A hot-off-the-presses update to the compendium of trivia about me:
Q50. Yes, although only on a brief weekend trip that did not take me much further than Dublin’s immediate surroundings.
Q121. Getting there. DC excluded, the number is now exactly even (still, shockingly low).
We had a grand time catching up with Alex and also managed to do some “idle” sightseeing. Besides Dublin, we took a trip to the Glendalough National Park, about 30 miles south of the city, which afforded the girls, especially Kimmy, an opportunity to walk on some mountain paths and to climb some funnily shaped trees, providing an easy highlight of the trip. We also took a lengthy stroll through Dublin, which is a pleasing enough, if not very remarkable, town. The girls did some coincidental shopping, the adults had their fill of nice restaurant meals and consumed quite a lot of wine (beer, honestly, felt rather inappropriate for the occasion). The biggest joy of the proceedings for Natasha and me was the unending conversation on a variety topics, which occasionally morphed into moderately heated discussions (it should be noted that Alex and I subscribe to quite different schools of thought politically- and philosophically-wise).
Providing continuous entertainment to the children was a challenge in these circumstances, and while the girls were delighted to spend time with their “second uncle” – just as I call Alex a brother, my girls call him an uncle, although, in our family, uncles are customarily addressed by only their first names without any deferential formality, – and Becky spent practically the entire trip attached to adults’ conversations, Kimmy had a hard time keeping herself occupied at times, which was mitigated by a lot of souvenir-shop browsing and plenty of drawing on napkins. She soldiered on.
The Irish weather was not very welcoming, with intermittent showers and strong winds throughout the two days. We probably would have done more hiking – to Kimmy’s satisfaction – if not for the fact that we got quite cold within an hour…
We flew via the London City Airport, which is small, not very crowded and much more agreeable to pass through than Heathrow. We made a strategic mistake, though, of deciding to travel to/from the airport by public transportation. Despite the fact that London City is geographically more than two times closer to our house than Heathrow, it requires the same number of transfers and nearly the same time when not traveling by car. Bummer! At least, the DLR comes practically to the terminal door, as opposed to the long walks required at Heathrow. Additionally, the check-in and security procedures are so much simpler and hassle-free that you can arrive at the terminal only 40 minutes before the takeoff (say, 30 minutes to get to the airport; take off after 40 more minutes; the flight to Dublin is about 1:20, give or take; 30 minutes to get off the plane and through baggage/customs; and then 30 minutes to get to Dublin center – in ideal case, your entire door-to-door trip can be right around 3:30, which is, to me, quite an amazing realization).
Somewhat disturbingly, upon our return, we never even went through a passport control. (I much later learned that this is due to Common Travel Area.) Walked off the plane into the terminal, and in two minutes found ourselves on the DLR platform…
In other notes, we had a first with the car rental, in that that we were given a brand-new Audi… with manual transmission. While theoretically both Natasha and I know how to drive one, in practice we have not had a chance – or need – to do that in about twenty years. And don’t forget that with the driver seat on the right, you need to operate the clutch with your left hand! A trip back to the rental agency counter yielded a replacement in the form of a banged-up Nissan Primera… which lacked a power outlet to plug the GPS into. Yet another trip to the counter – and we happily drove off in a Toyota Avensis with 106,000 kilometers on the odometer (that’s over 65,000 miles for those of you less mathematically-inclined). It served the purpose, I guess…
So, there it is, a short trip on a whim that was successful in achieving its objectives (yes, it can be done, but disclaimers apply). Three more long-weekend trips are already planned for the next two months – the key difference being the absence of the air travel. Watch this space…
Wait a minute. Why passport control? Isn’t Dublin still Great Britain? On the other hand, for the logest time ever, you could go to Canadia back and forth, without passport check, Mexico the same i think.
Newsflash for you, Kostyan: Republic of Ireland has been an independent country since 1921… And you could not actually go back and forth to Canada without showing at least some piece of documentation, I believe…
you actualy need a pasport now to go to Canada and back.
Yes, and Mexico and any other Caribbean country, among others… It was doubly surprising in our case, because the UK is the most vigilant of all EU countries in checking all incomers’ documentation…
Comment to: kisintin [Visitor]: Dude. You will soon need passport to get from SHIGAGO to NY (blin) CITY. Do not
forget to pay toll – 3ya ulitsa stroiteley, Queens, NY 11375
Comment to: Ilya [Member]. We miss you man.
Louis de Funes (aka Rafka) and I had too much to drink
a coupla days ago. All was triggered by sadness that
going from GB to Dublin will require EU passport.
Lyonchik, in my current capacity as a blog writer, I find no happier thought than being able to provide a theme for a friendly consumption of hard liquors 🙂
Thanks, man, we miss you all as well.
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