Groundhog Day Blues

How apt that we arrived home just in time for Groundhog day! Well in fact Groundhog day was our 3rd day at home but the first day I felt I was coming around to the idea that being at home is not all that bad. Today was a big day as it was officially the final day in our adventure, the day I would be re-united with some friends and family but sadly a very sad day, as I would say goodbye to Niamh as she returned to England. The famous two’s N&N’s adventure was well and truly over. But allow me first I tell you what how our very last day on the trip went before I formally close this chapter of the advenute.

So for one last time this was how our last day in Lima went: Niamh and I got up super early and headed off on a bus tour like proper tourists in Lima. It was our first and last bus tour of the trip and we were so glad to have taken it as the city is massive and trying to get around with only a few hours left we needed the helping hand of the proffesionals. And how well worth it was. What an amazing city. With a population of 8 million, it is a bustling hub bub of activity with beautiful archecticually designed buildings and signs of wealth on show in the centre. As you know we had seen the other extreme the day before so there really are two sides to this diverse city.




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Even though the main square was closed due demonstrations our guide had blackmailed his way in so we could see the spectacular Cathedral in the main square.



The mad thing about Lima was that everyone had told us not to stay long, ‘Lima is a dump, one night is plenty’. Again more scare mongering about attacks and the dangerous of Lima. Thankfully I had taken some great advice from my cousin Francis who had spent a month in the Barranco area of Lima, it is right on the ocean, with great restaurants, sea views and generally a great buzz about the place. We also stayed in the hostel she stayed in for a month called One hostel. Family run it was home from home. Melissa who was so helpful to us during our short stay was a good friend of my cousins but the poor girl had fallen off her bike the week before so we didnt get to spend too much time with her. 1363

Once we got back from our tour we were back in the edgy Barranco area to meet friends of Niamh’s Valeria and Max, a Peruvian girl who works in London that Niamh has worked with through the theatre and her new English husband Max. Back in her home city, they were on the 2nd week of their honeymoon. It was great to be with a local for lunch who ordered us some local delicacies of BBQ-d Beef Heart and deep fried cheese, both yummy!






It was our last view of the ocean and our last two hours in the city. Tears were welling up in my eyes at the prospects of leaving the sun and the fun and having to go to the airport and back home. I couldn’t believe it, that was that, the trip was over. Where did it all go. I thought we had 6 weeks.. what? I have to go home?? I was not a happy backpacker. It was like saying good bye to an unrequited love as I turned my back to the Pacific, whispering sweet nothings ‘ I will see you again, very soon, wait for me!’. It didnt talk back. God damn unrequited lovers!

Fast forward 24 hours later, a cold wet arrival in Dublin airport around 6pm, an aircoach trip home but then warmily greeted by these two little monkeys! I was so happy to see them and I think they were me too as not only does Aunty Norma coming home mean more play time it also means presents and I lived up to my name bringing home fluffy llamas, bracklets and pencils. Roisin was delighted and Sadhbh was just her delirious happy self. It really was the silver lining of being at home.



Saturday and Groundhog day came around very quickly and we had organised a Paris re-union before Niamh flew back to Stratford upon Avon. Jen, Audrey and Cian joined us to hear all the stories and big catch up from the last few weeks. We also went to visit our friends Marie and Barry and baby Juliette in their fab new home in Drumcondra. Pots of tea and scones later, it was time for me to drive Niamh to drive to the airport.

Paris Brunch, Andersons, Glasnevin 2.2.13
Paris Brunch, Andersons, Glasnevin 2.2.13




Although delighted to see our friends again it was like we never left but yet Niamh and I knew something has changed. We’ve seen another side of the world that becomes apart of you. Latin america tattoos itself into your soul so you will never forget it and it sticks until you return to feed it.

A big hug and a ‘See you soon’, Niamh and I are not two friends to dwell on goodbyes, we’ve had to do lots down through the years but each of us so sad to say goodbye to a super close travel buddy we knew we would be in touch very soon.

2 hours later and I was back home in Mungret, Limerick to be greeted by I think two very relieved parents as I arrived home, all limbs intact and no visible scars. Yes Mam and Dad I survived 6 weeks thank God unscathed. Niamh and I know we were the lucky ones but lots of common sense and a few guardian angles kept us from harm.

More tea and catch ups and I was out on the tiles catching up with more friends. Niamh Quaid and her sisters were out to celebrate Una Quaid’s birthday so I gladly joined them for a few sociables. As Ireland had been victorious against the Welsh in such amazing fashion Limerick was hopping. My cousin Fergal and all his crew from UL that I would have been in college with were out too so we had a great night. I was in flying form and the blues of being home were well and truly forgotten on what had turned out to be a fantastic Groundhog day. 032



Back in Dublin and interviews a plenty, my next adventure is of the working, PAYE variety. Watch this space, I’m sure I will keep it interesting not just for me but for you, the readers too 😉

Thanks for reading my blog during the last few weeks and a special thank you for the feedback and support. Thanks to the super cool people we met along the way, without you it would have been a great place but the people make it.  I loved writing it every bit of it and the sleepless nights fighting with poor wifi to upload every pic was well worth it!  This is not the end, as 2013 is going to be full of more Norma antics and adventures that I’m sure are worthy of a blog entry or two so bare with me! Keep an eye out! 🙂 🙂 Thanks again!