Monday, May 4, 2009

They killed Kenny!

AKA the town of Kilkenny

I like the Irish bus system. You buy a ticket for example from Dublin to Kilkenny and you can choose to board any bus driving that route until the end of the day. I guess it only works on bigger routes where more buses go, but can you just imagine how comfortable it would be in Estonia? You buy a Tallinn-Tartu ticket and you have about 20 buses to choose from!

I arrived in Kilkenny praying to every existing God that my dorm room would be empty. I am definitely not built for that commune-life, sharing almost every aspect of my life with random strangers, nonstop. Living in dorms makes me really yearn for privacy, but not quite enough to pay 40+ euros per night for that. A place in a dorm in Ireland costs about 15-20 euros / night which is already too hefty price to pay for my budget. I can postpone my need for privacy until i'm in Morocco. Ironically, only on my last day in Dublin i found a 24h internet cafe that charged 1 euro / hour (which is a good price in Dublin), so it would've actually been more economical to blog & surf all night long rather than pay for the hostel.

I was lucky enough that for the first night my dorm was indeed empty. Ah, bliss. I was sitting on the floor in the middle of the room with a big grin on my face and eating pears. The fact that i could do that was so liberating. The next day my room was flooded with some rather annoying teenagers from Australia, as if somebody up there was trying to make up for the lost time.

Kilkenny is a lovely enough place, not much to do there though. In one day you can walk three circles around the city while grabbing a drink in every pub on the way. The surrounding nature around Kilkenny is supposed to be worth a visit though, but it requires a car, so out of the question for me. Kilkenny also has a scary amount of very gloomy looking black stone cathedrals, they seemed to be on every corner, towering over you all silent and stern.

Somewhere between Belfast and Dublin i decided to cut my Ireland trip way shorter than i had originally planned. For many reasons, but mostly for financial - it's just too expensive to travel there extensively on my budget. I'm not enjoying it as much as i think i should, considering the cash i'm dishing out for it. By the time i reached Kilkenny i already started regretting that i'm leaving so soon, the country kind of grows on you, you know. But no, it's still the right decision. I'd rather travel longer and in countries where the fruits are almost free and sun bright and happy, than give myself a month in Europe and return home 3 months earlier because my budget got horrendously murdered. I will have plenty of time to travel in Europe when i'm 60, complete with pre-booked hotels, guides and tourbuses. Originally i also wanted to fly from Ireland to Iceland. Boy, am i glad i decided not to in the end. That would've been just more cold grey rocks, this time without the foliage as well. Ireland will get another chance in the future, i will just have to make sure that i won't fly there again from Mexico!

Funnily enough i found Ireland too controlled for my taste. And it's amusing for me because i'm all about having things heavily organized and under (my) control. When i first came to Belfast all i could think was it's like Duloc. Very neat and organized. Too neat and too organized. Dublin and Kilkenny were already better, but it's that dollhouse-style architecture that gets me in the end. Don't get me wrong, i think Tallinn's Viru Keskus is the ugliest building ever built, so i'm definitely not one for the modern architecture, but Ireland really drives me up the wall: all those hand-painted heavily stylized signs and drawings, little compact houses with bright doors, tiny windows and neatly kept gardens. In the countryside even hedges are cut in shapes. Nothing besides drunken Irish themselves are out of order. Which is actually amusing enough - how can people who's national sport is collectively & regularly piss their income down the drain in the pub and then go around screaming their loungs out on the street, be so organized and well kept in other aspects?

I do recommend my hostel though:
MacGabhainss Backpacker Hostel
24 Vicar Street, Kilkenny

It's the only hostel i've ever been to that had a dishwashing machine and 24h breakfast service. The latter means that toast, milk, butter, cereal, porridge and tea were available all the time, not just from 8-10am. And this is important part when you want to sleep a little in the morning. They also had a very well equipped and big kitchen, where you could cook proper dinners. On one of the evenings i was cooking myself dinner and i cooked too much. I offered half of it to the reception guy Peter who's office was just down the hall from the kitchen. He was happy to accept and later told me that i must be married, because only married women cook so well, hehe :). He let me later use the hostel PC for free, instead of charging me 1 euro / hour for it.

- -

Welcome to Duloc,
such a perfect town.
Here we have some rules,
let us lay them down:
Don't make waves
Stay in line
and we'll get along fine
Duloc is a perfect place
Please keep off of the grass,
shine your shoes,
wipe your .. face
Duloc is
Duloc is
Duloc is a perfect place!

- -

Can you imagine how small must be the place that there's pretty much only one set of traffic lights and they have to put a special warning sign before the traffic lights so nobody wouldn't dismiss it ..

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