A little over a year ago, around the end of the year of 2017, my sister and I decided we wanted to take our wonderful mother on her dream trip to Ireland. We saved and saved for a few months and then called our mom and told her our plans. Of course, she bawled. March came around and we bought our tickets, planning to go December 2018 so we could spend some time in Ontario with our family for Christmas after our trip.
Little did I know, I was going to be six months pregnant! I got pregnant in June and one of my first thoughts (after the ‘omg I’m having a freaking baby’ and jumping for joy with hubby), was our trip. I thought maybe we’d cancel, but I really didn’t want to do that to my mother. Of course, she would have understood, and she assured me whatever is best for baby and me.
But after some thought I decided, why the heck not just go? I was having a perfectly healthy pregnancy, my doctor told me it was fine, and who knew the next time I’d get to go to Europe! It was decided.
Some people thought I was a little crazy. It’s Europe, so I’d be doing a lot of walking, I was getting kind of big and I guess the thought of me going into labour in another country freaked some people out. The thought of going into labour would have freaked me out too, but it wasn’t likely, and I think I was the calmest of my friends and family about the whole thing. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked if I had travel insurance. I was reassuring other people that I’d be fine more than anything. But I knew everything would turn out great as long as I didn’t do anything dumb.
So, December 5th we went on our girls’ trip. We flew six and a half hours overnight to Dublin, Ireland, spent about three days there, then flew to Spain for three days, and 9 hours back to Ontario. The flights honestly weren’t as bad as I thought they would be.
I started off with some back pain on the way to Ireland but my mom and I bought our seats ahead of time so we could get lots of leg room. I made sure I got up and stretched and did a little walk every hour or so and stayed super hydrated (which meant lots of getting up for pee breaks too). I ate everything they offered us to keep baby and I fed (yum, plane food…).
We arrived in Dublin and got a taxi to our Airbnb in Donabate. I underestimated how much money we would end up spending on transportation. Fortunately for us, the train station was close to our Airbnb and it was the cheapest way to get around once we were there.
We had the nicest hosts! They were so helpful, fed us breakfast every morning we were there and told us about the best places to visit. We each had our own rooms in a nice, big house. It was about a half hour train ride to the Dublin city center, so we headed there first. We ended up taking the wrong train and had to jump onto another one, but the great thing about Ireland was people were super nice when we asked them about directions. I think they loved having any excuse to talk because Irish people apparently love to talk!
Eventually we got to Dublin and we walked Grafton Street, went to Temple Bar, and Trinity College. We had a snack at one of the many cute little cafes and bought a few souvenirs. By the time we were ready to head back it was dark, and we saw the Liefy River bridges all lit up with Christmas lights and a bunch of Christmas trees down the streets.
The city was really starting to come to life with all the people coming into town to go to the bars and clubs or get a late dinner. It was really incredible. We did a lot of walking and the jet lag was real. I did a lot of resting, but eventually we headed back to our Airbnb for some much-needed sleep.
The next day was our all-day tour to the city of Galway, and the Cliffs of Moher. We caught our bus at 7 am and I slept most of the 2-hour drive to Galway. We had a tour guide take us around the city, had some free time for a quick bite and then headed to the cliffs while I rested some more.
The cliffs of Moher were breathtaking. It was so windy we were pushed around quite a bit but what we were able to stay outside for was gorgeous. Eventually we couldn’t take the wind anymore and headed inside to the visitor center and the café for some hot chocolate. We headed back onto the bus to a pub down the road where we had delicious, authentic Irish food. My mom had Guiness stew (amazing) and I had bangers and mash (basically sausages, gravy, and mashed potatoes – also amazing).
We made a quick stop to the local fudge store next door then headed back to Dublin and took our train back to the station in Donabate, where our lovely host picked us up. I did a lot of sleeping on buses that day but I’m so glad I did because I was well rested for all the walking.
Our last full day we slept in and took the train to Malahide, a cute little city next door to Donabate with shops all along the roads. We ate at a café for breakfast, walked around and shopped.
I was getting pretty tired by this day, so when we went to go see the Malahide castle, I couldn’t walk all the way to it. I had to sit on a bench halfway and my sister and mom went the rest of the way (another 15 minutes or so) to see it. We had done a lot of walking by then and I knew we had more to do, and I just really needed to rest for more than 5 minutes.
Like I said, I wasn’t going to do anything stupid and if I had to miss a thing or two then I would. They got some nice pictures for me, and I was fine for the rest of the day. We had an early flight the next day to Barcelona, so we headed back that evening and went right to bed.
The airport in Ireland was a nightmare. We had to wait till half an hour before boarding time to find out our gate, walked 15 minutes across the airport to our gate, only to find out our gate had changed by the time we got there, and it was back the way we came. We spent the half an hour running across the airport and I was pissed the gate changed on us.
My body was so tired, and I needed water bad and got some as soon as I got onto the plane. But everything was fine, and I slept on the plane. Then when we got to Barcelona, we took an expensive cab ride to absolutely nowhere near our Airbnb, and we had to use different wifi spots all over town to try and find our Airbnb for probably another hour. We did nothing when we finally got to our Airbnb (a three-story walk up, which wasn’t mentioned on Airbnb of course) but rest and get an early night to bed. It was a rough day and we were all exhausted.
The next day was our cooking class and tour of La Boqueria, the most famous market in all of Spain. It ended up just being the three of us on this private tour and class, and our guide/chef was amazing. We made seafood paella, ate some delicious tapas, and made a Catalan cream dessert, then got to eat it all together. Later we saw the Barcelona Cathedral, the Santa Maria del Mar, and walked around town before getting dinner. We then headed to a café for some hot drinks and sat outside for the evening before heading back in.
The next day we cabbed to la Sagrada Familia Cathedral. It was incredibly gorgeous. Tall towers, beautiful stained-glass windows, crazy detailed architecture… if you don’t know about this church it’s the most famous and visited landmark in Barcelona and was started in 1882, and still isn’t finished. I highly recommend visiting it if you ever go there. I would have loved to go in the towers, but my mom is afraid of heights, so we didn’t bother paying the extra money for the tickets. Next time.
We went to a delicious dessert place near our Airbnb and then headed back in for our last night of sleep before heading back home. It was a 9-hour flight to Ontario, and there was lots of getting up, stretching, and drinking water. And guess what – no Irish or Spanish baby was had!
This trip was probably not the regular baby-moon or pre-baby trip a 6-month pregnant woman would normally want to take, but I enjoyed it so much. It was something we had planned pre-pregnancy and honestly it was something I wasn’t willing to miss out on, not only for my mother, but for me.
Yes, it was a lot of resting and finding washrooms, but it was so worth it. We squeezed a lot into the week we had but knowing how happy my mother was for us to want to take her on this trip was amazing. My mother is so hard working, as a stay-at-home-mom – both my parents always have been incredibly hard-working.
I have to say though, that it is so good to be home. It was a good time for us to go because I am just starting now to get more tired and achy. We still have time to prepare for baby and I can do it without stressing too much. And when baby is older, I can tell him he’s already a little traveler after having gone to Europe in his mama’s belly.
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