A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving Dublin

Or so we thought.

semi-overcast 17 °C
View Fall 2008 on rwills89's travel map.

It's funny to recall the events of the past couple days after I've had some decent food and a good night's sleep. Now I am at Gail's house in London again. Despite plans we made last night for today, I slept like a rock and didn't feel completely motivated to run around just yet - after all, we are here until Sunday.

Last time I wrote, I was happy and on the ferry to Holyhead, Wales. We were told by an Irish Ferries staff guy that our ferry would arrive around midnight at Holyhead and the train to London would depart at 2AM, which we were fine with. After waiting a bit at the Holyhead station, we started to get nervous and asked a staff member when the train was arriving. He said the next train wasn't until 9:56AM. Ruaridh comes back with the news, and I was furious. I tried not to think about how many times we got screwed in the past several hours, and tried to fall asleep in the metal chairs. Some drunk kids in club clothes wandered in and out around 3 or 4, and I finally get up around 6:30AM. Even though our train was late, and we had to transfer here and there, we eventually made our way to Gail's.

After a shower and a hot meal, I felt great. Last night I didn't wake up once after hitting the pillow, which I don't think has happened in months. Overall, I think we got a lot of positive out of the big s#*& storm that was Dublin- I'm just glad that for a while we have stable, free accommodation (no haunted chapels or train stations.) Hooray for London!

Posted by rwills89 10:42 Archived in England Comments (0)

Dublin

sunny 20 °C
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Another fun-tastic day in Dublin. And it started out so well! Last night was even fun. We had great people in our dorm, including one Canadian guy who gave us his book. Even after we turned off the lights, we were all still talking- it felt like a little sleepover. Today, though, had a fresh new set of BS. Since I don't want to focus on the negative, but feel a mention is necessary, I'll just go through it-

---The Bad Stuff----
Last night and this morning, we checked for hostels, hotels, B&Bs- Dublin is booked. So we decide to leave, and exchange our ferry tickets for today. We go to the travel center to do so. It's closed. We call the company and they tell us to do it later. We go around Dublin, are told to be at our stop by 7PM for bus 53. The driver tells us its over a mile walk from where he stops. Yes, we were misinformed by the bus station customer service lady. We start to get nervous and take a cab. The main ferry road is closed. We end up paying 36 euro for the roundabout ride, plus 6 for tunnel tolls (one we had to go through because we couldn't make a u-turn...) Now we are on the boat, and happy to leave Dublin, the rip-off capital of the world. F*** Dublin.

---To Resume the Entry-----
This morning was beautiful- warm, clear and sunny. We decided to see the south side, like Grafton Street, Temple Bar and the Castle. After a few little bumps I mentioned, we get going and walk around Grafton St- a really cool area with a ton of street performers and vendors. From there we ended up at Steven's Green, a really beautiful park where young couples, artists and families laid out on the grass. I got a celtic ring from a vendor, and when I mentioned the nice weather, he said the last time they had a nice day like this was the 6th of August. We wandered the funky Temple Bar area, and hit a pub on the way back. We may have been in Dublin for 2 days, but we still had to go see an Irish pub. Unfortunately even a dive didn't serve a beer for less than 5 euro, but we bit the bullet and decided in Dublin you were either wealthy or homeless. After a drink, we started our goose chase, but that's in the past. Despite the hold-ups, it was actually a great day. I'm just happy to return to a free bed and some decent rest. London ho!

Posted by rwills89 10:38 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Dublin

And many lessons learned...

overcast 15 °C
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Today I write from an extortionately priced Dublin hostel. We just checked in this morning after evacuating a Couch Surfer's house. Yes.... now the interesting stories start! I'm going to look on the positive side and list all the great things we learned on our recent adventure.

More Time in Fewer Places.
It's taking us about 2 full days to travel from London to Dublin and back. We left 4 days for Dub. That makes for 2 days to see the city. Oops.

Have an Escape Plan
....
Or Don't Stay With People Who Just Seem "A Little Crazy"
....
So me and Ruaridh read this CouchSurfer profile, a nice-looking older woman named Glenda. She said she lived in "primitive" conditions, so be warned, etc. We shouldn't of taken that lightly... I wish I took pictures of this place. I'll get into that.

