The Waiting Game

Hello from Bucharest!  Well, technically we’re in the Bucharest airport, waiting for our final flight to Athens. It’s been a long day; we flew out of Dublin at midnight, arrived here at 6:00 am (4:00 am Dublin time), and have been hanging around ever since (it’s 1:15 pm and our flight is at 4:30 pm). We originally planned on going out into the city to have a look around, but the absolute pouring rain and a distinct lack of available information changed our minds. So, we’ve just been here, trying to sleep and get caught up on photo labeling (or blogging).

Our last two days in Dublin were very leisurely. On Saturday, we had a delicious brunch with Noon at a place called Herbstreet. I ordered eggs benedict with a side of smoked salmon and Chris ordered this wild mushroom toast thing. Both were incredible and we stuffed ourselves so much that the walk back was significantly slower than the walk there.

My eggs benedict with smoked salmon on the side from Herbstreet

My eggs benedict with smoked salmon on the side from Herbstreet

Chris' wild mushrooms on toast from Herbstreet

Chris’ wild mushrooms on toast from Herbstreet

After gorging ourselves, Chris and I headed back to the Archaeology Museum to see the last bit about Viking Ireland that we had missed on Thursday. It was neat to see how the Vikings had influenced and interacted with the Irish – most of the beautiful Celtic metal work associated with Ireland was heavily influenced by the Vikings.

A bunch of Viking swords, including a "killed" sword - when a warrior dies, his sword was ritually bent, or "killed," so that no other warrior could use it.  The sword was then buried alongside the warrior.

A bunch of Viking swords, including a “killed” sword – when a warrior dies, his sword was ritually bent, or “killed,” so that no other warrior could use it. The sword was then buried alongside the warrior.

After we thoroughly experienced the museum, we headed back to Noon’s to rest for a bit before going out to meet some of his friends from Dropbox. We had a great time hanging out with everyone and talking about how different things were in our home countries – there were two Englishmen, one Irishman, and one Swiss, in addition to us. It was a pretty diverse crew and it was neat to hear all the varying perspectives. We also had a delicious dinner at 777, a Mexican tapas place with very tasty margaritas. Food, drink, and friends – a perfect evening!

Doesn't sunblock imply that there's sun??

Doesn’t sunblock imply that there’s sun??

Sunday was very laid back. We all got up late, snacked on some leftovers from Noon’s fridge, then headed to lunch at Chez Max, a cute little French bistrot with delicious onion soup. After lunch, Chris and I walked to the Guinness Storehouse to learn all about “the black stuff.” It was interesting, but, having toured the Sam Adams brewery in Boston and just not being a huge fan of Guinness in general, I was a bit let down.

My pint of "the black stuff."

My pint of “the black stuff.”

Then it was back to Noon’s to pack up before heading to the amazing Dunne and Crescenzi again, this time for dinner. We ordered bruschetta, pecorino, and mozzarella as appetizers, then I had eggplant parmesan and Chris had mushroom risotto. We were all in heaven – everything was amazing!

All too soon, Chris and I were saying goodbye to Noon and hopping on the bus to the airport. It was wonderful to see Noon, but now we’re on to the next part of our adventure – Athens! That is, if we survive the layover here in Bucharest!

Pictures!

Here are some pictures from our first two days in Dublin:

 

I guess we're not in Kansas anymore...

I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore…

Reunited at last!

Reunited at last!

Look who we found!

Look who we found!  (in the National Gallery)

The Museum of Natural History - aka the "Dead Zoo"

The Museum of Natural History – aka the “Dead Zoo”

The main exhibit room of the Archaeology Museum

The main exhibit room of the Archaeology Museum

Gold jewelry made in bronze age Ireland

Gold jewelry made in bronze age Ireland

Amber beads and gold bracelets.  I love the way they displayed these pieces

Amber beads and gold bracelets. I love the way they displayed these pieces

silver metal work - a huge brooch and silver ingots

silver metal work – a huge brooch and silver ingots

detail of an intricately made belt buckle

detail of an intricately made belt buckle

Tiles!

Tiles!

Part of a lock on the Grand Canal

Part of a lock on the Grand Canal

The Long Room - Part of the Old Library at Trinity College

The Long Room – Part of the Old Library at Trinity College

The park outside the Chester Beatty Library, inside the Dublin Castle complex

The park outside the Chester Beatty Library, inside the Dublin Castle complex

Smoked salmon pate!

Smoked salmon pate!

Outside St. Patrick's Cathedral

Outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Inside St. Patrick's

Inside St. Patrick’s

This stone covered the well that St. Patrick supposedly used to convert hundreds to Christianity.

This stone covered the well that St. Patrick supposedly used to convert hundreds to Christianity.

Book Art All Around

Yesterday was another good day of sightseeing.  We started off by going to see the Book of Kells, which was really fantastic. If you plan on going, though, get there early, as the line stretched around the quad when we got there (around 10:45 am). The line moved fairly quickly, though, and soon enough we were in a little exhibit about manuscripts that precedes the actual Book. It was a great exhibit, with information about different manuscripts of around the same time period, as well as lots of great info about how the manuscripts were actually made. There were a few videos demonstrating various parts of the process, like the actual process of illumination and how the books were bound once finished.

