August 27, 2011

Green is for Go!

I'm finally here! After delay after delay {not one part of our journey didn't face a delay, including landing in Dublin with no gate to park at} Kait & I made it to Dublin. Customs was quick as could be and we found our bus within 5 minutes of walking out of the terminal. Regardless of the delays, we made it & nothing felt better than hugging my friend Claire who was here for two days waiting for our arrival!

Kait & I quickly dropped our bags in the hostel room & decided to turn around and go to make up for the time we missed. We purchased a Hop On-Hop Off pass to Dublin's bus line which allowed us to hit all the main stops with unlimited rides for $14 Euros. This was the best way to go!

We stopped first at Trinity College to walk around the breathtaking grounds! It was lightly raining and made the greenery glisten. The campus fits my idealistic picture of a college-gothic architecture, endless brick, & a center courtyard where students gather to socialize. After walking around most of the {42 acre} campus, we hopped back onto the bus and got off a few stops later at St. Stephens Green.

We asked the bus attendant for a cafe reccommendation and she described a "charming gold walled cafe down the street". We followed her directions and found ourselves at the most quintessential old world cafe you could imagine, Cafe en Seine. It was great to escape the rain. Not sure if plane food had made me hungry for anything real, but the tomato red pepper soup was some of the best soup I've ever tasted. The mocha was less sweet than Starbucks {which I LOVED} & we three sat at the cafe for an hour just taking in the changes. We may of also lingered to goggle over our British waiter's accent as he explained the rules of rugby to us.

After filling up, my energy levels returned as we meandered towards St. Stephens Greens. Again the green made my mouth drop. From ponds fulls of swans & ducks to quintessential cute houses, it was fun to wander aimlessly and just breathe in fresh air. A few times we had to huddle under the umbrella of the trees to wait out the rain but it made the stroll all the more fun.

On our way out, we got some traditional Irish street music and Irish folk dancers performing for charity. So fun! We hopped on the bus once more and last minute decided to get off at Christ Church cathedral & I'm SO glad we did! The gothic architecture and history behind the cathedral characterized the history of Ireland's oppression and revival. We aimlessly took in each mosaic window, tiled floor, archway glancing occasionally at the priest as he set up for the 5 o'clock prayer. My favorite part of the cathedral was the crypt {where former priests are buried}for it's winding dimly lit corriders promised years of rich stories. As we wandered back up, the 5 o'clock prayer was beginning so we sat down to absorb a little catholic ritual before making our way back to the bus.

After the cathedral, we were exhuasted & jumped on the bus one last time to head back to the hostel. My initial impression of Dublin exceeds every expectation. The city is gorgeously green, the people are some of the friendliest I've met, and it's easy to navigate.

Much needed rest ahead & 3 more full days of exploring this beautiful country to go!

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