Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ireland: Day 1

Sorry it has taken me so long to start writing this blog, but to try to describe my trip to Ireland and do it justice is somewhat overwhelming. Therefore, I'm going to split it up by days to make it less overwhelming for you to read, and also for me to write.

Day 1

So on Friday I woke up at 4:15 in order to have time to eat breakfast get ready in time to leave around 5:15 in order to stop at an ATM (which was probably not the best idea to do in the dark with no one around but I didn't get mugged so happy ending!) and catch the metro to the western edge of Paris by 6am so I could get a 1hr15 long shuttle to Beauvais airport. See, I was flying RyanAir which is a very cheap airline to take but SUCKS for so many reasons, the biggest being that you have to fly out of Beauvais which is over an hour away and cost €16 to take the shuttle. Also they only let you have one carry-on total so I had to fit my purse in my backpack with 5 days of clothes. Thanks RyanAir. Also they have ads for everything everywhere! On the website they try to sell you about 20 things when you buy your ticket, and in the plane they have ads on all of the overhead compartments. Plus, during the flight the try selling everything from food to cigarettes to lottery scratch cards. Which is annoying. But it's cheap so you can't really complain.

Anyway, we arrived in Dublin late morning and caught a bus to nearby our hostel and grabbed a bite to eat from a cute diner that was actually cheap for once!! (No more ridiculous Paris prices!) Anyway, then we headed to our hostel. We couldn't check in yet but were able to rent a locker to stash our stuff while we walked around Dublin. Since we had no idea where we were going, we didn't actually see much, but it was a gorgeous day and we did find this cute little park.
That's Katie. She was the other one from Paris.
Also I became fascinated by how cute the trash cans were, and felt the need to take a picture.

Anyway, we went back to the hostel at 2 to check in and take a nap. So funny story. Since I was late joining the group that was going (since most were from Rome), I hadn't actually reserved the hostel and was just kinda crossing my fingers that I could find a bed when I got there. Which I could. The last 2 nights I would be in the dorm with everyone else but the first and second nights I would be in different rooms (and would have to switch). So after checking it I headed up to my room, wanting nothing more than to take a nap only to open the door to a wall of cigarette smoke (or smell of it at least) and three men sitting around shirtless (they weren't even attractive). I pretty much spun around and never went back. Instead I napped in one of the beds the Rome people (who weren't there yet) would be staying in and crossed my fingers that the people who had reserved the other 2 beds in their room wouldn't actually show up. Which they didn't so I got to sleep in the room with the rest of the normal, fully clothed, non-smoking Americans. Panic attack averted. (I know that sounds dramatic but I was short on sleep and just couldn't deal with it)

Anywho, after the Rome crew showed up we headed to an early dinner at a pub called O'Shea's where I got fish and chips and a half pint of Guinness. It was quite delicious and filling, and a nice change from Paris in every way possible. Our waitress was friendly and actually wanted to be helpful rather than responding to our requests with a sigh as if having customers were a huge burden (like in most Paris cafes). It's not that I don't like the Parisians, because they really aren't as bad as people say, just slightly colder and more reserved. Then there are the Irish, who are extremely warm and friendly and do things like ask permission to pass you on the sidewalk, rather than shove past you. It was a nice change from Paris.

After dinner we stopped at the Euro equivalent of the dollar store to stock up on candy and gum (which was soooo much cheaper than in Paris) and I also got two pairs of socks for €1.50, one of which said "Irish Drinking Socks!!!" on them. Which is kind of awesome. From there were stopped back in the hostel and then headed out to a pub crawl organized by some of the hostels in Dublin. It started in this great pub called the Mercantile, which had live Irish folk music playing and we got a free pint of Guinness and it was just kind of perfect. I have a great picture of me holding my pint but it's on a friends camera so I will have to add it later. I just want to add that I was not drinking irresponsibly or anything (even though I am underage by US standards), but was just trying to take in the culture to the greatest extent possible. And in Ireland, you haven't really experienced pub culture until you've had a pint of Guinness. Also, by the time I was done with that pint I was kind of over Guinness. It's a little too hoppy and bitter for me. It's not bad, but not my favorite and I definitely need something to cut the aftertaste. Thank goodness I had just bought 4 packs of tic tacs at the Euro store.

The rest of the pub crawl wasn't super exciting, although it was fun. The other place I really enjoyed was O'Neill's (which I ended up at at least 2 more times on the trip) because it also has a great atmosphere and there was live music. Plus we met this Irish girl named Ursula who is kind of our new favorite person. It's really hard to explain why but she just kind of exemplified everything that is awesome about Irish culture and how people really shouldn't care about some of the stuff they do. I wish I had written down some of the things she said. But yeah, it was a fun to have an actual conversation with a real Irish person. We were all kind of obsessed. Serious fan girl problems.

But yep, that was my first day in Dublin!

*Note: There will not be a Fluffy in Dublin picture for a bit because Photoshop and I are currently not getting along, but when we eventually reconcile, there will be! And it'll be awesome!

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