My apologies for the delay in posting this. There was a technical difficulty with WordPress and I needed my computer to fix it, but it’s all good now. So, let’s get on with yesterday’s adventure!
We let ourselves sleep in a bit since it had been a few early mornings in a row. Then went to the center of Dublin and stopped for coffee and pastries. I have actually fall way more in love with Dublin and Ireland than I thought I would. It’s like this odd, beautiful, tiny country tucked into a far-off corner of the world, and I love almost everything about it—even the city, and I’m not usually a big fan of cities.Our first stop was to Trinity University where we hoped to visit the old library which houses the original Book of Kells. However, the book was being restored and the line was very long for a higher price than I wanted to spend for a library, so we just gushed over the beautiful campus and talked about how cool it would be to go to college somewhere like that (we’re nerdy, we know).Next on the list was donuts, but first we just wandered and picked streets that looked the most interesting to explore. It was impulse, spur-of-the-moment adventure, my favorite, and it was really fun. We found a really nice part of town and some of the major shopping streets. Then we found donuts. Mine was a Kinder donut on behalf of my father and the recommendation by the donut shop employee. We ate them in a park we found nearby where everything was wet and swampy-looking.Refreshed, we headed out for the next place on our list: the Dublin Castle. Honestly, as far as castles go, I was a little underwhelmed initially just because parts of it are in an architectural style that I don’t like very much with random bright colors on smooth stone, but there were some sections that were really awesome to me. Near the castle, we ran into one cathedral that was really gorgeous. We admired it for a little while, but our plan was to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral, so we waited to go inside until we got to that one. It was beautiful and warm, and something about it was so cozy that it reminded me of home and I just wanted to stay there.That was the last thing we officially had planned. After the cathedral, we searched around for a place for lunch and found a perfect pub with real food and hand-crafted beers. I got a much needed kale and potato soup that was absolutely perfect. Then we sat and rested while we determined our game plan for the rest of the afternoon.The thing about Ireland in early December is that it gets dark really fast. I mean like 4:00pm. So we didn’t want to do much in the way of sight-seeing since there wouldn’t be much to see anyway. So, we decided to find a print shop to get our boarding passes printed ahead of time, grab some snacks, and go back to the Airbnb early because we knew we’d be spending the night in the airport.
Dealing with the print shop was a disaster for lots of reasons: forgotten passwords, unclear directions in the shop, and we didn’t know but it was apparently about five minutes before they were supposed to close. We got them printed and all was well, but our stress and exhaustion levels were high. We managed to make it back to the Airbnb to reset, shower, and pack. Then, several uncertain and exhausted hours later, we made it back to the airport.
I’m going to combine yesterday and today’s posts because when you sleep in an airport it’s basically all just one long day, and to be honest I didn’t take any pictures during our travels today and that would mess up my aesthetic. So, in case you’ve never had to sleep in an airport before, here’s a little taste of what that’s like.
Something about airports at night brings people to their most instinctual level. Everyone’s basically an animal at that point fighting for their own survival and disregarding everyone else. The main necessities are charging ports, benches, or anywhere with some kind of comfort for sleeping. The darkest and quietest places with booths or benches are claimed first. After that, people get creative and selfish and take furniture from whatever restaurants or cafes are closed for the night and move them from the tops of tables to however they can sleep on them. Everyone else who wasn’t fast or aggressive enough is left scattered on the cold, hard floor. My roommate and I made camp in the McDonald’s that was open all night. We pounced on a booth when someone was finished with it and she stayed up all night to do homework; I curled up and slept for maybe an hour before the great migration happened. Around one in the morning, McDonald’s kicks everyone out for a forty minute cleaning. At this point, everyone scattered among the plain of airport food court and found another place to rest, some staying nearby in hopes of reclaiming their spot later on, and some gave up entirely and shifted focus to a new place to rest. My roommate and I were a mix of both since she was awake and I was practically a zombie. We managed to reclaim a booth and I slept for another hour or two before it was time to go to our gate for an early flight. Almost everyone slept through the flight so it was quiet and still, and I woke up once to see the sun rising from the plane’s window. After that we took an hour long train ride to the bus station and then had a three hour bus ride back to Salamanca.
I felt like I was never going to get back here, but now I am and I have plenty to do to keep me busy before class tomorrow. But after all that, we survived. We survived our last night sleeping in an airport. We made it through our final weekend trip of this crazy, wonderful semester, and it really was the perfect trip to end with. For me, that was the tenth country I’ve gotten a little taste of in the last three months. And now, the next time I’ll be getting on a plane will be to come home to the U.S. in just under two weeks. I can’t believe how fast and slow it’s gone, how much I’ve seen and done, and how, in perspective, how little I’ve actually learned in comparison with how much there is to learn and experience in the world.