May 7, 2015: 12:57 pm
Seems near impossible that this is the tenth year in a row I will be crossing the Atlantic to travel in Europe. I managed to get to the plane even after forgetting a few things, which my friend Mark helped me out with. The plane containing me is now on the way to Philadelphia via U.S Airways. There will be a brief layover, than it will be off to Dublin. This will be my fourth time of flying into Dublin after many years of flying in to first Gatwick, then Heathrow.
So the reason I switched airports is due to cost of the flight. Flying into Dublin is about $300 cheaper. On top of that, Ireland is part of the EU and therefore my dollar goes further. This year the, per my friend Mark, the Euro conversion is 1.01 for each dollar spent. Compared to the conversion rate of 1.50 to the dollar for the pound I think I will be spending most of my time in the EU this year.
Dublin offers quite a mix of venues for your enjoyment. There are walking tours, which are fun, lots of bus tours to get you about the country and beautiful scenery at every turn. When Mark and I came here, for the first time in 2011, we stayed a The New Times a youth hostel. We then ended up at Abigale's, not sure why, another youth hostel. Where I have stayed the last few years and will again this year. The New Times was nice, but the common area is bit cramped for the number people staying there. We had to climb several flights of stairs carrying our suitcases equals not fun. However, the room we stayed in had a nice amount of space as hostels go. The luggage room was not very big and hard to get your bags in and out.
Abigale's has a much roomier common are along with an elevator. Some of the sleeping rooms are crowed, but I much prefer it to the New Times. One other hostel I have stayed in is Patty's Place. What can I say about Patty's Place, but it is a cheap flophouse. It has Small crowed sleeping rooms, mostly cold showers, and a dingy kitchen for the free breakfast. The luggage room is downstairs with bags thrown in, piled three and four high. However, you can save nine Euro because you get a free bus ride to the airport. Patty's is also a tour bus company and all their tours leave from the flophouse. Last year my daughter and I stayed a several other Patty's places, having taken their bus tour, and found them quite acceptable. You would think the one in Dublin would kept up a bit better.
Getting about Dublin is very easy with walking being the best way to get a flavor for the city. There are double decker, on and off tour buses, which are fun to get the lay of the land. Temple Bar is row after row of pubs all with live music and dancing. Its streets are always packed and the mood is lively. There are quite a few over prices restaurants offering "traditional Irish food." A few blocks away you can find the same variety of food, but at less cost. I do spent money on cooking my own basic food as each hostel has a kitchen and usually pots, pans etc. to get the job done.
I was surprised to find myself, again, apprehensive about taking this trip. However, it was different from previous year's apprehensiveness. I cannot put my finger on it, but just felt like I should not go. Not excited at all, but cannot say I have been very excited in previous years. I purchased the ticket rather quickly this year and will not purchase so early again. That is if there is an again. If there is an again it will no longer be for months on end as has been the case. I will be going back to 3 to 4 week trips to Europe if possible. Will have to see how this tour thing works out. I think part of my reluctances this year to travel alone to Ireland. It seems strange not to have my daughter and friend Cassie to hang with. Cassie is in Thailand this year and my daughter will join me in England late in June.
I am getting use to a new Pad I have purchased for this trip. It is a pound lighter them my Acer Netbook that I have used for years. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I am getting used to it. Last night I watched a Netflix movie on it and was quite pleased at its performance. Also SKYPED and for the first time no loss of signal, sound or picture. Getting use to touch screen, I keep cleaning it OCD about fingerprints, which works grand.
May 9, 2015: 9:30 am Dublin, 1:30 am Arizona
Nice to have a room full of adults this go around. Several couples from France are sharing the dorm room with me. Spend yesterday inside mostly due to rain and wind. It was O.K. it gave me time to catch up on sleep lost in the flight. Usually I am able to sleep on the plane, but this time no so much this time. So took a nap, SKYPED with Mark, did some emails and a little reading. I have decided to spend another night here and take a couple of day tours I have not done before. Today I will tour the Guinness brewery and maybe the Old Jameson Whiskey distillery, then going to book a Day tour to Hill of Tara. I usually do not do the tourist thing, but what the heck.
