Sunday, October 30, 2011

Barcelona: Day 68 : Lovely Day for a Guinness

This morning we got up and were about to get ready for church, only to realize that the time had changed and we had "fallen back." This was actually a welcome realization, as it allowed us to leisurely get ready for church and have plenty of time for breakfast and everything else, like checking email and whatnot. We did our best to try to meet Orla Gartland after missing her gig the night before on Grafton Street (we both fell asleep and didn't get a chance to check twitter and such, so we totally missed out) but turned out it simply wasn't possible. I guess I'm just stuck waiting until next time I'm in Dublin! Pity, though. But anyways, we planned our things for the day and got moving!

Originally we were going to attend mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral, but for some reason they don't offer mass on Sundays, or any service really of any sort. Luckily, we found this out before we actually went there, and changed our devotional location to Christ Church Cathedral of Dublin. Turns out it was just as gorgeous and was a great experience. This mass was a sung mass, with all hymns and such played out on a fantastic organ, but unfortunately the chorus was on holiday, which was a bit of a bummer. Again, just more excuses to come back! It was great to attend real Catholic mass, and I enjoyed the sermon very much. We even got to go down into the crypt after mass to mingle and get a cup of tea or coffee and have some biscuits. We got to talking with an Australian woman, who was on holiday in Dublin for a week and then off to visit one of her kids in London. Crazy to think that her family has been spread so far...

The weather was gorgeous today, almost even warm, and our heavy jackets were definitely making it toasty. But I will never complain of a gorgeous day like today in a place that is so generally rainy and cloudy. Our next destination was the Guinness Storehouse, but first we needed to grab something to eat. We found this little café on the way called Café Notto, and had some more delicious ciabattas. I love the sandwiches they make here, and the portions are much bigger. I've also had so much tea and coffee with meals; I have to say I've kind of splurged here. But, it's Dublin, and I was planning on that anyways. Everything has made the whole experience a bit better.

We made our way to the storehouse, and turns out it was a self-guided tour. It was interesting stuff, but the best part was the Gravity Bar at the top, and a pint of Guinness, fresh-brewed, that came with the tour ticket to get in. All I can say is YUM... The Gravity Bar is particularly awesome because it has a 360º view of the entire city of Dublin. You can even see the mountains in some directions; it's quite lovely. The day had turned cloudy, but honestly, you almost feel like that's how it's supposed to be -- and it is always beautiful in its own way. Of course, we had to stop to get some souvenirs -- can't go to the Guinness Storehouse and not get something to bring back. Funniest part about the history of the storehouse? Arthur Guinness signed the lease for the brewery for 9000 years. Yeah, 9 thousand. He's crazy, but clearly had faith in his brewers! Beer has been around for 10,000 years, and he signed a lease for that long. The current Storehouse spreads out over 55 acres and with current technology they brew 3 million perfect pints a day. Those are pretty incredible statistics. The place was an experience for sure, and was definitely worth it.

yes, yes it is

Gravity Bar
After this, we didn't have anything left planned for the day. We came back to Isaac's and relaxed a bit and then went out to visit Grafton Street, do a little shopping, and grab something to eat.

Apparently we missed the memo that everything closes at 7pm on Sundays, and a lot of the store on Grafton St. were already closed by the time we got over there. However, it was still neat to walk down the street that has been so infamous in my mind, and just experience it all. There were plenty of buskers and just different people walking around, and of course we got to take a picture in front of the alley where Glen Hansard was playing in "Once" (if you haven't seen that movie; get on it, it's excellent). We ended up eating at McDonald's, only because it was the only affordable thing open, and thus continued the trend of going to a fast food restaurant in every country we visit. It was okay though, being able to walk around afterwards, and enjoy the scenery and the people.

We decided to meander down the river, and it quickly went from bustling near O'Connell St. to quiet and relaxing, with a nice open walkway that traveled along the river. I took some great pics, and there is even a bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. By the time we made it about halfway to the ferris wheel we could see in the distance, we were both pooped, and decided to head back to the hostel for the night. I'm dreading saying goodbye to Dublin, but, I'm sure someday I will return -- hopefully sooner than later! But let's not get too hasty -- we still have one day yet here, and I intend to fully take advantage of it and soak it all in!

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