The sleep I was able to get wasn’t quite enough. Fortunately, 3 drinks over 5 hours is hardly enough to warrant any hangover concerns. A cold had started settling in, but I wasn’t going to let it completely drag me down. We had plans, and Theresa had some cold meds to help me push through. Got some aid my sinuses and we started assessing our plan of attack for the day. It was going to be another beautiful sunny day and we had plans for a long journey East. We were wanting to see the home of historic icon of Irish craftsmanship, manufacturing, and art. We were also wanting to see the historical remnants of Vikings. We purchased tickets for after our arrival, ate some breakfast, and made our way towards Waterford.
If I remember correctly, we did have a pretty sunrise to start this day. It wasn’t until we were passing Youghal that the cold meds were allowing me the desire to photograph anything. The Youghal and Dungarvan areas looked like they could be interesting places to explore maybe on a future visit.
We made it through a toll, over a fancy bridge, and into our 2nd long series of rotaries. Dungarvan took the cake for most rotaries to run through by far though! I was fairly sure our destination was soon approaching after heading past the viking tower. I followed a sign for parking that only took us slightly off the main road before we found what we were looking for. We put some time on the meters, grouped up, and made the short walk to…
Waterford Crystal turned out to be more interesting a place to visit and tour than I had anticipated. I knew the tour brought those partaking through to see the craftsman making some of the pieces, but I was not anticipating the intimacy of that experience. I also figured there would be a storefront, but I had not anticipated the size of the storefront and how much it would contain or how large some of the pieces were. We entered the main building, reclaimed our tickets, and checked the storefront. One of the first pieces we were drawn to was one of the largest pieces, the bear.
We were about to be called to assemble for the tour, so we made our way back to the desk at the main entrance. We had luck with our timing (roughly lunch time) as the 8 of us were all that consisted of the tour we were taking. Taylor was our tour guide and she brought us outside, across the front courtyard / sidewalk area, and into the an extension of the building that served as the start of the tour.
The tour started with some exceptionally large works. There was the clock and the champagne flute. Both must have been incredibly labor intensive to craft as I could only imagine they could have some heft. The harp was located back in the storefront area, but was one of the only other pieces to match the size of the clock and flute.
The Apprentice Bowl
Before being promoted to craftsmen, the apprentice cutters need to be able to replicate this bowl. Our guide explained this should be the hardest cutting project they should encounter.
Taylor offered a run down of the factory’s history and current ownership. She also explained the process of what the craftsmen went through for training and tests. There were also some unique pieces on display and she offered some interesting details regarding those pieces. The next part of the tour was my least favorite. We were brought to a room of mirrors to watch a video for Waterford Crystal. It was redundant presentation, reminiscent of a perfume or makeup commercial. 30 seconds of information, 30 seconds of “W-a-t-e-r-f-o-r-d C-r-y-s-t-a-l” (Complete in the cliché perfume commercial voice) - repeat. The video reached its completion and we were shown some prized pieces for a brief instance before being ushered to the next location. This was the only shot I could grab before the lights dimmed out.
We proceeded from the room of mirrors to the mold creation room. Eddie and I couldn’t believe the size of the equipment the mold maker got to work with. He had a lathe and bandsaw that dwarfed any I had seen prior. Taylor provided the explanation for the role, and also provided us a chance to hold a crystal piece that was all too familiar a shape. They must have a fair amount of Americans who take the tour.
The next area was where the glass blowing portion happened. The glass blowers were working with larger portions of molten glass than I had ever seen glass blowers work with. The work was impressive, and the craftsmen were professional in their manner. Had I been in their shoes, the attention from the tour group would have wreaked havoc on my nerves. All craftsmen at Waterford were focused, clam, and collected the entire time.
The next portion of the tour led us to the glass preparation station. After adequate time was allowed for cooling, each piece needed to be cleaned and surfaced before it could proceed to the glass cutters. The man who was handling the prep had the system down to a calculated art. Taylor provided the appropriate information for this portion of the tour while we watched him quickly cycle through several pieces. He’d run through his steps, quickly double check his work, and was on to the next piece.
Taylor then led us to an area where the prepped glass was stored while waiting for the cutters to add their touches. The room also contained templates and marking equipment. There was also a cool bonus to this area. Taylor had one of the triangle pieces used on the Time’s Square New Years Eve Ball. It was pretty cool to get to see and hold a piece of something I’ve seen come into better clarity over the years.
