Dublin, Ireland, Republic of
53° 19' N 6° 14' W
Jul 29, 2006 09:37
Distance 5902km

Text written in: English

Ireland

Ahh, Dublin--it already has a special place in my heart. I learned a valuable lesson; they wanted 10 euro a day for left luggage, which was way too expensive, so I ended up lugging my 25 kg of gear around Dublin. Worse yet, most of it is soft and plushy, bulky. I hopped on the airlink bus thinking it was to the central square, but it was a couple of blocks off. Luckily that put me in front of National Museum of Ireland, which is wonderful because ancient stuff is right at the top of my list.  They had lots of gold found in tombs thousands of years old and, quite creepily, a few people that they found "preserved" in peat moss. They were much worse than the mummies you might have seen on TV; they had a strange shimmer.  After that, I was right around the corner from the National Art gallery, so I stopped in there.  It was just as I expected: a boatload of European art from 1650-1850. Typical, not too interesting, and I do love art museums.

I had lunch in a pub with my customary pint of Guinness, which sadly was about 30% more than it might have cost in America, even after going over the ocean.  I walked by what I thought was the Irish parliament (I missed the rare tour by only a few minutes).  Between jet lag and sleeping a nearly criminal small amount the week before, I decided I was too tired, and of course I had no map of the city, not even a vague outline (despite visiting the information desk twice). I had no city bus schedule or map, and found out later that while one does exist, it's never anywhere near where you are.

It was at that point I didn't know north from south, which direction to go, how far it was or even where any landmarks in the city were. After an hour of people watching and resting, I went at it with some gusto...all this time carrying 25kg of luggage (It's of note that, for the purposes of this journal, I am giving up English measurements. That should make someone happy).

I asked a couple of bus drivers, and some tourists (ha, they were all taking the 14 euro tour buses, which actually seemed to go places and were quite plentiful) where the Busaras bus station was. After a while, I was able to figure out the right direction to go, so I found a busy street and hopped on a bus at 1 euro. It was crazy me with my luggage...and the bus starts moving with me barely on. It was a double-decker bus, and with the weight I was carrying, it made me swagger like a drunken sailor. The bus driver insisted that I needed a receipt, even though the city bus doesn't allow free bus transfers. I tried to make it to a real bus seat, but these two old ladies insisted I sit in the handicapped spot. Now mind you, I don't even really know where this bus is headed or even where I was trying to go, besides that it was the Busaras bus station and that the city buses didn't actually go to it. Silly! So, I asked these two ladies (known henceforth as the Sisters) where I should find it, and happily they were headed there themselves, so they told me not to have a worry. They were constantly bantering with each other and me. The Sisters were about 70 years old. It was incredible talking to them. After a short bit, we got off the bus and were in the middle of the city with a large spire marking the general post office.  It was absolute pedestrian mayhem.  The Sisters kept asking me if I was all right and if we should slow down; they were quite robust and it seemed that my bag was more of a strain for them than me. After about 10 minutes of walking we made it to the station. My bag actually wasn't so bad and didn't slow me down much, but it's bulky and looks ridiculously heavy.  There were no signs anywhere that I could find on the station, and for the longest time I wasn't even sure if it was indeed the Busaras station, but another station with buses to Galway. 

I didn't have correct change for the pay toilet (which seems like a scam so they can take out the extra money at the end of the day). For some reason, even after everything else, this is what frustrated me. So I asked a stranger for change, and after he was sure I wasn't trying to scam him, he gave it to me and then I was happy.  The bus to Galway was incredibly cramped for a taller person and the overhead bin wouldn't take anything thicker than a brief case. I had an aisle seat and stuck my legs way into the aisle.  The scenery wasn't much to speak of, just occasionally some hills in the background. After a wonderful amount of catnapping and 4.5 hours, the bus arrived in Galway.

People driving on the left was fascinating to me, and roundabouts all over.  They don't have anything like our freeways here. And while some tourists complained about that, I found it a bit refreshing. Perhaps the Irish are too relaxed for freeway driving.

Photos / videos of "Ireland":

Front of Archeology and Artifact Museum Street Scene Women in Beige was nice bantering Irish Sister Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene Street Scene