Book in Advance... Always
Dublin.. big city and lots of places to stay, right? Not. A football match sold out the town and we have nowhere to stay tomorrow night. That's a triple oops... hehe...

Bring Your Flip-Flops
It's just a couple days, so I didn't think I'd need them. Except for showers... sigh.

I'm going to start with last night and our stay with Glenda & Friends. We entered Dublin city center around 6, and followed the necessary directions to her house. So far they seem like cute little cottages, until we get to number 9- a paint-pealed little unit with faded posters in the window. I peer in, and it looks like a storage shed. We assume we are mistaken, but I look in the window on the other side of the door and see lights on, and people. I knock on the door harder, and Glenda opens it- she seems really friendly, all smiles and "come in"s. In the kitchen-ish place, there is an elderly skinny man with tie-dye handkerchief on his head, and a man in his 20s in gothic clothes. We look around... there are high ceiling that look like all of the pieces were about to fall on us. Thick, dusty knots of cobwebs hung from every corner. some weird new-agey music was on. We are given tea, and I try not to freak out. I ask about the history of the house, and Glenda informs me "its a renovated old church from the Weslyans, about 200 years old. But I found rooms under the chapel filled with sand, which aren't in the blueprints. So I assume that bit is older."
"Probably small catacombs," the goth chimes in sagely, with a brogue.
She goes on to tell us all the ghostly happenings in the house, and how they just finished shooting a horror movie there. We are offered tea.
Soon, we are led up the stairs, giving severely under our steps, to our room. She tells us there is a mattress on the floor- we get to a room filled with weird clothes, creepy dolls, and other stuff. The cracked walls are painted roughly with trees and a sun and whatnot, but it looks like pieces are missing. Glenda brings are attention to the absence of the right wall, not even slightly hidden by some small blankets hung on a sagging rope. She parts them, and tells us cheerfully that we are looking down at the old chapel, and describes their plans to turn it into a theater. She left us to settle, and me and Ruaridh look at each other for a while. Then I freak out a bit.

I basically yammer on for 15 minutes about how we can't stay in a creepy platform above an abandoned church, and he tries to calm me down, and basically have committed ourselves for the night, and she mentioned having other couple staying there earlier in the week. Not even close to calming down yet, we set out to get some food and fresh air. I feel bad- Ruaridh didn't want to stay with her in the first place, and I kind of talked him into it. While we were out, we came up with an excuse to leave first thing in the morning. Later that night, the younger one keeps us up talking about philosophy, and we explain to them that we need to leave Dublin in the morning. Upstairs, I have a fitful nap and wake up around 3AM. Ruaridh is soundly sleeping next to me, and I am a bit jealous. I may have harassed him a bit through the night with "you awake? just checking" like a little girl at a sleepover. I ended up staying up, reading a bit, til it was light, and soon after we left fairly abruptly.

Not much to say after that. Found a hostel, sorted out our way off the island for Sunday. Saw the Guiness Factory and the Kilmainham Gaol (jail.) Now at said hostel. Tomorrow should be fun, though, and I'm looking forward to a decent sleep.

P.S-about 500 pictures yet to be loaded. Another oops..

Posted by rwills89 12:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

London for a day

Then to Dublin!

semi-overcast 15 °C
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The train down to London is looong. We don't pass anything interesting on the way except for a few nuclear power plants in the distance- that was weird. The train's WiFi we were promised isn't working, so we really have no idea where we are going when we enter King's Cross, because Gail's address is in Ruaridh's e-mail. We wander out of the station pretty blindly and pay an extortionate amount at Costa coffee for an hour of internet to get Gail's number. We meet here at Waterloo station, and she takes us to Rayne's Park, where her house is. Gail is a blast- she's really funny. and very friendly. She offers us some beer and wine from the vast leftovers from her birthday party. After talking, we try to figure out how we are getting to Dublin, and the website is useless. We realized that we would have to put off Dublin for another day, and go to a main station to sort out the matter.

