Part 1, Dublin
I woke up on Friday morning in Brussels and was feeling pretty tired and worn out over the thought of planning my next move and the logistics that come with it. I had a pretty fair idea that I wanted to go to Ireland, had a quick look at some tour options and then FaceTimed my two most senior advisors for their thoughts. The words “should I book this organised tour” were barely out of my mouth and Dad was saying “sounds like a brilliant idea Lizzie, go for it.” Personally I think Dad just liked the idea of knowing where I was each day and that I wasn’t in charge of directions!
Moments later I was booked in for a 6 Day All Ireland tour with Paddywagon starting two days later. Before the tour started I had two days in Dublin. I arrived just before lunchtime in to Dublin airport after a less than cruisy departure from Brussels. I must have been so tired when I stepped on the plane because I don’t even remember taking off. I think I may have been asleep before the safety briefing, oops. I was so happy to be in Dublin that I basically skipped over to the baggage carousel to get my beloved backpack and yes, you guessed it, It didn’t make the flight. The trials and tribulations of Bmac without her backpack were well documented on Facebook and Snapchat so I won’t go into it here, except I will say I was thrilled when it turned up 34 hours later!
Now I have a confession make and It’s a little bit embarrassing. As I arrived in Dublin I went to the ATM as I’ve sworn to myself I will never be without emergency cash in the event some places don’t take card. I went over the the ATM to withdraw my preloaded GBPs (so proud of myself for thinking ahead) and it came up with the euro symbol. I was like hmm why would I want to get euros out. So I went in to a shop and asked if they did cash back and noticed their prices were in euros to. I said to the lady “why is everything in euros?” And this is when she explained to be that It’s only really Belfast in Northern Ireland that take pounds. I honestly had no idea! I knew that The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are two different countries, and only Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but I didn’t even think about currency. So there you go, that was my life lesson for the day!
Dublin was buzzing AND REALLY COLD. I stayed at Times Hostel. It was the cheapest place available and even still I almost had a coronary at the price… about $140 for two nights in a 4 bed mixed dorm. That’s pretty cheeky. Dublin is expensive it seems! Times also have two hostels as I found out when I went to check in at the wrong one. They were about 2 kilometres apart so the silver lining was I only had to fight the crowds with my carry on and not my big backpack as well.
The hostel was suitable enough and after I checked in I was on a mission to buy some supplies. The pedestrian outdoor mall was full of people, buskers and christmas decorations late on Saturday afternoon and there was a great vibe. I was getting super tired around 5pm and headed back to my dorm where I met my dorm mate, Lou Ann, who turned out to be hilarious and very caring. A lot of the travel and events had caught up with me at this point and I was in bed not long after 5pm with the intention of having a quick power nap. Nope, my body shut down and I went to sleep! Lou-Ann brought me a cup of tea around 8pm and then I slept through until the next morning.
The Aussie couple, Erin & Andrew that I met in Ghent sold me on Ireland as soon as they mentioned “good” and “brunch” in the same sentence so that was the goal for Sunday!
I walked to BiBi’s Cafe and arrived to find that there was an hour wait on tables. By this point I was pretty determined to eat here so I ordered a coffee and waited my turn. I wasn’t disappointed. I eventually had Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and FREE table water! A very nice change from the cold meat and bread the Europeans like to have for breakfast and having to purchase even tap water. I spent the afternoon wandering around the streets of Dublin and as the weather started to turn bad, I went and saw The Hunger Games at the movies. It was a nice and chilled out day.
I spent Sunday evening chatting and laughing (incredibly hard) with Lou Ann and some others at the hostel and gearing up for the tour… which I’ll tell you all about in the next post ;).