Internet in Doolin was marginal at the guesthouse. It was better at the pubs, but I didn't feel that that was the best place to sit and blog. Anyway, there are several days worth of entries now uploaded, and I've added more pictures to earlier accounts if you're curious. Most entries have extra pictures below the text - past the ads.
The car needed to be returned to the Budget office by 11 a.m., so I left Doolin before 7 to give myself plenty of time. The morning was chilly and rainy - stayed that way all day. It took close to an hour to get out of the country terrain, but from before Limerick to Dublin it is all 4 lane divided highway. Pure heaven! I approached Dublin at just after 10 and felt quite pleased with myself. Big mistake!!!
When I rented the car, it made sense to me to pick it up at the airport and return it to their "city center." Bigger mistake!! At least I already knew where the airport facility was. The "city center" is really a store front in a suburb of Dublin. I had a map, but it couldn't
point out how small the place was. I drove right past it and continued driving for 45 minutes trying to figure out where it was and where I was and how to get back where I came from. Once I got there, they asked if I had filled the tank, which I had not because I couldn't find a gas station as well as not being able to find the place. The cost of having them fill the thing was almost double the going rate - which is quite enough at standard rates. The fellow at the desk said I could go and fill it up instead and gave me directions, which I got twisted. It took another hour for me to find a gas station and then figure out how to get back to the place. Fortunately, they were pretty nice about things. When I shared my tale of woe with the cab driver who took me to my hotel, he said that it is common for people to get turned around in Dublin and that many will hail a taxi to lead them to the place that they want to get to. It would have been worth the price of a guide to save the time and frustration I spent getting in. I'll remember that tip.
Talking about tips - people here have a very different view of tipping. When we got to the hotel, my cab bill was 10.50 Euros. I gave the driver a 20 and asked him to take his tip out of the change. He gave me back 9.50 and balked when I insisted on his taking a nominal tip - then he carried my bag into the hotel. THAT was when the happy part of my Dublin adventure began.
With the car gone, I have found a new level of relaxation. The Hotel Ashling Dublin is really nice. They have recently remodeled it and the whole place has an upscale European hotel feel. It even has a truly appealing casual restaurant, as well as a full formal eatery. The room is comfortable with very good appointments. The place even has an ice machine - my first iced tea since leaving the US.
Got settled in, enjoyed a much needed bit of lounging about, then took a tour of the city on a hop on - hop off bus. The pass is good for tomorrow, too, so someone else can negotiate the crazy traffic and streets patterns that look like they were designed by leprechauns who had too much Guiness.
The B&Bs in the country were delightful, but it is nice to finish the trip in the comfortable annonimity of a city hotel.
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