My second day in Dublin

The next morning, we rose to eat breakfast at the hostel and make our way into town to find a place to get authentic Irish coffee. We of course landed back at Temple Bar, where our lovely bartender painstakingly whipped up the most amazing cups of Irish Coffee we’d ever had.

Then we made our way to Dublin City Hall to go on a walking tour of the city. Our tour guide was full of history and knowledge. We walked around Dublin Castle and a few other historic spots and learned a lot more about Irish culture and the rise of Irish patriotism. It was so thrilling to learn the stories the built up the character of the city with which I was so love already. We had to cut our tour short because I mistakenly booked tickets for our tour of the Guinness Storehouse two hours earlier than I had planned. So we parted ways with our tour guide and headed to the Guinness factory.

Walking to the storehouse felt like it took an hour. It was far from the city center in Temple Bar, but given the size of the place, I totally understand. The factory was a huge, multi-level building with brick walls and Guinness symbols all over. The tour took us through several rooms on several floors where we learned about the production of Guinness from barely seed harvesting to maturation. Apparently, Arthur Guinness was particular about every ingredient that went into his beer, right down to the water used. Later on in the tour, we got to to learn how to pour our own pints of Guinness (there is a very specific 6-step process for how to do it). Then we got to take our full glass up to the skybar, a round glass room with astonishing views of the city. And in that moment, I feel even deeper in love with Dublin.

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After stopping by the giftshop on our way out, Sarah and I headed about five minutes down Thomas Street to Arthur’s, a cute little pub on a street corner. I got Guinness and beef casserole (delish!) and Sarah got her usual fish and chips. We enjoyed the nice break in our day. But the break was fleeting because we had to head to the Jameson Distillery for our next tour.

We got to the Jameson Distillery a little late, but managed to catch up to our tour. The Jameson factory was much smaller than Guinness but the tour was more intimate. We again got to learn how Jameson is made and why it is distilled no more or less than three times. At the end of the tour, we got to try samples (Sarah even volunteered to do a taste test, comparing Jameson to scotch and American whiskey). On our way out, we picked up a few souvenirs and the gift shop and headed back to our hostel.

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That night, we went on a pub crawl with other tourists throughout the city. We started at this swanky pub down the street from our hostel. I remember most about the place that the walls were covered in portraits of breasts. Pretty interesting. Sarah and I met this couple from Wisconsin who became our barmates for the night. Sean and Felisha were delightfully honest and we enjoyed countless laughs with them. We also met a few Australian boys and a pack of frat guys from Florida. They were fun, but we didn’t talk to them too much.

The pub crawl headed to a few other pubs throughout the night (the names are escaping me!), and we continued to enjoy ourselves amongst the good company and lively atmosphere. The pub crawl ended at a club, but Sarah and I didn’t feel up to dancing, so we headed out early and went back to the hostel.

BUT I wasn’t done yet. I was only in Dublin once, so I had to make it count. So I headed back out alone ready to make friends somewhere. I ran into a couple of street performers on the corner who Sarah and I had met earlier. Recognizing me, the main musician flagged me over and told me they had just been victims of an attempted robbery. She asked me to watch over their instruments as she went to contact the police. I stayed with them for a while, going over what happened and doing everything I could to help. The robbers, a group of young girls who tried to push them over and steal their money, had managed to escape only with a few euros and some flyers. I was happy the girls didn’t do any real damage, but I was worried for the musicians nonetheless.

After everything was squared away, I stayed and listened to the band start playing again. While I was standing on the street corner with them, I met a few German people who came to listen, too. I started talk to the Germans, who were there on a business trip, and they ended up inviting me out with them. Again, I thought why not? So I left with them to go to another pub where we met some more people and listened to more live music. We stayed for a while and had a blast, until finally I realized it was past 3 a.m. and I needed to head back to the hostel.
In all, Dublin was more than I ever dreamed. The city was full of character, the people were just the right amount of mysterious and charming, and the music spoke to my heart. Leaving early the next morning was painful, but we packed up our things and made our way back to the ferry and back to London. I slept the whole way home, so I don’t have any more stories about people I met on the way, but I got the sleep I much needed!

