You know, you'd think as a part-time tour guide I would know how to plan my own trips. . . apparently a false thought, if ever such a thing existed. At the moment I'm at the last place listed in the title of this; utilizing possibly one of the worst internet spots ever. I was greatly looking forward to getting some pictures from Prague posted but alas it will have to wait.
I believe I was most recently writing about Bilbao. Here's the Guggenheim Museum. It's really hard to decide which pictures to post of this thing.
However, as great as Bilbao was I feel the need to move on. As I stated before the need to encapsulate the entire experience before expanding is great within my dome-piece.
I feel just a little bad about mentioning this next fact about TC and I traveling together. Before the trip I gave T free reign to book whatever planes, trains, pack animals (particularly Ecuadorian llamas (free-range, of course)) and automobiles he felt would be necessary for the success of our trip. Well, he felt empowered and while we haven't been on any llamas we have taken a few plane flights. Well, apparently one night TC met with an old friend of his (we'll call him Jack, though Jim would suffice) and booked all of these flights. Good on 'im, I say. Point being, we flew out of Bilbao and into Madrid and then flew (with a separate airline) from Madrid to Dublin on the same day. It was a long travel day but we didn't get in to Dublin until 9pm or so. The only 'trouble' we ran into is that Madrid, like most large airports, has a very impressive duty-type-free shop. Thank goodness it isn't truly free or we would have had to buy another duffel for all the booze. As it was we each ended up with two liters of freshly squeezed booze-juice. . . which we thought was a good idea since we were on our way to 'celebrate' St. Paddy's Day in Dublin. . . .Ireland, that is.
(It should probably be noted that neither TC or I are Irish or have an ounce of Irish in us. I guess we were going to, um. . . uh, yeah, um, we went to Dublin to support the Irish in their fine choice in patron saints. And if it meant we were going to have to consume alcohol to do it. . . well, when in Rome. . . )
We get to Dublin without too much trouble, wimp out and take a cab to the hotel and then really push it with a proper American feast consisting of ye olde Domino's pizza. There were no poor feelings about taking things easy on Thursday night before the 'Day'. We had tickets for a double championship the following day and after that the plan was to meet a few of TC's friends from Flagstaff (I will refuse to refer to these people as 'my' friends for legal reasons). I did know three people who were Trekkers with me last summer and I met one of them in town but everyone had their own group of people to party with so there was no significant amount of time spent catching up. The double championship of which I speak was the real joy of St. Paddy's Day. My local friend told me about it and said it should be a good time. Turns out she's well known in the Right Department. The two sports we saw were Hurling (which has nothing to do with drinking) and Gaelic Football.
Hurling is best described as a mix between field hockey, baseball and football. Players carry a sort of long paddle which they use to strike a baseball-looking device up and down the field. You can score by knocking the ball into a normal football goal sized net or by putting the ball through two uprights that protrude straight up from the sides of the goal. If you haven't smashed your head on your keyboard from The Boredom by this description you should check it out online. Gaelic football is a cross between football and rugby and is totally wicked. I'll leave it at that.
Want proof of my presence during St. Paddy's Day? Check out the litte green man who is properly storming the field after the hurling championship.
After the matches we met up with the Flag peeps (I'm gonna get arrested just for writing that, aren't I?). After picking up another peep (heh) from the airport the game was afoot and it goes distinctly downhill from there. It should be noted that before we 'hit' the bars that night we all realized how much we hate ridiculous crowds and "why the hell are we here then?" came up a bit and other fun topics of conversation. But we are all veteran's of such activities and we sallied forth. Let's just say that all five of us got back to the hotel sometime between 3 and 6am (though not together) and two of the five ended up sleeping in their car, which was a lot better than the jail cell that they almost ended up in for trespassing on the hotel property and proceeding to knock on multiple incorrect doors looking for the room belonging to T and myself (It should be noted that their effort was in vain anyway because they were actually the first ones back to the hotel and there was nobody in ol' 208 to greet them even if they had gotten it right.) Good times. The next day was not as ugly as you might imagine and after a hearty two pint lunch TC and I got on a plane for London.
Back in London we spent some time in the British Museum and walking around the major tourist attractions of the city. Nothing too spectacular to report. We did manage a dinner with a few Trekkers (I love that now they sound like they're all dressed up in Vulcan clothing and throwing me the 'Live Long and Prosper' fingers.) Trekkers, heh. Anyway, it was good to have some foreign female company but TC and I both had flights the next day, though they were of a very different nature from each other. So, last Monday TC flew back to LA in order to drive to Flag the next day and begin work the day after that. He never claimed to be a smart man, that TC. I, however, flew to Prague to continue the adventure.
My grand plans for Prague consisted of four nights where I would take in some football, live classical music and make some new friends. Four days later and three strikes, you're out. The plans were altered, it happens, and I ended up taking in some football (in an English pub), live jazz and didn't make friend one. No worries, the hostel was strange and gave me a room to myself with 7 beds in it so for once I had plenty of room to spread out. The Czech beer of legend lived up to the legends and the vodka really does flow like water there. I spent a lot of time with my old friend ipod and walking around the city by myself was pretty good. Once again, wish I had a few pictures online for you but all in good time. My last night there I spent some time trying to get night pictures and when I returned home I had multiple, multiple offers of a sexual nature. No, I was not particularly good looking that night, my hostel just happened to be on cabaret road and if I wasn't being accosted by a woman of ill repute I was being herded into a club by men who represented the same. To each their own but not for me.
So, I flew back to London yesterday and that's where we (I) stand (sit). I'm staying with a Trekker here in London for a few days and then I head to Cardiff for almost a week and then fly to Edinburgh for the last 10 days of my trip.
I'll see you on April 12th.
Live long and travel.