Galway reminds Claude of the Pacific Northwest. It is always wet and the scent of timber returning to earth is always on the air and there are blackberries in every open lot and clinging to every collapsing building.
It was a “soft” morning the other day and Claude got soaked in the 2 mile walk to work, but as he got to campus he realized “I work at the University.” He thought back to the wonderful days of his youth wandering around campuses where his father worked.
We are still looking for accommodations. Things we have learned thus far: The university is on the West side of the river and Galway (old town) is on the East. The medieval city is a very cool and happening place, but not if you want to have 2 bathrooms and space to store your bikes. Anything on the East side of the river will significantly lengthen the commute as there are only 4 bridges and they all get backed up as rush hour starts. On the west side, near the campus, everyone who is not a student says: “Don’t rent there as there are so many students and parties every night. You won’t sleep a wink, I’ll tell you now.” People of student age claim it is the best place to rent. Farther out of town, before you get to the hills, is the area of the old projects. Towers that were knocked down and homes built in their place, but still considered a “lower class” part of town. “Watch out for the Gypsies” we are told on a regular basis — Claude almost wants to tell them that he is descended from good Gypsy stock, but he keeps his mouth closed as he is here to learn not to educate. Anyway the houses that we have seen there are rather run down and in need of repair. Going a bit farther out of town and into the hills we get the upscale neighbourhoods. There was a nice house just down the road from Michael D. (the new Irish president, don’t ya know). It was a nice 3bdr, 2bth that overlooked the city. But on a steep hill and down a narrow lane, a bit far from work for cycling. Keep in mind that we don’t have a car and we don’t want to get one. The place closest to work was a bit run down and smelled “funny.” Not quite sure what that smell was but it could have been old musty house. In any case we didn’t take that one either; by the way, “old musty house” smell reminds Claude of aunt Kay’s (nee grandma’s) house. And warm “old musty house” reminds Claude of their garage in the back yard, though he supposes that has long since fallen down.
Claude’s father, Claude senior, said he when he was in Galway he determined the sun does not set on Galway Bay as noted in the song. The other day Claude was in a restaurant and there was an old travel poster on the wall (1930’s or so) that said “Come to Salthill and see the sun go down on Galway Bay.” So we looked in Salthill for accommodations, perhaps we are to get a house there so that we can see the sun set on Galway Bay.
In any case we are doing well. Cindy is picking up the speech patterns. Claude is starting to settle in at work and worry about money. That last part comes naturally as he comes from good stock in that vein. We are enjoying the adventure and looking forward to seeing what happens next.