A Wee Trip To Dublin

It’s not very common that me and my husband take a day to ourselves and go visit a new place. Either the weather is terrible, we have no money or we are just too lazy, it’s hard for us to get motivated!

So we both decided that we would try and do something fun together during the weekend, and we organised to go to Dublin for the day. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach the capital from where we live, so a day trip is quite doable.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to check the prices of hotels in the area. Because there aren’t many tourists in Ireland, I thought that maybe the prices of accommodation may have reduced.

Luckily enough I found a room in the Jurys Hotel, Parnell Street which cost us €89 for the night, which wasn’t bad at all! We use booking.com a lot so we got €10 off the price, so it actually came out as €80! It was a spur of the moment decision but we decided to book it anyway because it was good value! The hotel is literally just off one of the main streets of Dublin, and it was just a short 10 minute walk to the bus pick up area to get us home.

And I have to say, I loved our weekend away! We both had a great time together and I’m really glad we went!

We arrived at about 11am and we were also able to check in early which was good! For lunch we went to Boojums, a cheap place that sells burritos and things like that. I like the burritos because you can choose what you want to put in it and they are also very filling!

I saw a Chinese shop online that sells Chinese imports so after we ate we decided to walk down there and buy Chinese sauces that we couldn’t buy anywhere else. We had a great time looking at all the imported stuff that we used to come across all the time while living in China. It was great but also it made me miss China as well!

So we stocked up on lots of sauces and then left! We walked around some more until we found another Chinese import shop which we had a wander around. We were surprised when we saw that they stocked Mexican sauces!

Our bag was very heavy so we decided to head back to the hotel and drop it at the hotel. We took another 20 minute break and headed out again, this time we visited the National Gallery of Ireland. I love this Gallery; it’s free, it’s really well run, it’s clean, inviting and they have some lovely exhibitions and paintings. The Gallery closes at 5pm so we then left and walked around the centre where we bought ice-creams (coffee for me and rum/raison for my husband) and we ate them in St Stephens Green.

Becoming cold from the ice-cream, we walked around the park and around the shopping area until we decided to head back to the apartment. We sneakily decided to buy 2 beers in the shop so we could enjoy them in our hotel room before we headed back out for dinner. We were surprised to see that they had an ice-machine in the hotel! I don’t stay in hotels pretty much at all, so maybe this is quite common in Irish hotels, but we definitely used it for our beers!

We saw that there was a Nandos restaurant about a 5 minute walk from the hotel so we went there for dinner. It’s a British restaurant that specialises in spicy chicken and I remember a few years ago everybody wanted a Nandos restaurant in Ireland! Now there are loads of them about, but not where I live!

We enjoyed 2 ciders while there and we were pleasantly surprised at how nice the food was! We were stuffed by the end of it! We left at about 9pm and headed back to the hotel then.

We had a fantastic time together and it really made me consider doing something like it again. I didn’t worry about anything (I’m a terrible worrier) and I just concentrated on the day and it was great.

What I’m also really proud of: I spoke nearly the entire time in Spanish! I said to my husband “Once we are on the bus we are only speaking Spanish”. And we did, well most of it! So I’m really proud of myself!

Because Dublin has a whole array of ethnicities, I don’t feel like I stand out when I’m speaking Spanish, however in the town where I live, with a population of about 40,000 people, I don’t feel very comfortable speaking in Spanish. Not many visitors come to my town, so people would be more surprised to hear a person not speaking English. I suppose I’m afraid that someone would come up to us and shout “Speak English!!” or mutter some racist comment.

I know it’s not my problem and I shouldn’t be ashamed, but to be honest I really don’t want to come across racism against me or my husband in the town that I grew up in. So it’s hard to know what to do!

But anyway, we bought enjoyed our time away and it spurred us to try and get out of the house more and enjoy being with each other!

Where we stayed: Jurys Hotel, Parnell Street Dublin.

What I liked: It was situated really close to everything and you even have the LUAS literally outside the hotel. The bed is really comfortable and the duvet is very warm.

What I disliked: The walls were literally wallpaper so you can hear everything from the room next door. Even if they were just speaking in a normal voice you can literally eavesdrop on everything they are saying. Also the window doesn’t open so you can’t get any fresh air.

Would I stay again: Yes I would, especially if the price is low, however I would ask to be put in a room where there aren’t people next to you, (which can be impossible during high season)

Aisling

Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Part 1)

Before heading to Cuernavaca, my fiancé wanted to bring me to Playa del Carmen for a week. The flights where also cheaper from Madrid to there than to Mexico city. I have only been to areas around Cuernavaca and to Mexico City, so it was nice to see another part of Mexico!

We went during the low season, and my fiancé said there was a marked difference in tourists. I was a little wary of hurricanes (as it’s hurricane season) but thankfully we just got some rain for the week we were there!

While there, we visited the beach (it’s actually much warmer than I expected). Although the water wasn’t crystal clear because of the large amount of seaweed. They don’t exactly know what has caused this influx of seaweed, but I didn’t mind too much! It was still a lovely area!

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Next we visited Tulum with a tour that we booked. There was a big dark cloud on the way so we got caught in a huge torrent of rain and got soaked! Thankfully we dried off quite quickly though! It was very pretty though with the ruins right beside the sea. And I saw plenty of iguanas too.

After Tulum, we headed to Cobá, where we climbed up a huge Mayan pyramid and took some pictures of the area (which is literally jungle for miles and miles). I heard that this area in Mexico is full of jungle, and I always thought that the trees would be towering high above like what you see on tv in the Amazon. So when we were driving literally in the middle of the jungle, I realised that the trees aren’t that high at all. It’s just that it is so dense with foliage. It would be impossible to walk in it. So I was surprised with that!

Finally we visited a cenote, which is a natural pit with water in it. I didn’t manage to take photos because I didn’t want to get my phone wet, but we swam in the water and it was FREEZING! We went to an underground one, so that made it even colder. Some have open tops so the water isn’t as cold. The depth of these can go for 100’s of metres! It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. Bare in mind, Tulum, Cobá and the cenote were done in 1 day, so we were wrecked when we came back to our hostel!

On our next day trip, we first visited Chichen Itza and I think this was my favourite place that I visited! The pyramid was very impressive! You used to be able to climb up it now unfortunately a tourist fell and died so they stopped allowing visitors up it now. I don’t mind though because I think it would be damaged by the amount of people climbing it. (plus no one will fall now)

There are also also mayan ruins in the area which are also cool to see.

We then visited another cenote, and this time it was an open top one. I also was able to get some photos of this one! The weather was a bit cloudy so the water was a little cold, but not as cold as the first one we visited.

Our last stop for the day was to Valladolid Town, a town that seemed as if it was in the middle of nowhere. It was very cute though and I loved the architecture. We only got to stop for about 15 minutes so we were in a rush to take some nice photos.

The stones that were used in this church were actually taken by the Spanish from Mayan temples to make churches like this one.

Again, another very busy day for us! But next we were going to spend 2 days at an all-inclusive hotel. To read more click here for part 2: Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Part 2)

Aisling