April 12, 2012:
Woke up at 7:11 and packed up the rest of my things. I had another full traditional breakfast; I am SO in love with these breakfasts. The hotel in Cardiff played American ’80s music during breakfast. Strange, but still my kind of place. I was sad to say goodbye to the Sandringham Hotel.
I walked over to the bus/train station to take the bus to the airport. I wanted the X91 bus but didn’t know where to catch it or buy tickets. I got there at 8;15 to find that the ticket office did not open until 8:30… then to find I needed to pay on the bus.
The bus was supposed to arrive at 8:57am. That time came and went and I started to worry. It arrived about 3 minutes late and we all boarded. Most of the people I traveled with were about my age and most of them ended up going to the airport and getting on my flight to Dublin also. I was surprised and amused to find posters all over Cardiff airport for Goon, a hockey movie (that I want to see but haven’t yet) that came out in January. That made me smile, at least.
The flight was not my favorite of the trip. They made me check my smaller bag at the airport, instead of carry it on. It was a sudden, unexpected expense, but what could I do? I should have guessed the plane would be tiny. Then I accidentally bought an expensive bottle of water mid-flight. Ugh. I don’t even LIKE water. Luckily, the flight was only an hour long and I had a window seat. I slept a little and read some of J.K. Rowling: the Wizard Behind Harry Potter on the plane.
I cleared customs in about a minute–quite a difference when compared to Heathrow! I located FURBALL at the terminal, where she was reading and kindly waiting for me so we could be bus travel buddies. First, I had to ask to find an ATM. After getting some Euros, a bagel, and some change for the bus fare, we headed out to where the buses were. Except the whole place was a bit of a maze of bus stops without anything to tell us what was what. We went back to the airport and asked around. We also acquired a couple useful maps. We finally made our way onto the correct bus. The problem was, it was packed full and we had no clue where we were or what stop to get off on. But, hey, we were finally on the bus That was a start!
I spent the entire ride squeezed onto a seat with my suitcase and bag, staring at the map; it didn’t help that the airport is actually off the map. lol Halfway through, I caught some street names and we managed to get to the front of the bus just in time to get off at the exact right place. Yay! Excellent timing and good work :-) It was such a relief to find our hotel at last.
We checked in and dropped off our luggage in our room, which was the very last one down a hallway. I couldn’t get a hold of Ixion, who was out sight-seeing. So FURBALL and I went out to explore the neighborhood and get some snacks. I would have been happy walking on to see some sights, but FURBALL didn’t want to go far. And, brave lady that she is, she managed to resist an entire table of Free Books! It was nice being in Ireland, where I can run into part of my name on a building :-)
I want shopping in nearby crappy dollar store-type stores, looking for a wallet because the zipper/clip on mine broke the night before in Cardiff and it would barely open. I wasn’t willing to walk around the city of Dublin with a broken wallet not clipped to me and not usable. I searched around and finally found one that made me look like a five year old–bright blue with pink and purple glittery stars on it, as well as Velcro. But, hey, it worked and clipped to my jeans, so that was an improvement over the broken one. I also bought some Starbursts- you can’t get blackcurrent Starbursts back in the US!