Dublin in a Day
With the intention of not wasting time, I am going to come out, here and now, and admit that I am a rather enthusiastic Westlife fan. They have always been a guilty pleasure of mine and for this reason, when my Uncle called me to give me an unexpected and extremely tempting offer, I knew straight away that I couldn’t turn him down. He had decided that his ticket to go and see Westlife’s last ever concert in Dublin (to his credit, he was coerced by my lovely auntie to go) could probably go to better use and wondered if I would like it instead. Now, I will be honest and admit that I didn’t spend too much time encouraging him to go to the concert himself and instead just booked my flights as quickly as possible. We had ‘Gold Circle’ tickets, complete with wristbands which meant we we right at the front without having to camp outside days in advance. In short, it was a brilliant concert and it did break my heart a little to know that they would never do another one like it, until the reunion tour of course ;).
Mine was a whistlestop tour: I landed at Dublin airport shortly after 4 and headed straight into the city where I met my auntie. We then followed the crowd to Croke Park. I suppose I should have anticipated what 85,000 people wandering around largely residential streets would be like but it was, quite frankly, astonishing. Having walked all the way round the stadium to reach the other side, we had still arrived early and unfortunately had to sit through Jedward’s ‘go-go juice’-induced performance. Where those boys get their energy from I shall never know! The Wanted were, on the other hand, rather a lot better and their performance was only made better by the occasional digs at Jedward ;). Eventually we got what we had all been waiting for and Westlife came on stage. It was a wonderful show and the heartfelt and tearful messages from the band were particularly special. Leaving the venue took a long time and we walked for the best part of an hour to get back to the main street, having been shepherded out of an exit in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to be, but we were in good spirits.
Having finally found my bus stop, I said goodbye to my auntie and waited. You see, I wasn’t going to a hotel, but straight back to the airport. I had decided to live wildly (as far as I ever will anyway!) and get the first flight out on Sunday morning, waiting in the airport in the meantime. I got on the bus at 1am this morning (yaaawwwwn) and arrived around half an hour later. When I had first considered this idea, much to my amazement, when I typed in ‘sleeping in airports’ into Google, www.sleepinginairports.net came up. What more could I have wished for. Thanks again Google! Despite all the tips on this very useful website, I was a little apprehensive about the prospect. As soon as I arrived, I headed for the food court. Although almost all benches were already occupied by sleeping travellers, I did get lucky :). All in all, my experience of sleeping in airports was a lot better than I might have expected. Every time I opened my eyes, an hour had passed and getting to sleep was no effort despite the bright lights and loud announcements. There were lots of other people around doing the same thing so that made me feel much more secure, we were all in it together. I did get unceremoniously woken up by cleaning staff at one point who were moving everyone off the sofas we were lying on. I then got one more hours sleep sitting in a chair, lying over a table: not so comfortable of course but I seemed to be tired enough by this point that I would quite happily sleep anywhere. Shortly after 5am this morning, I freshened up in the bathroom and headed to the gate. My plane home landed at 7.20 and I was home by half 8.
So, less than 24 hours away then. Sleeping in an airport wasn’t the most glamourous experience I have ever had but it was pretty exciting. I have no doubt the novelty would wear off but losing my ‘sleeping-in-an-airport’ virginity was actually rather fun. I loved popping over to Ireland with a little backpack with a toothbrush, some snacks, a library book, a clean pair of knickers and a onesie inside. There’s something about travelling that makes me feel special. Walking around departures at Stansted with everything I was taking with me on my back, I felt like I could go anywhere in the world and do anything. It was an invigorating feeling and really got me thinking about next year. I want to do exactly that again and again, put a bag on my back and get a train to somewhere, explore, have adventures, make memories, live dreams, wander. Although I am usually someone who likes everything planned (and I wouldn’t want to go without a backup plan), I love the spontaneity that comes with travel. Turning up in a place, planning little and contriving only to simply discover, that’s wonderful. I can only believe that it’s heaven sent.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien