March 20, 2017 - 19:25 - On a bus in London
I figured I would use this hour long bus ride from Gatwick to Heathrow airport to document some of the incredible memories I've created in the past couple of days. The bus is practically empty besides me, an asian lady, and a bus driver who is in a constant state of road rage. I just returned from my trip to Dublin and am en route back home to the US.. It's hard to even begin telling this story since I’m in a state of pre-post trip-depression and can’t stop thinking about everything that’s happened. Let me begin by explaining how I ended up in Dublin.
Originally, I had no idea where I wanted to go for my spring break. I knew I wanted to go somewhere overseas and I narrowed it down to London or Amsterdam. I believe it was only a week before my trip that I realized it would be St. Patrick's day the following weekend, so at about 1AM I texted the only other person I knew could travel as easily as I can. His name was Sam and once I got his response of “I’m so down”, we booked an Airbnb and it was official. We were going to Dublin!
Skipping about a week..
Despite the 18 hour layover in London Heathrow, I made it to Dublin late, at about 11 pm, on St Patrick's day. Yes, I missed the entire day, but honestly I didn't really care because I had the entire St. Patrick's Day Weekend coming up. When I arrived, I went for a quick walk (since our apartment was literally down the street and around the corner from Temple Bar) to check out the St. Patty's day aftermath. As you can imagine, people were stumbling, mumbling, and making out on every corner. The entire city center was in a drunken stupor. Can’t lie, it was a tad disturbing seeing people lose their senses to such an extent from a sober perspective. At the same time, I couldn’t wait to take be a part of it.
The next day we woke up and hit the streets in search of a quick meal. This was my first morning in Dublin and all I wanted to do was explore and feel the city. It was beautiful, of course. Cobble stone roads, old pubs, live music on every corner, and people from all parts of the world. I had no idea what to expect, but it was one of the most colorful first impressions I've ever had. We stumbled upon a surprisingly chic little restaurant and each ordered a 3 course meal that somehow only cost us €10. After that, it began to drizzle a little harder than it had been all morning so we headed home, picking up a 8-pack of Guinness along the way.
After 3 pints of perfectly poured Guinness by yours truly, we headed out. First, we went to Temple Bar: one of the pubs that claim to be the “oldest pub in Dublin”. A cab driver had warned me not to go there, saying that all it offered was overpriced drinks and Americans telling everyone that their great-great-somebody was irish. Hate to say it, but the cab driver was spot on. Way too packed and not the genuine Dubliner experience I was looking for.
Not sure what the final pub I ended up at was called, but we stayed there the majority of the night because we made some decent pub friends. The first people I met were these 2 Spaniards from Madrid, one of which was named Diego and turned out to be a significant part of this story. Since you don’t know me well, you should probably know that drunk Barb loves speaking Spanish and making friends, which explains how I found the only Spaniards in the pub.
Meanwhile, Sam had made friends with a girl from Chicago, named Charlie, and a older guy from Manchester that was apparently "the man". I split up from my spaniards for a while to hang out with the 3 of them upstairs where there was a live Irish folk band playing. After jamming out by the band for a little while, I couldn't help but notice my Spanish friends were right there next to us. They were in the company of a very intoxicated curly haired woman who I'm pretty sure had her eyes shut half of the time how drunk she was.
After about 30 minutes of being stared at across the bar, the Spaniard finally comes up to me and offers me a Guinness, which I can’t pass up on. From there, we drink and talk for the rest of the night. Diego works for an advertising company in Madrid and his favorite city is Paris because "it's the city of love". You've got to appreciate Spanish men for their love of love.
Soon enough, I got tired of the scene and used food as an excuse. We walked to the first restaurant that was open and it ended up being some sort of Arabic deli and I ordered myself a kebab. Not the best choice of food if you're trying to look pretty, I'll tell you that. I'm pretty sure I had red lipstick and mayo all over my face. I'm also pretty sure I didn't care! We headed back to my Airbnb as soon as I had enough of that kebab. As we walked, he offered me a cigarette and my default response was "No, Thank you. I don't smoke", but then I realized if there was any place in the world for me to smoke a cigarette it would be in Dublin after a night out. I'm not exaggerating: 90% of the people there smoke cigarettes. I even saw a 14 year old kid smoking a cig with his mum. We stalled my leaving a smoked in an alleyway right across from my Airbnb. The lighting and the setting was indescribable. Straight out of a movie. I was smoking a cigarette with a Spaniard in an alleyway by Dublin Castle. Right after, we shared a quick good bye kiss and dramatically parted ways, vowing to meet again in Madrid.
Like, what the... what is my life?! The existentialism was kicking in. I don't know whether to be in awe with how my life always seems like a movie or to cringe at how cliche this all sounds.
Little did I know the next day would be even more memorable, but in a more sentimental and genuine way. I'll save that for my next post. My bus is arriving at Heathrow and I've got to hop onto the next one.