I’m hanging out, briefly, on our “sea view” balcony at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney. It’s freezing and windy (again, it’s winter) and so foggy there’s no way I could verify whether there’s a sea out there at all. But dang it, we splurged on this upgrade when we booked the room, so I’m going to use it, at least for a few minutes. *laughs*
Killiney is about 30 minutes south of Dublin city. This does mean we’ve successfully rented a car and I’ve been just fine driving it. (And by “fine” I mean a bit of an overwrought bundle of nerves, reminding myself to turn into the left lane each time. Once we’d gotten out of Dublin itself, things went more smoothly. And Lizz was a great Chewbacca to my Han Solo, navigating us correctly to our destination, as well as giving advice on whether a particular lane is one-way or two-way. Generally that advice was “I can’t tell. Why don’t we drive down it and find out.” Ha.)
Friday we explored the Tower of London. Elizabeth’s continued Tudor-tastic enthusiasm was fun to see. I was beyond tickled to find some baboon statues there, so the blog’s subtitle proved true, even on a non-monkey-centric trip. Bonus: met the cutest waiter/swing dancer when we stopped for coffee. He was thrilled to learn we were from Seattle. “You guys have that Sky Needle!” He’d been through Seattle as part of an epic 2 month adventure with 3 buddies. Bought a used car for $2,000 in New Jersey, drove down to Florida, then to L.A. and ending in Vancouver BC. Along the way they spent a few days with an Amish village. See, one of his buddies had met this Amish family at a bus stop the year before. They gave him his address and said he should stop by if ever in Tennessee again. So a year later he just showed up with his buddies…it’s not like he could have called ahead. *laughs*
Then, as if the “finding monkeys” miracle wasn’t enough, we stumbled upon Chinatown and Lizz was able to get some of her beloved Bubble Tea. Ha. And dudes, London offers a new type of jelly/bubble called “pops.” It’s this mad scientist creation of little balls that pop in your mouth, unleashing a burst of lychee juice. Weird but fun.
Leicester Square on a Friday night is insane and kind of terrible. I mean, I’m sure it’s kind of terrible all the time…like Times Square, it’s full of mediocre chains and masses of tourists, but with some casinos and terrible clubs, too. We did watch a stretch humvee limo get stuck and have to make about a 28-point turn to try to turn around. Pedestrians everywhere in his way, folks filming, driver ended up hitting a sign post. Good times.
Saturday was spent with Eileen. Yay! Went out to breakfast and then absorbed all we could of Camden Market. Some of the best people watching and great art stalls next to crap souvenir stalls, and cheap import stalls. Absolutely bursting with things to see. Also there is a Cyberdog (but unlike the Seattle establishment of same name that is an all vegan “hot dog” restaurant slash internet cafe, the Camden Market version is a 3 story Rave supply store, all lit in black light with blaring music and dancers, too). I should have taken my sister’s measurements with me, as so many wonderful counter culture and artistic and alternative and steam punk and whatever else you can think of. Ah well. Then off to the airport for our flight back to Ireland.
We wandered more of Dublin this morning, doing the obligatory Trinity College stop, and checking out the Book of Kells and the old library. So cool. Tapas for lunch, including an order of big green olives. Yum! Although, after ordering, I learned my pal doesn’t care for them much. Challenge accepted, and later failed. Ah well. Dude, there were over 20 of the big suckers. It was a valiant effort and I made a sizable dent, but I had to leave several of the lovely briney guys behind on the plate. 🙂 And I’m probably done with olives for a few days now. *smile*
Lizz says I need to mention the adorable panda luggage tags she found. It’s a tale as old as time, when going to Dublin, don’t forget to buy some plastic animal luggage tags. Ha. They are actually pretty wonderful.
We’re ambitiously planning on swimming before breakfast tomorrow. We’ll see if we actually get up that early. Then it’s off to the west coast and the Cliffs of Moher. We’ve crossed the halfway point on this whirlwind 8 night adventure. Can’t wait to see what our final three nights have in store for us.