Monthly Archives: August 2018

Dublin Day 1

Our introduction to Dublin was an interesting one. We received an informal but welcome tour of the city by Ronan, our cab driver, who revealed he’s lived by the Dubin airport for 53 years.

Our Dublin hotel was probably one of the worst hotel experiences I’ve ever had, and I don’t quite know where to begin. So I’ll lay out what happened chronologically.

  • Arrived around 8:30 pm, and the door to the hotel was locked. Not the door to our hotel room, the door to the hotel. Ronan the Cabbie had to bang on the hotel door for us to get the receptionist to let us in.
  • Timoty (yes, spelled that way) was very frazzled when I gave him my name to check in. He asked if another member of our party had already checked into the room, and I told him that was impossible because the only people who were supposed to be in the room were standing in front of him.
  • Timoty revealed to us that another person had been given our room accidentally, so we would be given his room. No big deal, as long as we have a place to sleep.
  • The room was suite-like, with an exit onto the top floor balcony. Which was great. Until we learned that the door that leads from the balcony to our room DOES NOT LOCK. The top floor balcony is shared among all sixth-floor residents so anyone on the sixth floor could walk into our room.
  • Exiting the room for dinner, we came across Timoty who was struggling under the weight of delivering a new mattress to the room next door. We didn’t stop to get the full story, but it struck me as enough of an oddity that I’m sharing it with you.
  • At 8 am the next morning, I woke up incredibly paranoid that someone was in our room. I got out of bed to look around the room, only to find that the balcony door was wide open. Cold Dublin air and strong winds were gusting into our room before I shut the door. (No one was in the room, but it was the sound of the door banging against its frame that had startled me.)
  • At 9 am that same morning, the fire alarm went off on the floor for a brief 10 seconds. It was enough time for me to shoot out of bed, grab my phone, and prepare my shoes. I popped my head out of the doorway where the housekeeper shrugged her shoulders at me and said: “I dunno what that was, it wasn’t me.” So I returned to bed.
  • Between 10 and 11 am, a mysterious door somewhere near our room kept opening and slamming shut. The slamming was so abrasive that it shook the headboard of our bed repeatedly. I have a few theories as to what this door was. Perhaps it was a neighboring hotel guests’ unruly balcony door in the wind. Or more likely it was the housekeeper’s supply room door opening and closing as she accessed the supplies.

Somewhere during my personal hell outlined above, we set out to find a late dinner at a pub Ronan the Cabbie recommended. We walked past St. Stephen’s Green and the street Christmas decorations, and we were impressed. The city had an interesting feel to it at night. Homeless men gathered around a folding table that was dispensing hot drinks and food. There were different street musicians playing. Someone played the bagpipes, and a few talented guitarists were out.

The pub Ronan recommended was strange. With a smoking section on the top floor, and a serve-yourself-cafeteria-style dinner. We left in favor of a loud pub and ordered food as the kitchens were closing. It was a good inauguration to the city for two people coming down with tremendous head colds.

We passed out shortly in the room for the most restless night ever.

Advertisements

London Day 7

Alas, we reached the conclusion of our first week abroad. It felt overdue, as evidenced by the nasty cold symptoms Kenny woke up with. Already, one day of touring and a 9 pm flight to Dublin looked like they were going to be a stretch.

We took our time to get ready and pack up our belongings, careful to check the safe three times before dropping our bags off with the front desk and checking out.

We went to the Science Museum in London, a free museum, and it seemed like the entirety of the city had the same idea. Between the Science Museum and the British Museum, the lines were ridiculous. We navigated through the exhibits without much concern for what we were reading. I was too stressed about making our international flight, still unclear if Ireland was in the U.K. (I know, I know) and Kenny, having fallen ill, was at a feverish point where his brain had turned into soup. We eventually forsook the Museum in favor of finding Kenny a place to rest and me a place with free wifi where I could check us in for our flight to Dublin.

We navigated back to a pub in Pimlico, near to our hotel, and I ordered us food and stress-ate over making sure we had plane seats that were not ridiculously small for two Americans of average height– a struggle we faced on our flight to Heathrow. We then returned to the hotel collect our bags and bid a saddened farewell to the hotel staff who had become our family, if just for the holidays.

Now, let me sing you the song of our journey to Heathrow. Not unlike our journey from Heathrow to the hotel, our commute to the airport was stressful. Being an avid traveler, I usually like to show up to the airport sometime between yesterday and six hours before the flight is scheduled to depart. Alright, that’s an exaggeration, but my mom taught me that nothing is sweeter than the taste of edom to roam an airport, uninhibited by a sprint to the terminal. As Kenny was sick, I tried to order an Uber– but Uber decided that I, a Washingtonian, didn’t belong in London, and shut down my account promptly. I still don’t have clarity on why this happened, but there we were. We had already ruled out taking a cab, fearful that we would blow through the pound, euros, and dollars in our wallets if we wound up with the same type of oh-so-hospitable cabbie on our return that we had on our first day in the city. Kenny advocated– and won– for the Undergound. With minimal transfers, and 20 stops later, the trip was over an hour long. We uncomfortably stood with our duffel bags among rush hour commuters.

800px-London_Underground_Overground_DLR_Crossrail_map_zone.svg.png

We arrived at Heathrow a comfortable 3 hours earlier than our scheduled flight, around 6:00 pm. A very kind Aer Lingus clerk checked us in for a flight that would take off one hour sooner, at 7 pm, giving us just enough time to spend our remaining pounds on Toblerone and bottles of water at the duty-free shop before boarding the flight for Dublin. We rested on the flight, simply exhausted, and landed safely in Ireland not too much longer.

Coming next week: the tale of our first night in Dubin. It’s a doozy, and deserved its own post!