We didn’t want to leave Rome, because that meant the trip was coming to an end, but we were glad to leave many of the annoyances of it. We hadn’t felt like that in any other place we visited, even when we had one rainy day after another and a bad hotel in Paris. We were so happy to go back to Dublin to see people we had met, places we had missed and just the place we had come to love. The flight there went well, including some nice people sitting with us, but my head was in excruciating pain due to my horrible, untreated sinus infection and the high altitude. All I could do was try a nasal spray, which was useless, because I couldn’t even breathe through my nose at this point. So, I just put on my sunglasses (your eyes become very sensitive to light with a sinus infection) and my hood and tried to relax. On the ground, we had to go through customs. Sarah got through with a question or two, but me looking strung out wearing sunglasses and a hoodie pulled up at midnight, had to play a game of 20 questions with my customs agent, and I was in no mood for it.
Soon though, we had our luggage and headed outside to catch the bus. The second we stepped outside, we both screamed. It was absolutely frigid! Dublin has a much colder summer climate than I anticipated, but when coming from Rome and Greece where temperatures are always in the 90°s or above 100°, this was like the dead of winter to us. Thank God we didn’t have to wait outside, because a bus pulled up right as we walked to the podium. We rushed on and now knew where to get off, unlike on our first trip. We made it to the hostel, dropped everything off and then went looking for food. Shockingly, Dublin shuts down around midnight. Yes, the place renowned for its pubs closes up shop at midnight. There are some parts that run on usual bar time, but most pubs, stores, and restaurants are closed by midnight.
Since our fish and chips place was closed, we went to a place called Abrakebabra that we had seen everywhere before. When we were inside Sarah suddenly yelled “Oh! I get it! Abra-kebab-ra! Like a kebab!” I couldn’t believe she didn’t get it the first time she saw the sign and the guy working there now thought we were idiots. Swedish, too. It didn’t help matters when we were laughing hysterically while ordering chicken chunks. They call chicken nuggets chicken chunks and he thought we were weird. We laughed almost the entire time we ate the chicken chunks and then headed back, because the streets seemed to have some weirdos at night around the city center.
The next day it was actually sunny in Dublin. I couldn’t believe it. It was the first time I had seen sunshine there.
We went looking for Marsh’s Library, a cool library next to , with books that are hundreds of years old that you can browse and touch and read. Sadly, it was closed.
If you ever travel to Europe, remember that things are closed on either Mondays or Tuesdays and never open before 9 or 10 am.
So, we walked around looking for stuff and found the Carmelite Church.
It’s very pretty and much plainer than others we had seen. It also houses the remains of the famous St. Valentine, so couples from all over on February 14th to be blessed.
One thing I noticed was the names written on each pew asking for prayers and sweet donations for the poor. After much adoration and reading about it’s fascinating history, we got some food and then some Irish coffee.
It was still early in the morning though, so we walked through St. Stephen’s Green and found a place to hang out and enjoy the park.
We then did some shopping and wandered to our pub, Kehoe’s.
We were sad to see that our bartender wasn’t there, but liked just being back there. A little later, he did come in and recognized us immediately. He even remembered where we were going and where we sat.
So, we had fun hanging out with him that afternoon. But, we needed some food and I was now in desperate need of medicine, especially for the 8-hour flight the next day. We headed over to the Temple Bar area, but it was crowded, expensive and people there aren’t exactly normal. We saw a very dramatic fight between a couple in the middle of the street and that’s when I remembered people telling me that users hang out around that area a lot. So, we went to our fish and chips place and they knew us right away again. We were really starting to love this town. We then went to the store to get some odd food, drinks and medicine for me. They do not have many brands that we do in America, such as Mucinex, so it was a game of musical prescriptions as the pharmacists and I tried to find something all three of us knew.
As I mentioned in my other posts about Europe, we had really started to love checking out items in the grocery store in other countries and Dublin was no exception.
We then got ready for a pub crawl we were doing that night and Sarah packed her bag.
I thought she was getting ahead of herself, but it was her bag. We headed out for the pub crawl, but Sarah wanted to check out another store first just to see how their things differ from ours and we found plenty that did.
Flapjacks are granola bars.
Double Dip comes with a swizzle stick.
Honey Nut Cheerios are Honey Loops.
