JANUARY 24/25 - IN THE AIR
Getting to Ireland isn't the easiest trip to begin with but of course the current Covid situation makes it all the more complicated.
When I booked my trip in July, I was originally scheduled to fly from Detroit, Michigan to Philadelphia Pennsylvania, to Dublin, Ireland. The layover in Philly was supposed to be a relatively short one but this past fall, my flight out of Detroit was rescheduled for 5 hours earlier. I kept hoping it would get switched back but no such luck.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Detroit airport nearly empty, and the flight from Detroit was less than half full. We were delayed a little on the runway due to ice/snow but once we took off it was a smooth and easy flight.
As excited as I was about going to Ireland, the thought of waiting in the Philly airport for more than six hours was something I dreaded. I'd looked into 'Minute Suites', a short term suite rental inside the airport, which would at least give me time away from people to take off my mask and have a bite to eat, and relax, but they were all booked.
So I decided to rent a room at the hotel attached to the airport. A little less budget-friendly but it was the best decision I ever made. I ordered room service, napped, and did some yoga. It gave me a chance to relax and unwind and I had no trouble making it to my gate in plenty of time.
The flight to Dublin was even more deserted (only 36 passengers on a huge jet!) so I had no one sitting within 10 or 12 feet of me, which I will definitely miss when travel returns to normal. lol. I can't say I slept a lot on the flight but I managed to doze some. Not super restful but better than nothing. And look at that view of the sunrise above the clouds!
I'd done all my research ahead of time and knew exactly what documentation I needed to prove my vaccination status and that I was safe to travel so I sailed through customs without any issues.
Friends picked me up from the airport (my lovely fellow author Helena Stone and her husband!) and we spent the morning in Dublin's city centre.
We checked out an amazing bookstore that I'd been to when I was in Dublin in 2017. Sadly, it's closing at the end of this month so I was glad to see it before it was gone. There were sooo many books I would have loved to take home but I knew I wouldn't have the room in my luggage.
I picked up a Leap card (for public transit) bought some groceries, and my friends helped me haul all my stuff up to the little studio apartment I'll be staying in for the next month.
It's small but charming and absolutely perfect for my needs and in a great area of Dublin. There's lots to do within walking distance, and it's very easy to access public transit. Plus, look at this view out my window of this cute little courtyard!
I said goodbye to my friends (for a little while, anyway), unpacked, took a shower and spent the evening relaxing. I tried my hardest to stay awake but I did nap for about an hour. I woke up feeling better, made a quick dinner of pasta and sautéed Brussels sprouts, watched a little Netflix on my laptop, and was in bed before 10pm!
All in all, it was a much easier trip to Dublin than I had expected.
When I flew home from visiting Ireland in 2017, I didn't want to leave. In so many ways, returning almost feels like coming home.