Hayley and I made it back to Dublin by Galway, although of course with one final incident to see us off. We’re boarding the bus the will take us home, and I realize I don’t have enough euro for the fare. They can’t take my card, and there’s no ATM near enough. With the end in sight, desperation took full effect. I ran into the bus station with my wallet, and announced I had £20 for anyone who would give me €13. Now, the GBP is stronger than the euro, so this was an AMAZING deal for any international travelers. There were no takers, but there was a very intoxicated Irishman with his wallet out. I offered him the trade, he mumbled something that may or may not have been consent, and I grabbed a €10 note from his hand. I tucked the ₤20 note into his wallet and run to the bus platform. I am 100% sure that he had absolutely no idea what was going on, and is going to be very confused when he sobers up and finds foreign money in his wallet. I think I basically mugged a drunk Irish guy. I’m not sure if that was the highlight or lowlight of the trip.
Enough of that. I know this is what you’ve really been waiting for… pictures!
I flew Ryanair… keepin’ it classy. For those who don’t know, it’s an incredibly cheap European airline. However, the reason the tickets are so cheap is because they charge you for everything else: printing the boarding pass, using the plane bathroom, carry-on luggage, etc. So you plan ahead. Print the boarding pass at home, don’t drink very much water before your flights, and pack all your clothes into something you can pass off as a purse. Seating is a free-for-all, unless you want to pay extra to reserve a seat. Still, I scored a window. Here are the obligatory out-the-plane-window photos:
The flight was just over an hour, and the whole thing was like a bad TV commercial. The flight attendants peddled newspapers, scratchers tickets, smokeless cigarettes, food, drinks, and duty-free goods. I bought a round trip bus ticket from the Dublin airport to the city center, where I’d already arranged to meet Hayley. Of course, there are out-the-bus-window photos:
After we found each other, our first stop was for food. Queen of Tarts is an adorable place Hayley had found in Dublin with fabulous lunch, desserts, and tea.
We spent a good deal of time walking around the city after this. Dublin is a very cool place and there was a lot to explore. It had gotten dark, of course, so there wasn’t a way to really take photos. I had the very cool experience of having a Guinness in Dublin, and Hayley had her first Guinness ever.
Hayley was not a fan, and since beer is a migraine trigger for me, we really just sampled it and left. The bartender pointed us towards a little place down the street where he used to work, so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be very cool, and eclectic cocktail bar with a good food menu. It reminded me of a lot of my favorite Kansas City spots. To celebrate being in Dublin together, we had champagne cocktails. They were excellent.
When the waiter delivered them, he also set down a small brown paper bag you can see in that second picture. When we asked him what it was, he just said “You’ll see.” and walked off. I assumed it was peanuts or some kind of snack mix, but…
it turned out to be a bag of old fashioned hard candies. I have no idea why we got them. He didn’t speak to us again for the rest of the night, and we watched the other tables: no one else got any. But it was delicious. As we continued to walk around Dublin, there were signs that (much like in England) they really, REALLY like America. In addition to this, there was a “Gotham City Bar” we walked past, and lots of American flag items of apparel throughout the trip.
We stopped in her school for a quick tour. NCAD’s campus is in a former Jameson distillery and still has old equipment around. It’s very cool, and the students seems incredibly nice. This is the incredible window that one lucky person has from their studio…
and a view of the other painting studios from the loft.
Hayley told me about a popular espresso drink they have here that isn’t in the States called a “flat white.” On the way home, we stopped for one at Green Room. It wasn’t actually a very good one, so we tried again a few other times later on in the trip.
We started the next morning with more Queen of Tarts. We hadn’t had their desserts the day before, so we decided to have them for breakfast. We shared a plumb tart, a lemon meringue tart, and a Bailey’s chocolate chip cheesecake. No cheesecake will ever be the same again after that. We had quite the crash about 30 minutes later, and even worse we were in the middle of a dreadful lecture we had accidentally ended up in.
On our way to find lunch, at 3 in the afternoon, we walked by a Mexican food place that made me a little homesick. The timing and the name had me really missing lunches with my Dad. What are the odds of that, anyway?
We found a little cafe, “Bittersweet Cafe and Salad Bar” with delicious looking sandwiches and tomato soup. They also serve Illy coffee, which I’ve heard people rave about. It was an excellent lunch and a very cute place. They used cacti as centerpieces.
We spent the rest of the afternoon doing more exploring and seeing the National Gallery, which had a Turner watercolor exhibit. They had some really great work in the museum. After this, it became very very important that I find a new pair of shoes. The ones I had been wearing were too small and really hurting my left foot. I initially thought I had a stress fracture, but buying new shoes made a very big difference very quickly. I’d been looking at Hunters, a rainboot brand, for a few weeks now anyway. They are good quality and very cute but, as such, are a little pricey. Since it always rains here, I’d never seen any on sale… until that very night. I was hoping for red, but I really couldn’t be any happier with what I ended up with. The picture is me showing off my fancy boots at Accents. Accents is a late-night coffeeshop that hopes to offer a sober alternative to the pub scene, and I think it was pretty adorable. I tried again for a flat white here, but it was still not quite up to snuff.
Hayley’s school is a dry campus until 5:00. That night, it hosted a German Sparkle Party themed party. I don’t know what that means, except for that everyone wore sparkles. Unlike KCAI, the students actually go to these things. It was great. Everyone seemed really nice. The dancing was great. The DJ played such classics as Hey Mickey and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and a bunch of stuff I’d never heard. Around 10 an Irish punk band came on, followed by a KISS cover band.
After the party ended, we tried to go to a hip-hop club in the city center. But when we saw the line, heard about the cover, and really considered how tired we were, we opted out. Hayley and I, along with two nice Canadian girls, got some fish n chips and called it a night.
This was about half-way through the trip, and it’s late here in Brighton. I’ll give you the rest of the pictures tomorrow. You can click on any photo to see it larger, I just downsized the thumbnails since it was such a photo-heavy post. It was amazingly easy to get back from Dublin to Brighton. I didn’t even have to go through customs. Alec & Alice, the roommates, were having friends over for dinner tonight. They had finished, and so I joined them for a chat when I got in. It was a very nice way to wind down from all the traveling. I haven’t met a person here yet I don’t like. Alec told me that for their dinner, he had made smoked pork and used the barbeque sauce I’d brought from Kansas City. They seemed to really like it! All is well here, and I expect I’ll have no trouble getting to sleep tonight.