After the exhibit, we moved into the room that actually displayed the Book. While it was really neat to see it, it was a bit disappointing. Once again we ran into the problem of a really cool thing not being displayed in the best way. The Book of Kells was recently divided into four volumes, with two of those volumes being open at any time (which also means you can only see four pages, max). These two volumes were in a display case in the middle of the room with another manuscript – a much smaller “pocket” gospel – and the original wood covers from another manuscript (which are very, very rare, which is why it’s cool to see it). Since about 40 people were let into the room at a time, all of us were crowding around a very small space all trying to see the same things. There was not natural flow of people as there’d been in the exhibit. So, I hardly got to see the thing I’d actually come to see on top of being pushed around quite a bit by a large group of old people. (side note – old people tourists are, for the most part, really oblivious and obnoxious)

So, which the actual Book was a let down, the exhibit before was cool enough to make up for it. After that, we walked through the Long Room, part of Trinity College’s Old Library, where copies of every book published in Ireland is kept. It was a beautiful old room, full of books – so basically, it was heaven. 🙂

After that, we headed to yet another library (book nerds, remember?), the Chester Beatty Library. Basically. Beatty was a rich old white dude who traveled a lot and bought tons of stuff to bring back for his collection. Luckily for us, most of it is on display now at no expense. Japanese wood block prints, Chinese calligraphy, beautifully decorated Qurans from all over the middle east, as well as his own collection of Medieval illuminated manuscripts. It was a great little museum.

Next up was lunch! We headed over to Lord Edward, presumably the oldest seafood restaurant in Dublin. It was a very cozy little place, with an adorable old man was our waiter. We ordered grilled salmon and sea trout, which were both delicious. It came with an appetizer (smoked salmon pate and onion soup) and dessert (creme brûlée and crepe l’orange) and coffee, so while it was one the pricier side, it was well worth it.

After lunch, we strolled over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was beautiful and then headed back to Noon’s place through St. Stephen’s Green, which is a lot like Boston Common. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking a nap cuz boy, were we wiped!

Evening shenanigans included dinner at Crackbird, a fried chicken place, and then drinks at a few nearby bars. A good way to end the day!

Museum Day

Our first full day in Dublin was Museum Day. Anyone who knows us well knows our love for art and old stuff, so it should come as no surprise that we would spend our first day in a new place at a museum (or several).

First up was the National Gallery. It is a pretty small museum, housing mostly paintings from the 17th through 20th centuries. We wandered through, weaving around school groups (side note: Irish children are ADORABLE, especially in a museum answering questions asked by the docent). There was a nice Caravaggio, a beautiful Vermeer, and a great Picasso. There was also a whole wing of just Irish artists, which was pretty neat. The collection was great – small but rich in depth – but the layout of the museum was pretty bad. It was confusing and there were no signs. We were never sure whether we were supposed to be going through a door or not, and there were a lot of doors, for some reason. We still had a nice time, regardless.

Next was the Natural History Museum, which was probably one of the weirdest museums I’ve ever been in. It was basically just full of animals that had been stuffed and posed in cases imitating their natural habitat. Apparently someone once referred to it as a “dead zoo,” which is just about as appealing as it sounds. It was interesting in that it perfectly demonstrated how early museums were set up, but it was disturbing to see all those dead animals all in one place.

After the dead zoo, we wandered over to the National Library, which was a really beautiful building. There wasn’t much to see there besides an exhibit about Yeats, which was interesting, so we didn’t spend much time there. Apparently, though, there is a free genealogical service there that will help you find your Irish ancestors. Pretty cool!

Finally it was time for lunch. We found a great little Italian place close to the Library, Dunne and Crescenzi, which was amazing. The staff is all Italian and the walls are lined with wine bottles. The menu is large enough for good variety, but not overwhelming. We both had panini, since it was lunch time – Chris had porchetta with sun-dried tomatoes and I had buffalo mozzarella with zucchini. Both sandwiches were sublime and we will definitely be going back for dinner to try other things on the menu.

After our re-fuel, we headed over to the Archaeology Musem, which, despite having an understandable lack of Roman stuff, was pretty kick ass. It was a big museum, and we were there for about two and a half hours (Chris takes a loooooot of pictures…). The first floor was all about ancient Ireland, and it was amazing to see how a lot of the artifacts from that era looked so similar to those of the same period from Greece or Italy. There was a huge longboat, from about 2500 BC, that had been preserved perfectly in a bog. Speaking of bogs, there were also a few bog bodies which were fascinatingly disgusting. We saw a lot of gold work, spanning from ancient times to the Middle Ages. The level of craftsmanship on some of the pieces was extraordinary.

We didn’t have time to really see the second floor, which was Medieval and Viking Ireland, as well as a smaller Ancient Egypt section, but we might go back to check those out if we have time. Right now, we’re resting our poor feet before Noon comes home to whisk us off for drinks and dinner. Should be a fun night!

Pictures to come!

Ploy versus the shower

We have made it successfully to Dublin!  The flight was long but luckily uneventful.  I watched August: Osage County on the flight from NYC to Paris and the whole movie was like a Keener family dinner on steroids.

Anyway, we haven’t had much time to do anything yet – our main goal yesterday was not to fall asleep until at least 9:00pm (we stayed up until 11:30! Go us!). We arrived at Noon’s apartment around 1:30, found a nice sandwich shop for lunch, then walked around his neighborhood a bit. He lives close to the main downtown area, which is very convenient. For dinner, we met Noon at a nice little wine shop for pizza before grabbing another drink at a nearby pub. All in all, not a bad first day! (or half day, really…)

This morning has gotten off to a rockier start thane would like – apparently the Irish can all take their showers in fewer than 10 minutes, as it abruptly turned off around that point during mine. I stood there shivering with conditioner in my hair and soap everywhere as Chris tried to figure out what was going on. It seems we just have to be a bit quicker in our ablutions! Now we’re off to explore for the day – first stop, the National Gallery!