I walking to the brewery and spy a small sign on a light post explaining that the church on the other side of the fence has a long connection to the Camino de Santiago. Intrigued I back track to the front of the church and there is a sign indicating a Camion office. Inside I find three volunteers staffing the office. We have a nice chat and share some stories. One of the people I talk to is from the U.S. but has lived in Ireland for 15 years. I ask to see the church and use the bathroom.
Inside there are several plaques talking about the church's connection to the Camino. It seems that has been a starting placer for Irish Pilgrims since medieval times. There was once a Gate in the wall protecting Dublin called the St James gate through which the pilgrims left the city, then heading to the docks for the ship that would take them Spain. So here, I was in Dublin for the fourth time connected to the Camino. Was this a sign?
The woman from the U.S. shows me where the bathroom is and it takes me a moment to understand just were it was. The church was built in 1844 an most not have had indoor plumbing. So they added a bathroom outside up against the church wall. One would wonder if it was once an outhouse. I purchase a Camino passport and am told that I can get my first stamp at the beginning of the Guinness tour. This is because part of the factory now stands on the spot where the St. James gate use to be.
I purchase my ticket then head over to the information desk where low and behold I receive my stamp and a "Buen Camino" from the follow behind the desk. The tour is self-guided and full of bells and whistles. I find the beams studded with rivets and ceramic bricks the most interesting. There are several restaurants with overpriced food. The tour goes up and up until you reach, yet another restaurant perched on top of the factory. By now, it is very crowed to the point it is almost impossible to get in to it, so I turn around and head out. I do not get my pint of free beer, but just can deal with the crowd.
May 10, 2013
Get up early and head over to Suffolk St to catch the Irish Day Tour bus. I have made the reservation on line at their web site. The tour's name is the Celtic Boyne Valley Tour and cost 35.00 euro. It is a small 18-seat bus with almost every seat filled. We are going to see The Hill fo Tara, Trim Castle, Monasterboice, and Loughcrew Passage Tomb. A group of young women in the back eight seats chat away on the ride to our first stop; The Hill of Tara.
The driver, Jamie, tells us that since we have the small bus we will be taking the scenic route rather than the motorways. These roads are narrow and not well kept up. For the remainder of the trip we are bounce and jostle around and ever glad to get out for a bit. It seems that we spend more time on the bus then at any of the stops. I get to be part of the group and we chat, walk, and eat together. The last stop is a church that has the mummified head of a Saint in it. It is a windy, cold day and towards the end, it begins to rain. Safely back in Dublin it is time to say good-bye to my traveling companions and get a little diner before turning in.
May 13, 2015
On the 11th, I am surprised by an email for an old friend I have not heard from in years, at least 15. It is a dark, windy day and I am spending time arranging to leave Dublin for a couple of days. I will head to Galway for two days then back to Dublin when it will be time to leave for Salisbury. So far, the trip has been relaxing and fun especially meeting new people. I sat with two woman taking about traveling the world. Each had visited over 60 countries, which gave a sad feeling that I have visited so few. I cannot count the number of times I have said, "I have no interest in going there." However, pressed there is no valid reason for why? I am not a world traveler compared to these women and am forced to rethink why I stick to the same countries repeatedly.
Wander around town today visiting museums and stores. Back in the hostel, it is the noisiest I have ever experienced here. There is a group of Jr highers that I think are from Italy. Their caretakers are almost never in view allowing this group to run amuck. An older Russian youth group acts no better and with the addition of alcohol are even worse. I have stayed here four years in a row and have not experience this lever of rudeness, loudness, and drunkenness. I will think long and hard about staying here again in the coming years.
May 15, 2015 Dublin
I am so tired to rude, loud people. I was in an eight-bed room with one other person last night. Around 11 pm, five young people for France come in turn on the light, bang things around set up their beds and leave. Then at 2 am them come back and start again. I say "quite please" and they laugh. Not a good thing to do at 2 am. I get out of bed and they stop laughing and all of a sudden find a way to do things quietly. It was nice this morning sitting in the day room at 7 am and it was quiet until around eight then yelling, as if the person they are talking to is sitting on the other side of Dublin. I watch a guy in his late 40's hitting on every young girl he can get to pay attention to him. There is a limited amount of coffee so instead of a cup this guy fills up a cereal bowl with coffee to drink. People eat and leave their dishes on the table rather them put them on the rack then have to pass on way out. I have just not experienced this kind of behavior in prior years.
