Day 120 – Seriously 120……
L: I passed out so early last night so now I am wide awake at 5am, and hungry!! Nothing to snack on up here though.
A young guy joined us last night. Johannes from Germany. He is driving to the West coast of Ireland and climbing mountains, by himself, crazy! A nice chap, what we saw of him, as he went out until late last night.
Oh, by the way, I mentioned the duvet-inners to reception last night and they were replaced with brand new ones and we were given towels as well. The manageress had been to inspect. How nice.
S: Breakfast was the same again – with cereals, breads, coffee or tea. We are thinking of doing the Hop On, Hop Off bus around Dublin today so we are pouring over the map at breakfast.
L: Back in the room, we have let Johannes use the bathroom first as he said that he had to be off early in the morning. Gosh, what is he doing in there…….? It is getting so late and we both want to shower still. The bus is â‚¬18 each for the day so it would be nice to make a day of it though the second day is free too.
We are both feeling a bit dazed today and are facing a lot of decisions and changes and just don’t seem to be able to get moving. Now Nicky just called and after saying hi and how are you, I handed the phone to Steve.
While he was on the phone, an e-mail came in from the visa agency. Now we really have had the wind taken out of our sails……..They want £650 and another £100 courier fee plus expenses for disbursements to help and advise us to apply for the permit yet that doesn’t guarantee success. This is just so hard.
S: By now it was so late that we decided to can the bus trip and went down to the kitchen to make ourselves some coffee and regroup. We met Tracey, an Irish lass who told us about a hostel, run by a South African man, on Blessington Street which is cheaper and can do long term rentals, but she doesn’t remember the name of the place.
We both thought that a walk to St Stephens Green (a park) would be a better idea for us. We set off with sunglasses, umbrella, rain jackets and sun hats to cover every eventuality as the Irish say. No, no rain yet, Pete, though the hanging sign in the reception at Avalon House reads “Is it raining yet?” and on the other side “It’s raining again”.
L: I felt so happy, I almost skipped to be in the green gardens, away from the hemmed-in brown buildings. We saw trams, busses, taxis and cars. There is not a shortage of public transport here at all.
The lawns are lovely with enormous trees and lots of flowers and birds, swans and ducks. I was in my element behind the camera. Later we went back out of the park for a bite to eat at Starbucks. When we noticed that you get charged more to sit and eat the food than to take it away, we took our food and went to find a bench in the park.
S: After the lovely sandwiches we walked to the Archaeology Museum. Wow, the park and the museum both don’t charge an entrance fee. The displays were incredible covering a range of different periods and areas throughout Ireland’s history. There are mummified bodies recovered from swamps (bogs) to earrings to jugs all from the old times. Such a contrast from the museums we visited in Africa – these are so well labelled and documented.
L: Even Steve couldn’t get through it all so we left after spending hours there. We walked back through the gardens and on to the supermarket to buy some ingredients to make sandwiches for the proposed bus trip for tomorrow. Steve just loves playing with those self-service checkout machines.
Back at our room, Steve had an afternoon nap for a couple of hours while I read and blogged.
We heard back from the visa agency saying that they can reduce their fee for us to £500 – how wonderful.
We went down to the kitchen and made a stir fry dish with mushrooms, red peppers, noodles, croutons and bacon. It was good.
We spent the evening reading, writing e-mails etc and then tried to get some sleep. We have a large group of German school children on our floor who just weren’t going to let that happen. They were so loud and totally disrespectful when we asked them to be quiet, grrrrrr.
Day 121 –
L: 4am there was more noise, so by the time I got up, I did not feel very rested. We went to breakfast early and told the receptionist about the noise. She said that she would speak to their supervisors, they had those ??
We got ready and made ourselves “padkos” for today as we were doing the bus trip. Such a stunning day on the top deck of the bus. The pre-recorded narrative plays while we drive all around Dublin and it was very informative. We did the full trip passing the museums, the gaol (jail), crossing the Liffey river and seeing all the lovely parks.
L: We eventually got off in a park and sat on a bench to have our sandwiches and jam donuts, it was so tranquil. Steve is a bit stressed as we have heard that the permit application can take up to 2 months. We are considering all the options and Steve is applying for jobs through the various agencies. Of course if he goes for an interview in the U.K., I will not be allowed to go with him, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it……..
