The bus ride into town was straight forward. During a 15 minute wait at the bus stop, I met three American girls who had just arrived from New York. Our bus finally arrived, we piled aboard and hunkered down for the 40 minute ride from the airport.
Before long I recognized familiar sights. Even though a lot had changed since 2004, enough had stayed the same that I was able to navigate my way through the streets and make my way towards Christchurch Cathedral, which Nate had told me, was immediately next to our hostel: The Kinlay House.
As I trudged up towards the doorway to the hostel, a large red blur bust through he doorway. Before I knew what was happening I’d been picked up in a giant bear hug, day pack, main pack and all and was being spun around in a circle, feet flayed out, narrowly missing several shocked couples who had previous been walking behind me. Finally after 6 months Nate and I reconnected. He eventually let me down, and traffic once again made it’s way past us and down the street, while we caught up. The trip was finally real. The adventure had finally properly begun.
In the last 6 months Nate’s grown a mighty red beard, traded weight for muscle and truly come into his own as a social node. Despite only arriving the day before, he’d already befriended most of the hostel and hostel staff and made a name for himself. Ask around and people might have trouble recalling the name of the hostel, but most will be able to tell you about David from Arizona. A fantastic testament to how incredible the experiences over the last 6 months have been for him.
We had a brief wait before the room was ready during which time Nate caught me up on some of his adventures, while introducing me to three Danes, an Israeli girl and a French girl, whom he’d befriended. We sat, became acquainted and told stories.
Before long we were able to check in, deposit our bags, and set out to wander Dublin in search of food. The day itself is a bit of a blur, in no small part due to my jet lag, however, we struck off through the square surrounding Christchurch Cathedral, and headed into the old Viking quarter of the city, before banking down a side street. Looking for cheaper food, we eventually found a nondescript pub that lacked a name and actually looked like it was closed. We decided to give the door a try and to our surprise found ourselves in a fun little pub full of men in their 50s and 60s sitting around B.S.ing and watching the local Irish football game. With a hearty, “Welcome Lads!” and warm Irish smile the attention of the bar panned our way briefly, before returning to the televisions. We saddled up the bar, quickly realized they didn’t serve any food, and decided to pause for a Guinness before continuing our search.
From the pub we quickly found a small market where we picked up food and drinks before winding our way back through a light rain to the hostel. Once there we joined the throngs in the hostel kitchen and added our pasta and supplies to the mix.
Stuffed we retired for a brief nap – I was exhausted – before heading back down to the common area where we met back up with our Danish and Israeli friends, as well as several new ones. Drinks in hand, our group quickly grew with open smiles and ready invites to join. By 9:40 or so we rounded up the masses, tossed on our rain jackets and made our way down the street to the Porter House. A local brewpub on the edge of Temple Bar, the Porter House is a fun 4-story bar that winds up around an open central area which houses a small stage, sandwiched between floors. They had a great Irish band playing a wide variety of music, a little room for a bit of dancing, and plenty of room for socializing and further travel and adventure stories.
By 11:30 they were closing up and we elected to take it easy. The Danes suggested we join them the following morning at 9:00AM for a tour they’d signed up for of the Wicklow area south of Dublin. Eager to get into the countryside we agreed and booked the trip upon our return to the hostel.
Exhausted, I collapsed into my bunk and quickly drifted into a deep sleep.