Ireland at Last

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We made it to Ireland!!!

After eight trains, one midnight ferry, one lost phone, and $800 worth of tickets, we finally arrived!

We left our less-than-50-euro hotel at 1:30a.m., boarded the 2:40a.m. ferry, and entered a weird twilight zone where we were amid hundreds of seats, several cafes, and a theatre, with maybe only 20 people, none of whom were awake, laying across cushioned seats on this cruise-ship-sized ferry.

Granted, Mark and I were awake because it was the first time we’d had reliable wifi in days. But we each got about an hour of sleep (plus three in the hotel) before making our way to the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, checking in by the grace of God at 7a.m., and taking a brief nap before going straight back into scavenges.

Here are some of the highlights of the day:

Visiting the Book of Kells (of which I had no prior knowledge, but turned out to be SUPER cool: an 800 A.D. illustrated rendition of the gospel, written on prepared calfskin, in Latin, and lavishly decorated at the hand of skillful artists using quill pens. It’s absolutely stunning). I’d show you pictures, but we weren’t allowed to take them. Here’s what the library upstairs at Trinity College looked like, though.

Belle, eat your heart out

Belle, eat your heart out

Biking through Phoenix Park and rolling down a hill (the latter was of my own volition, not part of the scavenge).

 

Walking through the botanical gardens:

tulips

And then, at the end of the day, as our time was running out, we searched for a scavenge Mark was really excited to do: kayak down the River Liffey.

We heard that closing time was 6:00p.m., and it was 5:30, so we wandered down the river toward a quay that someone told us was used for kayaking ventures.

Finally, we saw a dock with kayaks stacked on their sides, but it was deserted.

Just as we were about to leave, a man came up and started opening the gate next to us. “Excuse me,” I asked. “Do you know anything about kayaking down the river?”

“Well, yes. I’m the guy that leads people down the river on kayaks,” he said.

What are the odds?

As it turned out, this man was Jonathan of City Kayaks, and he was preparing to lead a group of 10-12 people on a two-hour, sun-setting kayaking venture, timing it so the shifting tide of the river allowed participants to go downstream both ways.

He checked to see if it was a private party (it wasn’t), and when he found out what we were doing regarding the scavenger hunt, he welcomed us on board–providing us with waterproof pants and jackets “because your ‘backside’ will definitely get wet”–and completely hooked us up.

It was awesome.

There are better photos of us in action, but Mark has them all

There are better photos of us in action, but Mark has them all

Granted, I was afraid the entire time of freezing to death, but despite sitting in a pool of Irish river water as the sun set, I never felt cold.

And God bless Jonathan: not only was he a great guide, but he was also a miracle worker, keeping alive a dozen French-speaking young adults who were nuts. They were getting into water fights with their paddles, singing down the river, playing bumper-kayaks, sneaking sips of alcohol when they thought no one was looking, and generally being crazy 21 year olds.

It was cat herding at its finest.

We had a great time, and it was the best way to end our day in Dublin.

Check-in that night was 10:00 p.m. We inhaled some dumplings at 5 minutes till and found that all of the groups had made it to Ireland.

That’s when we learned we had one final stop before our return to America, and this is one we were all excited about because none of us had been there before…

Hint: change one letter in “Ireland” and you get….?

(Just as a reminder: if you’re enjoying our travels, please visit our website and help us spread some kindness in the world! We’re raising money to donate to orphans, clean water, and refugees. $10 or whatever you feel comfortable giving! Thank you!)

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