Travel Diary: From the States to Dublin

I arrived in Dublin shortly after six a.m. I was so disoriented and overwhelmed after my flight that I shuffled to the bathroom before going through customs. I waited in a long line with my passport ready, with a customs officer who was less than thrilled with his task. He told me I needed to sign my passport, and asked my reason for being in the country. “Holiday”, I replied cheerily.

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I then walked down towards the bus and taxi service. I knew the bus would be significantly cheaper, but as I was so exhausted and uncertain, I chose a taxi instead. It felt positively luxurious having a cab all to myself, after two days of zero privacy and limited space. The cabbie didn’t make conversation, but I was glad. All I wanted was to check in to the hostel and collapse into bed. He pulled up to a bright blue door where a man on a ladder was adding a second coat of paint. I gave the cabbie a crisp one-hundred pound bill. “We don’t see these every day,” he commented.  As he handed me my backpack, he warned me to be careful. He seemed concerned that I was on my own, and didn’t want me walking around at night. I smiled at his concern as I walked through the bright blue door into the hostel office.

A slight man with a thick accent informed me that I couldn’t check in until three p.m., but offered to stow my bag and allow me to hang around until then. I was hesitant to leave my bag, so I walked down to a cute little coffee shop. I ordered an iced quad shot Americano, which resulted in a furrowed-brow from the barista. “We don’t have iced drinks,” she replied. She offered me hot americano instead, along with an almond croissant. After sitting a bit in a sun-spot, perusing my phone, I decided on a refill, since I needed to stay awake. We chatted about coffee for a bit before I sat back down, next to an elderly gentleman with a newspaper.

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I drained my cup and ventured out on the street. I decided to turn right, past the hostel, and up the street. I passed a series of colourful doors, which were made especially delightful because they were attached to grey stone buildings. I came upon the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral, and decided to venture inside. I purchased a ticket that allowed entrance into the cathedral as well as the museum across from it. Up until this point, I had never been inside a cathedral. I was overwhelmed by the detailed beauty, even in my blurry-eyed state. The priest invited me to attend morning prayer, so after exploring the crypt, I sat alongside two Russian women. The priest led us through prayers, and then shared some history of the church, with trademark Irish humour.

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The museum across from the church was called Dublinia, and focused mainly on the medieval and Viking history of Ireland. The doorman offered to keep my backpack, but I was still hesitant. My back ached, but I didn’t want to trust anyone. Halfway through the first floor, I was so miserable that I returned to the front and asked if I could stow my pack. The man led me around to a Viking boat replica, and hid the bag there. “It should be safe there.” I still can’t get over the humour of hiding my backpack in a replica of a Viking boat. I continued through the museum, light as a feather, but very tired.

By the three p.m. check-in, I was overwhelmingly exhausted. My private room was three floors up a spiral staircase, so I dragged my backpack behind me, too sore and tired to actually carry it properly. After two days of zero privacy, closing the door to my own room felt like entrance into heaven. The room was plain, but very clean and comfortable. As I was in desperate need of a shower, I ventured down the hall to the washrooms. I was shocked by how cramped the space was, smaller than my closet back home. I fiddled with the shower, attempting to turn on its flow, to no avail. I stood wrapped in a towel, swearing at the shower head, until I realised it must be broken. I hauled my things to the next shower, nearly giddy when the water jutted out full and hot.

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I am a fairly small person, but in that tiny shower, I struggled. I had to hike my leg up and prop it against the wall in order to shave, and kept bumping the door open. I made wet footprints on the old wooden floor as I whisked my clean self back to the room. Since I was far too exhausted to find anything to eat, I went to bed hungry. I slept like the dead until late the next morning.

 

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