The Ireland Trip: Public Transport in Dublin

So, it has been a whole year since two broke (and broken) friends wanted to visit Dublin on budget. The life has shifted for me upside down since that, twice, actually, and now I can finally live my happy life. I realized this morning that despite the wonderful trip with one of my best friends to this charming country filled with magic, I never wrote a thing about how it actually felt to be in Dublin, to walk above the Cliffs of Moher and to actually taste a cider in one of the most famous pubs in the world with Irish musicians playing in the background (and foreground, damn, they were pretty loud!^^). 

And when is the better time to dive in than in the moments we only dare to dream about being able to travel again, freely? 

So, let’s jump in, shall we?

Everyone who has ever been to Prague has to remember our sweet integrated perfect system of public transportation. For me as a person who usually traveled abroad only by car to sea or with organized school trips it wasn’t always so clear. I heard the scary stories about public transport in the US or in Newcastle from my college buddies but despite that, I still used to take the way everything works here as granted. Well, not anymore after my trip to Dublin.

To be honest, I don’t have much to compare the public transport in Dublin with, except to Prague, so maybe in comparison to other big cities, it wouldn’t be bad at all. We experienced some misunderstandings already at the airport but who didn’t, right? Let’s start from the beginning.

Before our trip, I examined the options we had. I wanted something universal that would save us some money and allow us to use different kinds of transportation should we need it. I found that you can buy the Leap Card for 3 or 7 days and that it should let us use trams (luas), Dublin bus and even a rail. I said “Hallelujah!” and we decided to buy it so we needn’t be worry if we, for example, get lost (which never happened, but who could have known?^^).

After our plane landed, we bought the Leap Cards and a coffee and found ourselves a nice connection to our accommodation in a quarter called Drimnagh, finally found the proper bus and went in. We were so surprised when the driver, who didn’t even know how to speak English, tried to explain to us that the Leap Cards are not valid for this kind of the bus connection!

Okay, never mind. We left the bus with the sum we already spent on the bloody Leap Cards in our minds and found the proper Airlink bus where it was okay to use the Leap Card. The connection was kinda longer, but we didn’t mind as we were already tired from the travel. Then, another drama started.

From our evening wondering where the hell did we ended up after getting off the bus.

We knew we had to get out of the bus at the beginning of red luas line, The Point stop. What we didn’t know was that the driver will announce the stop after we passed it. So, we missed it, got off the bus one stop later and had to walk back. And we didn’t even know how to cross the streets since the frickin cars were going on the other side! We knew this is a thing in Dublin, but our brains weren’t ready for it. We dragged Janča’s superheavy bag back to The Point and hoped for the Leap Card to work properly on the luas.

So, what do you need to know before going to Dublin? Not every bus is same, I’d say. We are so used to our integrated system of public transport in Czech Republic that it didn’t even cross my mind that this might be a problem. The Leap Card was really helpful and after few walks throughout the city I managed to navigate us to luas stops if needed. It is just good to know that the Leap Card is not completely universal as Prague’s Lítačka which you can use on everything.

Eventually, we managed to get ourselves to Drimnagh and we found the accommodation, but we were rather exhausted.

Luas. Source: Wikipedia.org

Luas are a nice way to connect the city center with its peripheries and suburbs. But in comparison to Prague’s metro, these are super tiny and don’t go that often, resulting in really packed trams during the morning and evening rush hours. On the other hand, you can at least see those parts of the city which you won’t have time to properly explore.

Also, don’t mix the directions, especially if you are used to trams and cars driving on the right side of the road as we are. Trust me, it can be really confusing!

The Ireland Trip: Staying in Airbnb in Dublin

So, it has been a whole year since two broke (and broken) friends wanted to visit Dublin on budget. The life has shifted for me upside down since that, twice, actually, and now I can finally live my happy life. I realized this morning that despite the wonderful trip with one of my best friends to this charming country filled with magic, I never wrote a thing about how it actually felt to be in Dublin, to walk above the Cliffs of Moher and to actually taste a cider in one of the most famous pubs in the world with Irish musicians playing in the background (and foreground, damn, they were pretty loud!^^). 

And when is the better time to dive in than in the moments we only dare to dream about being able to travel again, freely? 

So, let’s jump in, shall we?

To be honest, we waited with booking the accommodation for too long. And as I have already said, we wanted to go on budget. That made the last-minute city-center accommodation offers out of the option for us. And therefore, we needed to dig deeper to find something nice, cute, clean and affordable. I know, our demands were not exactly simple. But we got lucky.

We found a perfect match on the periphery of Dublin but still on the red tram line in a quarter called Drimnagh. It was supposed to be around 30 minutes by tram from the city center and that felt completely alright for us. Neither one of us wanted to stay in the center anyway. So, we booked it for five days. The host Angélique was always on the chat to answer our questions and we simply couldn’t wait to be there.