Dublin will always have a special place in my heart

Mysterious. Edgy. Alluring. Captivating. Full of history. And somehow charming. These are the words I have to describe Dublin. I haven’t felt this in love with a city since Sevilla, yet comparing the two would be ludicrous.

I’ll start from the beginning.

When our ferry dropped us off at the Port, we caught a cab to our hostel. The cab driver was an older man with a lot to say. When we told him we were from America, he had no problem telling us exactly what he thought of the States. It was hilarious. His accent was so thickly Irish, I could barely make out what he was saying. But I could tell that he was slamming our politics yet telling us how much fun he had in Vegas. We even got two “So a ____ walked into a bar” jokes.

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When we got to our hostel, we put down our bags, freshened up and headed out into town. We were in Temple Bar, a bustling square in the heart of the city. What I loved most about the city was that there were live musicians on every street corner. There were people everywhere, yet unlike places like New York City where there are also crowds people, in Dublin, there was a warm feeling to the city. Everyone we met or passed by was friendly and happy, despite the gloomy sky and run-down look of the place. My first impressions of Dublin were that it was a place with a lot of history and that it was completely badass. I’m talking leather jackets, boots and whiskey badass.

We stopped for dinner and a pub called O’Riellys and in true Irish spirit, got Irish stew and soda bread. Then, we grabbed a drink across the street at Temple Bar, one of the most iconic pubs in Ireland. Of course, everyone was glued to the TVs watching the World Cup. But we couldn’t stay to catch the end of the game because we had sightseeing to do.

Heading south, we walked towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the many beautiful churches in the staunchly Catholic city. It looked like a castle, so naturally I was obsessed. We snapped a few photos, took a quick rest on some benches in the church garden, and headed back into town on to get ready for a night out.

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St. Patrick’s cathedral was so big I couldn’t fit all of it in one picture!

Sarah and I walked back to the Temple Bar Pub and had a few Paddys. It was Sarah’s brilliant idea to make a toast to my late friend Zach, the most influential person in my life, who died this past March of brain cancer. Even before he found out about his cancer, Zach lived every day to the fullest. His motto was “Make each day your masterpiece.” We couldn’t think of a more epic way to make our day a masterpiece and honor him than to have a drink in him name at the Temple Bar in Dublin. Absolutely unforgettable.

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After going back and changing at the hostel, we went to a pub called Bad Ass, which lived up to its name. We headed next to another bar, the name of which I can’t remember, then stopped to decide where to go next. It was then that we were approached by a young girl who was promoting for a club just outside of the Temple Bar area. I’m usually one to avoid scouts like this, but Sarah was balls in to go to a club, so we figured, why not? The club was pretty empty, but we made the most of it by letting loose one the vacant dance floor and having a blast even as other people trickled in. But we didn’t stay too late, and ended up back at our hostel by 1 a.m. Sorry to let you down, Kathy!

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Three unforgettable people I met on the way to Dublin

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The best part of travel is the people you meet while doing it. Sarah and I met three people on our way from London to Dublin that I think deserve to have a spot in this blog.

Sarah and I woke up early Friday morning to take a train to the port, then take a ferry into Dublin. On the train we met two incredible people. The first was Kathy. She sat next to me in our small booth on the train, across from Sarah. She was a tiny woman, at least 60 years old, with white hair and hungry eyes. Kathy was quite chatty, asking us lots of questions about where we were going and giving advice on Dublin once we told her that was our destination.

