Archive for April 2009

Exhausted in Dublin

April 30, 2009 - 11:10 pm No Comments

The fluffy, gray clouds began to disperse, revealing the rough, green coastline near Dublin. As the plane touched down, Stef vibrated with excitement. Nice to be here.

We made our way to get our bags and then to the main terminal to find our bus to our B&B. Dublin Airport’s a bit smaller than I expected, but it looks like they’re building a huge expansion on it.

Our double-decker bus, #41, took us right to our B&B on Upper Drumcondra Rd. in about 20 minutes. We were greeted at the door by Joseph, a guy with a think Romanian accent and the proprietor of the house. He sat us down in the living room, asked us about our plans in Dublin, brought us some tea, and did everything he could to make us feel at home.

It was chilly and drizzling outside, and we were pretty tired, but we knew that we had to make the most of our first day and see as much of Dublin as we could if we were to stick to our schedule. We reviewed our plan with Joseph, he recommended some buses to take, and we headed into the city center.

We could already tell that the Irish were friendly and outgoing, but in an uncommon display of Irish rudeness, the bus driver would routinely slam the door shut after an arbitrary number of people got on and then take off when people were about to step on. What’s with that?

We got off the bus at Trinity College, finding that it was a good spot to hit all of the things on our list.

Pomodoro Sculpture (more…)

And We’re Off!

April 30, 2009 - 3:08 am 2 Comments

So here I am, finally on my way to Ireland with Stef…

The taxi ride on the way to the airport was a bit of an adventure. Our driver enjoyed the brake pedal but did not enjoy main roads, using every conceivable back road to get us to the airport. And we were in a bit of a rush, since Continental Airlines had called us earlier to tell us that our flight was canceled and that we had been put on an earlier one. In the end, our new flight was delayed so that it was leaving at about the same time that our old flight was scheduled to leave, so it all worked out. We caught our connecting flight, and we are finally on our way, over the Atlantic at the moment and on our way to Dublin at this very moment.

Newark to Dublin (more…)

Planning Ireland

April 29, 2009 - 2:55 pm No Comments

We’ve put quite a bit of planning into this trip, coming up with the most detailed, structured itinerary I’ve ever made for a vacation, mostly because it’s one of the shortest. Weird how the less time you spend somewhere, the more carefully you need to plan it. With only five days in Ireland, we really want to be efficient. There is so much to see and do, and we want to make sure we hit all of the highlights.

Our provisional itinerary is as follows:

4/29: Dublin
4/30: County Wicklow, Glendalough, Kilkenny
5/1: Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, Cork, Killarney
5/2: Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Doolin
5/3: Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Galway
5/4: Galway
5/5: Shannon

Once again, trying to use international web sites to book accommodation and transport was extremely difficult. Many of the crappy sites feature drop-downs that only go up to 2007, forms that won’t submit, pages that don’t display in certain browsers, and web page font selections from 1996. I don’t think these businesses realize how much money they are missing out on by not having good web sites. They are certainly losing out on my business.

TripAdvisor’s objective traveler reviews and rankings might be the best resource for international accommodation, and we used it to find and book our first night’s accommodation in Dublin. We are still trying to make sense of all of the train timetables and bus routes around Ireland. In the end, might have to rent a car to give us the flexibility we need. The trains just don’t run the routes we need, and the buses don’t run as frequently or as late as we need. By all accounts, driving in Ireland is an adventure, so it should be an interesting few days.

The weather forecast for the next week looks cool and rainy, which I suppose is no surprise for Ireland.

Next Stop, Ireland!

April 11, 2009 - 5:28 pm No Comments

I have booked my next adventure, a trip to Ireland with Stefanie! A while back, she said she’d have some time off from work and that she wanted to go on a trip. I was up for it. It was just a matter of picking where we wanted to go.

Ireland’s a place she’s always wanted to go, and I’ve heard some pretty good things about it. And after finding that round-trip airfare to Ireland was ridiculously cheap ($400), we jumped on the tickets. Fittingly, we bought our tickets on St. Patrick’s Day.

We’ll be there only five days, but we think we can see a decent chunk of the country in that time. Once again, finding up-to-date and reliable information about transportation and other services overseas is proving difficult, but we have successfully planned out our first couple of days. We’ll start off in Dublin and, after a couple of days soaking in the city, we’ll make our way across the Irish countryside to catch our return flight home from Shannon.

I must take a moment to share my appreciation for the company I work for. Most people know how difficult it can be to get a decent chunk of vacation time working in the US, but my company has been very flexible, allowing me to take just about any trip I like provided I wrap up any loose ends and give them enough notice. So if anyone from work happens to be reading this, a big thanks!

Catching Up…

April 11, 2009 - 5:10 pm No Comments

I’ve been home from Southeast Asia four months now, and it seems like I never went. Seems like a dream. It’s weird how travel memories are like that. When you’re back home, sitting at the same desk, sitting in front of the same computer, it all just seems so intangible. You know you went because you have the stories and the pictures, but it’s just so hard to believe that you were really there.

I remember the moments when I was away, sitting on a plan or in a taxi or on a boat, looking off into the distance and wondering what it would be like to be back at home, sitting at my desk in front of my computer. And here I am. Such a strange feeling making a connection with yourself through time like that.

I’ve spent the last couple of months living my regular life and working on my photos from the trip, a daunting task considering I took about 8,000 of them. If you take out the time I spent sleeping or sitting on a plane, that’s an average of one photo every 2-3 minutes for three weeks. Granted, taking multiple exposures for HDR exaggerates things a little bit, but still…

I’ve been posting my photos to Flickr, and I’ve begun adding them to my blog posts from the trip. If you click back a bit, you can see them. The photos really make the posts come alive, I think. But it’s all very time-consuming, and it will take another few months to get through them all.