On Sunday evening the German and I made it back to Germany in one piece. We had a really lovely time in Ireland, but four days was definitely too short. We were very lucky because my friends told me that this year Ireland has had their worst summer in memory, but it did not rain the entire time we were there.
Last Thursday we took the train into the city center and walked around Dublin. I believe that the key to traveling with a spouse with very different interests from yours, is to force your spouse to only go to one place a day. Thus, each person gets to see at least one thing that they find interesting. The German wanted to go to the Guinness Museum and I wanted to go to Christ Church. Actually I wanted to go to Dublin Castle but Christ Church was on the way to the brewery. Afterwards we walked to Grafton Street and looked at all the things that we cannot afford and then we met our friends in Temple Bar for a drink. Although I drank water the entire weekend, my Irish friends insisted that I drink Guinness because it is loaded with iron and good for the baby. Despite their very persuasive arguments, I passed.
On Friday we were both a little tired from our 5 hour hike through the city, so we stayed close to the house. My friend had mentioned that there was a shopping center only a 20 minute walk from the house. We decided to try it out. At 10:30am we set out, and as we left, I swear I heard scary music playing in the background, which foreshadowed the problems to come.
When we got to the end of the neighborhood, the German looked at me expectantly.
Claire: Okay, so she said take a right and then a left. Hmm. Or was it a left and then a right? Umm. Let's go this way.
The German had no idea, so he followed my lead. And we walked. And walked. And walked. 30 minutes later there was no sign of the shopping center in sight. We saw an older man walking towards us. We asked him for directions. He told us to keep going straight and to then turn left.
So we walked. And walked. After 5 minutes we realized that the older man had not told us WHERE to turn left. The fools that we are, we kept going straight. Eventually we came across an older woman. She gave us more specific directions (like we had missed the left turn) and reassured us that it was only a 20 minute walk. I had heard that somewhere else before.
We got to the shopping center at 12:15. Because I was starving, the first thing we did was eat. It was a nice little center and we even found a Borders bookstore with a Starbucks. At 3:00 I was beat and wanted to go home.
Claire: No walking! We will take the bus. I saw that it goes to the train station just around the corner from the house.
Finding the bus stop was easy. Unfortunately there were no maps, bus schedules or anything of the sort listed. How do people know what bus to get on? We were about to learn the hard way that the bus system in Ireland is terrible and only those native to the island seem to understand how it works. I decided to just ask the first driver I saw.
Claire: Excuse me, does this bus go to Clonsilla Station?
Driver: Sure. That will be 3.80.
I only had a 10 Euro bill and 3 Euro in coin, which did not make the driver happy.
Driver: Let me think. Nope that is 2.80.
I dropped in the 3 Euro and to my amazement received no change. He printed out a receipt with the tickets and for the change. My friends told me later that you have to go to the bus station office in the city center to get your change. Who actually does this?? I am sure that they make a killing off of the tourists.
We got on the bus and went to the top. After we passed Clonsilla STREET and the driver started to head for the highway, I started to worry. After we passed the Dublin city limits and I saw a sign for the city center, I knew we were in trouble. In no time at all (actually it took almost an hour) we were in downtown Dublin, which is no where near where we wanted to go.
The German suggested that we stay on the bus. "Eventually he will drive back around to Consilla." But I had seen the traffic already backing up. It was 4pm and everyone was trying to get out of the city. I saw the Tara Street Station and yelled, "We are getting off!"
We got off the bus and ran to the train station. I knew that the train would be much faster than the slow bus in getting us back to our starting point. What I had forgotten, was that the train would be even more crowded than the bus. We were packed in like sardines and had to endure the stuffy conditions the entire way home.
After the uncomfortable ride and another short walk, we FINALLY made it back to the house. It was 5:20pm. I was exhausted. My friend came out of the living room as we walked into the house. "How was your day?" he asked in a tone a bit too happy for my mood.
I headed upstairs and took a nap, hoping that sleep would erase the memory of our 4 hour (round trip) adventure. Fortunately, the rest of our trip did not involve public transportation and was uneventful; until we got to the airport,which is when we discovered how Ryan Air makes its money.
At the counter we only hand one piece of luggage to check in. It was 7 kilos overweight.
Check-in Tyrant: You can take out 7 kilo or you will have to pay 56 Euro.
Claire: What am I supposed to do with 7 kilo of stuff?
Check-in Tyrant: I don't know. Put it in your hand luggage.
Claire: We don't have any.
Check-in Tyrant: Well, then you will have to pay. I cannot check you in if you do not pay.
Claire: They did not charge us in Bremen.
Check-Tyrant: Well, this is Dublin. (She said in a very matter of fact, self-satisfied tone, as if this suddenly explained everything.)
When we got back to Germany were happy and tired and so excited to see a working, logical public transportation system.