According to my pedometer I've walked almost 15,000 steps today. I'm not exactly sure how many miles that is, but it's more than 3.5. Or since I should start thinking in kilometers now, it's more than 5.6. And that's with about 3 hours of sleep in the last 26 hours and 7 in the last 48. I've been walking to try to stay awake... it's worked so far, but sitting down to write this post is going to be the death of it. Already I feel myself trying to fall asleep. I'm trying to not let myself fall asleep because it's only 5pm. However, I did have a very productive first day in Ireland. The day didn't start out that great though ... my bag came down on the baggage claim turnstyle with a completely busted strap. Bummer. However, thanks to what I like to attribute to my laidback nature, I calmly called the Baggage Enquiry line, was taken to the bowels of the airport and filed a claim against the airline. The guy wasn't too sure whether or not anything will be reimbursed considering backpack straps usually aren't covered, however, he blamed it on the bag's seam, not necessarily the strap. We'll see what happens. I have to follow up with the airline and send them a receipt of the replacement bag, which I did get at a local department store for 36EU. Overall not too much damage, but definitely not something I wanted to spend money on right off the bat.
I left the airport a sweaty mess from lugging around a useless bag, but was still able to find the correct bus stop to get me to the City Centre. While I was waiting I was commisserating with the gal selling the bus tickets and she gave me some good ideas for where to buy a new bag. Thankfully my hostel wasn't too far from where the bus dropped me off. I was sick of thinking about it, so I just threw my bag in a locker and decided to enjoy the Dublin sunshine.
With no set plan in mind, I just wandered--my favorite type of exploring. By the end of the afternoon I did have a very small sense of where I was going versus where I wanted to go. With only 1.5 more days in the city, I don't think I'll learn too much more, but at least I won't have to pull my phone out every other block to make sure I'm going in the right direction. I walked through Trinity College and decided to go see the Book of Kells and the Long Room (the Old Library), both of which were beautiful. To think the Book of Kells was created in 800 BC is pretty remarkable. It made me pause and think that these monks were creating a book that not only survived more than 1000 years, but they were rewriting the same scripture I read and study today. Oh, and Trinity College was founded in 1592. No big deal. It's a beautiful campus and one I'll probably revisit on Sunday before I leave. The weather was very similar to Seattle in that it couldn't decide if it wanted to stay sunny or rain, but I only wished I had my umbrella once and that quickly passed.
After leaving Trinity College I stopped in a few free museums, wandered over to St. Stephen's Green and decided to invest in the Hop On Hop Off bus tour, since it's good for two days (and partly because it was raining and the bus was sitting right there). I rode on that for a while, deciding on what I want to visit tomorrow and what in general I can skip. It'll be another busy day tomorrow as I go to the Guinness Storehouse, the Old Jameson Distillery and a few free museums. So it turns out that the only things I'm willing to pay entry to are the ones I get alcohol at the end of the tour... hmm.
I also got a SIM card, so I officially have an Irish number. I'm not completely sure how it all works yet as it's different that the US system (no contracts and it's a whole lot cheaper!), but I'll figure it out eventually. Right now I'm just trying to memorize my number.
I've run the gammat of emotions today from elated I'm here, in awe that this is actually happening, to thinking what the heck have I done?! What am I here for?! Those last two passed, but I think they'll be mainstays for a while as I realize just how different and uncomfortable I'll be for the next little bit. This hostel thing is interesting... it'll be an adjustment and I may have to book a B+B every once in a while for my own sanity. On the other hand, it's two weeks until I'll be settled in Cork, so I can probably handle it. We'll see how it all pans out.
Well, with that, I'm going to find a pub (not hard to do) and have my first Guinness for the trip... and hope I don't fall asleep at the bar feel like an old fart amongst all these youngsters and go to bed at 9pm, just as they're all heading out for the evening. I don't care -- I'm tired and I need sleep. Guinness will have to wait until tomorrow.