On the 9th of November we started from the train station in Emden to Hamburg Airport, accompanied by Mrs Prekel. With a (typical?) delay with the Deutsche Bahn we arrived at the airport hauling our luggage hurriedly but got on the plane without further problems. The flight took us two hours, and some of the students used the time to take naps, although we suffered from turbulences. The check-out was quick and after a short busride, which offered a first glimps at our destination, we reached the Jacob's Inn, our 'home' for the next couple of days. While the boys settled into a four-bed room, the girls had to move into a room for ten.(I had a room for three, and a bath for two to myself,ahm.)
After our getting settled, our guide with the unspeakable name of Alex (that's not the difficult part) O Fhailghigh greeted us at the hostel and we went on our first sightseeing-tour through Dublin. The focus was on the city's history and surprised many of us with its Viking history. On this tour we also realized three things: Dublin's pedestriants do not wait at traffic lights, the city prepared itself for x-mas, and our visit will demand a certain amount of walking. The x-mas lights and decorations led to an early x-mas athmosphere.
The tour went on for only 2 ½ hours,( I could have done more!) but Alex was brief and funny in his elaborations. Back at the hostel we went to our rooms and prepared ourselves for the night (some chose the terrace for a late outing, others tried to arrange their cases in the confines of their small room).
November 10 started with a light breakfast (toast and Nutella and cerials) and we headed off to Dublin Castle (passing the famous Ha'Penny Bridge). It offered us further insight into Dublin's history. Around noon we went off for lunch in the famous Temple Bar district and enjoyed everything from McDonald's to typical Nepalese food (depending on the individual taste). First postcards were bought (but only sent days later).
Then we visited St.Patrick's Cathedral, before we ended the day in typical Irish fashion in the famous pub The Long Hall for mostly rather untypical soft drinks. It took a little bit of walking past the famous spiral back to the hostel for our second night. (Of course, everyday demanded a little bit of walking, which not all of us were used to.)
November 11 was to be the most challenging day, because it started out with early light breakfast (Nutella and toast again), then a short trip to Trinity College (well it was not so short after all), where we admired the world famous Book of Kells and the even more fascinating library, and a quick lunch on the way to the National Museum of Ireland – Arts and History. The museum offered a special exhibition on Dublin's military history and it was suitably set in the Collins Barracks.
After a quick hot chocolate (with marshmellows) we hurried across the Liffey for our 3 o'clock tour at the Guiness Storeroom. Only 15 minutes late we had to realize that it was a self-guiding tour after all (so why the reservations, which were only confirmed 3 days before the start of the trip, were necessary, remains a mystery!)
The informative visit ended on the top floor with a fascinating view over Dublin and the nearby mountains while day turned into night.
Needless to say, on the walk (!) back we had a stop at the famous The Brazen Head, though only to take pictures. To finish off the day we had agreed earlier to go to the movies (instead of another pub) for a change and we had a chance to watch the latest James Bond Spectre in the original. The long day ended around 11 p.m. And not just a few feet needed the rest.
November 12, the last full day in Dublin, started out with a “late” light breakfast (welcomed by the girls, who as a group of 9 had to share one bathroom) consisting of (guess what?) Nutella and toast. (However, there were also cerials, tea and coffee available.) Enjoying - more or less – a little drizzle (of which we had astoundingly little over the days), we went across the modern Samuel Becket Bridge, offering us a great though a little wet view of Dublin, the Famine Sculptures, and the Ha'Penny Bridge in the distance. The “little” walk led us on a search for street lamps (yes, that's true) through St.Stephen's Green, were we instead found Gregorian houses with fascinating and colorful doors. This achieved (though not as intended), we visited the National Gallery of Ireland. While the exhibition was extremely interesting (especially if you had an art expert like Mrs Prekel at your side!), it was agreed on a brief timespan to allow a major individual shopping trip in the afternoon. (Where the newly found walking capabilities for the shopping came from remains a mystery to me!)
But the day's program had – of course – not yet come to an end, because naturally we needed a pub-stop. Our pre-arranged “Musical Pub Crawl” offered us visits to three pubs, lots of “real” Irish music, and many a fun story presented by the guides. (Problematic for some of us, the shopping bags weighed heavy on their arms. Plus, due to Irish law, drinking for minors is prohibited, so that coca cola was the drink of the night (perhaps with minor exceptions). After too brief 2 ½ hours of real Irish entertainment we had to retreat (walking) to the hostel to prepare for next day's departure, which was set for 7:30 (after another “light” breakfast!).
November 13 only took us back home. Luckily everything went smoothly (except for the high-tech body scanners at Hamburg Airport) and we caught an earlier train, dropping us of an hour earlier in Emden as originally planned. (Whether we arrived with heavier baggages then we started out with four days earlier, remains a secret. I myself had to haul extra kilos of presents with me.)
This is, according to my memory (there might be different opinions due to different perspectives). Since nobody wanted to write for the homepage, it was up to me to report on our trip, which I personally consider educationally successful. Many thanks to Mrs Prekel for her support, infos on art and her joyful company and the many chats I enjoyed so much.
M. Klöcker (Tutor and Organizer of the trip)