From my experience, Drimnagh feels like a nice suburb full of brick terraced houses everywhere. We didn’t know much about the neighborhood and I still do not have an idea about possible criminality rates there, but from our experience, it is a lovely place with normal to lovely folks living there. This last sentence might sound awkward, but it links us to one of the stories from our Ireland trip.

One evening, right during the evening rush hour, when we took a fully crowded tram to get us back to Drimnagh, one of the passengers realized we talked Czech. She was also a Czech, so she engaged a conversation with us. At first, we thought it is kinda nice to meet a fellow countrywoman in such a big city, but then she asked us where we are staying. We told her and she was, well, slightly terrified and told us to be careful there. It felt so weird because our experience with that suburb couldn’t be more different! So, we decided not to give a shit. And we had no problems there whatsoever.

We stayed in a cute tiny garden house with even tinier bathroom which we had just for ourselves. There was just enough space for us to fix us a warm drink in the morning and eat a snack or cold diner. It was maybe the first time I realized that as a vegan in unexplored area I could probably use a proper kitchen on my next trip but just for the couple of days we spent in Dublin, this was completely sufficient. It was cute, cozy and for these few days, ours.

Except of the two little spiders I had to take care of and owner’s cute and innocent cat that almost made Janča go crazy, we had 100% privacy. The only thing we didn’t count on was a fact that we had to go through our hosts’ house to get to the garden but we never had a problem with that either.

Houses in the city center.

I can only recommend staying further from the city center in Dublin, especially if you manage to stay close to the tram (luas) stop. It is definitely cheaper, and the suburbs are more peaceful and quieter. On the other hand, if you are planning to go to the bars and go crazy for the whole and every night, the center might be a better option for you. The only disadvantage of the periphery is that you always have to take the luas. And when you want to go home at the same time as the rest of the city, you might stand on someone else’s foot for almost 30 minutes.

But let me tell you more about the public transport in Dublin next time.

The Ireland Trip: Remembering the First Time Flying

So, it has been a whole year since two broke (and broken) friends wanted to visit Dublin on budget. The life has shifted for me upside down since that, twice, actually, and now I can finally live my happy life. I realized this morning that despite the wonderful trip with one of my best friends to this charming country filled with magic, I never wrote a thing about how it actually felt to be in Dublin, to walk above the Cliffs of Moher and to actually taste a cider in one of the most famous pubs in the world with Irish musicians playing in the background (and foreground, damn, they were pretty loud!^^). 

And when is the better time to dive in than in the moments we only dare to dream about being able to travel again, freely? 

So, let’s jump in, shall we?

The trip with my friend Janča was special to me in advance for several reasons. First of all, I never flew on board of a plane. Second, I never went anywhere abroad just with my friends. And third, just a few months before the trip I regained my freedom after years after I had quit one long, energy- and soul-consuming relationship, and in Dublin I was supposed to taste the real freedom for the first time. Also, Janča is pretty badass so there were no doubts that this vacation is gonna be epic.

Everyone was asking me if I am scared of flying. Maybe that was the only logical explanation to them for a 27-years-old girl who never flew anywhere. The answer is no. I am not scared of flying although the procedures you have to endure on the airport felt always too complicated to me. So, I guess I was always slightly scared because of the bureaucracy and I knew that flying for the first time would be much more comfortable with someone who knows what to do and not with someone who never flew too and who would have to be forced to go with me in the first place (ehm, ehm, you remember that relationship I mentioned above, right?^^).

I was so lucky that this wish could come true thanks to Janča. Not only she is an experienced traveler and seeing new locations is her true passion, she also used to work at the airport back then, so she knew and understood everything perfectly. And not only that, she was willing to explain everything to me, the traveling noob by her side.

Thanks to my friend, I didn’t have to worry about much, the controls were smooth, and she always knew who is going to want to see what. It felt crazy to me, but she was obviously on her own playground. That is why I was able to enjoy the flying part itself, of course, sitting next to a window so I could stare outside on the clouds beneath us for the whole time of the flight.

The experience of flying felt unbelievable. I remember I wrote on my Instagram: “The take-off feels like falling in love. This shimmering in your stomach that can be addictive. And all those objects you see as the plane gets above the clouds – other planes, clouds, cities, rivers and wait – is that a sea? Where did the impossible sun go? You are almost touching the edge of the universe here.” See? Incredible.

When we started to land down and I saw the lights of the city in the dark, I felt extremely lucky for the whole journey I had to take to get myself into this moment (still unaware of my personal journey ahead, but ignorance is a bliss, ain’t it?). I remember also feeling totally disoriented as I didn’t even know from which direction we came. 

It was a funny experience.

