Ah, Monday. For most, the word Monday has a negative connotation. The weekend is over, which means playtime is over. It’s usually hard to wake up and the work week seems especially daunting. Today, it was quite the opposite for me. I spent the previous week holed up in my dark bedroom with an array of medicines, water, and movies. By Sunday, cabin fever was setting in and I could not wait for Monday to arrive. I even woke up 30 minutes before the alarm this morning and got ready in record time. Since I’m feeling especially over-productive today, I believe it’s necessary to wrap up my 2-part travel experience, finishing with Dublin.
After my long and eventful day in London, I flew over to Dublin for a short visit. Matt would be wrapped up in meetings for the rest of the week, so I saw this as an opportunity to see my friends and the city I love. A flight from London to Dublin is only 50 minutes – it’s like flying from Dallas to Houston! I’d scheduled the first flight out in the morning to give me ample time to get things done that day. When I arrived in Dublin, I dropped my bags off at my friend Lauren’s apartment – who I’d be staying with for the trip – and then jumped on the Luas to head up to my old neighborhood, Dundrum. I spent the next few hours running errands at the Dundrum Town Centre. I was lucky to land a hair appointment with my old stylist, Brian, who always does a fantastic job. It had been close to 3 months since I’d last colored my hair, and boy was it in need of help! I also had 6 months worth of contacts waiting for me at my eye doctor. While there to pick them up, I went ahead a bought a new pair of glasses – they had my prescription on file, I’d lost my old pair in the move, and it was buy 1 get 1 free. Who can say no to a free, second pair of glasses? To finish off my excursion, I ate a quick lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Dublin, Cortina’s. Matt and I always went crazy for their salsa de mole!
That evening, my amazing friend Lauren hosted “book club” at her apartment. Book club was where I met most of my friends when I lived in Dublin. Our version of book club, though, is a bit different than the standard: it’s real purpose is to drink wine, enjoy food, and visit. Instead of picking one book to read and then discussing it as a group, we each bring along a book that we’d recently enjoyed, we take turns talking about it, and then we throw it into the pile for one of the others to pick up and take home for their own enjoyment. When Lauren prepared for my visit, she went ahead and offered to host book club so that I’d have an opportunity to see all the gals. What a great idea, because they were all able to come and it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone. Our friend Tori made a delicious Italian dinner and I spent the evening catching up with friends I hadn’t seen since last June.
The next day, while Lauren was at work, I had plans to see a different group of ladies I spent loads of time with when I lived in Dublin: the American Women’s Club! Anne was so kind to mention at the January meeting that I’d be in town and she put together a lunch for those who could make it. I met the group at Kites Restaurant in Ballsbridge, a chinese restaurant in an old, white townhouse. The food was delicious and it warmed my heart to see these women who became my family and helped make Dublin my home away from home. When I blogged last year, it felt like every other post was about some sort of AWCD activity; clearly, I’ve missed them and the Club tremendously since we moved, so it was bittersweet getting to spend the afternoon with them. Following lunch, a few of us moved over to the neighboring pub where we enjoyed Guinness and Irish coffees by the fire. It was the perfect afternoon – I felt like nothing had changed. Saying goodbye this time wasn’t as hard, because I know that each time I come back, it will feel like that.
That evening, Friday, Lauren and I dressed up in our weekend best and ventured out into the city for a night of fun. We started with dinner at fabulous Italian restaurant called Step to Rome. Tiny, compact, and authentic, this intimate setting provided us the perfect opportunity to really catch-up. Not to mention, the food was delish! After dinner, we met our friend Annette at a pub set in a stone archway next to the River Liffey. I received the true Irish experience – the pub was packed, the beer was flowing, and a live band (a duo playing the violin and the guitar) entertained with lively Irish jigs that the crowd was singing and dancing along to. I’m pretty sure the smile on my face was a mile wide the whole time we were there. Following the pub, Lauren, Annette, and I went over to Harcourt Street to one of the late night clubs. I’d never been to one while I lived there, so I was interested to see what they are like. I was not disappointed – we spent the evening dancing and laughing at the party goers that probably should have gone home hours earlier, if you catch my drift.
The following day, my last, started rather early for this little lady who thought it was a great idea to stay out so late. But it was well worth it, because I was having breakfast with Karen, my close friend and confidant from the Club. If you can remember, she was the Philanthropic Chair the previous year, and we spent tons of time together planning and executing events. I’d seen her the day before at the lunch, but we needed some to time to really talk independently from the group. Following breakfast and a quick nap back at Lauren’s, I made the most of my final few hours shopping on Grafton Street. Most of my makeup comes from MAC, which we don’t have down here, so I needed to stock up. Lauren and I also met Kelsey and her husband for a coffee before I was forced to go home and pack up my things. My flight was Saturday evening – our Sunday flight back to Gibraltar was in the morning, so I thought it made more sense to stay in a hotel at the airport instead of risking a missed connection. Only a couple flights a day go into Gibraltar, so I wasn’t taking any chances. I bid farewell to my AMAZING hostess and promised to come back soon…now that is a promise I know I can keep.
That evening, poor Matt could barely get a moment of silence. I was buzzing with excitement from my Dublin trip. So, of course, I went through the entire thing in detail before he forced me to take a breath, calm down, and go to bed. I’m so happy I was able to make it back. I realize how lucky I am to be having all of these travel experiences and to live in this new (and sunny!) place, but Dublin will always be my first home in Europe. I will always have fond memories of my time there and I know I will visit the land of “Guinness and green” when the opportunities present themselves, until I’m unable to travel any longer!