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The boarding of the air dragon set for the magical Isles of Eire went well – no disruptions with the dragon’s innards and we landed safely. Inflight entertainment consisted of watching “The Crazies” and while I had the option to watch other films – I knew I needed to sleep as I would be dead from jetlag tomorrow otherwise. The Continental flight and service royally sucked though. That beast needs to be de-commissioned. The stewardesses were rude, snappy, and could tell they were having some issues going on. The male steward was very nice, though. The plane was crunched and i got a very back engine seat – cramped for 7 hours. My legs were sore and stiff by the end of the flight. Unfortunately I have Continental for the return flight home. :: sigh :: They did feed us (no charge) a meal and didn’t charge extra for drinks. Plus I didn’t get charged for my 1 piece of checked luggage so thats pro-bono. I managed to get in 4 hours of sleep (i think). Landing in Dublin felt like landing home. While this is my very first trip to Ireland AND Dublin – it just seemed so strangely familiar – no other time have I flown into another country and essentially felt like I knew where I was going or found things so easily. Customs was a quick “How long are you in the country?” with me replying “One and half weeks in England and one 1/2 in Ireland” … :: stamp :: and on my way. No checking of luggage, in fact from drop-off in Colorado Springs to pickup in Dublin – completely out of customs process. That was nice. The Irish don’t harrass you like America does when coming in and out when you’re not a citizen or are non-EU. The way it should be – unlike paranoid America where we interrogate (even Europeans), implement retina or fingerprint scans, and go through their luggage. One of the invasive and lack of privacy/independence issues that make me not want to live in America. Where did we go wrong? How did we go from the most free country to the most paranoid and invasive? :: sigh ::
Figured out a way to strap the day pack onto the frame pack – but then realized I remembered the car park had a ‘left luggage’ drop for only 6.5 Euro a day. Not bad. Freeing me to run into Dublin to meet up with Faerie Moe for Tea. All you can ride bus for 6 Euro (Dublin Bus) from the Airport to City Center, dropped off on O’Connell. I turned down Abbey street and lo’ and behold not even two blocks the first thing to catch my eye was the National Leprechaun Museum. Couldn’t fit in a tour as children busloads were already on it and timing would screw with meetup with Faerie Moe so I grabbed chai n’ free wifi at Insomnia Coffee by the corner of Abbey and Jervis. Everyone was so friendly. Moe was running a bit late so decided to jump into the Leprechaun tour and got through the introduction when she had pulled into the City Center – so slipped out and the owner of the Museum gave me a free adult ticket so I could come back to finish it. Sweet.
Overwhelmed by Moe’s radiance … and it felt like it was just yesterday since we saw each other last. She gave me a quick tour of some of the artsy corners of City Center, introduced me to a couple of her artist friends, and we went to her secret bar – that I cannot review since I cannot reveal the location. There we toasted to two tall Guinness (thank you Moe!) and caught up. Very quite lovely and much better than tea. Time flew and it was quickly already time for me to be at the airport for my flight to England.
Picked up backpack from Left Luggage and checked in with Ryan Air. I understand Ryan Air is economy – but wow – cutting corners and nickel/diming I’m amazed. My backpack was 2 kilos overweight – so had to grab several items out of it twice to throw into my carry-on day pack and finally checked it without additional charge. Could have been 30-100 Euro. Ouch. Going through Security – in Europe you Don’t have to take off your shoes, and they are less panicky than American security. I did forget that I had a water bottle in my bag – and they just took it – no other problems. Then the line-up to get onto the flight was lengthy and not the greatest seats – no place to plug in the laptop – and no wifi signal. Hell my cell phone didn’t work in Dublin Airport. No assigned seats, small, but the staff of the flight was ultra-friendly and helpful. They did charge for beverages, no free magazines in the seat pocket (no seat pocket), but they handed them out on request, and they tried to sell ‘smokeless cigarettes’ by hawking them down the aisle. No statements about not using cell phones inflight, or electronics … it was pretty loose and dry. As I walked up to the plane, the pilot was seated like a driver in a stretch limo – arm hanging out the cockpit window and chatting with folks down below.
Got to Bristol and everthing was very easy to find as well. Jumped on the bus (6 GBP) to Bristol Temple Mead and the bus driver was very helpful after I hopped out of the bus ran into the terminal to collect my Rail tickets to Penzance, held the bus for me, and dropped me off very close to the Youth Hostel so I didn’t have to walk with the heavy backpack. That was sooo nice. English hospitality lives to its name. I checked into the Bristol Youth Hostel and once again – very good service, help, guidance, and advice. Very nice setup – bar, cafe, restaurant, game room, reading/tv room, laundromat, self-use kitchen, information, internet, and fantastic staff. The rooms not bad – have 3 other bunkmates – but haven’t met them – they have been out and about. The Hostel is set in the Bristol Harbor and very scenic beautiful. Lots of fun things to do and see. Short visit for me but I’ll be back before I leave to explore more. Walked up and down the canals, the historic districts, and in search of some infamous British Fish n’ Chips – finally found some thanks to a cute girl at a pub who kindly gave me detailed directions of where to go. I contemplated clubbing/dancing at Oceanic club across the canal from the hostel – but decided to call it an early night since I needed to be up early to head off to Penzance. Will party with the pirates tomorrow since its friday and saturday night …
This Journey is quite expensive & took quite a bit of personal sacrifice to make happen.
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Approaching The Mystical Islands of Eire:
Views above Dublin, Ireland:
Dublin International Airport:
National Leprechaun Museum – Dublin
Dublin From Above:
United Kingdom From Above:
Bristol Youth Hostel: