Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Irish Tale

So, the hubs and I got back from our European vacation about a month ago and I still have so many stories to share. One of my favorites is the story of our first day driving in Ireland.

Hubs and I arrived at Cork airport and retrieved our bags by 5:30 pm. We had to pick up our rental car and drive about 10 miles to our bed and breakfast. We were supposed to check in by 7pm or else. Or else, what I have no idea. Needless to say, we were determined to make it there by 7 pm.

We get to Hertz counter and check out our car. We paid extra for the navigation system and additional insurance (hubs insisted),but decided not to put me on as a driver. In the US, spouses are included free as a driver but apparently that isn't the case anywhere else.

So, we get to our car - a lovely Fiat Punto, and hubs spends about 15 minutes giving himself a pep talk. I didn't blame him one bit since he had never driven on the left. Thankfully, his daily car has a stick shift so that part didn't seem to daunting. After a third damage check (and I think a tire pressure calibration) we were off!

As the navigator, I decided that the directions the B&B emailed us were rubbish and that we should use the navigation. A lovely British accent told us which way to turn and a "bing bong" signaled when do so. We got turned around a few times but didn't worry . We had plenty of time. We handled the highways pretty well and figured out how to deal with round abouts. Things were moving along.

We were with in a mile or so of the B&B when we things went awry. The navigation insisted that we turn left onto a ridiculously tiny road (driveway, more like). The problem was that the road was closed. Bummer. We figured we'd just turn around and try a different way.

Well..hubs shifted the car into reverse. Nothing happened. He tried again. We heard only grinding of gears. He pulled up, he pushed down. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, I'm getting quite nervous as we are in the middle of the street and could get smacked into at any point! After what felt like forever I very calmly said, " Honey, why don't we just turn right into that parking lot and figure out what's up."

He turns right into the lot and proceeds to spend endless amount of time trying to get the car into reverse. It will not go! I'm really starting to sweat (a rare thing for this laid-back lassie) and realize that it is now 6:50. We have to get to the B&B, we can't get into reverse AND we are sort of lost. This is not good. I mention how important it is to get to the B&B and that once we are there, we can call Hertz and let them know our reverse is broken.

I suggest putting the car in neutral and we push the car backwards so that we can turn around. Hubs agrees. I get out and walk around the front to get behind the wheel so hubs can push. That's when hubs reminds me that I am not on the driving account. I start to negotiate with him but can tell by the look on his face that I should just do some pushing.

So, he puts the car in neutral and I start pushing the car backwards so we can get out of the tiny lot. At this point I notice the elderly gentleman in a robe (and nothing else, it appears). I look around and realize that we have pulled into the parking lot of a mental hospital! The pantless gentleman says something about wanting to help us but being too tired. I silently thank the Lord for sedatives.

Finally, after a good work out, the car is facing the proper direction and we try to find our B&B. We turn and our moronic navigation screams "When possible, make an authorized U-turn." It says that about 20 times before I think I hear it sigh. It says "Recalculating route." I seriously want to tell this Mary Poppins lady in my navigation to shut the F up but I don't because I really want to get to the B&B and I think she might be my only hope.

Finally, we take a random turn and end up on the right street. Huzzah! Success at last.!We won't be sleeping in the world's tiniest hatchback tonight!

I can see the B&B. It is seriously the cutest ever. Hubs pulls up to the Fernroyd House. Damn! Parallel parking...I hop out and push the car into the spot. (Wish I had a picture of that one!)

Our hostess pops out and inquires "Are ye staying with us?" We say yes and explain our car issue. She hops in and in about two seconds, shows us what we've been doing wrong. Apparently, there is a tiny tiny ring that you must lift on the stick to get the car to go into reverse. Why the heck no one told us? Who knows! At least it makes for a good story and a good work out. :D

I leave you with a few pictures of Fernroyd House. It was so lovely and the owners Avril and Tony (and their dog, Chippy) were our favorites of the whole trip. It's no wonder they are rated #1 on Trip Advisor for Cork.

Our room
The garden



Laura P. said...

I went to Ireland as well (Dublin and a nearby small town...don't remember the name...). We rented a car and yeah...I'm glad I wasn't the only one scared with those narrow "roads" driving the "wrong" way down! : )

Alanna said...

This story still makes me LOL. :)

CB said...

You'd think "reverse" would be something that rent-a-car would tell you how to do. Crazy! Alls well that ends well right? Love that puppy picture. He's adorable.

Katie said...

How funny! I would love to visit Ireland some day.

Ashley said...

That is a wonderful story! I'm still giggling thinking about you pushing the car with B driving. My fears of driving in another country completely realized.