Posted by: londontravels | October 30, 2009

54, 55, 56, 57: Dublin down, Rome to go

So, we lost Steve in Dublin. Let me start by explaining the type of person Steve is. Steve likes to explore. He is fascinated by the small things in life. He likes to be alone. He doesn’t carry a cell phone. He is the type of guy that likes to get lost, likes to carry a journal, likes to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn and find a place to go…some might say strange, I say refreshing. Anyway, When Chris, Steve and I went to Amsterdam, Steve decided to take a 12 hour ferry to Amsterdam instead of a 40 minute flight. His reasoning was it’s all part of the experience. He didn’t book a hostel, he slept on the streets.

Well, this trip we made sure that Steve booked the same flight as us and although he didn’t get in on the same hostel as us, he booked one right around the corner. All week we met up at certain landmarks at certain times…all three of us were pretty efficient. However, on probably the most important day Steve was nowhere to be found. It was approximately 3:50 AM and we were all supposed to meet in front the Heineken building to catch a bus to the airport. 4:00 AM rolls around, 4:10 AM rolls around and two buses have passed. Knowing Steve, Chris and I believed he either got an earlier bus, or wandered off somewhere…we weren’t too worried because Steve usually does this. We knew we were all on the same flight and we figured we’d see him at the gate. Steve never showed up, never got on the plane…not too worried…yet.

We depart, get to London Stansted, catch the bus back to Hyde Park, arrive back home around 11 AM. I hopped into bed to catch some z’s, woke up around 2 PM and caught up on the Phillies (woo!) and before you know it, it was 7 PM…still no Steve. Now, I am getting a bit worried. Did we seriously leave him in Dublin? Did something happen to him when he was waiting for the bus? 7:30 PM rolls around and Steve rolls into our flat looking all disheveled and such…he overslept and had to catch the 12:20 PM flight that was delayed until 2:30 PM. Very uncharacteristic of Steve.

As for our trip, it was wonderful. By far my favorite part was our tour to the Wicklow Mountains. The Wicklow Mountains are located right outside of the city of Dublin and make for a beautiful background for the city. We first took the coach out to the mountains, hopped off to snap a few pictures and then hopped back on and headed to the town of Glendalough where a remnants of a 6th century monastic city still stands. The gateway to the city, the Round Tower, a creepy little cemetery, a church and a cathedral all still stand and all were quite neat.

After Glendalough, we hopped back on the coach and headed to the town of Avoca. Avoca is a famous little town known for its hand weaving that actually supplies all of the hand-woven clothing and such of Dublin and greater Northern Ireland. You would never know it though, because the factory consists of 3 rooms and four workers weaving strands and strands of wool material. I didn’t realize how famous Avoca was until we ended up back in Dublin and there was a giant department store devoted to the town. Also, they had a small cafe that had all homemade desserts and sandwiches, including (Mom, get ready!) homemade multi-grain bread that was amazingly delicious (I thought about buying a loaf and sending it home, but with this damn postal strike, I doubt it would have made it home in time to eat). At night we headed to the oldest pub in Ireland, the Brazen Head. Established in 1198, I really can’t imagine there is an older pub in Europe, but who knows. It was by far the coolest pub I have ever been to. A ton of outdoor seating, including different rooms indoors and a small corner for live Irish music…it was a remarkable experience.

On Wednesday we went to the Guinness Storehouse, The Museum of Archeology and then to Whelan’s at night. The Guinness was much better than the Jameson tour because it had 5 floors of cool exhibits, you did it at your own pace and at the top was the Gravity Bar that is supposedly the highest viewing point in Dublin. The best part is at the end when you get your complimentary Guinness (it is true, the Guinness tasted better in Dublin than it does anywhere else).

The Museum of Archeology was pretty cool too. I always wanted to learn about the Vikings and how they came to take over Dublin. Luckily, they had an entire floor dedicated to the Vikings, plus a neat exhibit on sacrifice and bodies that were discovered in bogs along the coast of the island. It is amazing how over hundreds and hundreds of years, a body can be preserved naturally in the ground. At night we headed to another pub called Whelan’s that was right down the street from our hostel. Whelan’s another great pub that had a venue for music in the back room. Luckily, there were 3 live acts when we were there and it was all free. The Guinness was the cheapest I saw all week (4.50 euro eek!) and the music was pretty cool.

