A rainy afternoon in Dublin

Standing in the middle of Trinity College with wet feet and an overall miserably and soppy feeling what’s better than to go for a Guinness? Ha, totally wrong and you don’t know me at all (which is true for most of you). Trinity College Dublin is the home of the Book of Kells, a medieval manuscript from the 9th century. And who can resist such a bookish attraction?

I cannot and we went inside before anything else and with wet feet on my side (my boots aged about 15 years in shoe years during this one rainy day). There were no pictures allowed at the Book of Kells exhibition but it was well worth my time (see it online here). The exhibition was very well assembled, showing minutiae details of all the major decorations. A beautiful work of art and a miracle that this book survived in such a great condition!
On the floor above was the main library which also drew me to it like a moth to the light. Wow, imagine such a library at home …

The upkeep might be a bit expensive but it would be worth it. Since my apartment could never house such an extensive collection I rather enjoyed looking at the one there. My own pictures are a bit on the dark side that’s why I took a picture of a postcard so you can look at the library in all its beauty.IMG_8356IMG_8342Handy 691
Shakespeare and I

With the cultural aspect out-of-the-way for the day we moved on to satisfy our baser cravings. The Guinness Storehouse was a couple of bus stations from the Trinity College away, but with the bus on a 20 minutes delay we decided to walk there. Since walking was all we had done that day, what were a couple of blocks more? While walking I noticed large signs all over the city which showed even the dumbest tourist where to go.IMG_8357

Finally the Guinness Storehouse came into view.IMG_8360IMG_8363IMG_8369
The Guinness wonderland is a seven-story building that starts with a shop and the basics of brewing, going on to advertising through the years, then to a tasting room, up to a food mall on the 5th floor and a sky bar on the top floor. We did it all.IMG_8372IMG_8373IMG_8374IMG_8376IMG_8379IMG_8381IMG_8383IMG_8385IMG_8386IMG_8394

On the seventh floor we could finally change our ticket for a pint and I watched closely how the beer was drawn. The difference to your usual Irish pub is that in Ireland they are using a nitrogen combination so that the beer is a lot more drinkable than let’s say in Vienna. I think I tried it once here and the taste is totally different. I liked it a lot in Dublin although two pints are like a meal, really filling.IMG_8395IMG_8396IMG_8404IMG_8407

But a filling beer didn’t mean that we were not hungry once we left the Storehouse. Quite the opposite. On the way back to the hotel we decided to stop for an early dinner at a nearby pub and just eat some more local stuff. On deciding this we were just in front of Bakers Bar & Restaurant, an Irish pub where definitely also the locals stop and have a drink. We ordered more Guinness and three dishes to share: Irish Stew, Bangers and Mash and fried local shrimps with chips.IMG_8408IMG_8409IMG_8410
Yeah, cannot say that this was a success culinary-wise. But it was filling and we were hungry and let’s just not talk about it anymore. Shortly after we finished the meal we left and walked back to hour hotel. We all needed a break after this long day walking through rain mostly, before heading out into the night life.

Our pub crawl saw us walking in the rain* again to the Temple Bar district where we stopped at the Porterhouse. This micro brewery makes its own beer and it was a nice change to the domineering Guinness. The place looked like it consisted entirely of stairs. There were 4 floor levels, all connected by more stairs and bars in between. And of course a band was playing, also between two staircases.IMG_8411IMG_8413IMG_8414IMG_8415

In a way it is such a shame that I was in Dublin and didn’t see my favorite band. But The Frames seem not to be touring at the moment and Glen Hansard is only playing in December! Super sad that I missed that, I really wish I could have seen Joseph Doyle again. But let’s go back to the music at Porterhouse which was good too. What was interesting to see was that most musicians were a bit older. You know on the radio most of the music is from really young people, and don’t get me wrong, lots of it is great. But this was the second band we saw this weekend where the mean age was probably around 45.

Eventually we had enough of the beer and the music and some really embarrassing Austrian tourists who had to sing our unofficial anthem “I am from Austria” and sauntered back to the hotel. And you know what’s great about the Harding Hotel? The bar was still open and we had a G&T as nightcap. Maybe not Irish, but a splendid drink!
Yours, Pollybert

* My guide-book said that Dublin on average has less rain than Nice. I really would like to know where they get their meteorological data from.

Thus with a kiss I die

Dying might sound exaggerated because I am still here writing about it. But let me start from the beginning and hear my tale of woe.

Saturday started with coffee in a place near my home. As usual I was meeting my friend to talk about life, news, wishes and worries. It is a great start to the weekend to get everything right off my chest and then be relaxed for the rest of the time. I had a good laugh already that morning when I saw that the coffee shop had internationalized their menu. It might be funnier for the German speaking followers but basically they are offering kitchens (really, more than one!) with their New York breakfast, including a bread roll that’s missing a letter.

The rest of my morning was spent with meeting friends with kids and taking a nap after. Even though they are not mine, sometimes just looking at them leaves me exhausted. Maybe I try to sleep for their mothers?

That afternoon I picked up my sister’s friend from his hotel room and we started our three day weekend/sightseeing bonanza. Since it was hot and muggy and he just arrived that morning in Vienna, I decided ice-cream was in order and took him to the Eis Greissler (link only available in German, but basically the ingredients are mostly organic and regional).IMG_6969
Ray looks happy while I look mostly exhausted. Partying really drains my energy and I remember feeling as if all my marrow had been sucked out. All the better that we had a quiet evening planned with Shakespeare in the Park. This year they were showing Romeo and Juliet and I was immensely looking forward to it. I had loved last year’s play of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I expected an evening entertainment without too much exertion. But as we all know, expectations are the root of all evil!

Of course the evening turned out completely different. At first all was fun and play. We arrived at Cat’s place, shared a drink and then left for the theater (or better the park). Once there, Pimms were in order due to this being an English play. One cannot go wrong with Pimms here, something we had already tried and tested last year. While waiting indoors and keeping refreshed, a slight drizzle started to fall. Maybe not so much a drizzle as some single raindrops? You can see from these pictures that there was no rain in the background (I know it was raining elsewhere in Vienna but not here).
I especially like the thumb in the left upper corner. The lady who took the picture knew how to make herself unforgettable!
So although there was basically no rain, the play was not in the park but indoors. And indoors turned out to be a small room where the windows had been barricaded with plywood and any air circulation seemed to be forbidden. After ten minutes I felt the sweat running down my body in rivulets. Honestly, I would not have been astonished to find myself sitting in a pool of sweat at break. As it turned out though the room got so overheated from all the people that we all ended in a steam-bath. So at break we cut the cultural excursion short and fled the steamy scene. It also transpired that Sylvia dislikes Shakespeare and Cat doesn’t care. So Romeo died for all of us, we just didn’t see it.

We invited ourselves to Cat’s place again not only for the unlimited supply of drinks and snacks but for the other goodie as well aka Thomas the formidable host! Ray tested every color of Austrian wine including also sparkling wine, beer and schnapps. Coming from another country is always a good reason to test-drink the available offers. We stayed well past midnight and tested Sylvia’s patience, as usual she was the only one not imbibing. Which was perfect since we needed a lift to the nearest taxi.
Yours, Pollybert