Tuesday, November 15, 2011

European Trip II

We Arrived in London on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in mid July. The British Airways flight was decent and the convenience factor of flying out of Bwi was worth it's weight in gold. However, Virgin airlines quality of service still reigns supreme when convenience is taken out of the occasion.

The Weather was excellent by London standards. Seventy degrees and sunny. From what I understand in my limited exposure to Old Blighty this is a bit of a rarity.

We took a train to the tube, and the tube to the Charing Cross station. We "minded the gap". Although my last trip to London was a bit of a quick one it still felt good to be back.

I draw comparisons to what I am familiar with, and I can say with reasonable certainty that London and NY are fraternal twins from different mothers if that is even possible.

Jet lagged, tired, and anxious, we threw our bags down and hit the town for some simple pub n grub. (look up place) Market was a very busy and vibrant environment. Think Adams Morgan only being surrounded by people with more depth and interesting accents. After a few beers and some good conversation my jet lag got the best of me and it was off to dream land for me.

The following morning we walked along the Thames to our office in downtown. What an experience to have the privilege to be able to say that. Throughout the day We conducted our business and met with our clients.

The following evening, I ventured out on my own and landed at a bar called Smalliskys. Met a guy with a thick english accent who had me laughing. It was a short night, after a few beers I walked across the street and went to bed.

One caveat to this entry. Each night no matter how early I turned in, I simply could not shake my jet leg and get a decent nights sleep. That and what sounded like a garbage truck outside my window every morning, also did I mention the 3am drunken American revelers singing the American national anthem in London?

The next evening brought more pub n grub. We went to a fondue restaurant with some of our affiliate folks. I am glad I can say that I ate fondue, but I am also glad that I can say that I will probably never eat fondue again.

That being said the restaurant was interesting. It reminded me of eating at an old country farm house, right there in the smack dab center of London. The decor was what I would consider an old style English. All in all I am glad I went. Also, it was nice to experience a meal with Londoners.

The following day we finished our business in London and took off to Dublin. It was a quick hop from London to Dublin. From the air my first impression of Ireland was fields with hedgerows. Many, many hedgerows. I imagine the English country side is very similar. Steven Ambrose referenced these frequently in his WW II books. Getting an aerial view of Ireland made it real for me.

From the airport our driver picked us up. He had a thick Irish accent that was notably distinguished from the English ones I had gotten used to. For some reason, I had a preconceived assumption that they'd be more comparable. This was not the case! David was a quiet sort of guy. Although towards the end of our trip, he picked up a conversation. His main complaint was the Irish economy. This turned out to be a running theme throughout my time spent there. I get the distinct impression that their country is hurting worse than ours.

Driving through the Irish country side it took us two hours to reach Waterford Ireland. Waterford is located in the southern portion of the Irish country side. Waterford is known for it's crystal glass, and tall ship festival amongst other things. The town is quant and quiet and just my style.

Upon going to the lobby in search for a soda machine I stumbled into a group of seniors on a bus trip. They were playing traditional Irish music and dancing. It was great, I sat down and watched them for about an hour.

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The following day Kieran drove us to the coast. We walked through the town of ... And hit a couple of pubs along the way. The village was stunning and reminded me of a cross between Cape Cod Mass with its fishing fleets and Malibu California with its picturesque landscape and cliffs.

If there is such a thing as paradise I think I may have found it.

On to Dublin...I had no expectations. I had done no research on Dublin other than a quick Google. Dublin was incredible. It is many things that London is not. Navigable, authentic, circus like. We hit the pub district and had a great time. A couple of the pubs I couldn't get the vibe down but were still very enjoyable.

A walk down the shopping district was entertaining to say it best. Multiple street performers created a circus-esque atmosphere. It had a very Key West vibe.

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Our last night there was last night as I write this. We went to a local bar called Grogans. I was excited to see a local bar and talk to "the locals". I need to realize that not everyone wants to share their culture with Americans. And quite frankly they have a right not to. After getting slightly hassled at the door by some Irish blokes, the bar tender rolled his eyes at me when I asked what was on tap.

Another fellow was trying to start trouble. It was then that we decided to leave. We ended up at a hotel lounge listening to techno.

It was a great time! I am ready for home.

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