All in all, Dublin is a wonderful place. Everyone is so nice and always willing to help out the tourists. Unlike Amsterdam, I felt welcome in their city and that alone made Dublin a great experience. One thing I found interesting was how much more expensive it is than London. Once again, another tourist area that is more expensive than the most expensive city in the world…maybe because the pound is the highest rated currency? I don’t know.

I’d love to chat Phillies, but to tell you the truth I had no way of watching game 1. I caught the box score and I watched the highlights when I returned to London, but I really don’t know much about the game other than Cliff Lee’s domination and Chase Utley’s two dingers. I don’t know about you, but this is really mind-boggling. The Phillies are on the verge of their second World Series in as many years and easily took down the sports most storied franchise in game 1. I am not getting ahead of myself, because we have all been through enough with this team to do so, but if somehow they do win back to back years, it would be quite astounding.

Okay, well I need to start getting ready for Rome. Bus is at 5:40 AM, flight is at 8:40 AM…Phils start at 12 AM and I am seriously contemplating pulling an all nighter so I can watch them. I have come this far here watching them, I can’t bitch out in the World Series! I hope you all enjoy the pictures (there are a lot…sorry). I will try to post some updates in Rome. Love you all!

Zac

Quick Notes:

Nick- Shot out for all of the great suggestions on places to go in Dublin…it really made our experience a whole hell of a lot better.

Tom, Sean– my two Irish lads…I definitely suggest you guys try to check out Ireland in your lifetime. It is an amazing place and it apparently is really easy to re-trace family history.

Mimi- to answer your question, I will be going to Scotland on the weekend of December 4th.

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Responses

  1. happy to help my friend, if only i was there with you guys you wouldnt have needed that obnoxious map haha. glad you had a great time, my abroad experience was minuscule compared to yours but Dublin and Ireland as a whole definitely has character that won’t escape you anytime soon.

  2. Whew! I am so glad Steve came “home” safe and sound. He sounds like a neat guy. Being a loner at times myself, I know how he feels. It is good to be on your own and to do whatever YOU want to do when you want to do it. Of course the “buddy system” is a safer way to go.

    I will send you an E-Mail with some Scotland Info. I have a contact for you with their E-mail address. I will follow up with the details. Keep an “eye” out for it.

    Have fun! Stay safe! We love you!
    Mimi XOXOXO

    • Mimi,
      Steve has taught me a lot while on this trip…such as some of your best experiences occur when you are alone. I myself like to explore alone, nothing and no one to worry about. As for Scotland I will keep my eyes open…I return from Rome on Monday…this place is by far the most incredible place yet. Miss you guys!

  3. Dublin sounds like a great experience. Glad to hear Steve got home safely. I got lost in Luxembourg on my senior trip. The country is smaller than Rhode Island. I was with a buddy, Craig Williams. We had to get a cab to get us back to the hotel. The rest of the story well as they say “what happens in Luxembourg stays in Luxeumborg”. Glad to see you continued your tradition of visiting a Pub a Day while you are travelling. On your tour about the Vikings and overtaking Dublin did the Mention Brett Favre? He is a Viking and old, he may have some sort of history! Great Phillies game one, it was a game for the ages. Game two another good one, Pedro did the job, offense needs to get going. It’s good to have three at home. I think the Phils fans will be louder and more into it then the Yankee fans. Looking forward to hearing about Rome.

  4. oh Zac…what beautiful country. Blue skies, green grass and it sounds like lots of smiling faces. What a wonderful experience for you and your new friends.These are memories that you will have forever. You would be proud of me I have actually been keeping up with the phillies. I am becoming quite and athletic supporter. Except I probably an still the only person in Southern PA that doesn’t have a red Phillies shirt.Unfortunatly it is pouring rain and I have a feeling the game may be rained out.Happy Halloween…can you believe we only got 6 kids…..what a dissapointment. Can’t wait to see you again on Skype. MIss and love you!
    Mom XOXO

    • SAVE ME SOME CANDY!!


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