Saturday, April 9, 2011
Meet Butterbean. He came home with me from Ikea when I first got here as my room was pretty empty and in need of some friends. Being born in the year of the Rat (and now you'll all know how old I am) I'm really drawn to anything rodenty and Butterbean has since become and invaluable travelling companion.
I'm a little tired of taking pictures of myself at the moment, so when I went on a weekend to Dublin, I thought I'd show you the trip through his eyes instead!
We travelled to the London Stanstead airport on the train and met my old friend Will. After flying into Dublin, Will and I spent the afternoon and evening doing lots of exploring while waiting for my other friends, Julien and Marie to show up.
We saw some old statues.
And took a trip down to the beautiful Trinity College where loads of students were camped out in the grass behind Butterbean drinking and celebrating the cloudy Friday afternoon.
We went to Oscar Wilde's residence and saw his statue at the park opposite his house (in true Wilde fashion, he was reclining in a crotchtastic way and the rat has been strategically placed so as not to offend you guys).
I don't like Guinness, so I didn't have any, but Butterbean had his first truly Irish pint. (Apparently Guinness in Ireland is supposed to be better than Guinness anywhere. I couldn't tell you if this it true because it all tastes pretty bad to me.)
Then he got well-acquainted with Molly Malone and her huge... mussels. Marie later came and decided that it was the dress and not her figure that was to blame.
When Will and I realised this was the town of the self-same Molly Malone whose song we had been taught as children, we traipsed round the city singing "Cockles and mussels/ Alive alive oh!" in dignified baritones.
We ended the day with a game of Foosball. I called my team the Crimson Sharks and William called his the Blue Biscuits. If you have a football team, please, don't let Will be the manager or name them. That's all.
With Julien and Marie in tow, we strolled along the Liffey the next day, where the Irish had brought new, literal meaning to the term "seahorse".
We saw a couple of Cathedrals, in particular, the famous St Patrick's with it's beautifully tiled floor and vaulted ceilings.
Julien, in particular, didn't seem to like Butterbean too much. He tried to eat him and step on him on the cobbles outside Dublin Castle. However, the French prefer snails and frogs, so eventually, my rat was left unscathed.
We got quite a nice, informative tour at Dublin Castle (which was being painted frantically for President Obama) and here's where I discovered that my camera can do crazy-cool things like turning the borders of clouds pink. I just thought that this photo was uber cool. (It's interesting to note that Justice here is not blindfolded and apparently the people of Dublin were unhappy with the statue, saying that it was representative of her turning her back on them.)
Butterbean had smoked haddock and lamb stew for lunch and then in the evening, we proceeded to walk along the Liffey at sunset to watch Greyhound racing!
I had a lot of fun at greyhound racing. The dogs run SO fast that I couldn't get a clear picture of them and people get pretty excited placing all kinds of bets and trying to beat the odds. We lost all our money because clearly none of us can spot a winner to save our lives. I kept betting on the cutest dogs only to find out that they were the worst runners because they didn't have a competitive bone in their bodies.
Marie and I had the best laugh picking dogs by their names. Marie bet on a dog called Doodle Doo because she thought its name was cute and when it was paraded in front of the audience, she turned to me in dismay because it was so small and we collapsed laughing. No wins there.
Sundaes and milkshakes for supper. Will was trying to do a manly mafia kind of look here. We found out that the jukeboxes in these Johnny Rockets/Eddie Rockets/Billy Bombers kinds of cafes really do work, and for our curiosity and experimentation with pressing jukebox buttons, we were forced to listen to the Wham! Rap twice. Have you heard the Wham! Rap? DON'T.
That the first line is "Wham! Bam! I am a man!" should warn you sufficiently of the atrocities to follow.
We went to the Guinness Storehouse on the last morning where Butterbean rolled decadently in the barley display and got lots of attention from Marie and Julien.
Our last lunch was wonderful. That's an apple fritter on top of sour cream black pudding salad (they make a mean black pudding, nothing like the hard, overfried stuff you'll find at breakfast joints here) and a salmon and potato pancake in some kind of citrusy sauce below.
All in all, it was a simply wonderful weekend. If you guys are reading this, Will, Marie and Jude, thank you so much for a great time and I hope we get to do this again in another part of Europe soon!
I'll have the Wham! Rap on my iPod, just in case.