The rain has finally stopped for the afternoon and the light outside has reached the “golden hour”. Like that is really going to make a difference in my vacation photos. I’m lucky if the picture is in focus much less perfectly lit.
Bryan and I are headed back over to Dunluce Castle in County Antrim, Ireland. We had been there earlier in the day but he wants to try to get a sunset picture. In true American tourist fashion, we are rushing around trying to get to the car. We’re quickly losing daylight and it’s still a good 15 minutes to the castle. We spot the car in the parking lot in the next to the last row facing the hotel. The pale blue compact rental is fairly nondescript and looks like a hundred other cars on the road in Ireland.
I unlock the car with the key fob and we climb in. Both doors close and we get situated before backing out of the parking space. As I try to put the key in the ignition, something catches my eye. Not that we left a lot of things in the car but there seem to be some things missing. Where is the map? Where is my jacket? And why does the car seem so clean on the inside? Ours has already collected a nice bit of dirt on the front floor mats. (Wait! Where are the front floor mats!)
In perfect sync, like all couples who have been together for a while, we whip around to face one another and yell “Crap, this is not our car!” Both doors fly open simultaneously.
Before we can slide out without being noticed, we happen to look up. There in the dining room window of the hotel facing the parking lot is an elderly couple staring at us with the most quizzical looks. They may not be the owners of the car but I would just about bet my life on the fact that they are. With as much cool as we can muster, we slide out and softly close the doors trying to look unfazed.
Pretending to be calm, cool and collected, we manage to quickly locate our own car. It is on the very back row and completely facing the other direction. Once again, I unlock the car with the fob and we quickly slide in. Taking a quick survey of the car contents, we verify that this is indeed our rental car. In an overwhelming fit of laughter, we become 12-year-old children unable to stop the giggling fit.
The fit passes, we can coherently speak again and I can finally see without all of the tears streaming down my face. We pull out of the lot and make it to Dunluce Castle with just enough time for some more photos. I can hear you asking, “How did your key fob open the other car”. Well, it didn’t. They had left the car unlocked and I hadn’t bothered to listen for a click of the door lock. I am grateful to the elderly couple for not calling the Irish Garda and I am grateful for such a funny travel episode that will leave me with a permanent smile each time I think about it.