Going to Dublin? My 10 golden tips

The first weekend of June, hubby and myself went on a city trip to Dublin, together with some friends. Turned out Dublin is gorgeous, and I definitely want to go there again. For the Irish accent alone.

Are you travelling to the Irish capital soon? Then I have some tips for you. Some we should have followed ourselves, and some of which I’m very happy we did them.

  1. Book your stay on time. If you don’t, you’ll either end up paying through your nose, or sleeping somewhat out of the city centre. We chose the second option, and in the end, it wasn’t so bad. A view of the harbour, it’s charming in its own way.

    DublinWe stayed in The Coast Guard house, and I can definitely recommend it. Big enough to house 2 couples, clean bathroom, and a nice bed. What else do you need?

  2. Take the aircoach from and to the airport, and buy a return ticket while you’re at it. This bus service takes you to and from the city centre, and they offer free wifi. And if you’re planning to visit a lot of museums, you can even buy a Dublin pass and get on the aircoach for free.

  3. Book tickets online (if you didn’t already buy a Dublin pass). Guinness storehouse, old Jameson distillery, the book of Kells. You can book these all up front, sometimes with a discount. And the coolness with which you can pass the line of people waiting: priceless.

  4. Join Peter or one of his colleagues on a Dublin free walking tour. Nice guy, full of interesting facts.

    DublinAnd if you like it, you can always opt for a paid tour as well. We went on the Whiskey and Beer tour, and we enjoyed local beers, whiskey, and live music.

    Dublin

    And keep your eye on their website: there’s a food tour coming. We got lucky and went along with the test tour, all for free. And boy, did we eat well!

  5. Spend one night in The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar. First class tourist trap, but there’s sure a lot of ambience. And hey, you should sing along to The Wild Rover at least once, while in Ireland.

    Dublin

  6. Chew on some chicken wings at Elephant and Castle, eat fish and chips at Leo Burdock, and have a taste of local ice cream at Bread and Bones (salt! bread! whiskey!).

    Dublin

  7. Get around by bike and buy a Dublin Bikes 3-day pass. It’s only 5 euros, and you simply cycle from one stand to the next. If you do that in less than 30 minutes, your ride is free. The only downside of this system, is that a stand can be empty when you need a bike, or full when you need to get rid of your bike. But each stand shows you what the situation is like at the other stands.

    Dublin

  8. Visit the Guinness Storehouse, even if it’s only to get a view on Dublin and its surroundings from the 360° bar (well, if you can get through the crowd and to the window, at least).

    DublinDublin bDSC_0071 And if you don’t drink guinness yet, learn to drink it here. It tastes like coffee with chocolate. For real.

    Dublin

  9. Drink an Irish coffee at Vice, or a Guinness (or whiskey) in Bowe’s bar. Fancy something new? Turn the beer wheel in The Black Sheep.

    Dublin

  10. Is the weather nice? Go to the Phoenix park. On our last day in Dublin, we just threw ourselves on the grass, in between the daisies. But you can be less lazy, and even go and walk in between deer.

    Dublin

And tip number 11? Just enjoy it to the fullest!

Scotland

When I was 5 or 6 years old, my parents took my brother and I to Scotland, in a mobile home (well, a remodelled van, actually). I don’t remember all that much about that holiday, except for these two things:

  • Somewhere in Scotland, our mobile home broke down. A Scottish farmer let us stay in his farmyard, while my dad repaired the lot. And the farmer’s wife, she baked pancakes especially for us.
  • My parents were so convincing in their stories about the monster of Loch Ness, that my brother and I were very reluctant to pass by the lake. Let alone pose next to it for a picture. That Nessie may just as well have jumped out and eaten us alive.

LochNess

This summer, I (finally) went back. Time for some new memories with hubby and son. This time, no car that broke down, and no monster. But a lot of nature.

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Churches and castles.

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Walks.

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And a bit if scotch.

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We didn’t quite want to go home yet.

How about you? How did/will you spend your summer?

Wir sind Berliners

A couple of weekends ago, we went to Berlin. A city that had been on our list for quite a while. And I must say, it is the most vibrant city I’ve ever been. Although I was suprised about the amount of graffiti tags that you find on every building.
Berlin

Tips?

Rent a bike. It’s the fastest way to go from the Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor

past the Reichstag
Reichstag

to the Holocaust monument (I’m not saying this is the fastest route, I leave map reading to my fellow travellers).
Memorial to the murdered Jews of EuropeMemorial to the murdered Jews of Europe
Rent an appartment.

Go for brunch. By coincidence, we found Hannibal on a Sunday morning, where they serve a brunch buffet for 8 euros per person. Pancakes gallore! Yes, the word ‘indigestion’ may have been use a couple of times that afternoon.

Walk along the Eastside Gallery, aka the Berlin wall (or what’s left of it).
Eastside galleryEastside gallery
Take a minute on Alexanderplatz.

Alexanderplatz

And discover just about anything from the earlier mentioned bike.
Berliner ZeitungCollegium Hungaricum Berlin

ZentralflughafenHow about you? Have you already been there, is it on your list, or are you not interested at all?

Budapest

A while ago, we decided that maybe it was time to have a weekend among grown-ups. So we booked a trip to Budapest.
Budapest
Of course, as that weekend approached, there was a tiny little hand (a baby hand?) that got a big, tight grip around my heart. How would my little boy ever survive without me?
Budapest
But we left. And it was great. Budapest is a really nice, vibrant city, with way too many things to do. Festivals, fairs, outside bars, you name it, they have it. And I didn’t even mention the thermal baths then!
Budapest
Budapest
Of course, it looked slightly different than usual during our stay, with the Danube flooding and all that. But I swear, if you didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be like that, you wouldn’t even have noticed it.
Budapest
Which, of course, doesn’t mean that we should forget that these ladies are absolutely right.
Budapest
Picture quality isn’t everything. We travelled Ryanair, where an extra pair of socks in your luggage really makes the difference. So I only took the small camera along.
Budapest
By the end, I really wanted to get home, to hug my little guy and tell him how much I’d missed him. But when his grandparents dropped him off, his main priority was the cat. Oh well. So be it.
Budapest

Les Vosges

Last weekend, we left the rat race for what it was.
Les vosges
We put on our hiking boots, and went for long walks in the woods.
Les vosges
We learned that bucket hats are pretty efficient sombreros.

Les vosges
And we did absolutely nothing (and didn’t take any pictures of that either, logically).
Les vosges
And when we got back, I saw that the Great Cloth Diaper Change world record effort succeeded. Good news. 8,331 baby bums neatly folded away in cloth nappies. That’s 8,331 tons of non-existing garbage. If that’s not worth the effort, I don’t know what is.
Les vosges
And what did you do, during the past long weekend? Or what will you do during the next one?
Les vosges

Grannies in Normandy

Things have been pretty hectic here at home. We’re still in the middle of huge renovations, and will be for a while longer. Since we try to do most of it ourselves, we only have evenings and weekends to actually do something. And now that we have a brand new baby, most of the work is down to my hubby. So it can get stressful, at times.

To clear our heads and get away from it all, we rented a little appartment near the coast of Normandy.

We went for walks on and near the beach.

Normandy
Normandy
Normandy

Visited the American cemetery.

Normandy
Normandy

And the Memorial museum.

Normandy

Saw the Bayeux Tapestry.

Normandy

And Bayeux’s cathedral, just in time to escape the rain.

Normandy

And in between, I crocheted some granny squares for my Weekend in Stockholm throw.

Grannies in Normandy

13 done, 43 to go!

Grannies in Normandy

Life is good, like that. Now let’s get that throw finished. It might come in handy this winter!