Briefly after my first weekend adventure to Paris, I had very little time of relaxation as the moment I returned to campus, I had my first lecture of the school year. The curriculum system at Lancaster University is different when compared to the traditional american universities. I used this to my advantage when planning out my course schedule by only allowing myself to have classes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, allowing me to have a three day weekend and a day during the week for rest, relaxation, or in my case, travel.
My second adventure that I was preparing in the midst of receiving my syllabi took a lot of careful planning. Between lectures, I checked for flights, train tickets, and my itinerary for when I arrive. My usual process for determining what to do varies from simply googling or I use Instagram or other social media platforms and search the city and see what other people are posting pictures about what they’re eating, seeing, doing, etc.
As the first week of school was coming to end, so was the planning for my trip. The timing had to be perfect in order to successfully pull everything off. When it came down to deciding which countries to visit, I took distance and convenience into consideration to avoid long flights and the risk of being behind schedule.
Heading into the Irish country, I had a set plan of expectations on what I wanted to do and on what days to do them. I planned on a trip to the Guinness factory, one day trip to the Cliffs of Moher, and another day exploring the vast variety of churches, museums, and monuments. However, one thing that I learned quickly is that things do not go as planned, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a pot of gold. 🙂
As I landed in the Dublin Airport, I was greeted by not one, but two different rainbows. Immediately, I knew that this was a sign that I was going to have a good trip – and that I did. Dublin could be summed up by the best trip I have taken to date. One of my personal preferences is to DO something rather than SEE something. To me, my sense of adventure and desire to have an elevated Adrenalin level is what I look for when planning trips, and originally, I did not have any of that planned for this trip. However, when I arrived to Dublin, all of my plans changed. Instead of sightseeing and touring the factory where Guinness is made, I spent my weekend biking 50+ miles north and south of the city center. Day one I had no idea where I was going beside the fact that I was heading for a peninsula, named Howth. Along the way I saw windsurfers, locals running/biking, and people playing with their dogs. When I arrived to Howth, with legs feeling like jelly, I was giddy with what I found: a beautiful harbor, a walkway extended into the sea, and my favorite, an unbeaten trail leading to rocks, caves, and secret coves.
The second day also involved biking, except this time I went south of Dublin into the harbor of Dalkey. Here, I heard of a Kayaking company that do tours along the Dublin coast. When I arrived, the smell of fish and seaweed filled the air as I greeted my tour guide and geared up with a wetsuit and my kayak. I was joined by an amazing couple who were on holiday from Germany, and it was nice to get some insight on places to see when I visit there in a few weeks.
The kayaking tour was the highlight of my trip. After 30 minutes of introduction skills, we were out on the coast and making our way to Dalkey Island. With the current in our favor we arrived to the island in under an hour and were greeted by seals left and right. Secretly they would pop their heads above water and quickly go back under. We even had a special treat by being able to see a baby seal on the shore of the island, a truly incredible sight! For 30 minutes we were able to leave the kayaks and explore the island. With only an abandoned church and a remote building, the island was full of goats, rabbits, and birds of many species. The views were amazing this day and it was something I will never forget.
As we made our way back to shore, we had the unfortunate luck of going against the current, which really provided a great arm workout if you were in need of one. Hours following I boarded my plan and made my way back to the UK for my next lecture. Dublin was an amazing city and although I did not get to see what a typical tourist sees, I would not trade my experiences for anything; I was a lucky guy 🙂