I will be leaving in about an hour to go to the bus station and head to Galway. We will see what awaits me there.
May 20, 2015 Train to Salisbury from Dublin
Five days since last post see if I can remember the highlights. Nice bus ride to Galway, which only cost 8 pounds one-way. Comfortable seats along with WiFi and a plug for your device. After arriving, I headed toward the hostel booked on line. You have to love google Map Street View that I used to virtually walk to the hostel. Now here I followed the route right up to the front door of the hostel. My reservation was there and had no problem checking in. I was assigned to room four that was a roomy 8-bed dorm. After choosing my bunk and "unpacking" which was removing my computer from my backpack. There was fellow in bed, not unusual, in hostels at Noon. When out for some lunch then a walk around town. Weather cloudy, and cool with a bit of wind. The weather turned to drizzle, then to rain, then to drizzle etc. I headed back to the hostel and hunker down at a table next to one of two outlets in the room.
I was quiet and seemed to be very few people staying there. Things started to get strange when I noticed that the staff had a dorm also and had the door to it open. There was a guy in the day room who held on to the remote and kept switching channels. Behind me was the kitchen with a door leading to a small courtyard. While responding to emails and Facebook I smelled cigarette smoke, which caused me to look around the room. Finally I figured out people were going out in the courtyard and smoking right next to the open kitchen door. This happened rather regularly while I was sitting there.
May 22, 2015 Salisbury
May 25, 2015 Salisbury
Still here in Salisbury having spent the weekend "working" at the Festival. Volunteering at times is a bit frustrating due to having to watch people running around acting more important than they really need to. One person needs to let everyone know at every event what her title is as opposed to just giving her name and getting on with the useless information she is about to impart. The problem being that those in charge seem to think that their volunteers are bumbling fools who just would not know how to conduct themselves without a good deal of micromanagement. The thing that really causes biting of the tough and smiling falsely is when one of the staff tells me what to do when I am already doing it. A few "staff" attempting to outdo each other in that. But, for the most part it is fun dealing with the throngs before and during an event. I have met several people with whom I have quite a laugh when they say, "You're not British" to which I usually answer, "I'm not" acting very surprised "how could you tell?" Great fun that. I'll be back at it again today at 4 pm then off until next Friday. I'm thinking of taking a ride somewhere returning in time to go to work.
"Getting Old" whatever that means! I continue to be told by some that I am getting old if reference to some statement I have made. Statement "My hand hurts!" Response "You're getting old!" Statement "My knee hurts!" Response "You're getting old!" Statement "I've farted!" Response "You're getting old!" Statement "I'm Horney!" Response "You're getting old!" And, on and on as if all of a sudden any ailment mentioned after a certain age. So at some point the statement "my knee Hurts!" turns from "Did you hit it on something?" to "you're getting old!" There seems there is this magical turning point that at a certain age it becomes one's age that causes a problem rather then and event. There is also some responses that I find silly such as my Doctor said, "You're really heathy and active for someone your age." What the f… is that? So at my age what is it that I'm supposed to be doing or I should say not doing! I belonged; yes, I admitted it, to eHarmony for a bit. So many of the women who wrote to me indicated that they were impressed with how active I was at MY AGE! Well f… where is my couch, T.V., and wheelchair.
I was watching myself for a few days, must be because I am old, and found myself acting old. Well what the hell does that mean and why did I deem myself such. What I found was my hesitating but for getting up from a chair, holding on to the table as I got up helping with my arms as if my legs could not manage by themselves, or holding on to the handrail as I climbed or dissented stairs. I also noticed that I was walking slightly more bent over the normal. My posture has always sucked. I thought to myself what the hell are you doing? I take notice; look around as if waking from a nap, and answer I don't know in much surprise. I can get up for a chair just fine, negotiate stair without help, and am quite capable of standing up as usual. Maybe I was "getting old." …not!