Stephen F. Dennstedt
This morning was our first walkabout in Dublin. Today is partly cloudy with a high temperature of 6°C/43°F with a wind of 22 mph (windchill 1°C /34°F). Bundle-up weather for sure but warmer than Iceland.
Our first day here was a travel day and we were exhausted so we stayed in our room. Yesterday it rained (often hard) all day and we chose to take an extra day for recovery. This morning, however, was gorgeous so we headed out on our first adventure.
A few casual observations first. The only Irish folks we’ve met so far has been our taxi driver. The hostess at our lodge is Russian, the receptionist is Lithuanian and our food server in the White Moose Cafe is Polish. We did meet the cook this morning and I think (maybe) she was Irish. Everyone has been super friendly and very polite—Dublin (initially at least) throws off a great vibe. Food prices seem to be on par with the USA, higher than Latin America but less expensive than Iceland. A large cup of robust coffee is 2.50€ and breakfast this morning was 6.50€. The portions are large hearty.
Interior View – Charleville Lodge
For instance our breakfast this morning was a breakfast sandwich consisting of a fried egg, sausage, bacon and cheddar cheese all served on a very large bread roll—it was big and extremely satisfying. This afternoon’s meal will probably be a large bowl of their soup of the day (the cook said it was going to be a robust vegetable soup) served with bread and butter for 4.50€. Again, these prices aren’t bargains necessarily but they are reasonable and doable. Joel and I both have laundry that needs to be done (after 2 weeks in Iceland) so our first order of business was to search out a laundry close by.
Exterior View – Charleville Lodge & White Moose Cafe
A few blocks away (just past Saint Peter’s Church) we spied Mr. Tubs Laundry & Dry Cleaning so we’ll probably haul our stinky clothes over to him tomorrow for some much-needed refreshing. The architecture is very quaint and charming here in Dublin (at least the part of Dublin we’re staying in). Lots of brick and brightly coloured doors (reds, blues and yellows). I don’t suppose Ireland has many earthquakes (like we do in California) so brick is a good building material and looks really neat. We also spied a couple of large pubs close by so I know we’ll have to stop in for a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Saint Peter’s Church
The traffic is well-mannered although we can’t seem to get used to everyone driving on the wrong side of the street. Pedestrians do the same thing but on the sidewalks—it will be a learning curve for us I suppose. For once we didn’t get lost our first time out (we usually do). My role has always been that of the designated navigator of our team but since my cerebral event in Guatemala my sense of direction is shot all to hell—I am ALWAYS 180° out of sync. If I’m supposed to turn right I always turn left and vice versa. It’s like my internal navigation system is all messed up and poor Joel isn’t much better.
John Doyle Pub
It’s kind of sad and very frustrating but can also offer some humorous moments at times. It’s like the blind leading the blind. It wasn’t a gradual deterioration of an intuitive skill it happened virtually overnight—pre-stroke I never got lost, post-stroke I get lost all the time. One minute I had the skill and boom the next minute it was lost forever. All I can do is accept and laugh about it—but it does add an extra layer of risk (and excitement) to our ongoing adventure. If you want to replicate this behaviour try hitting your head with a big hammer and see what happens.
One advantage of being slō-travellers is that we don’t have to do everything all at once. Arriving at a new place we slowly explore our new surroundings by using concentric circles during our walks to expand our knowledge (and familiarity) with the area. Do we still get lost? Of course—but that’s also part of the fun. A survival tip: always keep the name and address (and phone number) of your lodging in your pocket so if you get truly lost you can hail a taxi back to your starting point. You want to know how many times we’ve had to do that don’t you? Well I’m not going to tell you.
Mc Geough’s Pub
One final anecdote from this morning’s walkabout. We spied an old lady (a really old lady) with a walker trying to navigate a particularly rough patch of asphalt. A young lad (who we assumed was her grandson) was patiently helping her reach a smooth stretch. They finally made it, even with the old lady’s slow shuffle-step, and the pair parted company—they weren’t related after all. It was just a very kind and empathetic young man helping an older person in need. When was the last time you saw a random act of kindness like that? Like I said earlier, so far Dublin is really impressing me.
Saint Peter’s Church