Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Holiday to Waterford

Leon and I were planning to have a few days holiday in Dad's caravan. When that offer fell through, we booked a spontaneous 2-day holiday down in Waterford in the Woodlands Hotel & Leisure Centre. 

(All photos taken by Leon.)


Up earlyish for the 9.50 DART to Connolly, walk to BusAras, get the 11.30 bus to Waterford, which takes 2 hours. I read about 200 pages of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and got very into it. Man I love Brandon Sanderson's books. 

We arrived in Waterford at 2 pm and go shopping for suncream and a swimsuit for me, since the main reason we wanted a hotel is to go swimming and use the jacuzzi (we realised later that when we feel like a holiday we should go to a local swimming pool to try get that out of our system first as it turns out hotels don't have a monopoly on swimming pools!). It was super hot and sunny - it literally felt like getting out of the plane in Germany. 

We got the 5 pm regional bus to the hotel after a bit of stress trying to figure out where the bus stopped out of the various unmarked bus stops. The buses were funny - on one of the short journeys the bus driver didn't charge at all, while another one was 2 euro. 

Got to the hotel, checked in, dropped off our stuff and ordered a takeaway because we couldn't cook in the hotel. The takeaway was apparently a traditional chipper but unfortunately was terrible; the chips had no salt in them and the garlic bread was neither garlicy nor the kind of bread we were expecting. It was sort of like unflavoured naan bread? Hopefully that's not just what they count as garlic bread in Waterford because if so they are missing out. 

Finally we headed down to the pool and enjoyed that and the jacuzzi for about an hour. It was lovely; it had been too long since we'd last been swimming, and we'd missed it. I love the feeling of weightlessness in the water. The deep end was significantly too deep for me to stand up in, but eventually I figured out that if I relaxed I could just float in a standing position and still have my head above water, which was cool. I love floating in general. Swimming is cool too, especially backwards.


Monday was the day we had intended to go out and see Waterford City but alas we ended up spending most of the day in our hotel room. Thankfully, we're both people who like that sort of style, of getting to relax on holiday. We had a nice pastry-based breakfast with stuff from the nearby Lidl, then I read Mistborn a bunch, until finally we went out for lunch to a nice cafe called Oskars where I got soup, bread and chips and Leon got nachos. It was a nice time but man eating out on holiday is so expensive! 

I spent a lot of the lunch being really anxious about Mistborn because the characters were in a major pickle and I get really really empathetic towards characters, until I got Leon to slightly spol it for me so I didn't have to be as worried about the characters anymore. 

Leon took a bunch of cute photos so here are some:

We then went down to the pool and swam and again it was great. We're now thinking of going to Trinity's pool to swim twice a week after work. Something I love about swimming is that it kinda requires concentration; a major reason I never exercise is that I get really bored with nothing occupying my mind, but with swimming you have to concentrate or you could, y'know, drown. Or get water unpleasantly in your mouth and nose. So hopefully that can be a remedy for my sedentary lifestyle.

We had another takeaway for dinner (ironic after talking about living healthy but I don't know what else to do on holiday but eat out or order in), this one pizza from Apache. Thankfully that one was solid.


Tuesday was our leaving day, but since we didn't go anywhere Monday, we decided to also do some tourism. We got the bus in to the city (apparently Waterford is indeed a city) and bought passes to the Medieval Museum and the Bishop's palace. 

The Medieval Museum was pricey but pretty cool. We first explored the wine cellar (and with all the steps and rickety footing I thought about how bad it must be to be unable to walk trying to get around inside):

We then got the lift up and watched a show about Waterford's medieval history, which was mostly about their long war with New Ross and their efforts to prove to the British king how loyal they had been to him through history so that they'd get better trade rights. They had a Great Charter Roll made to flatter the king and also secure exclusive trading rights in Waterford Harbour, and Waterford was known as the city that never betrayed the Crown (there was a snappier name that I've forgotten). 

It was a bit cringe how they constantly prostrated themselves before the British crown - quite the embarrassment to the nationalist movement, though I'm not sure how strong that was in the Middle Ages. 

Does he really need a sword on his belt too?

That floor had a lot of really cool artefacts, mostly focusing on Waterford's relationship to the Crown but with some cool models of the city that Leon loved. Also a place with crayons where you could do rubbings, so I did a quick one of those.

We then went down to the first floor, which focused on religion in medieval Waterford, and watched a show about the golden vestments and how they were protected through the years as power changed hands between Protestants and Catholics. The vestments were super important because they're embroidered with gold and overall very fancy. We also saw a lot of not-very-good statues but I suppose you can't be too harsh on people working in the Middle Ages. 

Overall, the museum was very good. As an aside -- the giftshop had cards for gay couples!

We then went to the Bishop's palace which unfortunately was a let down; for some reason I'd been expecting a church, but it was really just a house with some nice furniture and the first Waterford crystal item (a decanter). Might have been better if we'd done the audio tour though, and they did have this very cool sculpture made entirely of shells, that we sadly couldn't get a great picture of.

By this point we were hungry and went looking for food but couldn't find much walking down a main street that would serve a decent lunch but wasn't super expensive. Eventually we went to the Book Centre, a lovely big bookshop I'd seen recommended online, and ate there before spending an hour browsing through the books. I got very excited when I saw Cait Drews' book A Thousand Perfect Notes on the shelf face-out, and even as a Book of the Month! I know her!

 I also bought Leon the Brandon Sanderson book Steelheart. The book shop was awesome - both of us really enjoyed it.

After that, it was into the bus for the 4 hour journey home. The journey and evening weren't great because I came down with something very unpleasant and resembling heat exhaustion, but it was gone by morning thankfully. Damn Waterford heat. 

It was a good holiday - plenty of time to relax with Leon but also a nice bit of tourism. Big advantage of this over family holidays - get to decide what to do together as equals, and if you want to rest together you can do just that :) 

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