She said last time she was in Dublin, she and her girlfriends went out clubbing until 6 in the morning. They went from pub to pub, flirting with men and getting them to buy them drinks. At one point in the night, they met a group of firemen from France and flirted their way into getting the men to take their shirts off and show their muscles. Kathy’s girlfriend even had one follow her out into the street, get on his knees and crawl towards her amidst a flock of onlookers. As he crawled near her, she took his cigarette from his mouth, put it in hers, and kicked him over. Everyone around, including the French man, burst into laughter.

Fulfilled, the ladies moved on to the next pub, where they met a group of American rugby players. In their usual style, Kathy and her friends flirted with the men to get them to do crazy things. This time, Kathy wanted the men to show off how strong they were, so of course she asked them to hold pennies in their butts. So the men all pulled down their trousers and stuck coins between their cheeks. Again, everyone was in hysterics. I asked Kathy how long ago this trip to Dublin was, expecting it to be long ago in her younger days. I was wrong; it was two years ago. I already loved the place.

After Kathy got off the train, another person filled in her seat. This time, it was a young, quiet, muscular guy. In hopes that he would be just as interesting as his predecessor, I struck up a conversation. He was Billy, a first-year University student from Wales. Billy didn’t have crazy stories for us, but cool facts. First, that we were in Wales. We had no clue that our train ride to the coast went through Wales. Then he told us about all the cool castles in Wales, after I said that it was my destiny to live a castle (it is!). We also learned about a town in Wales that has the longest name in the World. I’ll have to look it up later and add it to this post. Billy was sweet. I think Sarah and I startled him a bit with our wild American behavior, but at least now there’s no way he’ll forget us!

We got off at Holyhead, Wales. The coastline was stunning, the houses on hillside were magical, and the water was a beautiful crystal blue. When Sarah and I got on the ferry, we naturally passed by several people on the way to our seats. One of whom was a shaggy, rugged man who looked like a rockstar. I made eye contact with him and he immediately said, “Hello!” Friendly, I thought.

We continued on to our seats and made ourselves comfortable. On our way back up to the main deck of the ferry, we passed by him again, and he looked up and said “Hello, Lovey.” I smiled and kept walking. At this point he was either really friendly or really creepy. But I was intrigued by this man, and had three hours to kill on the ferry ride, so I thought, why not talk to him?

So a little bit later, I went back to where he was sitting and struck up conversation. I started with my pressing question, “So, are you a musician or something?” He didn’t respond to that question right away, but asked me about myself. After several minutes of introductions, we started to talk about other things. We talked about Once, and music and musicians, and poetry. We talked about travel. He was from Dublin but was living in London. He does yoga and runs a flower shop. He loves music. His heart’s been broken. He was just as interesting as I thought and I could have stayed and talked for hours, but I had to get back to Sarah. So I bid him adieu, and went back to my seat.

About an hour later, a little before our ferry docked in Dublin part, he found where I was sitting and handed me a note. He told me not to read it until I returned to London. And I followed. Now, I won’t share what it said, but it was a poem. A beautiful poem.

Like I said, one of the best things about travel it the people you meet while doing it. I’ll never forget Kathy, Billy and the guy on the ferry 🙂

London, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, Zurich: The ultimate itinerary for my trip to Europe

Euro Trip 2014 MapIs this real life? Am I seriously heading to Europe in less than one week? I’m so excited, I can’t even see straight, and I really hope I haven’t scared away any strangers as I randomly gaze off into the distance as I daydream about the trip. I’ve been planning to go back to Europe since the day I stepped foot back in the U.S. last summer after returning from Spain. I just can’t believe it’s now one week away.

I’m finally taking the time to jot down the entire itinerary of my 24-day trip through 11 cities in six countries. Primarily, I’m making the list for personal reference, but I hope my friends and family can use it track where I am along the adventure. And of course, I hope anyone reading this will be inspired to plan a fast-paced Euro trip of their own. I’m sure it will be the experience of a lifetime.

