Friday 2nd October – Athens to Dublin via… Gatwick!
I do this morning finally get to see the sunrise over the Parthenon and can confirm that, yes, the sunset was definitely more dramatic. Doesn’t stop me taking some photos, however…
Steve tells me that we won’t be stopping at our first destination, but changing planes straight away. While someone had let the cat out of the bag that we would be going to Dublin (I can’t remember who), Steve has been trying to deny it (without actually lying and saying ‘it’s not Dublin’) for the whole holiday. He did however last night confirm that we plan to end the day drinking Guinness in Fagan’s – heaven. He also nearly had me believing that we’d be stopping over in Germany on the way. Neither of these facts have been retained in his memory however, such a lot of Greek wine did we get through. For once I have absolutely no idea where our plane is headed until we reach the departure gate: London Gatwick!
It’s extremely bizarre to touch down in Gatwick, only to take the shuttle bus to the other terminal, and go straight to another departure terminal. We are, all told, in transit from 9am until 7pm and it’s a huge relief to reach our usual accommodation in Drumcondra. Our hostess, Siobhan, has very kindly left us a card and congratulatory box of chocolates; no, they don’t last long.
All this travelling really takes it out of one however and I’m ashamed to report that, after last night’s effort and today’s journey, I am a total lightweight and Steve has to practically carry me the quarter mile back to the B&B – where I don’t even remember my head touching the pillow.
Saturday 3rd October – Dublin
After a late breakfast, we peer out at the rather bleaker prospect that is autumn in Dublin, compared to autumn in, say, for argument’s sake… Erm. Athens? It’s nice that we’ve got a couple of days to get used to the cooler weather again before having to brave early work mornings in it, but… Anyway, nothing daunted, we head out into the bright but brisk morning and happily stride out for town. It’s less than a half-hour’s walk after all and the morning is quite bright. For all of 10 minutes; then it chucks it down. My Rohans, true to their marketing hype, are dry in no time. Unfortunately, fleece jackets are not so high-tech. Still, what a perfect excuse for a little shopping expedition to Penneys, where we pick up a couple of little bargains.
I also find a gorgeous little black dress in Next which is not a bargain – but a lot more appropriate to the Dublin climate than my Grecian dress (well, ok, not by much) and a fabulous faux-basque red top (also most definitely not a bargain but will look fantastic with a pencil skirt and a pair of stiletto boots. Trust me on this).
Phew! Time for a Guinness, and we’re just round the corner from the Duke. We settle down with a pint and have a lovely little chat with a lady from Minnesota. She asks us if we know anything about the literary pub crawl, which leaves from this very pub, and we’re able to heartily recommend it, having done it three times (and won the t-shirt once).
We embark on a little pub crawl of our own, winding our way via the guitar shops back to the Old Stand, where we see the Spurs game (don’t ask) over a pint and a sandwich. Then it’s a bus ride back for a quick change and out to Fagan’s again, for dinner and… more Guinness. Siobhan and George join us later for several beers (who’s counting?) and a good ‘ole Irish putting-the-world-to-rights natter.
Sunday 4th October – Dublin
Next morning, we all feel fine after the night before, though Siobhan says she’s feeling a little fuzzy-headed. It’s done George the world of good, as he had a touch of that famously debilitating ailment, man ‘flu, yesterday – but he’s right as rain this morning. (Guinness really is good for you). It’s a bright, fresh autumn day today with not a hint of rain, typical now I’ve got the right clothes.
Today we head out to St Stephen’s Green, and spend a half-hour watching the world go by in its freshly found autumn clothes. It was still warm enough for little summer dresses when we left, but we’ve returned to autumn, definitely. One woman though appears to have forgotten her trousers this morning – having left the house with a tunic dress and a pair of boots over some thick tights (I notice that, by the time we see her again later on the airport bus, she has managed wisely to retrieve them).
On our way back through town in search of an early lunch, Steve expresses an interest in a copy of The Dubliners by James Joyce. Momentarily struck dumb by this new-found interest in a man who normally dips into accounts of WWII only (and that normally limited to those centred on the D-Day landings), I hurriedly make the transaction before he can change his mind. I’ve read several classics in my voracious appetite for the written word, one of them being Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Let’s just say, if reading’s not your thing, the revered Mr Joyce is not the first author I’d recommend: but I’m not about to nip this off before it’s begun and The Dubliners can only be a couple of hundred pages, after all…
We line our stomachs in the Bad Ass Cafe, which is also much changed, but unfortunately not for the better. Gone are the menus that you colour in, for a start. And then we head back for our last act of the honeymoon: one last Guinness in Fagan’s, of course.