Looked to be plenty for the glass cutters to work on for many days to come!
The next portion of the tour led us to a team of steady handed individuals with some of the most intense abilities to hold their concentration I had ever seen. We were at the glass cutters’ section. And, they were well into their day of cutting the crystal pieces. We were able to get incredibly close to each of the cutters as they carved their craft. I did not notice a single one become distracted by the sudden group of people before them. I don’t believe I could have held the same focus.
We were slightly surprised to find that Waterford made use of a machine cutter to help with some of their pieces. The emphasis was that it was to help with pieces. Each piece still required at least some level of hand craftsmanship to be completed. The machine was right out on display and was in itself an interesting part of the tour to watch.
The final portion of the tour was the inspection stage. A collection of crafted crystal sat awaiting approval. There were also several samples highlighting the versatility of the artisans Waterford consists of.
“Please do not touch”
With all that Waterford allowed the tour groups to touch during the tour, I felt this was a very easily respected request. I also don’t believe I could afford any of the items lined up…
We made our exit from the tour right back to the Storefront. I believe the pieces garnered just a bit more respect after seeing the work put in to each (though, I already had a fairly good idea of that dedication). Sinéad and I found a Christmas ornament to add to our collection of ornaments acquired during adventures. We made our purchase but needed to leave the ornament behind for a short time so it could be engraved. I took the chance to grab a couple last photos before we went to explore the next point of interest in Waterford.
We regrouped outside Waterford before heading to the next stop. It was quite the arduous journey the 180 Meters, but we managed! Sounding ironically boring, our next stop was to the oldest civic building in Ireland.
Reginald’s Tower & The Viking Triangle
In the Year 1003
This Tower was erected by REGINALD, the DANE
In 1171 it was held as a Fortress by STRONGBOW Earl of Pembroke
In 1463 by Statute 3rd of Edward 4th a Mint was established here
In 1819 it was Reedified in its original Form & appropriated to The POLICE ESTABLISHMENT by the CORPORATE BODY of The City of Waterford
R Hon. Sir John Newport B MP Mayor
Henry Alcock Efq1 } Seriffs
William Weekes Efq1 } Seriifs
My best to read the text from the full size photo with a little Photoshop help. I also found some verification of the text here: Journal of the Waterford & South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society, Volume 1
There is still a canon ball lodged well into the wall next to a small window.
Nestled at the tip of the viking triangle, Reginald’s Tower was once a viking tower and was rebuilt with stone by the conquering Normans. A spot of both historical importance and infamy, this is where Strongbow married Aoife and established the precedent for foreign rule for the next 700 years. The British ruler of the time used Strongbow as an opportunity to justify placing his loyal knights in Ireland to keep Strongbow in check and take claim of the lands. A 700 year downward spiral of war crimes, oppression, slaughters, and occasional great starvation followed - par-for-the-course for the Imperial British, really...
Simplified history aside, this was an interesting place to visit. There is a lot of history to be experienced in the surviving structures of the Viking Triangle. Reginald’s Tower has been the site of several important battles, but it’s uses have not been limited to those associated with battle. It has served the community around it incredibly diverse ways. We hopped inside the tower to take the self guided tour. The only major drawback to this location is that roof access is reserved only for employees. I could only imagine the view from the top would have been well worth the low hung archways and stairs to get there! Before we headed into the tower, however, we couldn’t resist checking out the viking ship.
The Viking Triangle
A well labelled and well crafted map highlighted the area that made up the triangle and was situated right next to the ship.
I’m not exactly sure what was happening here. A man was recording another person walking around in a penguin costume. Seemed like I needed to photograph it.
We made our way into the tower, and paid our admission fee at the front desk. It was a nominal fee for the self guided tour. As I noted earlier, the only real downside was that we could not enjoy the view of the area from the top of the tower. The Office of Public Works in Ireland manages the building and displays inside it. There was plenty of information offered during the self guided tour, including a brief video detailing a rundown of the history of the tower and triangle. Well worth the stop for anyone in the area! (Just, be mindful of your noggin!)
The Tower Throne!
I’ll give you 3 guesses for what this portion of the tower was used for. At least it looked to have afforded some privacy and a windowed view!