June 10th – Washington, to New York, to London

I live in D.C., but my flight to London leaves from JFK airport in New York City. So I’ll be using Megabus to get to New York (have I written my ode to Megabus yet? I’m practically married to the company at this point), where I’ll then have four hours to make it to the airport and get myself through customs. This will be my first time flying internationally alone and I’m, like, crazy nervous. But I’m so excited for this trip that I know I’ll combat my nerves with thoughts of beautiful England, enchanting Ireland, feisty Spain, alluring Italy, majestic France, intriguing Monaco… wait, what was I talking about again?

June 11th – London Calling

I’ll arrive around 10 a.m. where my lovely, lovely travel pal Sarah will pick me up from Heathrow airport and help me get acquainted to the city. She and I will be staying with her aunt in Wimbledon, and Sarah will have arrived a few days before I do, so she’ll be ready to hit the town as soon as I get there.  Sarah’s been to London more times than I have fingers, so she’ll be my personal tour guide and take me around the London bridge, Big Ben, the London Eye, Abbey road, Platform 9  and 3/4, etc. She and her aunt are being so awesome about letting me stay with them and showing me around, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate it.

June 12th – Explore London

Sarah and I will do more sightseeing and souvenir shopping early in the day. We bought tickets to Once, the musical, and will have to make our way over to the theater midday. Afterward, there will be time do more exploring after the show before we retire early to get a good start the next day for Dublin.

June 13th – Off to Ireland!

For more details, see my post: How we’re seeing Dublin in 38 hours (we might just be crazy)

Rising early, Sarah and I will take a train to the coast of England and then ride a ferry across the water to Dublin Port. The 8-hour journey will take up most of our day, but we’ll arrive with just enough time to hang out in Temple Bar and take a nighttime sigh-seeing tour of Dublin.

14th – Irish Overload

This will be an incredibly fast-paced day, with a morning 3-hour walking tour and then back-to-back visits to the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery. At night, we’ll go out like true Irish lassies and hit up a bar crawl with our fellow hostel visitors.

June 15th – Back to London for a Bit

A ferry and a train will take Sarah and I back to London, and spend the rest of the day relaxing and recovering. Sarah will be preparing to head back to the States, and I’ll get ready to start my Contiki tour the next day. But we must get one last scone together before we part.

June 16th – Head to the hotel in London to start my Contiki tour

I’ll have to check in to the hotel by 2 p.m. and then spend the evening getting ready for the tour. There will be orientation for the trip where I will meet the tour manager, chef and my fellow travelers. The checked-in travelers have a chance to go out to dinner, but we can’t get cray cray since we have to get up early the next day to head to Paris.

June 17th – Depart London for Paris

Off to Paris! We’ll begin our voyage on a ferry to France, where we’ll pass the White Cliffs of Dover. Then we’ll hop on the Contiki coach bus and travel through World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme to Paris.

Once we arrive at our campsite, we get to set up camp – which I’m super excited about because apparently, we’re sleeping in pairs in these cute little blue tents. I’m sure tight quarters will force us to become very close with our fellow travelers – literally. Once we have set up camp, our bus will leave for the Tour of Illuminations, which will take us around the beautiful, lamp-lit streets of Paris, passing the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Champs-Élysées.

June 18th – 19th  Explore Paris

The city of love will bring us plenty of sightseeeing to do over these two days: Left Bank, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre and more. I know the enchanting smell of French baguettes will draw me in and I’m so looking forward to chowing down on some French cuisine. Plus, shopping!! I know everything will be way expensive, but I will do my best to find a few Parisian gems to ring back to the states. Our tour also includes a trip to Versailles, France’s most well-known château, where we will explore the impressive exterior of the extravagant palace. I’ll have to make sure I bring extra memories for my camera!

On the last night in Paris, we get to experience a Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaurant and authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls and champagne. I’m so ready to live the high life.

