Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Galway

It was a rainy, blustery day in Galway. The weather here is capricious: raining one moment, sun peeking through clouds the next, but mostly misty and cloudy. This morning, I set out on an ill-advised walk along a river pathway; the beach isn’t far, and I wanted to see the ocean. There are few guardrails along the walkway, and as the wind whipped around me, nearly tearing off my jacket’s hood, it occurred to me that I might easily be swept into the water. I did reach the ocean, and the wind was so strong there I nearly fell over. But the view was beautiful—violently churning water, the wet stone walls, and, as I walked back, crowds of large white swans in the river.

Galway is a lovely little town, with one long pedestrian street that is the city’s heart. My B&B is a ten-minute walk from there, over the Wolfe Tone Bridge, over the churning water of the River Corrib. It’s run by a young couple with a tiny baby, and the family is a true picture of Irish coziness; in the morning, as I eat breakfast in the breakfast room, I can hear the baby cooing happily from the kitchen. Galway has lots of pubs and lots of bookstores, which is excellent because there is not that much else to do; I’ve finished the two novels I brought already—The Sea by John Banville and That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern—and have picked up a trilogy of Edna O’Brien novels at a local used bookstore. After my blustery walk today, I went to a cafĂ© with my book, then returned to the B&B for more reading, then headed out to a pub for a lunch of seafood chowder and a Guinness and…more reading. Then dinner (a hearty shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage, and turnips) and now, at the B&B once again, more reading. There are worse ways to have spent a cold wet February day.

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