Having taken in about all the tower had to offer, we made our way back out and headed down a side street that brought us to more sites that made the Viking Triangle.
I really liked the flow and design of this building.
While this cathedral was not the one that would have hosted the ceremony, this is the site at which the cathedral stood when Strongbow married Aoife in 1170. Much discredit is placed upon Strongbow for his part in causing that next 700 years, but it was Aoife’s father Diarmait Mac Murchada, the then King of Leinster, who hired Strongbow’s services and ultimately opened the door of interest that led to those next 700 years.
John J Hearne
Architect of the 1937 Irish Consitution
Irish High Commissioner to Canada 1939-1949
First Irish Ambassador to the United States 1950-1960
Sculptor: Elizabeth O’Kane, 2017
Sinéad and I headed back over to Waterford Crystal’s show room to grab our ornament. It came out great! We were elated to have another ornament to remind us of our adventures while putting up our Christmas Tree. From there, Theresa, Eddie, and I went to put some more time on the meters for the cars and then we all met back up in front of the Cathedral. There were a couple chairs for Strongbow and Aoife to pose in. We took our turns, did a group photo, and then made our journey back to The Munster Bar for a bite to eat. The food was great, and our waitress was a hoot. I asked if I could grab the last Beef & Guinness Pie. I got that, and instantly found that it included a heaping side of playful harassment for “taking her dinner.” I was all the more an easy target, as my voice was hardly there. We enjoyed our dinner, and the sass I was dished out, and then made our way back towards the River Suir.
We passed by Reginald’s Fort again on our way to the river’s edge. We had noticed from a distance that there were what looked to be viking shields setup in a circle and we were curious as to what it might be for. It turned out to be the backdrop of a stage that was nicely located in a park next to the river. We took some time to explore the park and enjoy the setting sun before heading back to the vehicles.
Take Away… umm… What Now?!?!?
I know this is just what they call take-out, and it completely makes sense, but I also can’t help but take it at face value. There really ought to be at least a dash between the first 2 words! Can’t help but find the humor in the potential message while that is lacking.
Uncle John took over the driving for the trip back to Cobh. The medication I had taken had long worn off, and mixed with all the excitement of the day I was feeling just a tad run down. I was still able to assist with the navigation, though. There was a bit of a sunset for the trip back, but the majority of the return was traversed after. It was good, it had been a great day, and we made the most of it we could. We made it back to the AirBnB, and it wasn’t long before I was making moves towards my bed. I overheard some commotion regarding a TP crisis, but knew Sinéad would have that quickly resolved. I was soon asleep, but the next day would come all too soon again. The trip had flown by up till now, and our return home was approaching far too quickly.
Friday had arrived and it brought with it one final sunrise. I was able to capture some of this one, but I was still needing some cold medication to help push through for the day. There was a lot potentially planned for today. I was hoping if I kept my spirits up, I would be more than able to keep up for what ever we were able to fit in. We got ourselves ready, grabbed a bite to eat and soon we were back on the road again. This was going to be our last full day, and we had to make the most of it.
Today I decided it was best if I not drive. So, I took the rare opportunity to sit with Sinéad. We hadn’t spent too much time together except for at the locations we were visiting, so it was nice to have the extra time together again. Deacon Arnold stayed behind for the start to this day. He was hoping to be able to rest and shop in the Cobh area while we were away. Theresa, Eddie, Sinéad and myself rode in one car while Uncle John and the Aunt Maries rode in the 2nd. It was a bit of a drive to where we were heading, but it was a location I had been waiting over a year to see. The GPS down some hardly 1-way roads to get to the parking lot, and we had to loop around to catch the correct left turn it was prompting for. Eventually we arrived, though, and we were in luck. A beautiful morning awaited us in Cashel.
The Rock of Cashel
We made it to the Rock of Cashel a little in advance of our 2nd vehicle. Needing to use the restrooms and finding the location a bit odd in an interesting sense, we made our way down to a gift shop next to the parking area - Brú Ború. It turned out to be a great little side journey as it turned out that if we paid the admissions fee in buying merchandise at the shop, we were given free entry to the Rock. Sinéad and I made use of the offer, as did Eddie and Theresa. Those needing the rest rooms also made use of those, and then we were heading back up the hill to meet up with the rest of our group.
