After a lousy and hot night's sleep, waking up in the morning for day two in Ireland was surprisingly not difficult. I was extremely excited to see Dublin, and went down to eat my first breakfast in Ireland. I did not have the full Irish breakfast (yet), but I did discover the wonder that is Irish bacon. Once breakfast was over, we decided upon a plan of action to get into the City Centre. We were told not to drive, that the bus could be expensive, and that our best bet was the LUAS train that had a station right down the road from our hotel. LUAS is a lot like a cleaner, shinier, above ground version of the Metro. It got us exactly where we needed to fairly cheaply: Trinity College.
My dad and I decided we should do the proper thing and get the tour before seeing the Book of Kells. Our guide was extremely interesting and very college professor-like, and was able to answer my questions as well as give us some good history. But hands down, my favorite part of Trinity College was the Old Library. Yes, the Book of Kells is what most people come here to see, and yes I did see it. We were sort of rushed through the little exhibit downstairs, and we were all crowded around the ancient manuscript. While it was cool too see the perfection and exact artistry that went into making something so detailed, it wasn't until we I walked up the stairs that I was really awe-struck. The Long Room of the old library is stunning. Maybe it's because I work at a library and am a slight bibliophile, but the sight completely took my breath away. That is one image that will never leave my memory, even though we couldn't take pictures. Interesting fact: the Long room was used as the basis for the Jedi Archives in Star Wars II.
We continued our walk south, towards Grafton Street. My trusty Dublin tour book said this was one of the must-sees. Grafton Street is like walking in a pedestrianized Georgetown. Both sides of the street were lined with shops, department stores, and restaurants. One of the cooler things about this street (besides the shopping) is the buskers, or street musicians and acts. Some were very talented (like the kid playing guitar, and the band), others mot so much (the guy with the "Irish dancing" marionettes). At the very southern end of the street is a shopping mall, as well as St. Stephen's Green. Since it was a gorgeous day outside, there were many people out on the grassy areas of the park eating lunch and generally socializing. We decided to follow suit and eat lunch (albeit inside). Important fact #5: We ate lunch at Burger King (mostly because I don;t like to try new things). In Ireland, if you convert the Euro to US dollars, Burger King for two people costs twice as much. This is a theme that continued through out our stay. Prices in Ireland are ridiculous!
After lots of window shopping, my dad and I decided to walk the few blocks to yet another must-see place for tourists: the Guinness Storehouse. This is quite neat, as it takes place in the Guinness building that Arthur got a 9000 year lease on (yes, you read that right). The lobby of the building is also the world's largest Guinness glass, being over seven stories high. The whole point of the Guinness Storehouse is to go through the many levels of the building, learning about the brewing process as well as the history of the black stuff. The draw for most tourists is the free pint you get on the top floor, where you can either learn to pour it yourself (if you don't mind a long queue), or just sit at the Gravity Bar and enjoy 360 degree views of the city. Guess which I chose? Important fact #6: I (still) don't like Guinness. The quarter of a half pint sample on the third floor of the tour was drinkable, but my full pint was daunting. My glass is on the right. I didn't finish much.
The last part of the afternoon and early evening was spent at Citywest, running through things one last time. Luckily for my sanity, barely anyone was in the practice area, so I didn't have to worry about showing off or looking dumb. Important fact #7: I am a competitive person. I can't really help this. I see people do things and I want to do it better, or I want to prove to them that I'm just as good. In my mind, I think I am one of the best. Especially in this situation, I had to spend longer than usual warming up with my Pump It Up playlist on just so I could focus and get into the zone. Once I achieved focus, I had a pretty successful run through.
Did you know that Johnny Rockets has an Irish cousin, and his name is Eddie? After dancing, my dad and I made our way over to the Citywest shopping center in search of food, and came across this familiar-looking restaurant. We indulged in more good American food before driving back to the hotel to get packed and everything laid out for tomorrow: worlds dancing day.
To be continued...
Goals: Work on new steps to be ready to compete in a month!