07 February 2008

The Advantage of the Long-Distance Traveler

This lunchtime I was at Dublin Airport and parted from a friend who was flying to Zürich (a distance of 750 miles), while I was traveling on land to Waterford (a distance of 100 miles). The weather was fine and dry, the temperature 11 degrees Celsius and there appeared to be no problems.

My friend's aeroplane left on time at 12.30 p.m., and shortly afterwards I left the airport and headed South on the Irish motorway system. But I did not get very far. Somewhere - far ahead of me and out of sight - there was apparently an accident, which blocked the flow of traffic and created a massive traffic jam around Dublin.

After about two hours and thirty minutes I received a text message from my friend, telling me of the save arrival in
Zürich, while I was still very close to Dublin Airport. To make a long story short, there were two more accidents on the way South, and after a truly nightmarish journey I did eventually arrive in Waterford shortly before 8.30 p.m. this evening.

For the 100 miles across Ireland I needed eight hours, while my friend crossed a 7.5 times longer
distance to Europe in little more than two hours(!), about a quarter of the time I spent on the road.
We are not a large island, and have a population of only 4.3 million by now. So one would think it should be possible to create an infrastructure that makes traveling in Ireland a normal and reasonably timed experience. Sadly that is much too often not the case, because there is widespread incompetence in our government and on all levels of administration. Everything seems to be more complicated, takes a lot longer, and costs a lot more money than similar things do elsewhere in Europe.

A long-distance traveler coming to or going from Ireland has therefore a clear advantage over the domestic traveler in Ireland, who is left helpless in the huge spider's web of incompetence, bad planning and slow reaction to events. It is really no fun to travel in Ireland, and least so when the journey begins or ends in Dublin.

The Emerald Islander


The Wild Goose said...

For sure there is usually trouble when leaving from or travelling to the capital city of a country and such traffic jams are everywhere common. It is really amazing how fast one can travel nowadays and it is also good so. Anyway I suppose it was much more interesting when people just had horses and carriages needing many days to cover a distance of 750 miles.It was for sure less poluting than thousands of cars on the motorway or hundreds of planes flying around.


Yes, travel is not always enjoyable. And I often wish we could go back to those days of horses and carts. The communication and transportation did take a lot longer, yes. But people in general had more time, were not stressed and appreciated Nature, which was unpolluted then.
Sadly the "good old days" are gone, so we have to manage with what we have. Still, individuals can make a difference, and I do no longer use aeroplanes. A small contribution of one, but anyone can join in. It's still a free society we live in...

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