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I've found that museums are generally happy to let you photograph objects...but that doesn't mean you'll get good images. Today's blog title is, of course, a little pun. Having reviewed the various substations of the National Museum of Ireland online, I determined that the Archaeology Museum was the only one likely to have things I was interested in. They had a lovely large wing of Viking-era materials, although pretty much all the textile finds were kept in rooms that were dark enough you could barely read the information cards, much less see any details.

Tuesday was the whirlwind walking tour of Dublin day. I started off with the campus tour of Trinity College Dublin (where I'm staying), which gave background on the main buildings and  history of the college. The repeating theme of the tour was, "And this building was designed in [date] by [name] and then the college built it and never paid him for his designs." (Ok, so maybe it only happened for two or three of the main buildings.) The tour ended up in the Old Library which houses the several early medieval gospel books, including the Book of Kells.

Back in '99 when I was taking enough trains around Europe that it was worth it to have a rail pass, I was regularly gobsmacked at how (at least on the Continent) they ran to-the-minute per the published schedule. Yesterday, pretty much every train I was on was delayed...which was a good thing because otherwise I would have missed a couple of connections.

Just a quick note this time. Yesterday we did a little more wandering around Durham. Checked out the stalls in the Old Market Hall looking for gifts, but didn't see anything that really grabbed me. Went off to look at Sara & Joel's new house that they're gradually getting fixed up for moving in and had serious Old House Envy. (18th century beams! 0.5 meter thick back wall (now an interior wall of the house)! Cute postage-stamp back garden with sheds!) Had lunch and a pint in the pub right around the corner from the new (old) house.

Thursday was both leisurely and taken up entirely by travel. After a lazy breakfast, I could the train from Deventer at 11am. Local to Schiphol, then the Thalys to Brussels, the Eurostar to London, one train up to York, then a change for the last leg to Durham. The changes all had plenty of time to find my platform, but never really enough time to stop and look around or do more than grab something to eat later on the train.

Wednesday was another ambling around Deventer day. Irina and I went off to various shops to pick up so specialty cheese and wurst to take to Sara & Co. on my next stop. (Also some cheese for me to take home, once I'd verified that their packaging technique would pass customs.) Then just more wandering with tour guide: tracing the old city walls (both the earthwork built against the Vikings and the medieval stone wall that can still be seen in fragments and lasted into the early 17th century (IIRC).

When I thought about what I wanted to do to extend my trip a little (because it seems silly to fly all the way to Europe and not do a bit of extra traveling), I decided that rather than focus on museums and castles and whatnot, I wanted to spend the time visiting people--especially people that I've known for quite some time and had never met in person. I met Irina way back during Usenet days on rec.arts.sf.composition, so that would be about 20 years ago or so. She's been a beta reader for a number of my stories and books, but up until last week we'd never been in the same time and place.

This will be an irregular chronicle of My Summer Vacation, beginning in Helsinki, Finland. Seeing all sorts of online friends reporting late planes and missed connections, I have to count myself lucky at getting a non-stop flight (though we were delayed an hour taking off, so good thing I didn't have a connection to miss). I spotted several other Worldcon-bound fans in the waiting room for my flight, in some cases due to strategic use of the "Helsinki 2017" bright blue t-shirts, but in some cases because it was someone I actually knew (waves at David Peterson).

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