kathryne goes to france

the dublin experience
24 February 2007, 4:16 pm
Filed under: dublin, europe, exchange student, ireland, study abroad, travel

I wasn’t crazy about Dublin.  Maybe it’s because I was sick the whole time, but there wasn’t anything that made me fall in love with the city.

I did like that Dublin somehow manages to feel quaint while still being a huge city.  The architecture was a nice break from the Gothic norm.  It’s Georgian, hence the quaint feeling.  I don’t know how to describe Georgian architecture.  Wikipedia it.

We took a city tour bus around Dublin, which was a good way to get a feel for the city.  Our tour guide was pretty great.  After about ten minutes on the bus, we realized that he introduced himself using a different name after each stop.  Greg/Luke/Paddy/Tom said the Georgian buildings were built in the 1700s (or 1800s?) under the reign of King George (insert Roman numeral here).  I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention to Greg/Luke/Paddy/Tom.

This was probably because I started thinking (again) about how I should have paid more attention in history.  Then I would know more about the conflict between the Protestants and Catholics.  If you asked my high school history teacher why I don’t know much about such topics, he’d say it’s because I am “bright but inherently lazy.”  He told me that once.  Maybe I would have paid more attention in class if he had a little less like a leprechaun.

Moving along.  The Irish accent is funny.  They don’t pronounce the “h” sound in “th” words.  Like “Thursday” becomes “Tursday.”  Jenny’s favorite word was “third.”

The night before we left, we watched Irish music and dancing at a pub a couple doors down from our hostel.  I drank a Guinness and found it surprisingly tasty.  Who knew I liked Guinness?  After the dancing, we walked back to our hostel.  Before we walked down the alley, two French girls stopped us and warned us while motioning to some construction across from the hostel.  We were confused, then we heard a yell and a crash and shattered glass.  A couple of drunk Irishmen had climbed the scaffolding and were throwing their empty beer bottles down at the path to the hostel.  We waited for a pause in the bottle throwing, held our bags over our head and took off running to the hostel entrance.  You should know that “running” on cobblestone paths in thin ballet flats equates to “fast hobbling” at best.

I think the most humorous moment of the trip occurred on the sidewalk near our hostel.  A crazy old man walked by us, howling with laughter, as though the funniest thing he’d ever seen was traveling with him about two feet in front of his eyes.  He laughed and cackled and chuckled with his mouth wide open, showing off his gapped teeth, which were entirely too small and jutting out in different directions.  Every time I glanced behind me to see him again, I’d bust out laughing, which made me start coughing and choking until I managed to get a grip on myself… in time to look back again and repeat the process.

Before you start thinking that I’m a terrible person for laughing at a crazy old man, let me explain: the old man looked and sounded exactly like a toy I’d play with at my Great Grandma Lucille’s retirement home.  We’d play with it while we were waiting our turn for a ride up and down the pink-carpeted ramps in Grandma Lucille’s electric wheelchair.  It was basically an old man (or woman’s?) face, plastic, with tuffs of synthetic gray hair coming out the top of its head.  If you pulled on a string underneath its chin, the plastic mouth would start moving and out with come hysterical cackling.  The old man in Dublin was a dead ringer for that plastic face.

I’ve sufficiently creeped myself out.  I’m sad that we’re leaving London tomorrow for Berlin.  I’ve fallen in love with this place.


16 February 2007, 1:46 pm
Filed under: dublin, europe, exchange student, ireland, study abroad, travel

I’m in Dublin and I feel like death. All of my views of the city so far have been tainted by a fever. More later. I’m going back to bed in the hostel.