Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Sorry everyone - I did a lot over break, and then I spent all my time working so that I wouldn't have to do anything I didn't want to do on my birthday, and now it's almost like break never happened and I am biz-zee, biz-zee, biz-zee!

But here's a quick look at my trip to Dublin:

Day 1 - March 21st

Our flight on the 20th was supposed to arrive in Dublin around 8:30 am, but instead it was repeatedly delayed and we arrived around 5 pm. Yayyyy.... We were shocked to find that it cost a whopping 8.50 to take a shuttle bus from the airport to the city center, and then another 1.50 to take the city bus to our hotel, and resolved to take a taxi for only a couple euros more when we left six days later.

So our first real day began with breakfast at Cafe Insomnia, where I ate tea brack (above). It was like fruitcake, and tasty. The coffee was also some of the best coffee... no way near as good as Portland coffee, but the closest thing I've had to it in ages.

Next, it was on to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

It was Good Friday, but they opened for about an hour, so we only had to wait half an hour or so to go in.

Waiting wasn't a big deal because there's a really nice park right next to the Cathedral.

The park includes plaques of all the famous Irish writers. My tourist side came out and I photographed every single one, but I'll only put Joyce here, since he's the only one I've read. Well, I've read Oscar Wilde, too, but he is less Irish, and I wasn't reading him at the time...

The inside of the Cathedral was very nice. I love going into churches. I haven't gone to that many lately, but I went recently to one in Liege, and I always feel like I'm in Europe when I visit Cathedrals.

That might sound silly, because, well, I am in Europe. But it's the kind of thing that makes me really aware of that fact, and makes me feel really lucky to be here, and to have that opportunity.

These flags are for all of the knights, and the one with the red and the white is the flag for Cork. I just remembered that one from the chart that says which flag is for which knight.

I was very excited to be able to buy a copy of Gulliver's Travels in the gift shop area for only 2.50.

Ever the linguistic... fanatic, I photographed signs in Gaelic. It's a very interesting language to listen to... reminds me of Dutch a bit, but just because they have a phoneme in common, or similar, or something. Other than that, I don't really get it.

And fish and chips for lunch... extremely greasy goodnewss. (To tell the truth... I've had way better in New England. And there, the tartar sauce didn't come in a plastic tube...)

Day 2 - Saturday 22 March
We went to the museum of modern art, which is housed in the National Hospital - a building that is entirely too big for the collection!

It was interesting, but not at all what I expected. By modern art, they mean modern art. Which is fine. I saw some really nice stuff.

And the gardens were incredible.

Saturday night we went to, of all things, the Czech Inn, in Temple Bar. For dinner we ordered and shared pork in tomato sauce with dumplings (decent) and bramborak - potato pancakes, with sausage and sauerkraut (absolutely delicious.)

Our waiter was a young-ish Czech guy who spoke almost no English. I couldn't remember how to order in Czech, to my disgust. I tried to ask him, but he had no idea what I was talking about!

Day 3 - Sunday, 23 March
Sunday was Easter Sunday, and also the day we had to move from our hotel on the south side of town to our hostel, right in central Dublin (by O'Connel Street). I got up early and went out for coffee, wrote in my journal, and then walked over to St. Stephen's Green. (Which reminded me of Boston. I couldn't do anything in Ireland without thinking of Boston.)

Another day, another breakfast... this time, scones at the Queen of Tarts, a very cute place. I couldn't resist having cake, too, so I ate a slice of plum tart after my scone. I was stuffed but it was worth it!

Sunday evening, Dilyana and I (right) met up with two other RAers, Janneke (far left) and Inga (second from left). They're both from Germany; Inga is a semester ahead of the rest of us, and currently on exchange, studying in Galway. We went out for dinner and drinks, and talked about all sorts of things, from the Tabula RASA magazine (my committee) and the yearbook (of which Dilyana is chair) to school in general, an Arts in Action program, our plans for after graduation and, of course, our sightseeing agendas.

Day 4 - Monday 26 March

Dilyana and I pay a visit to Trinity College, where I am ever the intellectual.

Although, come to think of it, stroking your chin is probably the easiest way to look like a very goofy person.

The campus is basically beautiful. It's like RA, only there's more of it!

And being me, I always have to photograph any pretty skies. I just liked the layers of gray here. So I took a picture (and pulled out my beret, because apparently in Dublin, gray clouds lead directly to short showers.)

I spent my last day in Dublin perusing bookshops and buying, buying, buying... I went for quanitity rather than quality, which isn't the best idea because I didn't get myself any special Dublin souvenir. (When I went to Paris, I got a nice tin box.) But I did get some works by Trollope, Chaucer, Swift, and Edgeworth, and Dilyana let me pick out a book for a birthday present, so I chose Oscar Wilde's complete short stories. Now I practically have a Dublin shelf - so I suppose that is a memory.

On our last night in Dublin, Dilyana and I went out for whiskey sours - having already had a pint of Guinness earlier in the trip. Of course, the whiskey was not Irish whiskey, but an American brand, and the power went out at the bar so they had to kick people out pretty early. Even so, it was a good, tasty end to our trip.

On the way back to the hostel, I photographed the James Joyce statue - which I had never thought to photograph during the day.

I also took one last picture of city lights - who knows when I'll see those again?!?

We got back to Middelburg around 4 pm on Wednesday (26 March), and found traces of what appeared to be a significant snowfall. And indeed, Sara (of my cafe, Ko d'ooor ["my" because I'm so pleased to have a cafe here that I can call 'the cafe']) confirmed that there had been about 10 centimeters of snow on Sunday! This made me slightly bummed for two reasons: a) I missed the snow, and b) where the heck is spring and why isn't he in Middelburg yet?!