In honour of St. Patrick’s Day AND Travel Tuesday, I thought it only appropriate to write about my now infamous trip to Dublin.
In 2006, I was working on the Isle of Arran at a little hotel on the west coast of Scotland. It’s a stunning island, and I highly recommend it to anyone traveling to the UK, but having when you work and live there full time, you can get a bit of island fever. My coworker Jen and I were planning to break free for a weekend of debauchery. I was nineteen, give me a break.
We’d done London. Mainland Europe was a bit too far off given our time constraints. Edinburgh wasn’t enticing. Then we landed on it – Dublin. We would drink Guinness (for the photo op only – gross) and go on a pub crawl around the old town.
Apparently we felt our livers were strongholds as we ended up booking the Blooms Hotel which comes complete with a club in its basement. Ah ha, we thought. Club M would be our final stop of the night and we’d only have to stumble our way up to the room. Done and dusted.
We were like giggling school girls getting off the plane in Dublin. It felt different. Escaping the drama that people in their early twenties create when they live and work together, we decided that we’d relax and let loose. We checked into our hotel, dropped our bags and were going to start it off right. Heading across the street to a gorgeous pub with a mahogany bar top and framed historical photos, we each ordered a vodka and orange.
The waitress arrived, I gave her a twenty euro note and she gave me… four euros change?
“Excuse me,” I said, blushing. “I think you’ve made a mistake. I gave you a twenty.”
She raised her eyebrows as though to say, “child, please.” The waitress informed me that indeed the change was correct. Each drink was eight euros. EIGHT EUROS!!!??? What? Almost nine years later, at today’s exchange rate that is $11 CAD. Can you imagine how much eight euros was nine years ago? I shudder at the thought.
We’d gone from paying 2 pound fifty pence for a drink in Scotland (about $4.75 CAD) to paying EIGHT EUROS?
This was going to be a much shorter pub crawl than we’d planned for. Shaking our heads, we slowly sipped our astronomical drinks. The damn vodka was probably the cheap stuff anyway. Grumble, grumble.
There’s a joke about Dublin. You know it’s expensive, because the prices are always ‘doubling’. Ba dum bum chhhhhh. Funny how we only found this out after we had landed. So much for my savings back in the U.K. So much for a cheap girls weekend abroad. It would have been cheaper to head to Prague or Warsaw. But nooooooo, we had to go to Dublin.
Shaking off our bad mood, we decided to do what any cost-conscious traveler would do.
A cheap bottle of vodka and mixer in our room and we were off to the races. Now we could go to the bars for the atmosphere and nurse our drinks all night long. Wandering around the infamous Temple Bar, you wouldn’t think it cost people an arm and a leg. The pubs are filled the brim, standing room only and people are smiling like lunatics.
The thing is, Dublin pulls you in that way. The city is full of a jovial spirit, cost of liquor be damned. The live music starts thumping through your veins and your body dances in time with the fiddle. We passed a point in the evening where we cared less about our wallets and more about embracing our Irish experience. We met so many people that night from all over the world. At one of the bars we even ran into a Canadian guy who was traveling to try and forget about a certain someone whom he would later marry and have kids with (Facebook stalking is great, isn’t it?).
Wandering home over the Ha’penny Bridge at sunrise with broad smiles on our faces and our bodies tired from dancing, we agreed that our rather short pub crawl in Dublin had been worth every damn euro.
Have you ever traveled somewhere where the prices were crazy? How did you make the most of it?