Dublin Days

Beggars can’t be choosers I guess, but they can weezle their way around it.

My flight switch was approved and I was lucky to get a two day layover in Dublin, Ireland at the beginning of June. One of my all time favourite cities.
First thing I did was order a stand-by ticket to surprise mom with.
I couldn’t wait for her to get home from work. I know everyone’s parents work hard, but my mom REALLY works hard, and it breaks my heart daily to see her struggles. Right now this is a way for me to give her something she would normally not even think about let alone consider. A little break.

She’s so excited! And I’m thrilled. She asks a million questions as if it was her first time going away.

Then I realize I’m going to spend an entire two days with my mother… Alone.

I mean, we’ve spent a couple hours together before, going for walks, ice cream, shopping and such. But there were always distractions and room to cut the time short.
I don’t share private and intimate details of my life with her, I never have. What on earth are we going to talk about? How do I even entertain her? Can she keep up?

A hop, skip and a quick ride to the hotel with an even quicker check in, we finally open the door to our little retreat. She loved the room, spacious she said, cozy and comfortable. When she sat on the bed and her tired body melted into the heavenly plush sheets she uttered “maybe we could just stay right here for the next two days”.

Colliding with the fresh and crisp air we made our way to where adventure waited.
Her head turning aimlessly as we walked through busy streets among curious tourist and locals hurrying off to work. The fashion alone was an endless conversation.
Getting lost is the best way to finding yourself right where you want to. And that’s just what we did. After several attempts to follow a map, we finally put it away and let our feet lead the way.
Turning down what felt like a hundred corners we circled cute little Dublin until the sun set and our legs began to ache.

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Dublin Castle, worth seeing and tours are free on Wednesday’s. The tour guides knowledge of the history was great, feeding our imagination with short stories as we climbed down stairs into the grotto of original castle walls and standing river water that used to surround the structure years ago.
After 15 minutes, we were ready to take off on our own little tour.

St. Stephens Green park is a little gem within the city. Doesn’t look like much from the outside until you enter through the huge heavenly gates. Greenest greens you’ve ever seen. Birds chirping, swans strolling and my mama in love. Her eyes were seeing the freshest oil paintings, colours blending perfectly, sunbeams resting beautifully on every branch, leaf and puddle of water.

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Rain is more than common in Dublin, and that sent us straight into the welcoming arms of the ever friendly pubs. We chatted as we relaxed over a glass of wine.

Our first day was productive, besides the castle and park, we walked through the National Art Gallery, which didn’t do much for me. The Museum of Natural History was overwhelmingly filled with every insect and creature that ever walked or swam on our planet and the National Gallery of Ireland. We walked up and down Temple Bar, Dame and O’Connell Streets stopping in a cute corner Cafe overlooking the River Liffey for a delicious coffee as we watched the rain come down once more. Continuing our adventure admiring the vivid colours attached to every piece of architecture, before stumbling into the world famous Temple Bar.

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When in Ireland, you do as the Irish do and drink beer. Neither my mom nor I are big beer drinkers, but in Dublin I will always make sure to have at least one pint of Guinness. It’s nothing like you’ve ever tasted before, and I actually enjoy it. The foam wraps around your lips like whipped cream and each sip goes down smoother than the last. That bitter taste all beers have? It’s almost unnoticeable and it has a deep, rich coffee, hazelnuttly taste. It takes about a minute and a half for it to reach your hand and each is a perfect pour. It’s an art really, and the bartenders make it look so effortless. I order a half pint for her, along with a couple mayo filled chicken and turkey sandwiches that come with a side of bite size chocolate desserts, which naturally we start with.
The look on her face says it all and I can’t help but laugh. Her first and last Guinness.

Six hours of our evening we spent sitting among a sea of people. Live Irish cover bands filled the bar with sweet sounds.
Every body swaying, smiling faces, hands clapping and people singing along. Be careful though, as the moon rises, so do the drink prices.

A good nights sleep and we were off again. It doesn’t take long for one to fall perfectly in place. The city welcomes you with open arms, pulls you in and never lets go. Dublin has a very special place in my heart. It may be a hub for tourists, backpackers and passer-by’s but it is filled with kindness, warmth and energy.

As our final day came to an end, we spent the last few hours of it planted in front of the makeshift stage back at the Temple Bar where we were serenaded once more by live music. Leaving was hard, it took us over an hour to finally step outside onto the cobbled streets and make our way back to the hotel.

It’s been several weeks since I took my mom to Dublin, and to this day she still talks about it. My job gives me wonderful opportunities, and moments like these I am beyond thankful especially when I get to share them with people who matter most to me. I’m happy those that travel with me get to see a little glimpse of what my chaotic life is all about.

London, England

London, England

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about London, England? Grey.
You couldn’t be more right. It’s just that, grey.
But in its grey and rainy coating lies history and character.
My first visit back in March 2012 stretched over a 24 hour layover. Arriving in the small town of Gatwick where I could stretch my arms from side to side and touch both sides of the road, to a short train trip into London.
Besides squealing with excitement, I remember thinking “grand, this city is grand”. You could just smell royalty!

Walking through London Victoria Station was surreal. I’d never seen so many people jogging in all different directions. It’s a wonder no collisions have been reported.

Hyde Park next to Westminster, much different by comparison to others I’ve walked through was so well maintained. Luscious greens, perfectly trimmed grass, bouquets of flowers oozing with glorious colours. And the lawn chairs? Were they bolted to the ground because where I’m from they wouldn’t last long enough for someone to take a picture.

My first real fish and chips lunch with a pint of beer. The sizes were enormous! Was this normal? I tried to be discreet and check out the situations at other nearby tables. Later, I realized that when ordering a beer in the UK one must ask for ‘half pint’ otherwise you end up with a fish owl.

And just like that it was over. I returned home from my first real taste of what my future will look like.

Aside from the exhaustion, slight jet lag, and not enough words in my vocabulary to describe what I was feeling I was the happiest girl in the world! And I couldn’t wait to get back on that plane to another adventure.