Monday, April 22, 2013

I am back. You can stop holding your breath now

I have returned from my trip across the ocean and what was it like?

And what's it like now that I have to come back to the real world?
Except I am happy to not be living out of a suitcase. And also to be back with Boyfriend+ who will need to come with me next time so we can do London together instead of just comparing notes.

Note: All pictures below were actually taken by my aunt because I forgot to bring my nice camera with me. I did take pictures because my awesome friend lent me her camera. And then I forgot to dropbox myself those pictures so she's going to do it for me but she hasn't yet (probably because I haven't pointed out to her that I didn't do this myself, oops). I am so good at capturing memories...

First, I flew into Dublin. This should have been fairly straightforward, but nothing can ever go exactly as you planned, can it? My aunt and I were making this trip together. She lives in VA, so she was going to connect through JFK and she and I would meet at the airport and then continue on to Ireland. Except the flight to NY was delayed and delayed (and eventually cancelled) due to weather in my area. What kind of weather? Well, from what I could see beautiful skies and little wind. Jerks. But anyway, she missed her flight. I tried to see if I could change my flight and just fly out with her the next day, but that would have cost me about twice the cost of the original ticket, so that wasn't going to happen. So I went out Weds night by my lonesome.

When I got to Dublin it was raining so I went straight to the hotel and was VERY happy they had a room available for me so I could check in right away. I was planning on dropping my bags off and going into Dublin but all I wanted at this point was to shower and take a nap. And besides, I've been to Dublin a few times. Had the weather been nice I would have gone in and just wandered around. Instead I decided sleep is awesome so I mostly hung out around the hotel (not in city center) and rested. It was touch-and-go that night if my aunt was going to be able to make her second flight, because now Atlanta was having weather problems and WHAT THE HELL? I went to bed not entirely sure if she'd make it in the morning, but luckily she did. She got to the hotel pretty much in time to check out, but at least she got free breakfast and a shower before she and I wandered around Dublin.
We didn't have too much time in the city because we were due to take a bus up to Belfast to meet up with my friend* who is living up there. As I said, I've done the city before so I was fine with just wandering the streets and my aunt is flexible so it was nice to be able to just walk around and not have a schedule or plan to stick to.

The next day my friend took us up along the coast road to go to the Giant's Causeway. My aunt is a geologist so she was super excited. I don't understand science or rocks enough to fully appreciate it like she did, but I did like it up there. And luckily the weather held out just long enough so the rain started right after we left. OH and we did this CRAZY rope bridge thing and I thought the wind was going to knock me to my death so that was fun. Fun cos you know, it didn't.
 We then headed back to city center to meet up with my cousin who had flown into Dublin from Paris that morning and was taking the train up to us. She's been living in France for the past year, and visiting her was a big part of this trip. Why didn't we visit her in France if that's where she's living? An excellent question. So anyway, she gets up to Belfast and then we spend the night relaxing and drinking wine and I freak out a little as I realize I've essentially locked myself out of all of my Google accounts. Go me.

The next day we head into St. George's Market and we had planned on taking a Political Taxi tour, where they explain to you all of the stuff going on in Belfast that makes it a bit shooty up there. Except none of the tour companies were answering their phones, so my friend ended up driving us around, taking us the the Peace Wall and she is an excellent tour guide. Also she could have made up everything she told us and I'd never know.
My aunt, cousin, and I then had to catch a bus back down to Dublin because we were flying out to London the next morning. London was great and I loved it there, probably because it reminds me a lot of NYC, but with a Globe theater. And OF COURSE we did a tour of it. That was one of the first things we did when we got there. We also walked around a lot, did a hop on/hop off tour of the city, a river tour thing, visited many pubs, and did some shopping. 3 days was not enough time and I'm ready to go back please!

This is where we began to part ways. My cousin was staying in London to meet up with friends before heading to Berlin. My aunt and I flew back to Dublin together but she stayed in the city so she could fly back home the next day while my friend picked me up at the airport, and she and I made our way over to Galway.

I did no sightseeing in Galway. My friend's family is from the area and I've been out there a bunch of times before to visit with her and her family. I love the stuff out there and everything is beautiful but we wanted some time to just hang out. So we spent some time in Galway city center, went to a spa (my birthday gift!), went out for a pub crawl so we could hit up all of the bars we used to go to, and then just hung out around the house. It wasn't enough time but then again it never is.

The last day was a looooooong day. I woke up at 4am GMT so we could drive the 30 min into Galway city center so I could catch a 2 and 1/2 hour bus ride over to Dublin so I could catch a 7 hour plane ride back to NYC. Boyfriend+ greeted me at the airport with mac and cheese (which beats the hell out of flowers) and I came home for a 20 min power nap before heading back into the city for dinner and a movie. It's the Tribeca Film Festival and before leaving for vacation I said OF COURSE I'll be fine to go to a movie the night I get back. Because I don't understand jet lag or the fact that at 9:30 movie is roughly 2:30am in the timezone my body is in. But I got mofongo for dinner, the movie (Trust Me) was good and included a Q&A with the cast and almost made it worth it that we didn't get home until roughly 2:30am ET, at which point I crashed. And now I'm hear trying to make it through my Google Reader and ignoring my work email until tomorrow when I don't have a choice but to confront that inbox.

Also I have a BUNCH of reviews I really need to get to. Here's what I will eventually get around to writing. I figure if I tell you then I'm more likely to a) remember them all and b) actually do them

Puppet Shows by Michael Frissore
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

*My friend who recently started a blog My Brown Bagged Lunch which is about nutrition and finances and travel and other intelligent things.