Jun
24
2010

I’m back in the USA

By Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

I’m back. Back in the USA. It feels good to be home after spending 20 days traveling throughout Italy and Ireland. I have a new appreciation for and understanding of European history and culture.

At the end of my journey, however, I have a renewed pride for America. I’m proud and blessed to say that I’m an American.

What was the one thing I missed the most?

American roads:

I braved driving for five days on narrow Irish roads that wind and curve along cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. By “narrow” I mean roads that are meant for two cars but only fit one-and-a-half-cars and have no median. The Irish drive quite fast and my assessment is that the most aggressive driver owns the road in the rural areas. 100 km/hr (62.14 mph) was fairly standard on roads that would probably be posted at 35 mph in the U.S. and I could count the number of cops I saw on one hand.

Let’s just say that getting a speeding ticket was the least of my worries. I was more worried about someone hitting me head-on as I rounded a narrow bend – or hitting a lamb grazing along the road – or blowing a tire to avoid a massive tractor barreling down the road. I could use an upper body massage to relieve the tension I acquired on the Irish roadways. Don’t get me wrong – Ireland was absolutely beautiful and I would go there again in a heartbeat. Driving is definitely the best way to see Ireland, but wider roads would make it a wee bit easier.

It’s wonderful to be back in a country where individual freedom reigns and cars have enough room to move along the road.

I’ll share more from Italy and Ireland in the days ahead. Thanks for waiting for me.

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