There were 2 separate tours at this location, and we all took them both. After having taken them both I would have to admit that they were both well worth it. Being that the Rock of Cashel was once the seat of the High Kings of Munster, the location is incredibly historic. It also served as the location in which St. Patrick baptized Aenghus the King of Munster in the 5th Century AD (during which it was told that St. Patrick accidentally drove his Bishop’s staff right through Aenghus’ foot and Aeghus, thinking it was part of the ceremony, did not flinch.) The first tour brought us into Cormac’s Chapel.
At first glance, and without our tour guide’s verification, I found Cormac’s Chapel to appear incredibly out of place or time with nearly all the rest of the castles, cathedrals, and ruins I’ve seen in Ireland. The bright, yellowy nature of the sandstone used for the chapel makes it appear as though it was a recent renovation or addition to the rest of the limestone structures at the Rock of Cashel. That is entirely not the case, however. Preservation efforts may have encountered the need to replace some of the sandstone blocks of this building, but only those needed replacement blocks were new when it came to this building. Upon hearing the building was much older than it appeared, the weathered nature of the original sandstone blocks became all too apparent. Our group was ushered inside and our guide went to her task of teaching us about the chapel.
It wasn’t only the location and material that made this chapel a special place to see. There were also the carefully reclaimed portions of frescos at the head of the chapel. These frescos were the reason this tour was separate from the rest of the Rock of Cashel, as the climate within the chapel needed to be maintained to preserve them. What remains of the frescos might not seem like much, but they are currently the oldest frescos in Europe.
The Adventurer in Me
Really wanted to see what the view was like at the top of that staircase. I bet it must have be magnificent!
We were also encouraged to take a look outside, but not through the door we entered. There was a small enclosed courtyard area that was blocked in by the larger limestone structure next to the chapel. It was easily a claustrophobic area at first when everyone rushed out to get a look. Sinéad and I held back and then took a quick look when there weren’t quite so many bodies in the small space.
That completed the Cormac’s Chapel tour, so we thanked our tour guide and made our way back out to the meeting area for the next tour. This tour was the bigger tour and included the rest of the Rock of Cashel. Séamus was our guide and treated us to a tour that began and ended in Irish - with some English translations thrown in for good measure. He was a gifted story teller, and we all enjoyed his presentation of the area’s history.
We took a route that led the entirety of the way around the structures. Séamus offered great explanations at each stop through-out the process. We stopped and enjoyed the view of Hore Abbey at one point. At another he told us why round tower use was abandoned - and how the poor monks met a fiery end learning that lesson. We also passed by the well that St. Patrick used when he baptized King Aenghus.
The Monks Fled
to the top of the tower and pulled up the ladder. The marauders who wanted to kill the monks simply build a giant fire inside the tower, at the bottom, and there was no hop for the monks from there.
The access is gated off, but the well is definitely still there. Just need to know where to look for it.
Our path eventually led us inside what was once a giant cathedral. The interior of the structure was incredible! It towered above by 4 tall stone pillars that met each other at archways. It was an impressive structure in its ruined form. It must have been a grand sight in all its original glory.
There were some additional sights to be seen in the rooms adjacent to where visitors can purchase their entrance. Within those rooms there were some period correct artifacts that could have been used at the site. I spoke to Séamus as I was looking through the items in one of those rooms. The double pillar cross that could be found outside was a replica of the one held inside. He was not sure if the chalice was the one found in the well, or if it was simply one that matched the style and time period. There was also a nice little broach for robes that looked as though it could have just as easily been used as a means of self defense.
We gathered up our group and headed into the center of Cashel to grab a bite for lunch. We found ourselves at The Brian Boru. The food was excellent and the decor was themed appropriately. We enjoyed our lunch before heading back to the vehicles and finding our way to our next adventure.
The sky was looking just about perfect for heading underground. The clouds were finally besting the sun we had been so fortunate to enjoy for so much of our visit. The rain was holding off for us though, and we were happy for that.
Sinéad had been to Mitchelstown Cave as a little girl, and remembered it being a really cool place to experience. Eddie was also looking forward to exploring some caves, and I was all to happy to 2nd that. We arrived at a slightly difficult parking lot to find - if following a GPS - and made our way up a fairly unassuming walkway to get our tickets. As a side note: there were no backpacks or bags allowed on the tour in case any one reading this decides to give it a go.
