Ireland Part 2

So there are only a few pictures I can share with you on this post since we only spent 2 days in Ireland on the return trip. Most of this post will talk about airports and why I do not really like the ones I went to in Europe (*cough* Heathrow *cough*). There is a slogan for Vienna (and I think it’s actually the city motto) Wien ist anders. (Vienna is different.) Through most of my experiences there, I did see a couple of odd little quirks about Vienna, but I never really 100% believed the motto until I had to go through the Vienna airport. (Arriving in it was a little weird, but departing from it was much weirder so I wanted to talk about it here.) First of all, we could not find our ticket kiosk for the life of us because there were no clearly marked places for our airline. So after asking several people, we eventually got there. Unfortunately Becca’s bag was about 10 kg overweight which would have cost her about 300 Euros in fees. So we had to redistribute and throw away a handful of items.

After that crisis was sorted out, we went through a little ticket gate where we scanned our boarding passes, and I thought, “okay, we are about to go through security.” Wrong. We just kept walking and walking. And I saw all of those little duty free stores and wondered if that gate was the airport security. Then I saw immigration and thought, “okay, security will be after this.” Wrong. We got our passports stamped and walked past more stores. We did not go through security until we were right next to our gate. They sort of had three gates grouped together and you went through that certain security checkpoint if one of those gates was yours. We also did not directly walk from our gate to the airplane. We walked down to the tarmac and took a bus to our plane and walked up the rolling staircase to get on board. Other than that it was a normal experience I suppose. It made my day that the ladies beside me only spoke to me in German. I know, nerd!

Then we got to London Heathrow. We had about a 4 hour layover there, give or take. So we got off the plane and walked by immigration (because you usually only have to fill it out if you are staying in the country, not for a layover. And I distinctly remember going through London the first time for an overnight layover and not having to go through immigration. We never left the airport. We just waited for about 3 hours, and we decided to go to our gate about 40 minutes until departure (they only give you a gate number 45 minutes in advance there). Well, there is a lady checking our boarding passes, and she tells us that we have to turn around, go outside of the secure zone, and go through immigration because we don’t have our pictures in their system. 35 minutes until departure. So we ran through the airport, went through immigration (and in my picture I look like I am about to kick someone in the throat, mind you) and we ran back to security to get through. Let me just say right here, I have been through Atlanta airport security several times, and even if the line is backed up it moves faster than the 8 person line at Heathrow. Why? Only one security station was set up, but that was not the real issue. The guards were talking to each other and joking around while we stood in line and waited for them to grace us with their ability to scan a bag. We were only waiting on one more bag, and they had stopped for a chat and got irritated when we told them we had about 20 minutes to get on our plane and that we needed our other bag.

So not even bothering to put my things away, or even to put my shoes on, we sprinted through the airport (about a 20 minute walk) to our gate, only to find it was the wrong gate. We asked someone to call the correct gate (all the way across the airport) and tell them to hold the plane. So we did make our flight. When I got on the plane the stewardesses gave me some water (I apparently looked like I was about to keel over). Becca almost strangled herself when she took her bad off her shoulders. They both happened to be caught on opposite ends of her scarf and as she tried to alleviate the problem of the first bag, she only made it worse and had to force the scarf over her head while gasping for air. But other than that, uneventful and short flight.

We got to Dublin again, and we were all pretty tired and grumpy from the experience of the day, but we decided to walk around and find some food. We ended up at the same fish and chips place we went to the first time around. It was still good. Then we walked around to the Temple Bar area and drank a Guinness there. They had some pretty good live music there, but it was definitely a tourist trap. Each beer was about $7.50, which is way more than I paid in Galway and Vienna. So after a beer we walked back to the hostel and crashed.

The next morning we took an afternoon trip to Howth, which is on the outskirts of Dublin by the ocean/sea/whatever you would call it. There was a nice little harbor and we spent a lot of our time there. Joni braided our hair (which she is really good at by the way). The highlight was probably the fact that we saw wild seals in the harbor. One even poked his little head up no more than 20 feet away from where we were sitting. After that we ventured out to find some food, and ended up stumbling upon some ruins of an old church. We walked around there for a couple of minutes only to be driven away by our rumbling stomachs. We ended up eating at this little restaurant which served a whole host of things, but we all got Sheppard pie and split some seafood chowder. No complaints there, it was great. The last thing we did there was walk up to a church. But it was really awkward. The church was nice, but when we went in there was a lady with her old dog, who I thought was trying to get out so I went to stop it and she told me to stop because he might bite. There was also a sick lady in there praying aloud. We didn’t stay long.

So that was pretty much it for Ireland. The next morning we went to the airport and flew back home. I will say this, the whole time I was riding back I kept trying to imagine how hot it would be in Atlanta, but I could no longer fathom it. When I stepped into the sunlight, I honestly felt like I was dying. So the excursion ends here. I might make another post soon detailing the good, bad, and the ugly from Europe (most of it good mind you). We’ll see.

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