Positive Diary #21 – Books on demand

22nd November – Our bedroom and my study room, for purposes of studying, writing and now working from home as well, in one seems to me pretty cozy. As I have already said in one of my previous diaries, I live in an old house which is far from perfect, yet for years it feels perfect to me. In my study room, there is all I could possibly need. Lots of table lamps for darker days like these, cozy bed with lots of blankets and cushions, two desks for being active when the inspiration kicks in and tons and tons of books to get inspired in the first place.

So, let’s talk about those precious wonderful books today!

What are books to me? Ever since I started to write, or even before that, when I was only an eager reader, I saw books as tiny portals through which we can jump into other worlds and other people’s lives and that just felt awesome. I loved books as a child, and I read deliberately. It had also some taste of rebellion against the unwritten rules of my peers since reading was already back then seen as boring and too time consuming. I was so proud to be one of not so many who had their pass to local library, and I loved my label of a bookworm. Reading at that age gave me so much! 

Some time has passed and we, as students at high schools and later at universities, were told which books to read. It was also slightly implied to us which books are not that elevating. It is not like anyone would say – you read those, you are rubbish, but it definitely felt like it. And also, reading the recommended books takes more time then reading the books you actually like, so it somehow shifted my attention, took my time and deprived me of my love for reading for a while.

A long while.

It was only until this year, when I rediscovered my passion for reading. I jumped back into one of the urban fantasy series I stopped reading years ago, ordered all of the pieces I missed and dived into the frantic story of werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters and faes. But that’s not all. I finally ordered some of the books from brilliant Neil Gaiman whose books I always only borrowed from a library, and some other books about wiccan sabbats. I went berserk with buying new books this year and I don’t regret a single penny.

Books are elevating. No matter what you read, if you read enough. Through books, we can widen our perspective, feel what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes or visit places we only dare to dream of. 

When we are kids, we built our world around everything we process. Adding imagination and empathy via reading is immensely enriching

And when we are adults, reading a good story can take us beyond our day-to-day life and help us to rebuilt or adjust our lives according to our deepest wishes. Nicely written historical book can explain to us problems which we are facing today. And half-forgotten philosophical essays can remind us of different perspective and approaches.

I love books. 

I love reading. 

And I love how these can make us better human beings. I cannot be more grateful for a fact that we live in a system and an age, when we can have whichever book we want on demand and we do not have to worry about persecution for reading anything.

It is for sure one of our beautiful freedoms we should take advantage of more often.

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When you sleep, my light-bearer

The pen is slowly gliding along the paper and there is so much I would like to tell you. The pen is slightly scratching the thick paper of my notebook, fire in the fireplace is mildly fading away and there is a candle, flickering on my table. She is like you, her light is chasing away demons and bad dreams, creating a world of our own, world in which there is only you and me and nothing else matters. I can hear your repeating breath after breath and my heart rejoice with every beat of the one of yours.

When I was a little wicked girl, my mom already used to tell me: “Be careful what you wish for. Your wishes can always come true.” If I knew how powerful these wishes can be, I would have wish for you a long long time ago.

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It’s a full moon today. The Moon is discreetly glancing in through our open window. As if he was checking whether everything is, after ages, still in a way it should be. He greets the light of a candle, he greets the light of yours, and continues his journey through out the night sky. The house breaths out heavily, the fireplace is slowly cooling down with sinister noises and our cat lazily stretches her body. Our whole world is sleeping, although it is celebrating continuously for months.

Maybe that wishes made during the summer storms, wishes with deepest appeals and inner need in mind have their own unmistakable strength. Maybe magic exists after all and we are the living prove of its existence. How else could you explain we met in such a convenient times? How else could you possibly explain our untangled confusion of troubles of which there is only a bittersweet memory left now?

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Water drops started to dance on the dormer-window pane. Neither one of us remember a year as rainy as this one. The whole world is upside down but the nature is trying to lull us to peace with her beautiful illusion of going back to her ancient and perfect rhythm. I love to let her, after all it was always her who comforted me, made me go in awe and made me happy. You have joined her last year. And now, not only my happiness feeds yours but this beautiful illusion gives me the feeling that it feeds her as well. Her, the one we could never survive without. Our connections to the whole universe seems almost tangible.

Maybe that wishes whispered in a summer storm to the rain drops only led to the plans, plans led to action and action led to you. Whatever it is, that made my wish come true, whether it was magic, universe, faith or maybe just the two of us, knowing we belong together, it was the happiest event of my life.

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After I will blow out the candle and close the door to our bedroom, I will cuddle up to you and think about how lucky we both are. I will listen to your symmetrical breath and finally be a slightly mad that I cannot fall asleep as fast and perfect as you can.

At the end, I will finally fall asleep as well. With the knowing that only next to you I can heal all of my deep wounds. Only next to you, I don’t have to change to be whoever my surroundings just need. You need ME, exactly the way I am. You accept me with all my whims, imperfections and gifts and you are not trying to curve me or break me into someone or something else.