We stopped off at Dunnes for some more supplies and then went in to one of the rental agencies to enquire as to the availability of really short term rentals – no go.
S: What a lovely sight welcomed us at Avalon, the back of the noisy revelers – leaving.
We put our goodies in the kitchen, made coffee to have with our donuts and then had a lovely nap – with the passages, peaceful and quiet again.
L: Steve was busy with his e-mails and research so I carried on dozing until it was time to get some supper going. I made pork chops with rice and veg, it was great. Not sure if you get this rice that you boil for 16 minutes in its plastic bag back home, but it is so easy and reasonably priced. I am trying bacon and pork here and hope that it does not have Oxytetracycline in it, so far so good.
We met Anna from Germany and Fiona from the U.K. while we were having supper. The girls invited us to go pub-crawling with them, ha ha.
I caught up with the notes on the blog while Steve researched cheaper accommodation options as we think we might be stuck in Dublin for a while still………
While I was in the basement doing the laundry, I met Tammy from the States who has just returned from South Africa and is off to live in Hamburg as she fell in love with the place. We had a good chat as we have both been traveling for so long.
Day 122 –
L: Oh my word, not again – seems 4am is my bad hour. I heard the door bang and realised that someone was coming to sleep in one of the upstairs beds in our dorm. What was strange was that he didn’t have a bag or anything with him. I found that I could not relax so I was wide awake when he got up 2 hours later and left the room. I presumed that he was gone and I was just dozing when he came back to sleep again, I can’t get used to the “dorm” life.
S: We got up and went for breakfast and our room mate was still sleeping when we got back so it meant that we had to creep around in the dark to get showered and dressed.
I made sandwiches again for the bus trip and we set off. We started at St Patrick’s Chapel. The church charges 5,50 euro to tour and we noticed that they have a souvenir shop in the church. There are loads of people visiting so it looks like quite a thriving business.
S: I suggested to Lesley that we stop at Phoenix Park where the Dublin Zoo is. There is a huge war memorial there too. It is so tall that Lesley could not get it into one frame for a photo.
L: At this time we heard back from Nick and Agnes about the accommodation they rent out in their home in Donabate, near the seaside. Steve had found this on a site called Airbnb which advertises places in other peoples homes or on their properties for rent. Steve had seen it advertised for 30 euro per night, but it seemed to have gone up to 35 euro. Turns out they have two rooms they rent out. Anyway, when we said we were looking for something a little cheaper and we were booking for a week, Nick sent a message that they would have us for a week at 180 euro (plus service fee of 28 euro), excluding breakfast so that is fantastic and only 25 euro per day compared to the 40 euro per day at Avalon which then charges 2 euro per person extra for Fridays and Saturdays.
We were going to Blessington Road to look at the hostels there, but decided to leave it now as we had committed to this one.
After having a snack, we hopped back on the bus and drove all the way back to St Patrick’s Chapel where we went in to the lovely grounds and bought a yummy ice-cream with a flake. 2.50 euro each, well spent. Ouch.
S: Oh no, now the visa agency says that Lesley will have to go home to apply for the U.K. Permit as they won’t issue it here as she is only allowed in Ireland for 6 months. L: This is getting so hard, I feel so unwanted……:-(
We went back to the hostel so that we could research some more.
I wanted to curl into a little ball and bawl.
Now 2pm and a young coupe have moved in to the upstairs beds. They are from Paris, France.
Their accent is really hard to understand, but they are very friendly.
S: Now a message has just come in that the visa agency made a mistake and all should be alright applying from Ireland. Phew again and this is why they earn the big bucks………
L: I hate this visa word already. I will be so happy for us to have a little place, quietly on our own in the countryside. It promises to be lovely.
Coffee time, please!! So off we go, down to the busy kitchen.
We will finish most of what we have bought at the shops tonight so that we don’t have too much to lug with us as there is a bit of walking between bus and train. Our host has offered to fetch us when we arrive at the train station so that is a relief for us.
Time to make supper and post the blog and we will spend the last night here, or for a while anyway. I am really loving Dublin’s greenery and we have had 5 days of stunning weather. “No rain yet!” Ha ha. Off to the beach tomorrow……….