through the looking glass

Driving on the wrong side of the road while sitting on the wrong side of the car has been an adventure.

my car in Connemara

Apparently automatic transmissions are rare in Europe.  Budget did not have one available in the category that I chose, so I was bumped up 3 levels on the luxury scale and got a much better car than I paid for.  It’s a diesel, and I absolutely love it.  I drove for over a week and only used 2/3 of a tank.  My dad had a diesel once, and I’m completely sold on it.  I filled the tank for the first time today.  53 euro.  That’s about $75.  Ouch.

I decided to spring for the GPS rental.  I got a good deal, as they cut the normal price in half because it was such a long rental period.  It was definitely the right decision.  The first day or two I was nervous driving, and the GPS allowed me to focus on the road and not on navigation.  I could do without it now, as I am much more familiar with the geography and traffic signs, but I am glad that I have it.

nonexistent shoulder

Driving on the left feels natural now.  The only real issue is the narrow roads.  The lanes are a bit smaller than those in the US, and there is no shoulder at all.  So you can be driving along with a stone wall on your left and a tour bus buzzing by on the right and it feels like you’re about to become a bumper car.  The speed limit on many roads is 100km per hour, but I generally stick to around 60 and pull over to let people pass me.

I am starting to get a little sick of driving, though.  Tonight I am in Westport, County Mayo, and am considering staying here for two nights to avoid driving for an entire day.  It’s a big enough town to keep me occupied, and I’ll have plenty to read (and write!).

2 thoughts on “through the looking glass”

  1. It’s down right scary when the tour buses are coming at you on such narow roadways and no room to move out of the way! Thank heaven the mirrors turn in so easily 🙂

  2. When I lived in Southern Spain in the 70s the roads were also very narrow and nerve racking. I wish I was in Ireland. I have to go someday.

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