You are the greatest gift of the universe without even knowing it.

You are my shelter and home, freedom and support, you are everything I ever wished for.

Only with you, I can dance with the wolfes and don’t have to feel guilty about it.

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Follow the Song of the Wolves

Flash of light above the landscape that went dark a long time ago. The song of the wolves accompanies you, as if it was determining your destiny. The terrain underneath your feet is changing from moss cover into stones, from stones into boulders, from boulders into steep valleys and from valleys into sharp rocks.

As you stand on the last boulder, your foot slips aside and you are falling, you are falling and your warmth, your light alongside with you.

Your fall is ceased only by the bottom of a valley itself.

You lay there for a while, breathless, and everything seems lost. The wolf song in distance sounds different suddenly. It sounds confused. Lost. The song transforms into whining. Then stops completely.

Your light is dying, flickering as a flame of a candle in a wind.

The silence is hovering over the landscape. Frightening. Suffocating. Oppressive silence.

A blackbird shall never sing again, a bee shall never buzz again. You shall never hear her songful laughter again.

Sun shall never come up again. You shall never see the carefree smile which made your heart melt and your soul know it founded the long-lost mate.

The last wolf calling cut through the silence of a night. It should sound desperate, it should sound moving, yet the power of it cannot be resisted. One of the wolves got closer, almost within your arms reach, and he sings, sings for the last time. About hope, about trust… about home.

Then suddenly loud BUM! is heard and you draw air into your lungs.

A victorious wolf song is heard from a distance. Again. From all of the possible directions.

Your light blazes again. Not that strongly, but it blazes constantly and tirelessly.

You are standing up.

Those shadows you are surrounded with are watching you but with the light by your side they won’t dare to attack you.

Straight shoulders. Unyielding pace. Constant rhythm of your steps. No matter if you are heading up towards the clouds or steeply down into the valleys, nothing about the rate of your steps changes. Together with the wolf song you are getting closer to with every single one of your steps, they create an immortal symphony.

No one cares about the darkness around you anymore. No one cares how many demons in the dark is planning to make you their dinner tonight. As long as your light has something to burn for, no one in the world cares about them.

With every single wolf you encounter, you feel your destiny is closer and closer. She is almost within your arms reach.

Then suddenly, you approach glade at the top of one of the mountains. It is surrounded by giant boulders standing in a circle and there is an iceberg right in the middle of it. You approach it. Your light is drawn to it as if it knew far more than you or me will ever be able to grasp.

You kneel, speechless. You are not thinking about what will happen if you won’t succeed. It’s not the right time for that and you won’t allow for shadows to get this chance.

You look into the face of a woman trapped in the iceberg. A warm memory of her laughter, happiness, kisses and touches; her truth, compassion and even burdens which she carried with her and was scare to share with you because she didn’t want to lose you, runs through your mind. Your light flares up with radiant flame. Shadows abandon the circle. Finally, there is only the two of you and your warm, shiny, dazzling light coming out of your old immortal soul.

“Come back to me,” you whisper gently, as if you were already whispering into her hair. Then, you ease your posture and let the light enter into the iceberg.

The light implodes and leaves you completely blinded by the glaring blaze magnified by the ice safe case she has built around herself so tirelessly. After that, the light fades out completely.

You fall towards the earth. You are not dead, not yet. But it doesn’t matter. You did everything you could.

Shadows, demons and monsters are crawling back to you, immediately. The world has lost its light, its sounds. No one will ever hear your voiceless cry. You are drowning in an ageless never-ending darkness.

You did everything you could. Even more. And failed. Her demons won’t have mercy on you.

BAM, you can hear finally, a mighty sound resembling thunder echoing over the landscape. The shadows freeze, petrified. BAM, you hear it again. In a distance, a wolf is singing a song. The shadows gather on the edges of the stone circle.

With the third mighty beat of her heart, your light inside her iceberg starts to burn hot again. As potent as never before.

With the first outburst, the ice cracks. With the second one, it explodes and disperses to all directions, yet you are miraculously spared of its destruction. And with the third one, the world explodes.

.

When your eyes finally get used to the light, you suddenly understand. Everything. The night that was said to never end ended. A bright day, white as a new list of a paper, took its place. And she is standing in front of you. In all her beauty. Shaken, yet happy.

“I think I have something that belongs to you,” she smiles bashfully, and she holds your light in her stretched arm.

You feel you can finally smile again. After what felt like a thousand years. “I will take it,” you reply after thinking it through shortly, “but only to hold it, to bear it for you every day.”

You hug her, as if it was both for the first and for the last time. “I will never let you go again,” you whisper into her hair affectionately.

She holds you tightly with her hands firmly winded around your neck and pushes herself towards you as if she would never want to let go either. “Please. Never let me,” she answers.