Getting There (20-21 March 2015)

The Trip

My friend Mike and I decided to travel to Ireland for a week, and our adventure started early in the morning, as many interesting adventures do. We left Santa Barbara via train for Burbank, and then flew from Burbank to SFO. From SFO, we flew to Dublin.
Me in front of the Santa Barbara Amtrak station

Me in front of the Santa Barbara Amtrak station

Ready to take off

Ready to take off

The Arrival

We arrived in Dublin and set about finding out where to pick up our Dublin Pass, which Mike had pre-ordered. After a few trips around the arrival area, and questions asked of counter attendants that weren’t quite sure what we were talking about, we figured out that we had to pick up the Pass at the Tourism Information booth, which was located down a walkway, behind a bar. Tricky for tired travelers, but in retrospect, it makes sense.
We walked down to the Bus depot, and instead of using the AirLink bus that was included free with the Dublin Pass, we opted to take a bus that would take us closer to the Hotel we were staying at. €6 later, we were on our way.

The Protest

As we neared O’Connell street, the road was blocked by a protest about Water Rates — and so the bus let us off. We walked the rest of the way to the hotel. Mike reminds me to note that I was rather grumpy about this. I feel I had a good reason to be. I was tired, and I don’t like rolling luggage across brick walkways.
We got to the hotel, the Best Western Academy Plaza, and I was finally able to take a shower. The hotel had free WiFi. The window was surprisingly soundproof, and very effective at blocking the noise of the protest. I became less grumpy.

The Exploring

We took a few hours for a nap to catch up and set off down O’Connell Street to explore the area around Trinity College.
Saturday's Exploration

Saturday’s Exploration

Grafton Street is a pedestrian zone for shopping, and while Mike felt it was a bit Disneyland, I appreciated the pedestrian-ness of it.
Me standing on Grafton Street.

Me standing on Grafton Street.

The SIM Card

I stopped into a Meteor Mobile store to pick up a pre-paid SIM card for my iPhone — I opted for the €30 7.5GB data / Unlimited Voice plan, since I pretty much can’t exist without mobile data, and I want to be able to phone hotels or other places while here if need be. As it turns out, iMessage uses an SMS message to activate, so after messing around with my phone and wondering why I kept getting texts that said I was out of credit, I went back to the Meteor store and the sales guy added €0.40 to my account, to accommodate that one text message that I needed to receive. iMessage worked after that. Yay.

The Eating

We walked around Grafton Street and the surrounding blocks, and looked for a place to eat. We wanted to go to a pub but they were all standing-room-only due to sports watchers. We went to Pasta Fresca and had Italian instead. We walked back up O’Connell Street and stopped in at Gino’s for a crepe.
Most of a crepe

Most of a crepe

And then, back to the hotel.