Sorry for the delay in getting the end of the diaries done. As you will read, I had some computer recharging problems and when I got home, jetlag and a severe cold kicked in, rendering me unable to think, let alone write, so I’ll finish the journey now.
Well, we knew this day was coming but we just didn’t expect it to come so quickly. We had to say farewell to Ireland. I have to say, I’m looking forward to getting home as living out of a suitcase is not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially when there are no clean clothes coming out of the suitcase. We have had no luck finding a coin laundry to be able to wash our clothes so we’re recycling the dirty ones and it’s starting to really wear thin. Still, leaving here is going to be hard as I have felt so at home here. Ireland really is my spiritual home as I always knew it would be. Anyway, we got up reasonably early again with lots of plans before we caught the ferry to Wales. As we were packing our stuff, Debbie realised she was missing her handbag. We searched high and low and then realised she had probably left it downstairs the night before. While she jumped in the shower, Wendy ran downstairs and sure enough, it was there. Phew.. It contained all her money, cards and passport so was a bit important, to say the least.
When we were all showered and packed, we loaded the tetris car for the last time and headed into Dublin. We had planned to find our way out to the ferry first, see if we could leave our bags out there, then stop at the Liffey River, take our shoes off and dip our feet as Gargie had done before us. Then we were going to go to Molly Malone’s statue where I could finally get to thank her for my early foray into all things Irish. We figured that would take us up to about 11.30, we could have some lunch, go to the hire place to drop the car off, take a cab back to the ferry and still have plenty of time left. Now to be fair here, that SHOULD have been completely viable. Unfortunately, we got lost.. …. repeatedly. We were going great…. we followed all the signs to the ferry and were confident in our ability to find our way around, when suddenly, the signs stopped. Seriously.. they just stopped. Not to be beaten, we went into a service station and asked directions.. Turn left (again) out of here and just keep going.. you can’t miss it… oh no.. we’d heard those words so many times before.
Sure enough, we missed it.. again and again and again.. because…… THERE WERE NO SIGNS. .. We knew we had a map SOMEWHERE in the tetris mobile but we couldn’t find it. After I’d driven past the same church 147 times, i was ready to howl. This was not going as I’d planned and I could not… I repeat.. NOT miss talking to Molly Malone. Some of you may find that crazy.. yes I know she’s just a statue but that song still sends shivers down my spine when I hear it. I have been singing that song since I was a toddler and I just couldn’t bear going home without having spoken to her.
So Plan B… We’d not worry about the ferry but just find the car hire place.. take a taxi (with luggage) into town from there and at least get to see Molly Malone and the Liffey River but we’d have something to eat on the ferry, thereby saving us some time.. Umm.. now we lost the car hire place. Not only that, we couldn’t find a single thing in the car with a phone number on it to ask.. Nothing. The information book in the glove box didn’t even have their name on it. We pulled into another service station, filled the car and searched it for the map. Finally we found it and were on our way again (fairly close by too might I add). Dropping the car back, we unloaded our luggage into the carpark and called a taxi. The poor cab driver, having all our luggage. We did have the sense to ask for a large cab though so there was room. He dropped us off near the area of Molly Malone’s statue and told us how to get there.
Now, dragging luggage along through a crowded street isn’t anybody’s idea of having fun, but we did it anyway. We got to Molly and I started to get emotional (again). People everywhere were trying to take photos but there was an old (possibly homeless) guy sitting on it and he wouldn’t move. It seemed like he was waiting for everyone to pay him to move out of the way but when that wasn’t forthcoming, he got fed up and shifted on. We got our photos and knew that we weren’t going to get to the Liffey River with all these bags so we settled for lunch around the corner at O’Donaghue’s Bar before grabbing a cab to the ferry. Another fantastic taxi driver (we have had some fantastic cabbies) took us to the ferry where we got our tickets, booked our luggage in, went upstairs and pretty much got straight onto the ferry.
Watching the foreshore disappear from view was quite sad. None of us wanted to say goodbye to Eire. Once the land was just a speck in the distance, we went upstairs so the girls could have a cigarette and I could take some photos. I walked down the back of the ferry, out of the sheltered side part, only to have my glasses whipped off my head by the wind and the last I saw of them, they were skidding across the back deck of the ferry and flying off into the Irish Sea.. The gentleman standing near me quickly took his off his head and put them in his pocket.
After a very short time, we disembarked in Wales, got our luggage and found the train station, ready to head back to England. This should be a breeze really. Put our luggage on and just relax for the duration of the trip. Trouble was, noone had told us when we booked our tickets that there were 3 changes of train we had to do. We went to the first stop, got off and got on another train.. A bit further down the track, we got off that train and onto yet another one. The last train was a Virgin train and was really comfortable. They have a table in the middle of 4 seats so you can read or use your laptop etc. Not only that, there are powerpoints so you can charge stuff. Plus, you could get wi fi too. Now admittedly you did have to pay for that unless you were a first class passenger but you could still get wi fi. (Are you listening Australian trainlines??) I decided it was worth the (high) price to have a few hours of being able to write my blog and went to buy some online but it took so long to get to paypal’s page that I decided it was way too slow so I didn’t buy it. At least I had the option.
We finally arrived in London and caught a train out to Euston Station as our accommodation was right near there. We got out, found the street we were supposed to be in (even though it had 3 different names to confuse us) and we dragged our luggage and sorry bodies down the road to the place we were staying. I had taken a screen shot on the computer of all the codes needed to get into the place and eventually we worked our way in through the front door. We tried everything we could to open the next door but it wouldn’t budge. Someone eventually answered it and it seems we were at the wrong door. We were upstairs.. Oh my God.. We had to drag all our luggage up the stairs as there was no elevator. The codes they had given us were wrong for that door too so I had to log onto the wi fi there (thankfully that code was right) and checked it all again. They had sent two emails,the second of which said, “the correct details”. Trouble was, the first email was the correct details.. the second email was the INCORRECT details. We finally found our way inside and just about collapsed in a heap.
There was a washing machine (and supposedly a dryer which never eventuated) in this place, so we got some washing on the go. Trouble was, it didn’t spin properly so we had to do the wash on the wash cycle, then redo it all on the spin cycle. Didn’t matter, we would have clean clothes. Then I went to plug my laptop in before it ran out of power. BANG!!!!! It frightened the hell out of me and I blew out the whole circuit for the bedrooms which was where the router was plugged in so it meant no internet again. I quickly bought an hours worth of time so I could book tickets for the bus trip to Bath the next day, only to find out that we couldn’t book them online. ARghhhhhhh. So we all went to bed and got a good night’s sleep. At least we would wake up in the morning with clean if not dry clothes.