June 20th – Depart Paris and drive through Bordeaux

Surely tired from the previous night’s festivities, we’ll pack up our campsites and head through Loire Valley, traveling past rolling vineyards and chateaus. On our way to Spain, we’ll stop in Bordeaux and visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed St. Emilion, with its fortified medieval city.

June 21st – Biarritz and Pamplona

Leaving Bordeaux and heading south, the bus will stop at the beach resort of Biarritz, known for some of the best beaches and surf in Europe. Since I’m not a huge sun-bathing person, I’ll probably spend most of my time in Biarritz hitting up the coastal shops and boutiques. Apparently, Biarritz has great beach fashion and locally made linens and regional produce like hams and salamis.

Leaving Biarritz, we cross the border to Spain and spend the evening in Pamplona, the city know for the Running of the Bulls. Pamplona has an awesome Gothic cathedral that I’m sure I’ll obsess over, and amazing Basque restaurants that serve traditional foods like barbecued lamb, fresh trout and red peppers.

June 22nd – Off to Barcelona!!!

Lately, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with Barcelona. Already suffering from an obsession with Spanish language and culture, I can only image how I’ll soak in the incredible, vibrant colors and beachy vibe of one of Spain’s best-known cities.

So on the way to Barcelona from Pamplona, the bus will head through the Baroque city of Zaragoza, set on the banks of the Rio Ebro. We’ll stop for lunch and engorge in Spanish tapas, and get a chance to check out another amazing Spanish cathedral. Once we arrive in Barcelona and set up camp, we depart for the city just in time to hit up Montjuic, a hilltop with full vistas of the city and location of the 1992 Olympic Games complex. Then we will check out the Sagrada Família!!!! I can’t wait!

Later, we get to enjoy a night out in Barcelona, which I’m sure will be one we won’t want to tell the kids.

June 23rd – Explore Barcelona

After a morning walking tour of the city, we’ll have free time to visit shops on Plaça de Catalunya, La Rambla, Parc Güell, or hang out on the beach. That night, there will be a family dinner and optional Flamenco show, then we head out for a night out in Barcelona – part two.

June 24th – Off to the French Riviera

The rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d’Azur will capture our attention as we roll along on the coach bus, stopping for lunch in Arles.  The beautiful city of Cannes will great us as we roll along the Riviera on our way to Antibes.

June 25th – Explore the French Riviera and Monaco 

On this sunny Wednesday, we’ll stop at the Fragonard perfumery, the home of the French perfume industry. We’ll have some free time to explore the area and try some French wine and, at night, get to explore Monaco and maybe even blow some cash at the Monte Carlo casino.

June 26th – Off to Florence

Leaving France, the tour crosses over the border to Italy. First stop: the Leaning Tower of Pizza (hehehe had to do it 🙂 ). We next drive to our campsite, have a family dinner, take a tour along the river and unwind with a glass of Tuscan wine.

June 27th – Explore Florence 

We’ll hit the museum and the city centre, take a guided tour through crowded streets, and watch a demonstration of Florentine leather making. At night, we’ll have an optional group dinner  (an authentic Tuscan feast, which there’s no way I’m missing), and then head out to experience Florentine nightlife.

June 28th – Head to our last stop: Rome!

Traveling through Tuscany, we’ll leave Florence and head to Rome where we’ll set up our last campsite on the tour.  A coach tour if the city will guide us through the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia, where we’ll then then step off the bus to see the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. With our free time later, we get to check out the Trevi Fountain or see the Spanish Steps. And at some point, obvi, we’ll  be stopping for pizza and gelato.

June 29th —  When in Rome…

In the morning, a tour guide will take us through the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Then, of course, the tour leads to the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

Free time later in the day will give us a chance to explore the city, eat more pizza, go shopping, and, knowing me, take lots of pictures. I just really want to know what it means to “do as the Romans do.” Ha.

Then, it’s our last night out! I know that I’ll have made some awesome friends during this crazy Euro adventure, and the group will want to go out with a bang. And if that predication is wrong, I’ll just go out by myself. Whatevs.

