Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bon Voyage!

Today we leave for our multi-country 5 week adventure. I will miss this laptop dearly but luckily its big brother is coming with us, so I will be able to continue my habit of posting travel photos to Flickr as I go. I may or may not choose to blog here as well. We'll see. I'm pretty much packed, just a few things to toss inside the suitcase, need to make sure we have enough cash in our bank accounts, and I'd really love to get the house cleaned up more before we go. I hate coming home to pre-travel packing messes! I'm very excited just thinking about all the beautiful things were going to see, all the photos I will get to take... and of course all the fantastic food I will unfortunately eat! I'm ready for my fondue, chocolate, crepes, waffels, tapas etc. etc. etc. please...

I was looking for a little notebook to carry with me to record thoughts and I found notes from a very few days of last summer's Ireland adventure. Obviously I'm more into documenting my travels with photos instead of words. But in an effort to appreciate my words more I'm going to attempt to just type them out here before I start a new journey later today.

I spent the morning resting my poor feet and shins (the blisters had led to unfortunate funny walking) as well as reading through my Lonely Planet yet again. This time I finally had the good sense to circle the interesting places on the maps, so I could see where my circles clumped. I took a long shower, gave in and pulled my hair back (too humid to have it down, feels bad and looks worse) and finally set out to do something with the day. I planned a route towards Merrion Square to see the Oscar Wilde Statue and the National Gallery. The walk as easy and really didn't take all that long. But I needed some lunch and had no recommendations close by. It started to rain and I picked a direction to walk. Lost again, so soon. I wander a little before I found some packed cafes. The Brewbaker cafe looked funny, the sign stated that they had "probably the best coffee in Dublin." Sure, why not. So I went inside, ordered a panini, and tried to get a sparkling water, but the European checker assumed I was trying to avoid it and gave me still. I came downstairs to find a seat, and that's where I am now, surrounded by theater posters (!) like they knew I was coming. Right now Patti is standing above me with her blond hair pulled back, diamonds on and arms in the air. Also around the room are Les Miz, Cats, Once on this Island, Lisa in Concert, and Dancing at Lughnasa. The chicken pesto panini is fine (they do love their "sweet corn" on everything here) nothing amazing but then at least I'm not out in the rain...

And suddenly I am in Italy.

The sun was shining when we woke up late this morning. I decided to give my sandals a try. So far so good. And I saw it was going to be warm so I wore my capris. As I headed out it felt like a whole different trip. Yesterday was gloomy, I was gloomy, Dublin was gloomy. Everyone is in a good mood today. The woman standing next to me on a street intersection said to me, "Isn't it a nice morning?" I shocked her a little answering back in my American accent, "Yes, it's the first blue sky I've seen since arriving on Sunday." She asked where I was from, making her guess "the States." I told her San Francisco so I was sort of used to the weather, a little untrue since they live in this weather all the time. She wished me good luck and enjoy myself as we parted ways and the other Dubliners turned and looked as I thanked her. A girl could get awful nervous to talk if her accent is going to be that surprising. So I walked and walked and walked. I did pop into one shop, great looking stuff there, great smelling lavender soap and "Gran" and "Mum" coffee mugs I liked.

So, walking walking walking. It's the humidity plus the slightly higher temperature but sweat dripped down my back like in Italy. A couple on Grafton Street had on a tank top and no shirt. The buskers were out! The clever kid was back (note from the traveler: this was this amazing guy playing guitar on the street, I should find the video I took of him). Walking a ways was a very good thing to do. I saw how everything fits together, how it all related. The city begins to make sense. So I scoped out a number of restaurants. Blazing Salads is just a little take-away place. Fish and chips looks good but it's too hot. I do manage to finally see a part of town that look different! It's very nice, I like it. I decide to cross the river and check out Italian places. Bar Italia had Diane's Breasola salad on the menu. The enoteca has it too, plus lunch sounds good here, so that's where I am now. I supposed this is Little Italy. I'm having an excellent caprese and tomato basil soup that shimmers with olive oil (but the chunks of fresh tomato are amazing!). Outside people are dining al fresco. I figure I'll let the Dubliners enjoy their sunny tables. So funny to feel like I'm in Italy but then hear the thick Irish accents all around me and see the pale office workers scurry by in their button up shirts and ties. I like it. I think it was supposed to be 72 degrees today. A scorcher for Dublin. Everyone's walking by with ice cream, or is it gelato? We'll see.

It was.

Another day?--
Today I got a late start but plenty of sleep and a number of things planned. The musical pub crawl is booked for Diane, and theater tickets are purchased for next week. A preview of The Importance of Being Earnest starring all men on Monday at the Abbey, and The Constant Wife at the Gate on Thursday. I think the tickets were 15 and 28 Euro, not bad! Also bought our bus tickets for Saturday. I'm a bit worried about it but I imagine it'll be fine. No tiolet and no reserved seats, hope it's not too long a trip to Belfast. I'm up on the North side having a great lunch in a wonderful little cafe. Next will be Pirates if it really opened today, or else the Dublin Writers Museum. My ciabatta is grilled with chicken, stuffing and cranberry sauce in it, like Thanksgiving on a sandwich! The salad is very good. Why are the tomatoes all so good here? I think the "potato crisps" are Pringles. Funny.

Quotes I wrote down when I finally did go to the Dublin Writers Museum--
"New York is a real city -- Los Angeles has no navel -- no Broadway -- and nothing to recommend it except the sunshine and swimming pools..." --Brendan Behan, 19 May 1961

"Please do not crush me utterly."
"Sorry to crush you; but I never autograph books or anything else for sale." --G. Bernard Shaw, 26 June 1930

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