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April 18th 2015
Published: April 18th 2015
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Tintin AircraftTintin AircraftTintin Aircraft

Spotted at Charles de Gaulle Airport. This is a Brussels Airlines A320. Apparently the interior also carries a Tintin theme.
Friday. Airports are usually about queuing too (see last blog posting), and there was plenty of it at CDG. Lack of staff numbers really – check-in was very slow, and a huge queue for passport control. Spotted the Air Brussels Tintin aircraft - see picture below. If you want to know more, see http://www.brusselsairlines.com/en-be/misc/meet_rackham.aspx

Arriving in Dublin was quite pleasant, with a very short line for immigration. The officer there read my name on my passport, and then said: “Well now, John William Bradley. Welcome home, John”.

What a delightful welcome to the country of my ancestors, though one that I have never visited before.

Car rental, why is that always such a torrid experience? They reel off a list of all the things you are liable for, all the huge extra charges you will have to pay for the slightest reason, offer you expensive options, and generally make you feel stressed. The customer service representative was a surly Eastern European girl, constantly checking her mobile phone. Refusing expensive upgrades, I ended up with a Dacia Sandero – a car much loved by James May from Top Gear, though not really by me. Having been warned that if the clutch goes it will cost me €2,500, I reckon they gave me one where the clutch is already on the way out – it’s not very easy to drive, but everything works.

The other thing I’ve learned already in Ireland is that everything takes a long time, because of the chatting. Most of the Irish are clearly very friendly and helpful, everyone wanting to tell you the best parts of Ireland to see, which pubs to go to, all the local attractions. Everyone has a story to tell you. Great to chat with, but it's hard to end conversations!

My B&B is at Malahide, on the coast a bit north of Dublin. Very pleasant house and host, but like many places one encounters in Europe, drastically overheated inside. Luckily my room has its own thermostat, so I was able to turn it down from 24 degrees! I drove into Malahide town for dinner (Thai) and had a short stroll along the promenade. It was getting pretty cold by 7.30pm.


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