Frosted Flakes are Frosties and Lay’s chips are called Walker’s (and there are odd flavors). We then made it to the pub crawl where we spent the first half hour trying to figure out what sport was on TV. Finally someone told us it was Gaelic football and then ruined it by telling us the game was a rerun and who had already won. We were done with TV for the night and moved from bar to bar having fun.
We decided we had to see Kehoe’s one last time, so we walked over and hung out for a little while, seeing our bartender for the last time and seeing Kehoe’s at night for the first time. Turns out it’s very popular and most people don’t get a seat and the crowd even spills out into the street. Luckily we did, because Sarah wasn’t feeling too good. We just wanted to soak up our favorite place on last time.
We returned to our group and turns out there was a bet going on about us. Some people thought we were Swedish, others Australian, but we won a guy some money when we told them we were American. We went to some good and bad pubs. The worst we went to was Whelan’s, which is from the movie P.S. I love You. It was horrible. The music was from the 1970’s or something, and no one was feeling it. We did start hanging out with some Brits though and they were telling us about the riots going on the in London and how much they loved American TV.
After the last pub closed, we going to another, but they were IDing people and we didn’t bring ours. We thought no place carded in Dublin, but turns out there is one. So, with nowhere else to go, we decided to head home. Our friends wanted to stop at Subway, though. Shocked to see a Subway, we decided to go. The best part of the night came when Sarah ordered a chicken ranch sandwich and they did not only not have ranch, they didn’t even know what it was. Sarah was stunned and yelled “How do you have chicken ranch sandwich on the menu if you don’t even know what it is?” I was dying laughing watching her fight and so were the Brits going on with “typical American blah blah blahness”. So, Sarah started making fun of them, and she obliterated them. About an hour or two later the one that primarily had been making fun of us said “You’ve lost whatever little respect you had for, haven’t you?” And it was true.
We wandered home, but the sun was about to come up. I fell asleep and Sarah woke me up what felt like an hour later and I was exhausted, and I still had to pack. I now saw why she did it the night before. I just threw everything in my big bag, not caring if it was overweight or oversized anymore. Thank God on flights to/from America, the restrictions (which aren’t even necessary) are lenient. I put on my Bears pajama pants, a hoodie, my sunglasses, grabbed my medicine and we were off.
Once we checked in, we found out we needed to do a customs “pre-clearance”. After security once, and semi-security again, we were at customs where some middle-aged guy tried to intimidate me with questions about the terrifying issue of customs. He began with “So, you’re an American?” I could see this hardcase thought he had a fun opportunity to push a young girl around, but instead I made him feel dumb. Then, we got to go through security yet again before we were finally in the airport terminals, which they treat like extreme security clearance at a government bureau or something. I wanted to buy a bottle of water from a stand and they needed to scan my passport, my boarding pass and enter like 25 passwords, so I just said forget it and walked over to the restaurant where they just scanned the bottle like any normal place. We each also bought a bottle of Bulmers and planned to stash it in our checked bags when we landed in Chicago.
The flight was long, but thank God I had my sinus medicine otherwise it would have been excruciating. In Chicago, we realized that the “pre-clearance” in Dublin was actually the customs clearance, so we didn’t have to go through it in America, which meant that we weren’t getting our checked bags and couldn’t stash our Bulmers. We either had to throw the bottles out or drink them before we went through security. We wanted to drink them, but we realized you can’t drink in public in the US. We had become so used to Europe in many ways without even realizing it. We had nowhere to go in the airport except the bathroom. So, we did and began to drink them. I was too sick and I knew this wouldn’t help, so I had to pour mine out and simply keep the bottle. Sarah chugged like a champion and we were through security soon.
Since we had missed getting Italian beefs in Chicago on our way to Dublin, we had to get them on the way back. We were in the domestic terminals this time, and restaurants were everywhere! I called my dad, who had found a great place once in the airport, and he actually helped me find it. He remembered where this place was that he had been to once a few years ago. I forgot how great they were and finished Sarah’s for her too, because as she put it “That’s too much Italian stallion for this girl.”
Our flight to LA was not fun, because I realized that I had lost my sinus medicine, so I was in agony the entire way home. Turns out it was so severe that is was a sinus staph infection and it had been untreated for about 2 weeks. It was sad but time to come home to LA. We ended up going out for food in Hollywood and staying up late, because Sarah had to leave for the airport around 4:15 am for her 7:00 am flight back to Colorado. So finally after weeks of inadequate sleep, no treatment of my sinus infection and running around from one country to the next, I finally went into a coma and only woke up for medicine. Now what to do next year…..