June 30th – Ciao for now Rome!

On this day, everyone packs up and rolls out. The tour ends midday Monday and we’re all on our own to transport ourselves back home. But Europe won’t be able to get rid of me that quickly. I’ll have a few more days before I head back to the States.

July 1st – 2nd – ?????

Still not quite sure what I’ll be doing these two days before heading back to London. My friend Rachel, who is studying abroad in France, and I planned to meet up in Switzerland, but that might not be possible anymore. So I will probably just be spontaneous and pick up a one-way ticket to some place I’ll want to explore before heading back to the Heathrow airport the night of the June 2.

July 3rd – GOODBYE EUROPE

Oh, parting is such sweet sorrow. I fly out from London that morning, expecting to be back in Washington, D.C. later that evening. With the next day being July 4th (U.S. Independence Day), I can’t think of any better way to feel welcomed back to my home country than with firework, hot dogs, and everything stars and stripes.

Gracias, Merci, Grazie

How we’re seeing Dublin in 38 hours (we might just be crazy)

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Did I mention how excited I am that we’re going to Ireland? Mid-June is possibly the best time to travel to the Emerald Isle, and we’ll be in Dublin June 13-15.  The average temperatures for those days are in the 60s, and according to TimeAndDate.com, the average sunrise for those days 5 a.m. and sunset is just before 10 p.m. Talk about getting the most out of our day!

Because we will be so lucky with our timing, we’ll be able to pack our days with sightseeing. After doing a lot of research, I’ve come up with a rough itinerary for the weekend that will maximize our time in Dublin without running us into the ground. Here’s what I have so far:

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DAY 1: Friday, June 13th  
  1. Arrive at Dublin Port by Irish Ferries
  2. Taxi to Abigail’s Hostel – 10 mins
  3. Get settled in the hostel
5:30 p.m.
  1. Dinner at The Temple Bar
  2. Meander around town
  3. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to take pictures at sunset. The cathedral will be closed but we can view from the outside.
6:30ish
  1. Dublin by Night Open-Top Bus Tour:
  • O’Connell Street
  • Georgian Dublin
  • Docklands District
  • Dublin City Centre
9:00 p.m.
  1. Night Out (Maybe at Fitzsimmons)
10:00 p.m.

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DAY 2: Saturday, June 14th  
  1. George St. Arcade (if we can squeeze it in)
9:30 a.m.
  1. Walking Tour from City Hall: We’re using New Dublin Tours for a free 3-hour walking tour!
  • Dublin Castle
  • Dubh Linn
  • Dublin’s Medieval Walls
  • Viking Remains
  • Norman Dublin
  • Georgian Dublin
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • Adam and Eve Church
  • The National Library
  • Famous Writers
  • Temple Bar
  • U2 – Origins of the rock legend
  • Trinity College
  • Leinster House
  • Chester Beatty Library
  • St. Stephen’s Green
  • 1916 Easter Rising
11:00 a.m.
  1. Guinness  Storehouse Tour
  2. To Jameson: Walk 16 mins, Taxi 4 mins
3:00 p.m.
  1. Jameson Distillery Tour
5:00 p.m.
  1. Pub Crawl leaving from Wellington Club: we’re using New Dublin Tours again – but this time, the adult version.
  2. We may also want to do a free Irish dancing show at 9 p.m. Arlington Hotel across the way from our hostel!
7:30 – All Night

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DAY 3: Sunday, June 15th
  1. Wake up and check out
  2. Taxi to Dublin Port – 10 mins
7:00 a.m.
  1. Depart to Holyhead
8:45 a.m.

Of course, we’ll still miss out on a few must-sees in Dublin, such as Kilmainham Gaol, but I am convinced this itinerary will provide us with a great balanced experience of Dublin. With just more than one month to go, we also have plenty of time the make alterations. I know we will have an incredible time in Ireland, regardless. I mean, c’mon. It’s Ireland.

