Saturday, July 6, 2013

June 27, 2013 through July 2, 2013 Dublin, Ireland Apologies to our Irish Friends but Dublin Was Our Least Favorite City

June 27, 2013 through July 2, 2013 Dublin, Ireland
Apologies to our Irish Friends but Dublin Was Our Least Favorite City

We were in Dublin, Ireland, from July 27, 2013 until we flew back to the states on July 2. We were sadly disappointed in what we thought would be the fair city of Dublin.  On arrival in Edinburgh, we went wow!  We looked for the wow factor in Dublin, and it’s just another city.  We’ve took the hop-on, hop-off tour through the town; went to the Guinness experience, toured the jail, and saw Riverdance.  They were great, but Dublin overall is not on the level of other European cities.  The Temple bar area was fun, but it sure kept us up all night. We went during the day for lunch at The Temple Bar which offered 99 sandwiches and great Irish music.

Our Dublin hotel was the poorest of the 16 hotels/apartments we’ve stayed at.  The room was nice, but in order to get any ventilation, all the windows had to be opened which meant that all night long we heard sea gulls and bar noise.  Not conducive to sleeping well.  Breakfast has been the most meager of any we’ve had.  Even the one-lady owner hotel in Bruges produced more of a variety of food.  It was interesting to ask one of the ladies if she was related to another lady in the breakfast room who looked remarkably like her, and she told us that they were sisters and her Mom had had 22 children. 

We saved all our shopping for Dublin and except for great Guinness souvenirs, we didn’t find much  worth buying.  We admit to having been at the end of our stamina and ready to come home, but we were pretty tired in Edinburgh, and we still loved it.  We took a tour out to the Irish countryside – to the coast and to Powerscourt Gardens.  They were very pretty, but the coast reminded us of California and the gardens reminded us of the Mirabelle Gardens in Salzburg, so we didn’t find anything unique about either of them.  I think that if we had gone to Ireland first, we would have marveled at how wonderful everything was, but since it was our last stop, it didn’t impress us at all.  And yet we were so impressed by Edinburgh and London even though I was very sick in London. 

Two items of note that we loved:  Europe’s squares and shopping streets are full of living statues.  I have already posted a couple of them from Barcelona.  But the best one we have ever seen was one with six guys and a dog on Grafton Street in Dublin.  In addition to that, there are street musicians everywhere in Europe, but this teenage orchestra, playing traditional Irish instruments really impressed us.

Enjoying Guinness at the Gravity Bar on the top of Guinness Storehouse Experience

The Best Living Statue in All of our European Experience

Actual Statue of the Famous Molly Malone - in Dublin, one
of her nicknames is the Tart with the Cart

Powerscourt Gardens Outside of Dublin

Kilmainhaim Gaol - Executions of Rebellion Leaders
turned an unsympathetic population into supporters of the
Irish Revolution.

The Temple Bar in Temple Bar - home of 99 sandwiches

Teen Orchestra on Grafton Street in Dublin - Note
traditional Irish instruments

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 2013 Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

July 4, 2013  Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

No pictures this time.  We are back in the US.  We highly recommend Delta Airlines to anyone who has to take a trip, either foreign or domestic.  Although we had a screaming child the entire time and I had to turn my headphones up to block him out and Bill’s TV/Movie console didn’t work exactly right, the Delta staff and crew were wonderful both on the way to and from Europe.  I left my JEL traveling jacket on the plane in Atlanta and didn’t discover it until we were almost on the plane train to the next terminal.  A staff member went back on the plane and retrieved it for me.  The food was good and they served drinks or cold water at least four times during the course of the flight.  We took Carey Limousine to our house once we arrived in Indy – another great service – no parking bill and no inconveniencing friends or family. 

Another nice thing – on a trip to Europe, you used to have to grab your luggage upon arrival in the US and schlep it to another carousel and wait in line for customs.  They took care of all that at the Dublin Airport.  We got off the plane in Atlanta and went to our plane to Indianapolis and didn’t have to deal with our bags until we got to Indy.  We have been so lucky:  not one train, plane, or bus delay or cancellation.  Every hotel but one had our reservation when we got there and the one that didn’t upgraded our room.  A word of advice:  e-mail your hotels prior to getting there and check your planes frequently in case anything changes.  Sometimes the hotels will have great ways of getting from the airport that you haven’t discovered.  We did institute a policy of taking cabs from the airport to the hotel when we arrived in a strange city – just in order to get the lay of the land and to talk to one of Europe’s great cabbies. It’s frustrating to arrive somewhere and not know exactly where you are going.  But we usually took an alternate bus or shared ride service back to the airport when we left a place.  Since this was our last flight and it was the big one, we took a cab to the airport.  Our cabbie’s name was John and he brought us from the airport to our hotel last Thursday.  He offered to come get us and we settled on 6am, not knowing if he would remember.  He showed up at 5:30 and decreased our travel anxiety a lot. 

I have so much more to write on this blog that I will attempt to backtrack to things remembered.  I still want to get to 3000 page views.  It’s nice to be home.  Our niece Michele is here with us, and we went to our neighbors Adam and Vera McDonald's yesterday for welcome home wine and dinner out.  It was a great day!
I got through 3 months worth of mail and we got unpacked.  Lots of summer projects to get underway.