Well what a surprise this was! Only days ago I was told the Pope would be visiting Dublin on Saturday. Yep the same Saturday I was due to fly out. How could I miss this?! No, not the fact I would miss the Pope, but the fact I booked to travel on a chaotic day!! #BELINDATRAVELFAIL
What surprised me most is that it was the first I was hearing about it, I mean it is an event that will attract 1000s and I had been spending a fair amount of time in the city and NOTHING, no signs, no notices – not even a hint his holiness would be gracing Dublin’s streets on Saturday 25th August. So off I went and stressed out about how I would drag my sorry ass to the airport amongst the worshippers.
I went straight to the source, Dublin Bus company, to scope out where my airport bus would be leaving from now, as there would certainly be street closures. I was told, through a flurry of internet searches and highlighting of maps that my particular bus would not be affected and I could catch it practically out the front of where I was having lunch with my mates that day.
What a mistake that was! Upon arriving in the city for my pre flight lunch (and Elly’s birthday!) I noticed the city was practically shut down. I hurried into the tourist office and asked them where I could now get the bus from. He said he wasn’t sure. That I could ‘try’ a bus across the street. After a quick investigation of simply looking in that direction, I noted that it too was on a closed road. FERRRRK.
Luckily I bumped into two people signposting bus stops ‘closed’ (on the day of the event) and asked them WHERE IN THE WORLD CAN I GET THE AIRPORT BUS?!?! They knew, and gave me yet another map with directions, but mostly a good chat. That is the essence of customer service! The ability to be knowledgeable yet also friendly and kind.
After having a grand time at lunch, even though we ran out of Prosecco momentarily, my friend Elaine and I battled through the Catholic crowd to the bus stop where I arrived on time and in fact early to the airport. My advice; try not to travel the day one man shuts down a city.
Ireland has been an amazing adventure and it quite reminds me of Sydney in some respects, just a lot more greener! Now Im off to Venice in Italy, flying Air Lingus. A day of firsts all round!
I better get to my gate….
Until next time