stevenpiziks: (Ireland)
stevenpiziks ([personal profile] stevenpiziks) wrote2008-07-09 10:05 am
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Ireland Journal--Saturday (Driving Through Hell)


Woke early, ate a simple breakfast, and finished packing.  I was nervous about the drive into Dublin.  Didn’t help that it was raining hard.

Finished cleaning the cottage.  Not that I was dusting and vacuuming.  I threw away my leftover food, bundled up the towels in the bathroom, that sort of thing.  Got everything into the car by 8:30 as planned.  Dropped the cottage keys into the mail slot at the main house, and drove off.

The drive to Dublin was fine.  The drive within Dublin was terror.

Near the airport, I got shunted off the N2 onto the N50 and ended up at a tollbooth.  I asked the booth worker lady what to do, and she told me to make a U-turn.  This would involve scooting through a small barrier illegally, but it was either that, or drive many kilometers out of my way and risk getting lost further while figuring out how to turn around.  I crossed three lanes of traffic, zipped through the barrier, (a guy in a Brink’s truck yelled that I was making an illegal turn--no, really?), discovered I was at an automated toll both, dug frantically through my pockets to find the right coins, and went back the way I’d come.  All this from the left-hand side, remember.  Then I had to find the N2 again.  Unfortunately, I could only get on the N2 going back the way I’d come, so I had to get on it, find an exit, and figure out how to turn around in this baffling highway system.

I managed to exit and turn around.  Then I found myself heading back toward the N50 again!  No, no, no!  I slowed way, way, WAY down, ignoring the pissed-off drivers behind me, read every sign carefully, worked out where the N2 was, and went that way.  Lots of annoyed honking from my fellow motorists as they passed me, but screw them!

See, this is why I wanted to return the stupid car to the airport.  The airport is off the N50.  All roads lead to the N50.

Stayed on the N2 like mad and followed my pre-written directions.  Ah!  There’s the park.  There’s the hospital.  Good, good.  Here’s where Navan Road becomes Caban Road, and where Caban Road becomes North Circular Drive.  Russell Street . . . Russell Street . . .

No Russell Street.

I finally had to ask a pedestrian, who pointed me toward it.  No sign, no plaque, nothing.  But I saw the green Enterprise sign once I turned down it.  Yes!  Arrived at 10:30.  Thank gods!

Returned the car with no trouble at all and got directions to my hotel, which was about a mile away.  I thought about getting a taxi, then decided to walk.  I’d just spent two hours behind the wheel in a nerve-wracking ordeal.  I needed to walk it off.

I walked away from Enterprise feeling light and free.  I hadn’t realized how much driving around had gotten to me until I’d been freed of it.

The rain had stopped and the sun was coming out--another good reason to walk.  Finally arrived at my new hotel, the Eliza Lodge, which is right at the edge of Temple Bar.  My room wasn’t ready, so I dropped my bags off and went shopping!  I hadn’t done much of this the first time in Dublin, you see.

I browsed some shops.  Bought Kala some Irish gourmet chocolates.  Browsed some more, then saw . . . Marks & Spencer!  I’d never been to M&S, didn’t even know Dublin had one!  Went in immediately.  Had to see!

It was a department store with a grocery store in it.  The clothes were largely the sort of thing you’d find in America, really.  I found some interesting toys in the toy section, though.  Bought a little metal detector for Sasha, a pair of wrist communicators for Aran, and for Mackie, a thing that you attach to a bicycle handlebar.  It goes VROOM! when you twist it.

Also visited an outdoor farmers market and bought some sheep cheese.  The sample I tasted was really good.  The seller said it would last about a week without refrigeration, so it’d be okay until I got it home Monday.  Also bought a little carrot cake.

Went back to the hotel and finished the check-in.  Connected very well with the clerk, whose name is Alan.  He’s a dark-haired, tall man a little younger than me.  We chatted quite a bit.  I realized I needed to talk to someone.  I spent the entire week alone, crawling around tombs and castles.  The only people I talked to much were tour guides, and those conversations were pretty much one-way.  Alan was a nice change from tour guides and dead people.

Got supper in Temple Bar, then got really, really tired and ended up just resting in my room.  It’d been a long day.