Down the rabbit hole

I can now check a whole 'nother round of things off my to-do list: take a last minute long weekend to see a man, eat some cheesecurds, drink out of a boot. Yes, I'm living my life like a character from The Bucket List. At some point this last year I realized, what the fuck am I waiting for? Hence the jumping out of a plane, trip to England and Ireland and now an impromptu visit to see a guy I used to date. He knew I was coming, it was like a sneak attack or stalking- I promise.

It has always sounded deliciously romantic and straight out of the movies to make last minute plans and jump on a plane to go see someone. It was exciting and fun, and as a bonus I only had 3! days to worry about whether or not I looked cute enough or if my ass has grown since the last time I saw him (it has) and he'll be horrified (if it did he didn't act like it).

As a friend pointed out this was like an Alice in Wonderland trip, everything seemed to have an oversized theme to it. First there was the oversized chair we sat in at Lake Mendota Terrace, the giant ostrich egg I bought at the farmers market (because who could pass a thing like that up? Not I.) to the enormous boot of beer at The Essen House. Apparently everything is bigger in Wisconsin, who knew?

To back things up a bit, I had to get up ridiculously early and so by about 6:45am I was sitting in the Chicago airport getting some breakfast- I asked for a cup of tea and shot of whiskey, a classic hot toddy. The waiter looked completely horrified, like i had just told him I like to hang puppy dogs by their tails. First off I had a scratchy throat from breathing dry airplane air and I thought a drink my calm my fluttering stomach. So the waiter haughtily informs me that it is entirely too early for him to serve me alcohol and walks off. Whatever dude, fuck you.

Now when I get to Milwaukee I had about an hour to kill so I try again, this time I start chatting with the bartender and relay my story of getting shot down in Chicago. She pats my hand and says "Honey, this is Wisconsin, we love to drink." as she is serving up my bourbon on the rocks. Guess what, I didn't get tipsy it just slowed down my nervous mind and from then on out I was golden.

The nerves were completely unfounded because even with the two years since we'd seen each other last it was just fine. I think he was doing his damnest to prove to me that Madison was the awesomest since he's been touting in emails since he moved there. I have to say he's a damn fine tour guide (in addition to being damn fine), I got to see both terraces (Madison is flanked by to big lakes), the capitol building, the farmers market, 2 breweries, an apple farm and then other random assorted sites. I drank a ridiculous amount of beer, ate cheese curds, part of an ostrich egg, a burger that had bacon, beef AND and bratwurst on a pretzel bun and watched my beloved Browns get their asses kicked by Green Bay. Ok, so that last part wasn't awesome, but I'm a Cleveland fan- disappointment runs in our blood.

It is possible that I fell a little bit in love with Madison*.

Really, how could I not?

*Ok, I realize that I said the exact same thing about Ireland- but Ireland and I are full blown in love, Madison and I need to get to know each other a little better before proper declarations are made.

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I came thisclose to never leaving Ireland. I can't explain it, I felt at home there. Perhaps it was the pint after pint of beer befuddling my brain or the general misty haze that comes with vacation but it's the truth, I love Ireland. WE ARE IN LOVE.

And really, my hair looked fucking fantastic the entire time I was there. That alone is reason enough for me to move there.

Tom, Sara and I had wandered around Kinsale all morning and by early afternoon they were ready for a nap. Me, I wanted to wander some more so I did. First I went up the hill towards a nunnery and then I turned left. Somehow I ended up sort of out in the countryside next to an old Irish guy walking his dog, he turned to me and said something. What he said is entirely a mystery because it's possible was speaking Gaelic, because even after I ask him to repeat himself I still couldn't understand him. So I said "Yeah, that was quite a steep hill" and then booked it because he very well may have been saying something about the weather and wondering why this strange American girl is babbling about a hill.
Eventually I headed back into town, partially because I was pissed that some stupid McMansion sort of development had put up giant 12 foot fences and it was blocking my view of the Irish countryside. WTF?

One night after dinner Tom and I headed into a pub (seriously, the drinking that went on was ridiculous). Sara was too tired to come with so she went back to the B&B while Tom and I went to listen to some Irish music. It was the fantastically little cozy place with locals and tourists alike, we grabbed a couple of pints and sat down to listen. The guy singing and playing guitar was fantastic, he sang a couple of songs and then invited us to all sing along to Mary Mack. We were only a quarter of the way into our pints and the guy was singing a pretty (but slightly cheesy) love song when Tom leaned over to me and said "I think I need to leave now." Confused I asked why and he said "Things are rumbling in a way that isn't good". Both of us grabbed our pints and tried to down as much of them as we could- because the damn things were 4+ Euros a piece.

As we were hightailing it across the town square Tom's gut let out this unearthly growl. It was so loud and sort of echoed off the buildings around us, which only caused me to bust into laughter. Poor Tom ended up spending a good portion of the night in the bathroom.

The following morning he seemed quite recovered and we all headed off to the ancient fort outside of town, taking the low road. Completely forgetting that poor Sara had foot surgery in July and thus by the time we got to the fort her poor feet were tuckered out. Tom and I ran around the inside of the fort, which was massive, and then we boarded the little road train thing to take us back into town. Once in town we drank some more (shocking), ate some lunch and then DRANK SOME MORE. In our defense it was Arthur's Day- the 250th founding of Guinness so drinking in Ireland was an absolute.

I took a seriously insane amount of photos- a few are here, the rest can be found on my flickr page- since I don't want to endlessly bore you with 30 different shots of Kinsale harbor.

Celtic Cross in a super old church:

Kinsale Harbor:

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