We had a day in Dublin to see the city and prepare for our flight... we washed clothes, aired the tent and sleeping bags, repacked the bags... And in the afternoon we headed into the city.
The air was cool as we walked through the beautiful streets and parks of Dublin. It was quite a trendy city, with lots of cafes and shopping... we were told by our hosts, Gabby and Neill, that Dubliners love to shop, and they were out en mass even late in the afternoon.
We treated ourselves to dinner - Tappas for two - in one of the sophisticated restaurants. For 31 euro we got six dishes and bread... meatballs in sauce, chicken burritoes, baked potatoes, salmon, salad, fried goat cheese... It was all so delicious and we felt so full! It was one of the best meals we've had on the trip.
Back at Neill and Gabby's that night it was time to take the bikes apart and pack them in the boxes they'd picked up for us (thanks so much again guys!). In the foyer of their apartment building we cleaned and dismantled the bikes... and finally managed to fit them in the boxes. It is such a hassle taking them apart to fly... But we're getting a lot quicker at it!
It was an early start the next day when we said goodbye to our terrific hosts and Neill dropped us and our gear at the bus stop for the airport coach.
Sam had an interesting experience at McDonalds buying some breakfast... while waiting outside for it to open he was chatting to a guy about our trip. This man then told another man standing nearby, who Sam had already noticed, looking a little dirty and unkempt and carefully counting every cent in his hand. This second man, upon hearing about our trip, immediately said, 'I shoul' give ya some money' and examined what little change he had. We were touched by his immediate offer of generosity (and declined, instead giving him a couple of euros) and reflected that it was the first time we'd been offered any money for the trip (apart from Stevie's constant offers of money and help whenever we hear from him - Love ya Steve!).
At the airport, after some confusion at the Aer Lingus check-in (you're meant to use the do-it-yourself machines, but they were trying to charge me for the bikes, even though I'd already paid for them!) we were ushered through the line and checked-in fine. Before boarding the plane in Dublin we went through a US security check - our fingerprints were taken, we were questioned about our plans, and then finally we received the passport stamp to permit our entry into the US. We were now in the USA, although technically still in Dublin airport.
The flight itself was another story... I won't go into detail here, but it was not one of our best flying experiences. We were very glad to be on US soil and away from the airline. Looking at our watches we waited half an our for our bikes, and collected them just in time to walk outside and meet our Boston host...
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia