When I was 12, I wanted to travel the world. At the time I had no experiences outside national borders. Maybe it was something popular to say, even in the Romania of the early 2000s, but I felt I wished I’d see other cities and how people lived in the world. I started travelling in Romania even more and then, during my masters, I had my six months Erasmus experience in Germany, during which I visited some German cities and other countries as well.
However, when I came back to Romania, I had a really hard time travelling. Even locally, for work. It felt tiring and as if too much effort was needed to be put into it. Nevertheless, I still travelled abroad or locally and enjoyed myself; what changed was the fact that I wouldn’t have said that my dream is to travel the world.
But now I’ve been to Dublin in Ireland and something clicked. Not sure if it was because I visited with my bf and my good friends, Laura and Vlad, or because I needed a holiday, even a short one like this, or because I was in a fantastic mood, but I simply felt in love with the place. Here are some things which I believe have contributed to it:
- The weather was good. One and a half sunny days and one and a half cloudy/rainy days. It could have been better if I had taken appropriate clothing for the latter, but I imagined 14 Celsius degrees as not being that cold. When it rains and you’re tired and it’s evening, a thicker jacket may have been better. However, it is cold enough to be able to dress how I usually dress and to feel comfortable. I could wear long pants most of the time and shirts and a cardigan. Perfect!
- There is a lot of water. Not just to drink, costless, offered at the restaurants, but Ireland is an island so there is plenty sea. The beaches we visited were quite vast and there was a ton of place to run, take the dog out, hang out to read. Just being there made me think of how much I would enjoy spending my time.
- There are many Irish pubs. Not sure why, in Bucharest there aren’t as many 😊 (just made a joke here). I like the simplicity of the pubs, the crows, people speaking to one another while drinking beer. Even in the mornings. Hanging out, talking or minding ones’ own business, being polite, while not intrusive. Loved how the human relations worked: being polite, funny, direct, clear and engaged.
There were so many other aspects I’ve noticed and appreciated, such as the fact that the bus drivers were wearing a suit, said hello and goodbye to the passengers. That there were tons of double-decker busses with a schedule, making it easy to go from one place to another (we paid 19 euros for 72 hours and managed to get from one place to another in less than 30 minutes).
That they eat crisps in small bags and one may buy them anywhere. That their coffee was excellent in most places we’ve been. That there is meat in everything (this is the vegetarian in me speaking), while providing vegetarian dishes which seem as delicious (really, just try the hash browns, there’s nothing I found as delicious as this. Hm, with the exception of the Fudge Chocolate Brownies).
That their humour is smart and contextual and unexpected. That I really needed to pay attention in order to understand what I was told. That there is space to use bicycles and there is respect for the bikers in traffic. That people run with backpacks on after working hours, so I assume that some people go home from work running. How people get dressed; either in costumes, looking both elegant and comfortable, either casual.
So, there were two-three things which I found to be a bit restraining: there are too many traffic lights which last way less than needed and one ends up crossing the street on a yellow/red light. Some museums were closed after five and it kind of limited the time spent sightseeing as we weren’t the most organised persons how have ever visited Ireland. And the third is that things are expensive in Dublin. Coffee still felt cheap, in the sense that similar to Starbucks places in Bucharest, but way better.
However, buying is challenging in Ireland when one is on a budget. There weren’t many things I wanted, with the exception of a Trinity College sweater. I haven’t gotten it because we got to the shop at 17:20, 20 minutes past closing. In my attempts to being a minimalist, I find it way easier to decide what and when to buy new things, so I plan to buy it in my next trip, one or two summers from now, as I still have two which are in a pretty good shape (although they are not Trinity College branded). But I’ve gotten a book on the history of Ireland, which I really wanted as I realised how ignorant I am regarding Ireland. The book has pictures and pretty paper and it costed EUR 17.99. A brief version of Ireland’s history. I realised about myself that I use all opportunities to buy something new to read.
Its complex simplicity has made me fall in love with Ireland and I wish I go back, and not just for tourism, but also for academic pursuits.