seats were fitted out with a pillow and doona, so it made for very pleasant sleeping conditions. 

I then spent the next four hours or so dozing, and with just over 2 hours to go of the flight, I decided I wasn’t going to be able to get any more decent sleep so I put on P.S. I love you with Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. 

That took me to the end of the flight, missing the last minute or so of the movie due to landing. 

It felt so good to finally touch down in Perth, even though I was going to miss being a world traveller, there was something nice about being home. 

I then made it off the plane, and into the arms of my best friend and my parents. 

A welcomed embrace and the best way to end an amazing holiday! 

This trip has taught me so much about God, his loving character and his provision. What an amazing thing it is to walk in the grace of God, and have him reveal his glory and wonder to you every step of your journey. 

God and his love, grace and goodness made this trip the most wonderful experience and I can’t thank him enough! Praise God!

Day 34 - Our Final Day (Cork City)

This morning we all woke up pretty early in anticipation of the day ahead, our last one in Ireland!

While having some breakfast we enjoyed the last morning of looking out our gorgeous kitchen window.

We then got started on the packing, and after all that was done, got distracted by australian masterchef on the telly.

At about 11am we loaded the car and headed off on the road towards Cork city.

It took us about three quarters of an hour to get there and once we reached Jury’s Inn, we checked in, dropped off our bags in the room and then we each departed ways.

Gran and Gramps headed back off in the car to drop it at the airport, whilst I headed into the main shopping part of town and enjoyed browsing and wandering in and out of shops for most of the afternoon.

At about 2pm I bumped into granny and grandpa but we still had some things we each needed to get, so we agreed to meet at Gloria Jeans at 3pm.

As three o’clock came around, I made it to the coffee shop right on time and was surprised when there was no grandparents waiting for me! I sat and sat and sat a bit longer, until quarter to 4 came around so I guessed they were so caught up in the shopping that they lost track of time. I started to walk off when it suddenly struck me to ask if there was another Gloria Jeans near by. To my dismay, there was.

I raced over there as quick as I could and scanned the room but still had no luck. I then asked the girl at the counter if an Australian couple had been in and she they had left not 10 minutes ago.

Feeling a bit bad, I decided to make my way back to the hotel to see if they were back there already.

They weren’t, but about 5 minutes later they walked through the door and we had a good laugh at the situation.

I had finally decided on a couple of gifts I needed to get, so I went back down the street to the shops where I picked them up from Brown Thomas. As I was in one of the makeup departments, I got talking to one of the ladies there who was so lovely, and dolled me up giving me a try of all her favourite recommendations. I would’ve been with her for a good 40 minutes before I bought myself some goodies and then headed on back to the hotel at about 5:45pm.

Back up in the room, we had some organising to do of our luggage and shopping, so we sorted that out by which time it was about 7 o’clock so we went downstairs to the hotel bar/restaurant to have some dinner.

It was a lovely meal and we spent it reminiscing of the amazing journey we’ve had over the last 5 weeks.

In awe of Gods goodness to us, we depart tomorrow feeling so utterly blessed. Every single day I’ve been able to see His hand at work, and it really has made me fall more deeply in love with our great God.

I plan on writing one more entry on Sunday after the long trip home, so until then, for what will probably be the last time, good night!

Day 33 - Head in the clouds

Wednesday 24th July 2013

This morning after the most wonderful sleep in, I got up and made my way downstairs. Gran and Gramps were in the kitchen, where I grabbed some breakfast whilst we discussed the plan for the day. 

We decided on heading out to the Dingle, another one of the rugged peninsula’s on Ireland’s west coast. 

We got away just after half ten, and made it to Tralee by around midday. After running in the rain through the car park, had some lunch at a shopping centre in town. 

We then left Tralee and headed West on the peninsula towards Mount Brandon, the peninsula’s highest peak. 

Once we reached Brandon’s coastal edge, we got out of the car and took in the stunning views of the Atlantic to the north and the rest of the peninsula to the south. 

After taking some photo’s, we headed further on towards Dingle through Ireland’s highest mountain pass. Conor Pass runs from Brandon Bay and Castlegregory on the north-eastern end of the peninsula towards Dingle on the south-western coast. 

If I had to recommend only one thing from what i’ve seen in Ireland, Conor Pass would be it. The weather today was pretty wet and grey, but it meant that the mountain tops were covered in clouds it it was just spectacular. 

As we travelled higher and higher into the pass, the views became even more breathtaking. At one point we stopped off on the side of the road to admire a cloud covered peak with water streams running down it into a gorgeous lake. I could’ve stayed there for hours looking out and admiring God’s amazing handiwork. 

As we reached the top, there was a car park where we were able to get out of the car and look out at the ranges. Unfortunately though, the clouds covering the top were so thick, we could barely see past the car park itself. 

We then began the descent into Dingle, which we passed through on our way back to Tralee. By this time it was about 5 o’clock and we started on our way home. 

We got back to Bandon just after 7pm. Gran and I ducked over to the deli across the road to pick up some supplies for dinner, after which we spent the rest of the night at the house, relaxing in front of the TV. 

So that brings to an end another day that left me in awe of God’s wonder and goodness! Tomorrow is our last full day in Ireland, so until then, good night! 

Day 31 - Killarney and the Ring of Kerry

Monday 22nd July 2013

This morning was the first in a long time where we actually set the alarm to wake up! We had aimed to be out of the house by nine, so after having some breakfast and calling mum to wish her a happy birthday, we got ourselves ready for the long day ahead. 

We were successfully on the road by 9:01am, and headed off towards Killarney, a town on Ireland’s west coast, in county Kerry. 

It took us just over an hour and a half to reach Killarney, and once we got there, we found a park and wandered into the main part of town. Here we found a news agent where we were able to buy a map of the Ring of Kerry, and we also found a nice cafe where we had some morning tea. 

After strolling a little further through town, we made our way back to the car. We then got back on the road and started on the Ring of Kerry. This route was to take us the whole way around the Peninsula and back to Kenmare, a treck of about 150km. 

Thankfully for Grandpa, the roads were much wider today and it was a much simpler drive. 

The sights weren’t quite as spectacular today, but there was still some wonderful views along the way. The weather was a bit greyer today so the cloud covered mountains were a sight in themselves! We also stopped at an old castle ruin and some of the bays along the route, and it definitely made me appreciate the white sandy beaches back home! 

We stopped for lunch in one of the small towns along the way before continuing on. It was a long and tiring day, and when we finally made it back home it was about twenty past seven.

We had a quick stop in at the house to unload and drop off the car and then walked into town to the local hotel to get some dinner. 

Once we had finished, we wandered on back home where we relaxed for the rest of the night before heading up to bed. 

I must say i’ll be happy to get into bed tonight, so until tomorrow, good night!