Thursday, July 08, 2010

European Vacation Travelogue: Day 13, Connor's Pass and Inch Beach

So by now you must be wondering, when in the heck is their vacation going to end?

Yes, we were very very spoiled.

Even now, we still had a few days left. . . One that was unplanned and, at the time, unwelcome, but that is a story for a future day.

Today, the story is Inch Beach.

On day 13, BioMom and I enjoyed an hour or two on our own while the kids swam with other kids at the hotel. She had gone over Connor Pass at some point on another trip to Ireland and was nostalgic about it so, we took the opportunity to head up the pass again.

Let's just say that I need to take BioMom to Colorado. She was so impressed with this little "mountain" pass, I had (to be frank) expected more of it! That's not to say it wasn't beautiful, it was. To give you an impression what it is like, you can check out Connor Pass on Youtube and watch videos of people's entire descents on both a bike and in cars (although the car video is entertaining because you can see how narrow the roads are and you can hear a few "dear Gods!"). Here's another bike descent that lasts all of four minutes. Like I said, if BioMom was impressed with this, I'll hafta show her 14,000 foot mountains!

Here's how I would have loved the pass (in addition to heading up with BioMom of course).

Regardless, the views were beautiful and I took a little hike up to a higher point once our car reached the top. Check me out in the bottom picture.

The night before I had been reading the guidebooks and looking at the map when I noticed a little golden finger sticking out into the bay. On the map it was literally about an inch long. I looked closer and then referenced the guidebook and found out that it was called "Inch Beach."

We had to see what that was all about.

So again, we found ourselves grabbing lunch at a local grocery store (this type of dining saved us. Rather then a pub lunch for 30 Euros we spent half as much for food we enjoyed more! Oh, and the kids preferred it because I always picked up a couple of Kinder Surprises for them as well!).

As we approached the beach we knew we were in for something special:

Rows of cars were parked on the beach along with buses advertising surfing lessons. It was hot* and sunny and packed.

We headed down and started wading. Ten, unafraid of freezing temperatures of the North Atlantic, headed right in and at that moment, watching her, I realized that this was a moment of a lifetime and that I had to body surf with her in those amazing, if frigid, waves. And we did. For hours with little breaks in between. And then we talked BioMom into it.

By the end, we were so cold we could barely move our fingers, but it was worth it. Exhilarating and exciting and amazing, Inch beach may have been our highlight.

*Of course, being the beginning of June in Minneapolis when we left, I didn't know from hot. In retrospect, we found out that the temperature, by the end of the day was 23 degrees Celcius and the water, a bone-chilling 14. For a conversion, talk to Cousin who literally knew the formula (5/9 + 32) off the top of her head!

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