Friday July 11th ~ Dublin, Ireland
Todays post is rather mundane, but I wanted to fill in the gap on how we got from Southampton, England via Wales to Dublin, Ireland.
After walking off the ship yesterday morning we took a taxi to the train station where we inquired about taking a train that would take us to a port where we could catch the ferry that would get us to Dublin.
Within an hour of getting off the ship we were onboard train #1 of 2, at 10:15 a.m. heading toward Holyhead, England. We had to change trains in Wolverhampton, but with a 30 minute gap, it was plenty of time for a smooth transition.
I am really enjoying this new-found mode of travel. The English trains are smooth, clean, on time, and reasonably priced, that is if you can avoid going through London. The scenery was mostly farm land with fields planted in wheat or corn. The occasional pasture with cows or sheep (or the rarer horses or goats) come and go as we click-clack down the rails.
We arrived safely in Holyhead at 5:12 p.m. and had a three-hour wait for our ferry on the Stena Line. Finally underway on our last leg, our ferry departed at 8:30 and we arrived at the port of Dublin at midnight.
Taxi’s were in short supply (as in zero) and at that late an hour, standing in the dark, tired, and in unfamiliar territory, we were not amused. The remaining stranded group of us filed into the ferry office and used their phone to call for a cab. Tim asked the dispatcher if she would hold on for the next person in line, and she said no, she did not have any more cabs available.
We met a couple of fellow travelers from New Zealand (Helen and Mike) who we had many surprising similarities with. They have been traveling for 55 days, had recently gotten off of a cruise, had visited several of the same cities, and after spending a few more days in Ireland were heading to the USA.
When our taxi finally arrived we did not want to leave them stranded for an unknown amount of time, so, even though their hotel was not close by to the one we had booked, we decided to all pile in. After we were dropped off, the cabbie took the two of them on to their hotel.
It was 1:00 in the morning before we finally checked in. Our hotel was comfortable and I would have enjoyed spending more nights here if they had been available. One drawback was our room was on the fourth floor and there was no elevator (lift). Tim got the manly job of carrying our two suitcases up multiple steps, while I handled the backpacks.
We ran into some frustration booking hotels. This seems to be the prime tourist season here and accommodations are at a premium. We are used to being able to wait until the last-minute and find a decent place centrally located.
We are in the process of playing hotel roulette. Thursday night we stayed at Trinity Lodge, tonight we are at Ballsbridge Hotel and tomorrow night we will move again (just around the corner) to Clyde Court Hotel. We were able to book six nights at the Clyde Court and if we like it there, may extend a few more nights.
Our room at the Ballsbridge Hotel is roomy, with pleasant decor, but in need of some repairs. The large bathroom has a combination bathtub and shower. The A/C is not working and there were a few other minor items. Things showed a bit of neglect.
We spent the better part of the day doing research on places we want to see in Ireland. We lined up five one-day trips through Irish Day Tours that will take us outside of Dublin. But tonight, we celebrated being in Ireland with a Thai Pizza and some red wine from a great little restaurant a few blocks away called Miller’s.
It was a little too spicy for me – the eyes watering, nose running variety. I still loved it and am looking forward to returning to try another of their gourmet, unique combinations.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for routines. Sometimes it just feels good to know what to expect, what comes next, where you are going and how to get there.