Tailor and I check into the Avalon House International Youth Hostel in Dublin Friday evening and headed up to our room on the 4th floor. We took the lift because that’s how we were instructed, realizing afterwards we could have gone up the stairs. Oh well. Another guy staying at the hostel gets in with us. On floor 2, he turns to us and asks, “You afraid of lifts?” Tailor and I look at each other, “No.” He then jumps, chuckles to himself, and gets off on floor three. We head up one more floor and then head down the hall and found room 417, our room for the duration of the trip.
*Tailor and I had booked a 4 bed room because it was cheaper and figured because it was February, there was a smaller chance we would have to share the room with strangers.
We slide our keycard into the door, walk in, and two guys look up, staring at us as they lay under the covers. Tailor and I look at each other, then back the guys. It was that awkward silence where no one knows what to say, but you know everyone is thinking the same thing: Darn it. We have to share the room with two people…
Tailor and I set our stuff down (well, Tailor sets her stuff down; I didn’t really bring much, so I just kept it with me) and we left the room. Neither of us were worried about the two guys looking through our stuff/stealing anything. And if they did steal anything, all Tailor left was female clothes (SUPER exciting, right!?). We had about 1.5hrs until we had to be to the Guinness Storehouse, a 20 minute walk from the hostel. So, we wandered past St. Patrick’s Cathedral, admiring the beautiful architecture and cute little park in which it is located.
Vintage Tea Tours! (Tailor had unfortunately been fighting her germs for the past week, telling them she didn’t want to be sick) So, when she got super excited about seeing a Vintage Tea Tours bus, I could tell she was feeling much better than she had the rest of the week. It was a cute double decker bus with tables set up ready for a tea party. Unfortunately, it was quite expensive, so we just admired the cuteness of the outside as we walked the streets of Dublin.
Tailor and I made it to the Guinness Storehouse ready to learn how this world famous Irish beer was made. Fun fact: the museum is inside the worlds largest pint glass. We explored the seven floors, learning about the ingredients, how particular they are with what water is used, the brewing process, advertising history, how to properly taste Guinness, and finally how to properly pour a pint of Guinness. We ended the journey on the top floor in the Gravity bar with a 360 degree view of Dublin. Personally, I think I enjoyed the Guinness more than I have other beers that I’ve sampled (which isn’t many), though beer is still not the most amazing thing in the world in my opinion.
On our walk back to the hostel, we stopped at an Italian restaurant for dinner. It was very delicious!
It was Friday evening, so we figured our temporary roommates probably went out for the evening; we were right. So, we were able to settle in and fall asleep before they got back. Around 2am, I was awoken to one of the guys stumbling into the room SUPER drunk. *Hiccup* *Hiccup* I tried to stay asleep, but when someone is tripping over things and stumbling around making a lot of noise, it’s not really possible. *Hiccup* He was sleeping on the top bunk of the other bed, but ran into the bed frame of the bed I was sleeping in, shaking my bed quite a bit, before managing to climb up the ladder into his bed. *Hiccup* His hiccups finally stopped, but started up again later in the night. He instantly started sawing logs when he got into bed. Great…. now how was I supposed to sleep. The guy kept rolling around; I was worried he was going to roll off the top bunk (it had no railing). Luckily, that didn’t happen, though he did drop his phone and didn’t notice. Between 2am and 8am, I slept on and off. Tailor and I got up in the morning and headed out relatively quickly (FYI: the other guy didn’t come back that night, but all his stuff was still there, so I don’t know where he ended up). We got a locker for €2 to leave our extra things in for the day just to be extra safe.
Tailor and I didn’t have much of a plan for what to do today, so we headed over to Trinity College and explored the Book of Kells exhibit. Wandering around campus, I felt like I needed to be dressed fancier and be much smarter academically (no, I’m not saying I’m not smart; I’m saying the school felt VERY prestigious, especially compared to Pacific University). It was a gorgeous campus! We then wandered over to Merrion Square to find the Oscar Wilde statue for Tailor.
Much of the day was relaxed exploring through the frigid wind and snow/rain (depending on the time of the day). That afternoon, we went on a tour of the Dublin Castle, which was amazing and very different from Bunratty Castle. This was not a castle meant for people to live in; it was a castle King John had built to store his treasures (the King John Castle is in Limerick, but I haven’t visited it yet).
Afterwards, Tailor and wandered over to Dublina, a viking and medieval museum attached to the Christ Church Cathedral. This museum was definitely more focused toward kids, which was a fun change; I’m definitely still a child. I like all the fun interactive exhibits. Viking helmets are SO heavy. I bet all the vikings had strong necks or were short people because it compressed their spine.
Tailor and I had originally reserved the hostel for two nights, but decided to take off Saturday evening rather than Sunday morning. It was worth it to us to lose a little bit of money on the room and get to sleep in our own beds over not getting sleep. And, we didn’t feel there was anything else we were dying to see. If the weather was nicer, we would have loved to wander the streets more, but I couldn’t really feel my fingers most of the weekend.
A life without adventure would be boring
Life is not predictable. If we were to know all the curve balls that were going to be thrown at us, we would not have as many stories of our adventures and life would be boring. These curve balls are great learning experiences. This is how I’m looking at my entire study abroad experience. Everything here is new no matter how similar it is to home. My parents can’t rescue me at a minutes notice if something were to happen. I have to think about my decisions to make sure I stay safe, but also not limit myself to the point where I don’t get to experience the culture.
I think this is a good lesson for many to think about. Life is adventure. You need to throw yourself into situations out of your comfort zone (don’t go into your panic zone, though) to learn. Not all of the experience will be enjoyable in the moment, but after the fact, I would hope you are happy that you did get that experience. No, I didn’t enjoy not getting sleep; I was grumpy the whole night. But, earplugs. I’ll bring them on my next adventure. Also, now I know I can survive that sort of situation.
This next weekend is Glendalough, one of the biggest (and supposedly best) trips the Outdoor Pursuits Club hosts. I will try to find a time to post about the academics here at University of Limerick (I’ve learned some pretty cool things, but also made some humorous observations). And, Brussels, Belgium is coming up! If you have suggestions of what I need to do/see in Brussels, post in the comments!