Thursday, December 2, 2010

Leprechauns, Shamrocks, and Guinness: Dublin

I must start my story of Dublin by first explaining how I got there.  I booked my flight for 11am on a Thursday morning under the assumption that I could miss class that morning and go straight to the airport.  Unfortunately, that Thursday I had a midterm in one of my classes and it is not possible to make-up midterms.  So, I packed my suitcase and brought it to school with me and into my test.  I finished my test around 9:30am and literally took off running for the airport.  I had to take three different metros, I went up and down about a million escalators, and jogged through the airport.  When I got to the gate, they were about halfway through boarding the plane, but I made it.  Granted, I was covered in my own sweat and wheezing from running.  I met up with my friend Whitney and her roommate Hannah from Santander, Spain and we boarded the plane together.  When I was about to get on, they stopped me and said that my bag was too big and I would have to pay 50 euros if I couldn't fit it in the carry-on box.  So I began to push and I shoved with all my might (while holding up the line of people trying to board) until my bag dropped down into the box.  I threw my arms up in the air and shouted "hooray!" and the people in line behind me started to applaud.  Then, I couldn't get my bag out of the box.  Silly me, I put the bag in handle side down so I couldn't grip it to pull it out.  The people in line behind me were holding the base and the Ryan Air guy and I were pulling my bag as hard as we could.  Finally, it popped out and I proudly carried it onto the plane.  After single-handedly delaying our flight and accumulating a new layer of sweat, we were on our way to Ireland.  

But, As Ryan Air flights notoriously are, our flight was a little turbulent.  I actually thought that I was going to die on the plane ride, as did all of the people sitting around me.  Now, I have been on many planes that were shaky or that made it feel like you were free falling, but this flight was different.  The ENTIRE plane screamed at once because we all thought that we were plummeting to our deaths.  I don't mean screamed like gasped, I mean blood-curdling screams throughout the whole plane.  When we were about to land, it looked as though our wing was going to hit the runway before our landing gear.  Some people started crying when the plane landed because they were so glad to have made it to Ireland alive.  Not an enjoyable experience.  But now we were in Dublin safe and sound.  

We checked into our hostel (12 beds, one room, one bathroom, 50 euros for three nights) left our stuff there and immediately headed off the meet up with our friend Michael and eat some non-Spanish food.  We had burgers and Guinness beers.  Delicious.  Then we explored the city and went to the Temple Bar for drinks.  The Temple Bar is a huge touristy bar, but it was a lot of fun.  We attempted to eat a late-night snack of quesadillas, but they literally burned our tongues because they were so spicy.  The Irish do not have a form grasp on Mexican food. 

The next day we met up with three more friends coming in from Prague and our group of seven was complete.  We walked around the city and toured Trinity College, which was beautiful.

Then we went to the Guinness Storehouse.  We did a tour of the storehouse, which was a lot of fun. 

At the end of the tour, we got a free Guinness in the Gravity Bar, which is the oldest and tallest skyscraper in Dublin.  Granted, it is only seven stories tall, there is a fantastic view of the whole city.  

The next day, we went to the Dublin Castle and the Dublin Cathedral which were beautiful, but I am a little tired of cathedrals on this european adventure that I am on.  

We left the tour early to go to the Dublin wax museum.  While the wax museum is not one of Dublin's main tourist attractions, we had a great time there goofing around and taking pictures. 

After the Wax museum shenanigans, we toured the Jameson factory.  I feel like if I were a 70-year-old male golfer I would have fit in a lot better than a 20-year-old female college student.  I thought that maybe seeing how Jameson was made would increase my appreciation for whiskey, but even after learning so much about it, I still do not like whiskey.  At the end, they gave us a taste test between Jameson, Jack Daniels, and Johnnie Walker to sip and differentiate between the different types.  I couldn't tell the difference and I didn't like the way they tasted anyway.  Maybe by the time I am a 70-year-old golfer I will appreciate whiskey.  

My weekend in Dublin was amazing and I had a wonderful time.  I was there with good friends, I loved the food and the drinks, and most of all, I loved the language.  For the first and only time in three months, I was in a place where everyone spoke ENGLISH.  I have been to Germany, France, Morocco, and a ton of places in Spain, but for the first time, I could eavesdrop on other people's conversations and I loved it.  I didn't realize how much I missed eavesdropping until I couldn't do it anymore.  I love Ireland. 

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