I spent three wonderful days in Dublin, learning the city and finding interesting things for our class to do. I think my favorite part was actually the walking tour — I have read a tiny bit about Irish history in the past few weeks (I’m slowly working my way through “Trinity,” a historical novel by Leon Uris), and the walking tour was a really interesting way to put it all in context. I have a difficult time remembering historical information if I have no context for it.
The city is relatively small. I stayed on what you could call the far North side, but I got to city center in 15 minutes walking. I only really took the bus on the first day and last day (to/from the airport). People are very friendly and nobody wears sneakers (“trainers”). It was a relief to get to London, where I could slip on some sneakers without feeling too out of place. I still try not to, though. I am used to walking maybe 10,000 steps (around 5 miles) per day at home, if I push it. Since I’ve been here, I’ve walked an average of 20,000 steps per day. It’s dropped a bit since I arrived in London, mostly because the city is larger so I take public transportation quite a bit more.
I would recommend to my students that they buy a pedometer a few months before our trip and start keeping track of how far and how long they walk, and slowly build up to 20,000 steps per day.
I started feeling poorly my first day in London, so my pace has been a little bit slower. I have stopped by a few hotels to see their accommodations and have gone on a couple of walking tours (I’m heading out to another walking tour in just a few minutes). On New Year’s Eve I went to see “We Will Rock You,” a musical based on the band Queen’s music. Then I walked back to my hotel and looked around at all the people gathering on the streets of London. On New Year’s Day, I went to the parade — what an excellent experience. I had grandstand seats and they were worth every penny. But, it was cold outside and I still felt cruddy, so I did leave a little bit early (which I probably shouldn’t have done, because I don’t believe that’s a common behavior here).
I am a bit relieved that the holiday is over. It’s intimidating being a solo traveler during the holidays. Typically in London I have no self-awareness when I go about my day on my own, but over the holiday, very few people are alone in the city. Also, I am looking forward to the streets/transportation being a bit less crowded.
That’s all for now. I’m off to a “Royal London” walking tour. More updates later!