For more, see my post about our transportation and accommodations: How we’re squeezing in a weekend trip to Dublin

*All photos from Google

 Have you been to Dublin? How long did you stay and what did you do? Do you think we can squeeze all of this in?

How we’re squeezing in a weekend trip to Dublin

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Sorry about the exclamation — I’m just really, really excited! This summer, I’ll be spending a week in London with my travel pal, Sarah. And in our planning, we figured that we might as well plan a trip to Dublin while we’re in the U.K. We both have a love for pubs and Irish jigs and figured we could spare a couple of days stepping away from England and exploring the Emerald Isle. And going to Ireland means I get to check something off my bucket list!

When we’re going

While Sarah will be in London for nine days, I will only have six days there before I leave for my Contiki tour. So we’re taking a short weekend trip to Dublin — leaving Friday morning and returning Sunday afternoon. Yes, we know we should avoid weekend travel when we’re on a budget, but a weekend trip was the only option that worked for our schedule.

How we’re getting there

Sarah discovered a transportation company that is perfect for our schedule and budget. Called RailEasy, the company lets us find and book a train ride from London to the west coast of England and a ferry from England to Ireland. We booked a train ride from Euston to Holyhead, where we will then hop on a ferry to Dublin Port. The journey takes about eight hours — six by train and two by ferry.Though the ride will be long, it’ll be totally worth it because of the stunning views of the countryside we’ll see along the way.

Here’s a short video of the highlight of the London-to-Dublin journey:

Where we’re staying

We used Hostelworld (as usual) to search for places to stay in Dublin. There are other accommodation options featured on the site than hostels — such as budget hotels and bed and breakfasts — but Sarah and I prefer hostels because they allow us to meet and hang out with other travelers. And we love making friends. We searched Dublin hostels based on price, ratings and location and found several that fit our criteria, such as Isaac’s Hostel and Backpacker’s Citi Hostel.

But the one that caught our attention most was Abigail’s Budget Accommodation. With an 98 percent location rating and a Hostelworld recommendation, Abigail’s stood out as the best place to stay if we want to be centrally located to Dublin’s main attractions. It’s located on Aston Quay overlooking the River Liffey with Temple Bar only footsteps away from the doorstep.

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Since we’ll be tight on time, we need somewhere that is within walking distance of most sites we want to visit, and a few minutes’ car ride away from the rest. Not only is Abigail’s centrally located to all the historical sites we want to see, but the hostel offers free 3-hour walking tours every day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. This bonus means we’ll have to do way less planning for where to go and what to see.

Nightly bar crawls are another prized feature for the hostel, one that we will happily take advantage of. Have I mentioned that I’m obsessed with Irish pubs? We’ll be visiting the Guinness Brewery and the Jameson Distillery while we’re there, of course, we’ll be sure to salute the local spirits on our night(s) out.

In my next post, I’ll share our tentative itinerary for the trip!

Have you been to Dublin? How did you get there and where did you stay? Comment below!

Top 15 Destinations on My Travel Bucket List

From Rio to Zurich, I am drawn toward cities with beautiful, colorful architecture and waterfront cityscapes. The following are 15 places on my before-I-turn-30 bucket list, apart from the ones I get to check off my list this summer — Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London and Montecarlo.

1. Prague, Czech Republic

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2. Berlin, Germany

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3. Amsterdam, Holland

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4. Venice, Italy

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5. Dubai,  United Arab Emirates

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6. Stockholm, Sweden

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7. Zurich, Switzerland

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8. Cape Town, South Africa

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9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio-de-janeiro-hip-hop

10. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo_odaiba

11.  Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

14173315

 

12. Edinburgh, Scotland

edinburgh

13. Dublin, Ireland

dublin_ireland

14.  Jungfraujoch, Swiss Alps, Switzerland

jungfrau

15. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul-2