The end of Grafton St., St. Stephen's mall on the left.
I had to wake up early to check out. Ate breakfast alone again in the
"restaurant," which is an old church turned into a cafeteria-ish
setting where I ate my free toast and cereal. Yay for free. I had to
get them to hold my bag for me, though, which was a confrontation that
resulted in me getting hit on by the hostel guy. I guess it's because I
look Irish. A lot of other people here are really pale with freckles,
too, which made me really happy.
Today I did a lot of walking... I went to Grafton Street, which is
known to be one of the biggest shopping streets in the city, and
thought about buying a lot of things, and didn't really buy anything.
Well... I did buy a sweater, actually, which was a surprise. I don't
buy a lot of clothes.
The entrance to St. Stephen's Green
Anyway, Grafton ends into St. Stephen's Square,
so I walked around in there... that was a really great time... it's a
very beautiful park. I took a bunch of pictures. There were people
feeding ducks, playing with their kids, enjoying the surprise of a
sunny Dublin morning, and a rainbow of leaves scattering themselves
over the grass. Then I went to Merrion Square, which is another
garden-type area where Oscar Wilde apparently used to hang out. Also a
beautiful park, but different. There were a lot of neat lamp posts, and
the trees and bushes surrounded the perimeter and the pathways so you
felt kind of sneaky walking around in there. I guess it's a Georgian
square, and that's cool for some reason. That's what the book said.
Next to the park was the house Oscar Wilde used to live in, and I
really wanted to go see that, but the last tour ends at 11:15 AM, and I
got there at 45 past.
Lake/pond thing in St. Stephens
Isn't that kind of early to stop tours? I was
Then I didn't really have anything else to do, and it was only 11:45...
The National Gallery of Ireland was down the road, and free, so I went
there for a while and bummed around. Another one of my little "fitting
in" tricks that I do if I'm in an exhibit that I don't know much about,
is to go to the paintings that have the little ears posted by them,
indicating that it's part of the listening tour, and is probably owed
special attention. So I was standing in front of a Van Dyke (who I at
least know is a famous portrait artist), and one of the museum guys
comes up to me and starts talking to me about the painting. He actually
ended up taking me to see a few more paintings and told me stories
Another of the same... I love the trees here...
The stories were very good, but are far too long to type
here, and if you want to hear them, you should definitely call me. He
basically talked to me about how the Rembrandt painting we went to
might not have actually been painted by Rembrandt, and how we might be
wrong about a lot of paintings' authorship, so to speak, because they
all had students, etc. Very random, and very interesting. Then I ate
some soup in the museum and tried to figure out what the heck to do for
the rest of the day.
I walked back through a lot of shops, and tried to get back to
O'Connell without a map, which, in a round about way, I was actually
able to do. I went through Temple Bar again on my way back, and heard
Irish music coming from one of the pubs.
People enjoying the morning
It was called the Oliver Saint
John Gogarty, and I was excited about the music, so I went inside and
stood by the door, and listened to the people play. In Ireland there is
also no smoking inside. I'm definitely living in the wrong country, I
guess. Anyway, that was a nice 10 minutes or so, but I was starting to
feel weird standing by myself by the door instead of sitting at a table
being an old Irish man, so I moved slowly back towards the hostel.
I had a grumpy situation getting on the bus to the airport, but I got
home eventually. When I say home, I mean back to my room in London. I
was really surprised that I was able to go to a foreign country by
myself and get along fine... I mean, it was very lonely a lot of the
time, but I think I have a lot less faith in myself than I should have.
Even though it made me realize that I am fully capable of taking care
of myself, if need be, I still wished that I had had someone with me to
share it. I don't know how people travel alone. Maybe they are a lot
braver than me.