Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dublin Day #2

Elliane and I were on our feet basically all day. I don't think Elliane is really thanking me for that part of the day.

The first thing we did, after sort of sleeping in. I say "sort of" because I only slept maybe a couple hours all night. There was constant noise outside the windows and people (there are 12 in the room) were moving around at all hours. Also, I think I just tried to go to sleep before I was tired enough to. Anway, I got up and ate breakfast around 7:30 and then lay down to go to sleep around 9. I woke Elliane up at 10 and then went back to sleep until around 11.

The first thing we did (around noon) was go see the Trinity College and their prized possession, the Book of Kells exhibit. The Book of Kells was a copy of four of the gospels written in Ireland around the year 700. It is famous for its absolutely amazing detail and artistry in transcription. There are many pictures of Christ and the apostles done unbelievably elaborately. Also, care and artistry is put into every section of the gospels. You really just have to Google it - take a look at some of the pictures and read the history - to get an idea of what this thing's about. Basically, Trinity College has a few rooms done up really nicely with displays showing all the coolest parts of the Book. Many of the best images in the Book are blown up about 10x and shown on the walls. That's really the size you need to get the detail of this book. It was pretty awesome.

After going in and out of there pretty quickly, we went off to catch the start of a free walking tour of Dublin. The tour took us to City Hall, Dublin Castle, old Dubh Linn, Viking remains, Christ Church Cathedral, and an alley haunted by a lady accused of being a witch. Our tour guide, Amanda, was extremely animated, talkative, and friendly. She was very proud to be Irish, born and bred in Cork. She told us a few times that she speaks Irish Gaelic, which is pretty cool. She also told us some good stories from her personal life, including one about her 96-year-old grandfather who has only ever left Cork once. That was on his 4-day honeymoon to Dublin, and he disliked it so much that he left that early. She seemed to think he was representative of many Irish who grew up around the time when Irish independence from Britain was still fresh.

The tour took a break at Temple Bar. I thought Elliane and I had enough time to run to a grocery store to buy lunch (it was after 2 and we were really hungry). By the time we got back, the group had left, except for this one guy who was sitting outside the bar. He had just been waiting there for the group and thought they were still inside. I guess he just never saw them leave.

So we joined forces with this guy, a short, friendly, well-dressed, black businessman from Canada, to try to catch up with the tour group. Long story short, we tried for a while, walked to St Stephen's Green, and failed. We did, however, get to talk to this guy for a bit, which was entertaining enough. Apparently he used to play mid-center field for Rutgers soccer. Now he works on managing high-end real estate for rich athletes. I guess it earns him enough to wear a Gucci hat, some sort of fancy animal-skin boots, nice sunglasses of some kind, and just really sharp clothes in general. And he lives in London now. I missed his explanation of how he got there.

After giving up on the tour, Elliane and I went back to the Book of Kells exhibit, since we hadn't spent much time there before.

We finished that thoroughly (more thoroughly than maybe Elliane wanted, but that's just how I do museums) and headed off towards the Guinness Storehouse. That was a walk to close to the western edge of the city center. We didn't realize you have to pay to get in there, so we left soon after getting there. I'm not sure what 11 Euros gets you there, but I think I'd rather just do the Lagunitas tour in Petaluma again. We didn't even get a pint of Guinness (but I'm sure we will soon).

We walked a bit further west to a park with a big monument to Wellington and Waterloo (probably from the Victorian days, but I'm not sure). Our feet were tired, so we rested there a bit. Then we took a long walk all the way back to the hostel along the north bank of the River Liffey. Dinner was goat cheese ravioli, pecorino ravioli, mushroom soup, and tomato basil soup. Gotta love grocery store deals.

We're leaving tomorrow morning for a coach tour of Wicklow. Should be awesome.

That's all for now.

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