We make it another lazy morning, since we anticipated finding this "Rail-Sail Dublin" discount would be a serious labor. It wasn't- it took us 5 minutes in Waterloo Station, actually- so we spent the rest of the day walking around central London, taking this bus and that since we got a full day pass. After wandering around the London Eye/Parliament area, we catch a bus that goes past Regent's St. into an area known as "Little Cairo" (if I'm not mistaken) because of the high Arabic population. We come across the busiest restaurant in the area, and decide its probably worthwhile, so we get a seat outside. It's called Sidi Maasoufi, and we get tea, hummous and a hookah. All of it was great. We end up spending a lot of time talking to our waiter, a guy from Syria, who tells us Americans are much easier to understand than the local Londoners, especially since he was still trying to learn English. We get in fairly late, and pack our bags to leave for Dublin in the morning- our train from Euston is at 9AM, so we need to be out by 7:30.

And now I write from the train to Holyhead, Wales, where we will get our ferry over. Again, I'm so glad I caught up, but doing so I realize I have no idea what we are doing when we arrive at Dublin Port. I guess call this lady I got in touch with, and get there first. But after that, no ideas either. I guess I should go through that guide book.

Posted by rwills89 11:58 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

East Kilbride and the Gallaghers

And London Ho!

rain 15 °C
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It was well after 10PM when we finally got into Ruaridh's hometown. On the chilly walk from the train station to his granny's house, he tells me that East Kilbride has kind of gone downhill since he left seven years ago, and it would just be best to "keep my wits about me" if we walk around at night. I still can't imagine being mugged by someone with such a cute accent, but I wasn't going to try and find out I suppose. His granny is still up when we get in, and she is so incredibly nice. We sit and talk for a while before bringing our things upstairs and passing out. I would meet Aunt Titia the next night for dinner.

We didn't do much of anything on the next day, because Ruaridh informs me that there is, in fact, nothing to do. It's gray and rainy for the duration of our stay, which Granny tells me is nothing new for East Kilbride. Ruaridh's uncle Andy comes to pick us up for dinner, and when Ruaridh tells him that we stayed in because it was raining, he looked pretty disgusted. He just kept saying "you stayed in..... because it was raining?" I guess that sounds pretty stupid here. Before leaving, I am given ample warning about Auntie Titia - Ruaridh tells me "she's.... eh... she's a bit crazy, but she's really nice." and her sister, Ruaridh's Granny, tells me that she's one who knows everything about everyone, and enjoys imparting her wisdom on people. Right on the money! We get there, and she's excited to see Ruaridh and meet me. She offers me a large selection of drinks, and even though I didn't feel like one I eventually gave up and accepted. Ruaridh's 7-year old cousin Ben was the cutest kid I've ever seen, and went on to lengthily describe the war he was setting up between his army men. We talked to him for a while about Harry Potter and Star Wars and such, which he describes as "brilliant." How cute! We sat down at the dinner table with Ruaridh's aunt and uncle, his cousin Andrea and her partner Fraser. Aunt Titia is running all over the place preparing dinner, which I am told is roast beef and yorkshire pudding. I go to ask Ruaridh what yorkshire pudding is, and I'm met with looks of bewilderment around the table. Titia doesn't believe me when I'm told we don't have them back home and I've never seen one in my life. They were actually really good- chewy crunchy pastry like bowls, I guess. (I asked Ruaridh and he basically shrugged and said it's hard to explain.) The red table wine was really good, but every time I turned around Titia was telling someone to fill my glass. When I forgot how many glasses I had, I told her that Ruaridh would have to scrape me off the floor if I had any more- she found this funny, and said I could do another. Andrea was hilarious, and called me a "creamless pie freak" when I didn't understand having plain double cream on top of pie. I laughed so hard I started crying (mind you I had like 4 glasses of wine by then) but everyone else was laughing pretty hard too. We didn't actually leave until after 11PM, but I had such a good time. I guess I don't scare as easily as Ruaridh anticipated.

The next day we sleep in, walk to the "town center" (the mall) and come back to do more nothing. We picked up some travel guides for London and Dublin, I meet some more family, and head to bed early-all the grayness and rain still takes it out of me. The next day is similar, some wandering, and Titia and Andy come over to say goodbye since we were leaving first thing in the morning. Uncle Andy laughs along with me and Ruaridh while the two sisters roll their cigarettes and go on and on about the old town doctor and such. In the morning, we leave for London, and have no idea how to get over to Dublin. Luckily, Ruaridh's dad's friend has a place in London, and we set off to stay with her while we get our heads together.

Posted by rwills89 11:56 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

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