The landscape here was beautiful. They might not have been the tallest I had ever seen, but the low hanging clouds made the mountains of this area appear plenty substantial. We discovered some benches and some time to relax one we made it to the entrance to the cave area. The owners of the property and caves knew all to well the value of that open view.
Feeling the recharged from our sit and the view, and feeling we were nearing the time to start the tour, we got up and started taking a look around the information shelter next to the entrance gate. The information chronicled the discovery and exploration of the cave. It also provided information regarding the nearby mountains.
Sure enough, our timing proved fairly accurate. Róisín, our tour guide, met us at the gate, offered a welcome and introduction, and then led us to the start of the cave. Plenty of stairs and low head room spaces had to be navigated before we found ourselves on a fairly-level path way.
Heading down the stairs it dawned on me that I should probably be concerned about the potential for some incredibly tight spaces. I wasn’t so much concerned about claustrophobia, just did not want to find myself stuck. Sinéad had mentioned there was plenty enough room before making our plans to stop here, though. So, I let that worry quickly depart my thoughts, and enjoyed the journey.
Completed the majority of the stairs (at least for the downward portion), Róisín found a good place to gather us together and explain what we could learn from the rocks around us. There were cupping spots on the wall next to us which indicated the cave was once formed by an underground river. She assured us that it had been quite some time since enough water had passed through the cave to cause that type of erosion. She also went into detail about other formations that could be seen, as well as the different types of minerals that could be noticed.
The cave was lit very well, but from a photography stand point it posed a fairly difficult obstacle. I had only brought my Nikon D5300 camera body and my Sigma f/2.8 17-50mm lens. There definitely had been portions of the trip I wished I had more telephoto or fish-eye capabilities, but I have yet to own a lens that would have been better suited for that cave. Despite the wide open aperture and high ISO, I still had to do my best to keep my shaky hands tucked close and steady myself well for each shot. It wasn’t easy, but I was happy with the results I walked away with.
Had I been holding on to any worries of small spaces and potential claustrophobia, the next part of our tour would have easily dispersed them. We twisted through some turns and down a small flight of stairs and found ourselves within a grand opening. Róisín showed us a few naturally occurring white splotches on the wall and pointed out what some have thought they look like. She also introduced us to an odd rock formation known as the cave witch. Then, she turned out the lights…
One of the splotches looked like an elephant on one side and a pig on the other.
She really did turn out the lights! The action was supposed to allow the tour goers to experience absolute darkness, and to experience a small portion of what some of the first explorers encountered. Fortunately for anyone who might have been afraid at this point (ah hmmm, Uncle John..), Sinéad had on a pair of the cool glasses she is known for. The arms of which are glow in the dark, and they lit up like 2 green’ish beacons in such darkness. We had forgot they glowed in the dark, and couldn’t help laughing as suddenly all anyone could see were these incredibly bright arms on her glasses. Uncle John also had to make sure to fulfill his uncle duties, and tried making it feel like something was brushing against the back of my head. I knew he was there, and was expecting it, so I just laughed and leaned slightly away.
The lights came back on! We were all saved from the Cave Witch! I’m sure some must have breathed a sigh of relief before we continued along the path just a little further into the cave.
We reached the final portion of the cave (at least for what we were going to see on the tour). It was an incredibly large cavern. There were a multitude of items to see in this chamber, but we focused on the major ones. My photographs are my notes, so I will just show off what we saw. Sorry, I don’t remember enough to offer precise details for all we were told about.
Though I had not noticed any prior, Róisín confirmed that there were several species of insects living in the cave. Given the fact that there is no light inside the cave, except what was put in place by the people who own it, the insects were all without vision. The final portion before our exit was getting to see one of the species of insect that inhabited the cave. The species she pointed out to us was a tiny one, and was bottom of the food chain: the Springtail.
That wrapped up the tour. All that was to make our way back to the surface. It was an incredible opportunity and I did not expect that it could have been as expansive as it turned to be. Róisín had explained that they’ve had movie screenings, wedding proposals, concerts, sushi tasting, but no weddings as of yet. I could only imagine what an acoustical set would sound like in these caverns. We made our journey back topside, stopping only briefly for an occasional picture from the new perspective out exiting direction provided.
of the Cave. This formation is also typically seen as the figure of a swan.
And now for a little selfie and group selfie image section while in the cave!
