The Royal Canal in north Dublin with a lock to control water flow and allow boats through.
Every time I travel hesitation overtakes me, no matter how excited I am. The thought of just skipping the trip and hiding out at home begins to seem like a good plan. Not that I actually would — my frugal nature is always able to outwit my anxiety, but it's strange to think I will be away from everything I know for an extended period of time. And getting lost in a foreign country is my biggest fear.
After Andrew and I arrived in Dublin — we had an overnight flight which arrived just after noon which left plenty of time for exploring. We found our Airbnb which was nestled in the wonderful neighbourhood of Stony Batter, took a quick nap then decided to set out and explore the city.
Cue my fear of getting lost. Which we managed to do as soon as we left the house. It was my fault, although we didn't really have a plan of where we wanted to go we were expecting to end up near the River Liffey. Instead we ended up at the Royal Canal in the north most section of the city where, as a tourist, there isn't much to see or do. Of course I also hadn't figured out how to use the new map I'd loaded onto my phone so we struggled trying to locate ourselves on a tourist map. Turns out we were so far north our location wasn't even pictured.
Following the Royal Canal south, Croke Park appeared before me like a giant beacon in the night. Finally I knew where we were and I finally had to admit to Andrew that I had mistakenly navigated us as far north east as possible. At least we knew in what vicinity we were but at this point we were both jetlagged and had been walking for hours. I could feel the squishy telltale sign that blisters were beginning the formation of a colony on my feet.
Exhausted and hangry (the deadly mixture of hungry and angry,) Andrew wanted to stop in a pub so when we happened upon Phil Ryan's Hogan Stand on the North Circular Road we were elated. Andrew was going to find sustenance and I was going to be able to rest my feet, all was good with the world.
This location will be forever immortalized as Andrew's first Guinness in Ireland. It was delicious. But you could tell we weren't in a tourist pub. There were only three or four other patrons, older men drinking beers watching horseracing and intermittently chatting with each other about life. Each was sitting at his own table, loudly conversing across the room.
Although they didn't serve much more than drinks, so after Andrew had finished his pint and me my tea, we set out again to find our way into the heart of Dublin where there was more to see than neighbourhoods and pubs. Perhaps we would find a nice place to eat before we were forced to start eating our own flesh for survival.
By this point I had finally figured out how to work the map I had downloaded on my phone and we wandered into the city centre. The Guinness took the edge of Andrew's hanger but we were both still a bit nippish after spending nearly three hours wandering around lost. Then we found Pifko's. A Czech pub and restaurant nestled right on the River Liffey. The board outside was advertising a pint and a burger for 10 euro. Sounded good to us. We went in and were welcomed by the soothing sounds of "Give it Away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I ordered the burger and a pint and Andrew got a very nice stuffed pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes.
The Pifko's washroom was also a bit of a laugh. Coin operated vendors were selling miniature vibrators for two euro just in case you needed one at that very second. I can't even explain why but I was so tempted to purchase one to see exactly what kind of vibrator was available for random purchase in a dirty pub bathroom in Dublin. I didn't but I was very tempted.
Once our bellies were full and we were no longer grumpy from our long wander through Dublin we decided to head home, meet our host Dervella and get a good night sleep — after watching Game of Thrones of course.