Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ireland Day 8: Dublin

This European holiday is drawing to a close...Devastating.  The week here has been better than anything I ever imagined or planned. It's made for some amazing memories...memories that I will take with me forever. 
I decided for my own memory sake to list my top 5 highlights and then lowpoints.  I've considered this blog to be my travel journal and I gotta get it down while it's still fresh or it'll be gone tomorrow...seems to be the way my brain works these days.

Top 5 High Points:
1) The people of Ireland in general, many offered directions without us having to ask, most have been gracious and welcoming, curious about us and always greeted with a kind attitude.
2) The proposal we witnessed at the Cliffs.  I just can't get past that. I'm such a romantic and that just made the already spectacular day even more incredible.
3) The Avis rental car agent.  Her attitude and excitement were so positive and she was just a really genuine person
4) The Marless House B&B in Galway...while not perfect, was the best B&B I've ever stayed in.
5) The sunsets

Top 5 Low Points:
1) Returning the rental car and GPS getting me off track multiple times
2) The smell in Cork.  it was really hard to walk around outside because we couldn't breathe without feeling like we were swallowing the smell.
3) The service at TGIF in Dublin.
4) The exchange rate my bank charged me for taking cash out of the ATM....for 200 euros it cost me $90 on top of that.  Not Ireland's issue, just a low point for the week.
5) The service at the Dublin airport Maldron hotel.  We had to change rooms twice and the housekeeping today didn't refresh the supplies or replace/wash the tea mugs.

Altogether, those low points are definitely overshadowed by the amazingness of the week.

To talk about today:
We slept in this morning. First time all week I've gotten a solid 8 hours of sleep. hooray!  We had breakfast in the restaurant at our hotel, the airport Maldron.  It was a continental buffet with all the usual Irish breakfast items...I went to grab the brown bread, and it was so hard I just left it in the basket.  After breakfast we took a cab to O'Connell Street, Dublin's normal shopping district.  I'm proud to say that even though we found several items we wanted, neither of us bought anything. 
From O'Connell we went to Temple Bar to see what we could find to eat.  Someone had suggested Elephant & Castle to us, so we went in and sat down, looking at the menu....but nothing appealed so we walked up the street to TGIF...we didn't really want that either, but we were starving at that point.  We stood by the counter for several minutes and no one came to greet us...so we decided to sit in the bar area....still no one came to greet us, so I got up and got us menus....finally! someone saw us and came to apologize...we thought "oh good, service will be great from here on out"....we were wrong....service remained the same for the rest of the meal. 
After lunch we walked to Trinity College, founded in 1592, to view the campus.  How beautiful!!!! 
Housed in the College Library is the Book of Kells, a gospel book in Latin believed to be circa 800 AD.  Honestly, I wasn't that interested in paying the euro to see it although I would have loved to have seen the inside of the library which holds over 4 million books and manuscripts.
My best friend and several others told me that we should stop in at Queen of Tarts, a cafe and patiserrie. When we stepped inside the crowded cafe we instantly fell in love.  It's decorated in the most beautiful red color (not an obnoxious cherry red) and was filled with people.  A good sign!  We sat down at the only empty table and stared at the pastries greeting us on the counter.
We ordered tea for two along with carrot cake for mom and the walnut brownie for myself, plus a scone!  I had to see how they compared to Marless House.  The brownie was absolutely delicious.  Indescribable actually.  The scone was ok...soft which is good, but not a lot of flavor/substance.  Mom said her carrot cake was delicious.  It was only about 4pm at this point so we said "let's go look at makeup again"!  We made our way back to Grafton street, the place we had originally shopped on Saturday.  I got my eyeshadow done at MAC and I was ready to go!  I am woman, hear me roar.  There's always something about having someone else do your makeup that just makes you feel fresh.  We stumbled upon St. Stephen's Shopping Center, a place we hadn't seen last weekend, and went in. SO GLAD WE DID!  So beautiful inside...reminded me of the final scenes in Meet Me In St. Louis
Walking back to the cab area later we got the tremendous highlight of seeing the sun set over the River Liffey.  It was absolutely stunning.  The most beautiful we've seen all week, and we've seen some beautiful ones.  It was the cherry on top of my scone.  What a way to leave.
I can't believe it's over and at the same time I can't believe we've been here this long.  Mom flies out in the morning and me in the afternoon so at least I'll get a little more time to say I'm still in Ireland. :)
What a blessing this has been.  My soul is refreshed.


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