Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rainy Day and Closed Museums

We woke up very early on Monday March 23 for the first day of Roxi's conference. We went to the spa for some time in the sauna, whirlpool and pool. It was a very refreshing way to start the day! Later we ate a few snacks that we had purchased the day before to save a little money on breakfast. And then we were on our way to Trinity College. It was a cold and dreary day in Dublin. I walked Roxi to her building and then made my way to the Dublin Tourism Office to pick up my Dublin Pass, a pre-paid card that would allow me into many tourist attractions in the city. When I picked up my pass, I was told that some of the museums are closed on Mondays so it might be a good idea to use it another day.

I decided I'd spring for the 15 Euro hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. That way I could see where things were located and plan out my Dublin Pass day. The pass included a little book that listed all of the attractions with included admission as well as other discounts I could get with the pass. While I rode the bus around it's hour and a half loop, I dogeared pages with attractions of interest. In the end, it turned out a fair number of attractions I wanted to see, although not museums, fell under the "closed on Mondays" umbrella. But at least I still got to map out locations of places I would hit on Tuesday!

I rode the double-decked tour bus around for one complete loop, sitting on the mostly open top level in what started as a misty drizzle. By the end of the ride it was a hard drizzle but I was mostly protected by the partial covering I was sitting under. By the time I finished my trip and was making my way back to Trinity College to meet Roxi for lunch, I was walking in a very windy downpour. It was not exactly pleasant but I made it to Roxi's building without getting too wet thanks to a travel umbrella I had packed for our trip.

When Roxi got out of the morning lecture session, the rain had thankfully stopped and we decided to make the walk to O'Neill's Pub for lunch. It was a regular pub with a sort of short cafeteria style line where you choose your main course and sides. I ordered the corned beef with lots of sides while Roxi chose the Guinness stew also with lots of sides thrown in. The portions were gigantic and they made for quite a lunch!

Corned Beef with Parsnips, Carrots and Peas

Guinness Stew with Cabbage, Mashed and Roasted Potatoes

After the filling lunch, I walked Roxi back to her building on campus and decided to visit some attractions that were not covered by the Dublin Pass. I started with the Trinity College Library exhibition of the Book of Kells, a ninth century illuminated Latin manuscript of the four Gospels of the Bible. The exhibit also included a few other illuminated manuscripts of various ages, but the oldest and most ornate by far was the Book of Kells. After that exhibit, I was allowed to continue into the Long Room of the library itself. It was a visually amazing collection of thousands of books that looked like something you would see in a movie. In the corridor of the Long Room, there was an exhibit chronicling the history of the modern detective story which was also quite interesting but a little exhausting in it's scope.

With a few hours left before Roxi finished her afternoon lectures, I decided to visit the Dublinia & Viking World, a museum that explores the viking heritage of Dublin as well as the medieval history of the city. It was interesting but a bit cheesy at times. But it was relatively inexpensive to visit and it killed some time on the cold and dreary Dublin day. The museum was closing down before I had time to look at all the exhibits, but I had already had enough anyway. I left and made my way back to hotel for the remaining time until Roxi's lectures concluded for the afternoon.

When I met Roxi back on campus a couple of hours later, she and some of here colleagues from Enschede had decided to go to O'Neill's for some drinks. So we went and spent a few hours drinking Guinness and visiting.

Truer words could not be written!

The times have certainly changed!

Finally, Roxi and I rounded out our evening with a late take out dinner from a Thai restaurant on the way back to our hotel and then it was off to bed to get rested for another long day.

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