These past few weeks have been full of adventure, both wonderful and horrendous. Last week, my smartphone slipped out of my pocket on a 254 bus to Aldgate, leaving me completely absent from the world of mobile devices (even if its only purpose here was a wifi machine… it was an expensive and treasured wifi machine). After crying a couple days, I had a girls trip to Dublin with my two roommates and our friend Sara.
I wasn’t going to bring my laptop to Dublin for a weekend, so I went without any form of communication. Except my dumb phone, in case of emergency. This simple fact definitely gave me a different perspective on how we live today. I can tell you it was undoubtedly annoying and stressful being sans-iPhone, and I’m sure much to the chagrin of my older peers, I honestly don’t necessarily think it was for the better.
The first day it was pouring (welcome to Ireland!), so we kind of wandered around with our friend Kat who’s staying at Trinity College, visited their science museum, and did a mini-pub crawl in the evening. It was a fairly uneventful day, as we were exhausted after a morning of travelling.
On Saturday, we took a coach down to Glendalough (pronounced glen-da-lock, not glen-da-low for those playing at home) and saw some beautiful Irish countryside, monastic ruins, a waterfall, and a lake.
Oh, and sheep.
By far the most exciting thing that happened that night, though, was being waken up at 4:30am on Sunday by a panicked Gretchen asking for Advil because her ear pressure was too much for her to physically bear. Mommy Sam immediately kicked in, having to shake off my sleepiness and hustle Gretchen downstairs, ask reception what they suggested we do, and then promptly caught a cab to the emergency room because the hostel reception couldn’t do much for us and Gretchen couldn’t function. So I spent a couple hours in a Dublin ER on Saturday morning. Luckily, the pressure was just an ear infection so Gretchen got some mighty good painkillers and a strong dose of antibiotics to kill whatever is inflaming her ear canal.
After that excitement, we went back to the hostel and slept. For a long time. Then, we saw the city of Dublin, checked out the outside of St. Patrick’s and Christchurch cathedrals (cause they charge to go in… so rude), wandered by the docks, and visited the Irish Oktoberfest. Sara left early on Sunday so it was just an adventure with Kat, Gretchen, Madison and I.
Our little group grew even smaller on Monday as Madison left to take a midterm in the morning and Gretchen and I stayed for the whole day to experience the rest of Dublin. Unfortunately, we had exhausted a lot of our options (meaning anything free), so we went on a mini museum crawl, checking out the Writer’s Museum, National Gallery and National Leprechaun Museum. Then we returned to our lovely city of London after an hour delay on our very late flight, rolling into our flat at about 2:30 this morning.
While I enjoyed Dublin, I have to say that I guess I was expecting a lot more. When people say “city,” it always confuses me when you can comfortably walk from one end to the other. Dublin is definitely quaint, but my advice would be to use it as a hub to visit other places in Ireland. Glendalough was unquestionably the most fun and most interesting place we saw, all for only 20 euro round trip. Gretchen and I had wanted to go somewhere like the Hill of Tara and Trim Castle on Monday, but we didn’t book tickets in time. So advice for those travelling to Ireland: look into places to go. Day trips are the thing in Ireland. You really only need a day for Dublin.
Also, go with a phone. Especially if you’re with young people. While I definitely have to admit that one of the reasons I missed my iPhone so much was because of the weird and unpurposeful amount of exclusion I felt while sitting in a café, surrounded by my friends looking things up or surreptitiously Snapchatting while the only thing I could really do was twiddle my thumbs, sip my tea and maybe flip through the images I had snapped on my DSLR, there is definitely a reason we’re so attached to our phones.
They’re useful. Even when just using them as wifi hubs, being able to look at a map on a phone and not look like a dumb-ass tourist pulling a huge paper map out of your pocket is not only easier, but decreases your risk of immediately being targeted for pickpocketing. You can buy tickets for things on-the-go. You can look up free stuff to do if you randomly get to a museum and find out it’s closed on Mondays (because that definitely didn’t happen to us. WHY WOULD YOU CLOSE A MUSEUM ON MONDAY. Not bitter or anything). You can calm yourself down from a panic attack in the middle of a hostel with meditation and music. You can contact people you’ve been talking to.
So to whomever is now in possession of my phone, I hope you treat it well. I paid a lot of money and worked very hard for that because I was relying on having it for two years at the very least and it should be put to good use. But for now, I have to figure out technology-less adventures.