27 August 2014

DUBLIN - 2014

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Temple Bar

Café en Seine, Dawson Street

Saint Stephen's Green shopping center

Trinity College

The Liffey river


Saint Stephen's Green

Le Petit Parisien, Wicklow Street

Somewhere between Temple Bar & Smithfield

Christ Church Cathedral

Found my hometown somewhere near Grafton street

On the Viking Splash tour

I've been back for a week now but I wish I had stayed there to be quite honest. My first day in Dublin was underwhelming and I was wondering whether this whole "Irish people are very warm and friendly!" schtick was fake or not but by day two I realized that I was just hella tired and that this woman at Spar was just a bitch lmao. 

Hmm what can I say about this city? I haven't visited that much areas to be honest, I stuck to the main attractions near the Liffey River and I mostly shopped at Grafton Street which was, in retrospection, probably not the best idea for a student on a budget.

On day one, after our lunch @ GBK, we visited the Guinness Storehouse which my friend has advised me against and I should have listened to her because I couldn't care less about beer and this one really sucked ass. My friends enjoyed it though but I'm still sore about spending 15€ on something I didn't particularly like. But I did learn how to make a barrel which had been one of my existential questions for as long as I can remember. Because you know, wood doesn't bend and barrels are kinda round and stuff. I know how they bend the wood now. Hehe.

We didn't get to do much on our first day there. We got back to our hostel (which was, by the way, the Generator Hostel Smithfield, a great place with a nice atmosphere, staff, food and billiard) to freshen up before heading to the Café en Seine. There weren't much people since it was Monday but the jazz singer went WILD so I'd definitely go back there.

On day two we got to experience the Viking Splash tour which is a tour where you sit in a viking boat shaped bus, wear a viking helmet and roar and growl at pedestrians whenever your tour guide tells you too. I did learn and laugh a lot and that's when I realized that Irish people were indeed lovely. I mean, if I had done that in Brussels, probably a hundred people would have told me to go fuck myself while flipping me the bird. Oh and also the boat actually turns into an actual boat. We spent like 20 minutes on the Liffey river, the tour guide cracking jokes about Bono walking on water and stuff. It was charming. I also know now where Colin Farell lives hehe.

We also toured the city for pictures (which are unfortunately on my friend's camera since I just took my phone with me) around the Christ Church Cathedral and the Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Out of the two I liked the latter better but both are quite nice should you choose to visit Dublin. After that we headed for Boots and Tesco because when I'm abroad I need to 1. visit at least one local supermarket because supermarkets are my life don't even ask me why even I don't know and 2. buy beauty products I can't find here in Brussels (got a ton of Blistex until I realized we did have Blistex in Belgium) (whatever I also got Real Techniques brushes for my sister as a birthday gift). 

And then we headed to Temple Bar for a drink. At least Temple Bar was alive since it's filled with tourists. ABOUT THAT LMAO if you think nobody will understand you because you're speaking your mother tongue, YOU ARE WRONG. My friend and I were talking about pretty personal stuff and I was half wondering why the guy sitting next to me seemed so focused until I realized he was a French speaker who was particularly absorbed in our conversation. Sneaky bastard.

On day three which also happened to be our last day we just shopped and visited Saint Stephen's Green and the shopping center right next to it. The park was beautiful (parks are also one of my obsessions when I'm abroad, I need to spend like at least half an hour in as many parks as I can which is strange considering that I don't spend much time hanging around in greenery here) and the shopping center quite boring with many, MANY hair salons and lots of foreign food (I think) (at least I'm sure there was a Taco joint on the last floor).

If you're thinking about visiting Dublin:
- Count about 8~10€ for each meal unless you stick to cheap eateries like Spar (nice food, not so nice staff) or fast food
- Visits are expensive. I thought the Guinness Storehouse was boring as fuck but hey if beer is your thing you get two free pints so go ahead. If not, keep that money for something else.
- Didn't try the Hop On Hop Off bus since I like to walk but if you're short on time you can get a discount if you buy it with your Airlink ticket or something like that (the bus that gets you to the airport).
- The Generator Hostel Smithfield is a really nice place to sleep at, inexpensive, with a great staff, a lot of choice at their restaurant if you feel uninspired (like we were on day two, we had a pizza, it was NICE) or don't know where to eat, many activities like concerts and nights out planned by the hostel staff (we got to see a small concert while eating our pizza and it was really cool), anyways the only downside was the bathroom but I'm never satisfied with any bathroom except mine so whatever. 9/10 would definitely recommend.
- The Viking Splash tour is FUN. You have to book quite early though by 10am everything is booked until at least 4pm. We got lucky and the guy at the stop was really nice and got us seats for the 11am tour but we were indeed VERY lucky.
- You have to pay to visit churches. My friends were quite outraged by that, raving about paying a fee not being very Catholic and stuff (lmao) but I didn't care about it since there was a lengthy poster explaining that these churches weren't given any money by the State so unless you want to have stones falling on your face while you visit, pay the fee (is 4€ THAT expensive seriously) and quit bitching. 
- You can visit the gardens around the church for free though. The one around Saint Patrick's church is particularly lovely.
- The Chester Beatty library (near the Dublin Castle) is free and very interesting (as far as I'm concerned I learned a ton of things so I was quite happy with the visit) so I'd recommend that too.
- Book for a 4 day+ trip if you can to visit the Cliffs and to have day trips across Ireland.

Since I only went there three days I feel like I didn't get the full Irish experience so I'll probably go back there really soon!

Next trip is Portugal~~ A week between Lisbon and a cute village called Pataias where my friend's dad has an apartment (god bless vacations where you don't have to pay for your accommodations). I'm super excited about it since I've ALWAYS wanted to go to Portugal. I'm probably going to have a case of "I've already visited this country but I want to go back there as many times as I can before my dying day" when I'll come back lmao.

Take care ❤