On the Rocky Road to Dublin
Our journey began early on Thursday morning with a car trip to Philadelphia, where we would depart by air for Newark, then on to Dublin. We arrived super-early to the airport and ended up getting put onto an earlier flight, which meant that we had seven hours in Newark before our departure for Ireland. Ick. But, at least, we were in place for the important leg of our journey. I think we walked five miles around Terminal C, trying to pass the time. (You know when you get on the people mover and just stand there to stretch time out that you're in a bad way!)
Finally, we were in the air to Ireland! It was about a six-hour flight overnight, which effectively removed any chance of sleep, since Continental fed us a snack, dinner, and breakfast. What was cool, though, was that we took the "northern circle" route, skirting just south of Greenland, and so I was at a latitude for the first time in my life to observe the perpetual daylight lingering on the horizon to the north of us. It was really something to see: the sky blushed pink and orange and the North Star glinting bright above it all, then watching the sunrise after only three hours of "night."
I have thus far in my travels been unable to sleep on an airplane. Part of my problem is that I love flying and still get excited to watch out the window at every little thing: Clouds! Towns! The ocean from 36,000 feet! I was thrilled that we got to take a propeller plane from Philly to Newark, which not only ticked another off the list of Planes in Which I Have Flown (though the Holy Grail--the 747--remains perpetually out of reach!) but, perhaps more importantly, I was seated under the wing where I could not only see the propeller on our side but could watch the landing gear go up and down. Holy smokes. I am really like a five-year-old when it comes to airplanes.
So I managed fits of "sleep" between checking the window to see if there was still twilight in the north (there was), listening to the Medieaval Baebes to calm myself, but I never reached REM sleep, so it was as good as not having rested at all. Annoying, that. Add that to the fact that Bobby and I did about five miles around Newark Terminal C in backpacks, and my back was aching and didn't want to let me forget the abuses it endured long enough that I could sleep until I silenced it underneath two ibuprofen.
We touched down in Dublin around 6:30 AM and went through the usual airport rigmarole and took a bus into City Centre to find our B&B. Befuddled and exhausted, we walked the four points of the compass before heading in the right direction down the correct street. Luckily, the occupants of our intended room had left early, so we would be able to get into our room around 10:30 rather than 1, and the guy at the B&B let us leave our bags with him. We set off to find the tourist center where we would be meeting Marie in a few hours' time, which was doubly fun since we had only a rinky-dink map, since we hadn't yet gone to the tourist center to purchase a proper map yet. City Centre was deserted. We wandered around until we eventually patched together enough of the map and common sense to find the tourist center. It was a good walk. we walked back and had breakfast. Then the room was ready, so Bobby grabbed a shower and I a nap in the hour before we were due to meet Marie.
So back out to the tourist center we walked ... then back to the B&B yet again, though this time, we had Marie with us! Yay! We had, on a whim, asked her a few months ago if she wanted to meet us for a long weekend in Dublin, and all the cards actually fell into place. So here we were! We left her bag in the room and then walked back out to find a place for lunch and ended up in the self-styled "Dublin's most beautiful pub," the Church, which was an actual church converted into a restaurant. And it was beautiful. Arthur Guinness was married there, and Jonathan Swift attended services. Next, we headed through Temple Bar to Dublin Castle and the Beatty Museum, which was primarily a collection of manuscripts from Europe and Asia. Cue drooling.
By this point, though, the missing night's sleep was beginning to catch up with me. I kept falling asleep during the little intro movie. I woke up once to Marie laughing (at, I assumed in my foggy state, at me) and again to the image on the screen of a sleeping man, which made me feel like the museum was chiding me for falling asleep during their movie. My bad, Beatty Museum. The manuscripts were amazing; I loved it. But a few times, I did find myself, literally, staring into a glass case and then blinking to realize that I'd started to fall asleep on my feet.
So next we went out for coffee. We all needed a little picker-upper after the dim lights and plush silence of the Beatty Museum. And is there anything better in the world than sitting in a gorgeous foreign city with dear friends, with nothing to compell you from lingering for an hour in conversation, if you wish? I don't think that there is.
Again, we walked back to the B&B, where we eventually made it out to dinner at the restaurant next door and, now, have all more or less turned in for the night. Tomorrow, we are taking a tour of the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, with an evening show scheduled at the Merry Ploughboy's Pub. So I'd best turn in for the night. :)