Wednesday, December 14, 2016

European Odyssey - Part 6: Within A Mile Of Home, or, 24 Hours in Dublin

As you'll notice there aren't many photos from this leg of the trip.  It was cold, I was tired, and I was slightly depressed about my impending return to my daily life back in Utah.  That all sucked the photographic ambition right out of me.

S. and I flew directly from Amsterdam to Dublin and we were greeted at the airport by C., erstwhile sister of J. from the Cork segment of our trip.  She collected us and our baggage and brought us back to her house where we were welcomed by her husband S., her 3 lovely daughters, and her parents E. and P. who I hadn't seen in over 10 years.  As we were catching up on old times the door opens and in walks J.  She, at the urging of her husband, had decided to surprise us by making the drive up from Cork.  She, C., S, and myself bundled ourselves into the car and headed downtown to the Temple Bar area for a lovely dinner in a pub. 

I had to laugh a bit.  The outside wall of the pub boasted traditional Irish music but as soon as we walked in the front door we were confronted by a hen night party shaking their collective booties to Black Eyed Peas "Party Rock Anthem".  It was a Saturday night and those ladies were not messing around, there were there to DANCE!  The bride was in front of me and started dancing at me and all I could do was nod and small and push on.  We threaded our way through the crowd and made our way to the restaurant on the third floor.  My dinner was amazing and I'm kicking myself for not remembering the name of the restaurant.  I had pate to start and braised lamb for my entree.  Everything from the appetizers to the sides were brilliantly done.  Lovely food, fabulous friends, and great conversation, what more could a girl want? 

While we were at dinner C. told the story of trying to track down the reindeer that live in Phoenix park.  I won't tell the whole story here but sufficed to say it was hilarious and ended up with her and her kids running for dear life from some rather unfriendly deer.  I promptly nicknamed them the murder reindeer and insisted that we go in search of them later.

Apparently the trad music was on the second floor, but we passed by it on our way out and headed for a brief (very brief, it was FREEZING!) walking tour of Dublin.

My sole photo from our night on the town.
After nearly losing a member of our party on the Ha' Penny bridge we jumped in the car and headed to Phoenix Park.  If you've never driven around Phoenix Park on a dark winter night with the headlights off looking for murderous reindeer, well you haven't lived and I feel very sorry for you.  Sadly, or maybe joyfully, we did not find the murdery reindeer.  After a futile search we headed back to C.'s house and stayed up talking with her husband and his brother.  The craic was mighty and I can't tell you how much I adore J. and C. and their families.

The next morning J. left us before dawn to meet her husband in Waterford.  After saying goodbye we got got ready for our last day of the trip.

The girls and their friends helped Amy look for Sheldon while we were driving.
C. and her family dropped us off at a bus station on their way to church and we caught the next bus heading to O'Connell street where we caught a "hop on, hop off" double decker tour bus.  It was a great way to catch most of the major sites in the city but the next time I suggest riding on the open top level of a tour bus in early February, you have my permission to slap me.  It was clear and sunny but so bracingly cold that my hands, feet, and face were completely numb within the first 5 minutes of the tour.

After we made the full loop of the tour we disembarked on O'Connell street for a quick lunch of fish and chips.  Amy was depressed at not having found a single clue as to Sheldon's whereabouts that she ate herself into a coma.

After lunch we hopped back on the bus and hopped off again near Trinity College.  I needed to find the sweater shop I wanted to visit so I could replace my old Aran sweater that had been irreversibly shrunk several years before by someone who shall remain nameless.  After the quick shopping trip we hopped in a cab and made our way to the Dublin Airport.
Amy didn't want to get on the plane either.
We had a little time to kill so we did the usual, hit up the touristy gift shop, browse the duty free store, peruse books at the newsstand, charge our devices.  When the time came to board our flight I struggled to find the will to force myself to get on the plane.  I already missed my friends and the beautiful cities we visited and the incredible food we ate.  But board the plane we did. 

We all thought it was fitting that it started to rain as we boarded the plane.  We landed in Ireland in the pouring rain, and we took off for home in the pouring rain.
I have never been able to get comfortable on planes or be able to sleep for more than 5 minutes at a time on a flight.  One thing that made the time fly by was the awesome seatback entertainment that Aer Lingus offered.  They offer a ton of Irish movies, art films, and popular Hollywood movies.  I watched 4 feature length films on our flight from Dublin to Boston and it made the time fly by. 

Sunset over the North Atlantic
Sunrise over the sea ice off the coast of Newfoundland.
We arrived in Boston and had a quick plane change and were on our way to JFK where we had a layover.  We arrived just in time to catch the half time show of the Superbowl which was playing on all the TVs in our terminal.  What more American way to welcome us back to the States?  And in the blink of an eye our amazing overseas adventures came to a close.  We were happy to be home and sad to be separated from our dear friends, but all's well that ends well.  I am so grateful for the people the made this trip possible.  Travel tests you.  It helps you push your boundaries.  You meet new people, try new things, and experience things in a way you can't do in the comfort of your own home.  I hope I am lucky enough to continue to travel through out my life, and I hope that everyone reading this gets to experience an adventure of your own.

PS - When I arrived home I started unpacking and I was sorting the laundry on the floor.  When the first shirt hit the ground Molly the Wonder Dog pounced on it, balled it up with her paws and then laid on it, sniffing it and glaring at me.  She has since forgiven me for being away so long.

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