Saturday, May 8, 2010

Galway, Ireland, and surrounding areas

I've been on the western side of Ireland for the past few days and I've done and seen a lot.


We stayed in Galway and drove to local cities and sights.  Galway is a seaside town, so basically there's a lot of boats and water:

Something I noticed when we got to Ireland was that people use another language here--the Irish language:

And the beaches here are totally different than the sunny beaches of South Florida.  They're cold, windy and mostly deserted.  But I wanted to test the water anyway:

A little cold.

One thing I've been doing a lot of lately is taking pictures.  The verdant fields, crumbling castles and wild animals all make for good photos.  We drove to the Connemara district and stopped at a few cute towns.

During the drive, we came across a tiny beach with wild horses roaming in a grassy field next to it:

Here are some other shots of the Irish countryside:

Kickass rainbow:

About the food
Though the photography has been awesome, my diet has been kind of hit-or-miss.  It's definitely harder to find vegan-friendly food and restaurants here.  And I'm a little worried about whether or not I'm getting sufficient protein and other essential vitamins.
This has been my usual diet so far:  three pieces of fruit from morning until afternoon (usually orange, apple and banana) and then dinner at a restaurant at night.  In Galway, I've had a vegan burrito, vegetable soup, spinach with chickpeas in tomato sauce and tofu with rice and green beans for dinner on three separate nights.  Not too bad actually.
Going to a restaurant can be a bit tricky, though.  Sometimes I feel like such an ass because I have to ask so many questions.  "Is the sauce made with milk or eggs?"  "There's no butter used to cook the vegetables, right?"  I mean, maybe I'm overanalyzing this and it's not really a big deal for the waiter or waitress, but I feel like I have to play 20 Questions just to order a simple rice dish.  So far, I've been pretty successful with eating out, however, I did accidentally eat bread that was made with buttermilk the other night.  Oops.  And, of course, Guinness is a main component of the Irish diet here, so I have complied.
Eating with the Boyfriend can be a bit conflicting because he's an intense meat-lover.  He would eat meat three times a day if given the choice.  While I'm nibbling away at fresh vegetables, he's chowing down on blood-red chorizo.  It's a little gross but I have to be respectful of his choices as he is of mine.  And I think I might be able to convince him to eat more fruits and veggies in time...

As I traveled from Galway to Killarney via Bus Eireann, I had to make a stop in Limerick for a connecting bus.  I actually had a really nice sundried tomato and onion sandwich on whole wheat bread while I waited:

Exercising in different ways
When I'm in the States, I usually hit the gym five times a week and ride my bike 100 miles a week.  I can't do either of those things here, so I've been working with what I have.
I haven't really been running since I strained my knee a few days ago jogging in Hyde Park.  So I've been taking it kind of easy.  Lately, the only moderate workouts I've experienced are the climbs.
We visited the Cliffs of Moher the other day and hiked all the way around the park.  These cliffs are so beautiful.  When I looked over the side, my stomach churned a little.  The drop is so magnificently far and the air is so fresh it feels like you could inhale forever.

Of course, we don't listen to signs:
I went to Inis Mor (the largest of the Aran Islands) the next day by myself.  It was a bit cold and windy on the ferry to the island, so I was feeling pessimistic about the trip.  But I rented a clunky bike when I got there and had a blast:
I kept riding along the main road that took me to the other end of the island.  There were beautiful ruins and fields.
Here's an old cemetery and church:
And Dun Aengus was really cool.  It's the remains of a village that's located on some pretty steep cliffs:
Question for readers:  How does your diet or exercise change when you travel?  Do they?


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