By the time we made it back up to the surface we were all ready to be heading back to the AirBnB. We also had plans for a little company that evening, so we made our way back to Cobh. There was an all to important pit stop to make on the way. We stopped at SupreValu and loaded up on candy (aka. Sinéad said to grab 1 pack of candy and I would translate as 1 each!). We made it back to the AirBnB, ate, packed, and settled in for the evening. Our spirits were deflating a little as the realization we were leaving the next day sank in farther with every passing minute. Fortunately, our company arrived, and our spirits were reignited. Uncle Frank and Aunt Marion came by to visit us one last time before we headed off. We had a great visit, and Uncle Frank and I discussed the Red Sox book Sinéad and I had given him earlier in our stay.
Time continued its unfailing march forward, and all too soon we were saying our good byes. It was time to really settle in for the evening at that point. We still had a final adventure to see to the next day before the flight home.
The final day of our adventure had arrived, but it was not going to be without it’s own adventures! We got up, got ourselves ready for the day, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and a group of us made our way back to Cork for a couple last minute checklist items.
The group consisted of Eddie, Theresa, Deacon Arnold, Sinéad, and myself. We made our way back into Cork and to the Mardyke. Eddie and I had felt so bad to leave the way we did, that we both really wanted a chance to see and properly say goodbye to Eileen Murphy. Deacon Arnold had also made a gift for Eileen that he wanted to leave with her as a thank you for one of her paintings. We had a lovely visit with Eileen, but the day being as it was, it had to be a short visit. We still had another trip to make, and we were also hoping to have another quick walk around to a couple shops in Cork City.
We made a stop at the Cork City Gaol and did the self guided tour. Arnold could only wonder at how ignorant some of the current day American incarcerated are in regards to their contempt of the conditions they have found themselves living in. He could only imagine the outrage if American people now-a-days were forced into the conditions of the Cork City Gaol’s time. I explained that for it’s time, the Cork City Gaol was highly praised for how lavish it was for the prisoners. I also touched upon that there might still be countries in which the imprisoned only survive if people outside the prison bring them food. The Gaol was sure to make the point that some starving people committed crimes so that they could be sheltered and fed. I didn’t take really any photos on this visit as we were on a deadline. I did grab a couple shots while we were there though.
We then made our way back to the Paul Street Car park so that we could make a couple last minute errands to stores in Downtown Cork City. Deacon Arnold snagged a hat, Sinéad grabbed the vintage Irish coin set she had wanted for a long time, and I believe Theresa picked up a Cork Hurling Sweater she had eyed up at Finn’s Corner. We hit up a couple other shops as well, but hardly had time to look through them. Time was slipping away and we soon had to make our way back to the car park.
We arrived to a poorly signed car return system at the Cork Airport, but we were eventually able to find where we needed to be. Uncle John and the Aunt Maries had got there a little before us, and were waiting for us to arrive. On the way into the airport we spotted Sinéad’s Uncle Tony and Cousin Sarah waiting for us. Sinéad and I made a mad dash back to the airport to meet up with them, and then I went and led the rest to where we were. We had a nice little last visit with Uncle Tony and Cousin Sarah before we had to get heading through security. Uncle Tony couldn’t help but show Eddie the Land Rover he’s got.
Goodbyes are always tough, and this was not going to be any exception - especially for Sinéad. We gave Sarah a bit of a hard time for the Yankees hat she had worn… Told her we’d have to see about getting something with a better team on it (Red Sox!). That was the easy part, though. We said our goodbyes and Sinéad and I started through the mad routine of getting through security.
We grabbed a final lunch before departing in the Airport, but not before grabbing a few things in Duty free. Before we knew it our flight was boarding, and then we were in the air. We had a fairly decent flight back, except that it was 7 and a 1/2 hours long. The timing of the flight was no aid to my attempts to sleep. It was a fully felt, long 7.5 hours. We eventually made it back to the east coast in time to catch the last glimpses of the sunset. Flying in over the Cape proved to be an interesting (and very welcomed) sight in and of itself.
We grabbed our luggage, handed in our claim forms, and made our way back to the vehicles. One last set of goodbyes before we were on the road back towards home. We made our detour to drop off Deacon Arnold, and then made our way back the final leg of our journey. It was late when we finally arrived, and we were exhausted. We gladly welcomed the long-awaited (and longer than normal) sleep that shortly followed.