This blog post is dedicated to Victor Schriemer:

We started out Friday morning in Ottawa by getting up early to go do a radio interview on the CBC. I had a short nap after lunch Friday then we headed to the airport around 4 pm (that was the only way to make the timing work with the homefront unit) for our evening flight to Toronto. We had a few hours to kill at the Ottawa airport so we went for a nice relaxed dinner (well, I didn't eat much because I don't fly well on a full stomach) and then sat down with tea to do some work (Mom) and read (Catherine).

Flight to Toronto very routine and boring (my favourite kind of flight) and we hoofed it through Pearson to reach our gate. If you've ever done the domestic-to-international-gate-D-to-gate-E thing at Pearson, you'll know what I mean. It's a good walk, and our layover was only one hour so that meant no time to spare. It all worked well and we boarded our flight to Dublin, that left just after 11 pm. By this point we were getting a touch ragged. Didn't take us long once we were up in the air to fall asleep. We woke up around 12:30 to nibble at the complimentary dinner (eh? free food on a cheap flight? what is this, 1972? but OK we'll take it) and promptly conked out again. We slept through the complimentary "breakfast" before touching down at 10:40 am local time.

Customs was remarkably relaxed (if you're used to flying to the US from Canada, it was exactly unlike that) but baggage retrieval was a bit of a joke that went on for almost an hour as they forgot to empty half the plane then seemed to get lost between the plane and the terminal. But eventually everything got sorted out and off we went via shuttle to rent our cute tiny car.

We spent half the afternoon roaming around central Dublin (first stop: cake/coffee shop to celebrate Catherine's birthday), then we headed out of town to our hotel, in an area called CityWest which is very nice indeed. Checked into this huge, rambling hotel, brought up our bags, got ourselves registered and weighed for the tournament, and recorded the video above. You can tell we're starting to sag a little, but we weren't done with the festivities as Mama managed to blow an electrical fuse getting the electrical converter to work (it was all fine in the end - I'm using the same equipment that worked like a charm all over England earlier this summer - and everything is working well now). Unfortunately we did not make it to the shopping centre in time but we did find out that our room includes a working whirlpool and that kind of made up for it.

More fun to come today (Sunday). We start with an early morning trip to the beach (we're nuts about beaches) followed by team training, more sightseeing then team dinner. Opening ceremonies are tomorrow morning, and we start competing right after that. Today is a day to loosen up, relax, finish getting over jetlag and getting ourselves in the right kind of mental place to do well in competition tomorrow.