**Real-time update: Sorry for being sucky at this blogging-about-our-trip thing. Real life hit us both over the head the second we got back to the States, so we’ve been playing catch-up on life & post-graduation things. Speaking of, Alexa survived the 2-day U-Haulicious journey to San Antonio and starts work on Monday (wish her luck!) and I’ve been back in the 9-5 grind (make that 8-5:30, actually) for 2 weeks now in Pittsburgh. Hopefully we’ll hammer out these Euro trip posts soon, but bear with us! Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming**
Day 4 in Dublin was, not gonna lie, a pretty uneventful one. We checked out of our hostel sometime in the AM then found an Insomnia cafe to hang out in for a few hours to reflect on our last hours in Dublin. Some of our final thoughts on Dublin (don’t hate us!) – it definitely was an interesting city, but not our favorite of the trip. It seems like it would be a great city to go to with a group of friends and go out at night, but there was a lack of things to see so filling our days with activities was a little difficult. Maybe it was a lack of planning on our parts (read: we did zero planning), or maybe it was the jet lag. Who knows, but we do have to say going to the other parts of Ireland was amazing!
So, after catching our last glimpses of Dublin, we headed to the airport and began our
love hate affair with Ryanair. Oh, Ryanair. For those of you who don’t know, Ryanair is a dirt-cheap airline that flies throughout Europe. The prices are extremely convenient (our cheapest was $30 from Edinburgh to Dublin) but they really know how to annoy their customers. Alexa and I were pros at the end of our 5 Ryanair flights, but they make you hate your life for those few short hours. Some of the inconveniences of a conveniently-priced airline:
1. You had to pay a crapload of money to check your bags. Luckily, we didn’t check our bags.
2. Your need to squeeze your ONE (and they mean one! No carrying your purse separately!) carry-on into these ungodly small metal size-check things so they would fit on the plane
3. Your carry-on had to “be under 10kg”, but they never checked (Thank god! We were definitely over that limit).
4. You sometimes fly into airports into the middle of nowhere. Good thing airport buses exist.
We spent a good amount of our time in the Dublin airport rearranging our backpacks to fit on the plane and they DIDN’T EVEN CHECK AT THE GATE! They just let us on! This should have been a small victory, but Abi literally spent 30 minutes squeezing the bag into the size-check container, then rearranging her backpack, taking out a shirt and putting it on (she wore 6 layers on that flight, only to be beaten out by the 8 layers she wore on the flight back to Dublin a few weeks later) then squeezing, then calling over Alexa to help her get it unstuck from the container, then rearranging…. but they didn’t even check the bag at the desk. All that work for nothing! (At the other 4 airports, the Ryanair people did check though, so you’ve been warned.)
After that whirlwind packing experience, we were finally off to England (our most anticipated stop on the trip!) We had some great views of the English sea and coastlines, then semi-rushed around Gatwick airport after landing in search for the train station, where we were soon greeted with some nice views again, this time of the gorgeous English countryside.
We don’t seem to have any good pictures of the English countryside, so here’s one of us ON the train. HOW EXCITING!
During our few days in London, we actually stayed about 40 minutes south in a town called Guildford with Abi’s family friends, Ellen, Tom, and their 14-year-old daughter Margot. (Their son was taking a 6-month backpacking trip around South America. Shame, we could have bonded over tales of South American adventures).
Ellen and Tom are American but have been in England for over 20 years now, and their kids are were born in England. How. Cool. Abi hadn’t seen them in about 10 years or so, so recognizing them in the Guildford train station was a bit of an adventure. Luckily, Tom and Margot quickly spotted the two Americans who looked very lost.
After quick car ride to their house, we all chatted and caught up for a bit in the kitchen, got situated in our rooms, then headed out to their favorite local pub be treated to a wonderful dinner. Back at the house, we had one of the best/most relaxing evenings ever: hot chocolate, tea, Margot’s delicious homemade truffles, and a game or two of Scattergories. This definitely needs to become a weekend tradition. Tom and Ellen gave us a bit of insider information on how to get into/around London the next day, then we were off to bed.
Up next: LONDON! (aka the greatest city ever)
-Abi & Alexa