Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dublin: The Beginning

It was a warm summer day. Our coffees lay discarded on the table as we dreamily browsed through the travel books. 

'We should backpack through Europe.' I said, the words representing nothing more than a hazily defined dream. 

Diamond just laughed. We became friends when we met in jazz band in 8th grade, when Diamond decided that I, friendless and introverted, wasn't as weird as she had previously thought. But traveling through Europe? Our educational system had equipped us with just enough knowledge to point to a couple European countries on a map-- I dreamed of the excitement of foreign cultures and languages. However, we were just two girls from Arkansas-- all we were currently worried about was homework, and figuring out what college to apply to. Traveling through Europe, staying in hostels-- it was all just a far fetched dream, one that would, in all reality, probably never be realized. Concrete obstacles, such as time and money, stood firmly in the way of that crazy wish.

That is, until the stars aligned, and somehow Diamond and I found ourselves both studying abroad in Europe. Granted, we were almost the furthest away two people can be and still be in Europe-- me in France and her in Estonia. However, when I started planning my week long break, I remembered the dream we had had several years ago. Who knew when this opportunity would come up again, so we picked our dream location, Dublin, Ireland, and started working on achieving that dream.

On Tuesday, October 29th, we set off for Dublin. Diamond had a direct flight from the capital of Estonia. I wasn't as lucky-- it was almost a two hour trek to the nearest airport, with a tram and two trains-- flying first to Frankfort, where I had a long three hour layover before a flight to Dublin.

We met up in the baggage claim in Dublin--  I hadn't seen Diamond since she left for Estonia, so it was great to finally see her again.

Finding our hostel was...an adventure. We took a tour bus into the city, but missed our stop because we forgot to hit the button to ask to stop. We stumbled off on the next stop, pulling our maps out and trying to figure out what was what in the dark streets. It was cold and windy and we wandered around for maybe an hour, having no luck for finding the mysterious street where our hostel was on. Eventually we found the hostel-- turns out, we had walked right by it about ten minutes after getting off the bus but we had somehow missed the huge signs and bright lights.

The hostel was huge, with a cool bar/lounge area/mini-restaurant on the ground floor. It had a great atmosphere with the added benefit of me not feeling guilty when I hung out without buying a drink; it was our hostel, after all. Our room, a 8-bed mixed sex dormitory style, was on the second floor. For the first couple of days our roommates were reserved, and we didn't see much of them. It felt like someone was always asleep in the room so we didn't hang out much there. Aside from a little issue-- let's just say that the hostel got a bit too creative with their men/women bathroom symbols, apparently writing men/women is just too mainstream but we don't need to expound upon that-- the hostel was a fun, cheap housing option.

Our first full day in Dublin was spent exploring downtown in a search for the National Museum of Archaeology. The museum was as cool as the name sounds. But on our way to the museum we spotted a cool looking national library so we decided to check it out.

The library was surprising gorgeous and surprisingly functional-- we were the only people in this room who hadn't come there to read the books so we didn't stay long.

The National Museum of Archaeology was very interesting, packed full of cool artifacts and stories.

I don't have space to post all the cool things we saw, but they ranged from Ancient Egypt to Medieval Europe.

After the museum, we set off to find Christchurch Cathedral. Finding it wasn't that difficult, getting in, however, was. We walked in one of the doors only to see an 'exit only' sign. So, we circled the entire church for the next 15 minutes looking for any other entrance, and not finding anything. Eventually we returned to the first door and realized that the entrance was exactly opposite of the exit sign.

Um. Yeah.

The cathedral was enormous and beautiful. We hung out for maybe an hour, exploring the cathedral and the basement/underground area.

After the cathedral we headed to the Guinness Factory. Luckily for us, getting there was fairly straight forward, just a rather long walk.

The factory was interesting-- we learned the official way to drink Guinness and got a free pint. Diamond opted for a free Coke but I braved an entire pint of Guinness...suffice to say, it is not my favorite type of beer; it's far too bitter for me.

After the Guinness factory both Diamond and I were exhausted and we trekked back to our hostel and collapsed onto our beds.

And thus ends, day 1! Be sure to check back to hear more tales of my adventure in Dublin.

Thanks for reading :)

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