Day Fifteen (9/28/18): Home, or, Steve Can’t Hold His Liquor
I awoke this morning to a spectacular sunrise and accompanying ocean view from my bedroom windows. While Tim decided to go out for an early morning run (clearly the adventure run of a few days ago did not dampen his desire for self-torture), I sat in bed, worked on my writing, and watching the sun rise gloriously above eastern Ireland.
It was with great reluctance that Tim and I packed our bags for the final leg of our journey. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the Dublin airport. We were running a bit late when we arrived, so naturally, we kept running into delays. For the first time on the entire trip, I was stopped by security. I knew this moment would be coming eventually. After passing through so many airports in the past two weeks without a hitch, it was bound to happen. However, I had always figured that it would be my passport that caused my undoing (see https://dexysmidnightramblings.com/2018/09/20/roundabout-circling-the-emerald-isle-day-one/ for more details on that). No, it was a bottle of Bunratty Meade that I had purchased as a souvenir for a friend, then stupidly packed away in the wrong bag, and forgot about, until…
A couple of security personnel joked with me, as they began to rifle through my bag. “You aren’t tryin’ to sneak some whiskey on board, now are ya?” said one in a wide Irish brogue, but with a suspicious look in his eye. I stammered that no, I won’t do a thing like that, all the while frantically thinking “Where on earth did I pack that bottle?” Meanwhile, a crowd was starting to form as my extended bag search started attracting attention.
“Uh oh, what’s this?” He said as he dramatically pulled the carefully wrapped meade from the bottom of my carry-on bag. I heard snickers and murmuring around me. I could imagine them thinking, “Oh aye, so the Yank’s trying to pull one over on us now? Sneakin’ somethin’ past customs, is he?” I stammered out an explanation of what had happened. I wasn’t trying to sneak anything out. I made an honest mistake. I don’t think anyone believed me though. Security then gave me two options. Go back to baggage check in to sort it out, or leave the mead behind. Just then, the final boarding call for my flight was announced. The decision was made for me: I was going to have to give up the bottle. I purchased it early on during the trip and had kept it safely with me, only lose it at the very end. I guess you could say that after living the Irish/Scottish life for two weeks, I still couldn’t hold my liquor.
We managed to get aboard our WOW Air flight in the nick of time, and an hour later, we were back at the Keflavik Airport in Iceland. We had a seven-hour layover, so we tried to make the most of it. We hopped onto a bus, and traveled north to Reykjavik. Although the weather had not improved much since our last visit to the island, we determined to explore the city. We first stopped off at Hallgrimskirkja, a large, imposing, ornate church which towered over the Reykjavik skyline. It was an active place of worship, run by the Church of Iceland (Evangelical Lutheran). It was an awe-inspiring building, both inside and out. Despite the cold and drizzle, we continued to explore what turned out to be a very nice city nestled along the rocky western shoreline of Iceland. We popped in at a few shops, and as a final souvenir purchase, I bought a copy of Harry Potter in Icelandic, (a must-have for all true Potter fans).
Learning our lesson from that morning, we arrived at the airport in plenty of time, and had no security hassles to boot. Still, Tim and I were in a somber mood as we boarded. Essentially, our trip was at an end. After a long, uncomfortable flight, we would be home. As for me, I would be hitting the ground running. I had plans in place for the following few months, which started the very morning after coming home (Jet lag? Psh! Who has time for that?).
We arrived at O’Hare around 11 pm, and began the most difficult part of our journey: actually trying to get out of the airport. I quickly came to appreciate the quiet efficiency of European airports as we bounced from line to line. We planned to order an Uber car, but then, most likely from sheer exhaustion, Tim and I could not locate the pick-up zone. We wandered around, asked for directions, studied the maps. Finally, we hopped a shuttle bus that took us to another terminal at the other end of the airport, where we found the illusive pick-up zone, and secured a ride. By 2 am, we were back home (or, at least, I was. Tim still had to head back to St. Louis the next day), ending what I considered to be one of the best vacations I had ever spent!