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Kate's European Adventures.

How often are schools actually in session here?

IRELAND | Sunday, 22 February 2009 | Views [572]

  •  I’m never going to complain about the amount of holidays I get as a teacher, but it does seem schools over on this side of the world have an awful lot of holidays. However, seeing as the reason I’m over here is to travel and see as much of the world as possible, it works out quite fine for me.

    This week saw a week’s holiday from my teaching job for midterm break and me flying to London to see my friend before she heads back to Australia with a Kiwi fella in tow (look out Mildura). She’s been in London about 6 months now, arrived about the same time the recession joined the UK. So unfortunately she struggled a little to get steady work, due to the fact that a million other people are in her position too. A few days in London with her were the perfect way to spend my week off.

    Wednesday I jumped on a plane and landed in London. With instructions on the fine points of London public transport, I attempted to get my way from Luton airport to Charring Cross station. Which I did; but after a 40 minute wait at Luton Airport station due to a fatality on the track, a mad dash up the stairs to the next platform over after a last minute change (with pack on back and a pair of small wedge heeled boots on – due to the fact they were going to take up room in my luggage), and then 2 tube train rides later, phew! London with this many people and all its chaos makes Dublin seem like a country town. Kind of like how Adelaide must look after being in Melbourne or Sydney. I met Carley and her new bloke at Charring Cross where he left us and we then waited for Lisa to finish work and come meet us at Trafalgar Square so we could grab some dinner before heading to their place in Sidcup.

    Last time I was in London Trafalgar Square was still dominated by the giant Christmas tree that was there. This time it was exactly what I had expected. People everywhere, the lights just starting to illuminate all the statues as it was just on dusk, really a pretty cool place to hang out for half an hour or so. Really, the few days in London saw not a lot of sightseeing. The reason I was there was just to chill and hang with Carley before she jets off home. So we did some shopping and went to the movies, and managed to drink an awful lot of wine. Friday, Lisa took the day off work and we hung out in our city clothes, had a ridiculously huge lunch at an Italian restaurant and then made our way to the Walkabout pub in Temple for some farewell drinks for Carley and Matt.

    Back in Oz we have kitschy Irish pubs that really only mean another place to drink, and I guess that’s exactly what this ‘Australian’ pub is too. Even if I had got myself excited about some good old Australian beer – come on Carlton Draught – and was disappointed to see only Fosters on tap as the sole Australian representative, we had a great night. I had to keep checking myself to remember I was in London and not back home in Australia being surrounded by Carley and Matt’s Aussie friends, kind of a funny experience, but the pub wasn’t tacky at all – just lots of sports on the tellies but not one ounce of Australian Rules Football. Coming out of the pub at 2am and seeing the bright lights of London across the way was pretty cool, it all looks fairly spectacular lit up at night.

    An early Saturday morning saw a very weary Kate make her way to Luton airport, far more successfully and smoothly this time I might add, to head back to Dublin. I just love the fact in Dublin it costs e €1.60 to catch the 16A bus from the airport right to my doorstep basically, well the Tesco’s at the end of my street actually. None of this fluffing around with a bus to the train, to the 2 different undergrounds, to the above ground bus and then the 15 minute walk. Don’t get me wrong, London is pretty cool, but I’ve definitely been living in a country town for too long. Dublin has a bit more a smaller feel too it, not so big that I can’t walk around if I wanted to, but just big enough to still be the capital city of a country. So with this new found desire to see places and things, my roomy Erin and I decided that Sunday we should take the Dart (the train) to Howth for some fish and chips.

    And that’s exactly what we did. For the Melbournians out there, I immediately thought Queenscliff. Small little town situated on the coast. There are boats and yachts moored at the marina, a couple of lighthouses, some incredible hillside rocky cliffs and a few quaint little shops thrown in. We walked up the pier to take some photo’s looking back into the town, then wandered through the little market selling all sorts of great foods and up the main street. We kept wandering up the hill to get a good view out across the little bay and stumbled across this old church ruins with a little cemetery surrounding it. It was such a nice little town at the end of the train line, and it was clear that it’s the place Dubliners go for something to do on the weekend. The queue at the fish and chip shop was out the door, so we headed to the pub instead for some good pub food.

    Now I’m ready (well sort of) to head to school tomorrow all refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for the next 6 weeks before we have 2 more weeks off over Easter. I wonder where I’ll head on these holidays...

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