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Transportation #1: Plane

So after the insanity that was our first day of vacation (starting out with a CANCELED flight at midnight), we finally made it onto a flight to Dublin.

(SEE ALSO: 3 mistakes I made when my flight was canceled)

(SEE ALSO: 5 things I did right when my flight was canceled)

The flight left at about 6pm, which meant that midnight on our first day in Europe began 35,000 feet in the air, on our way over the Atlantic Ocean

Now, we were supposed to arrive in Dublin at 8:00 local time the day BEFORE, but due to the flight cancellation, we counted ourselves lucky to have gotten seats on the first of 2 Boston-Dublin flights the next day. That flight left at 6pm Boston time and arrived at about 5:00 a.m. local time. While we had planned for a little over a day in Dublin, we suddenly found ourselves with only a few HOURS in Dublin

Transportation #2: Bus

After landing at the Dublin airport at 5 a.m. and clearing customs, we took the AirCoach from the Dublin airport into the city center.  The bus ride into the city took about 30 minutes as traffic was very light due to the early hour.

There are several stops in the main part of Dublin, but we disembarked near Trinity College just as the sun was starting to come up

trinity-college

Transportation #3: Walking

With only a few hours in Dublin, we opted for a walking tour.  I had found a Rick Steves e-book that gave a walking tour of the northern part of Dublin (north of the River Laffey), and another walking tour on the Internet that took us past St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar and several historical sights from the Irish War of Independence

The seal on St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin

The seal on St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

Transportation #4: Train

After we finished our walking tours, we walked our way over to Dublin Connolly station.  We had tickets for a 9:35 train from Dublin to Belfast Central station in Northern Ireland.  We had gotten there a little early and it took us awhile to figure out where to go and how to print out the tickets that we had ordered online (there’s a kiosk in the train station)

After a brief wait, we boarded our train for the 2 hour train journey up the Irish coast.  Carolyn slept most of the way

Transportation #5: Taxi

Upon arrival at Belfast Central train station, we made our way through the station to the outside.  After a quick stop to withdraw pounds, we were initially confused by taxi hawkers right in the station.  A helpful train station employee alerted us that the “official” taxi queue was downstairs, and our taxi ride from the train station to Belfast City Airport (BHD) ran us about 9 pounds sterling.

Thanks to the Priority Pass benefit of the American Express Platinum card, we spent 60 minutes in the airport lounge, where we could see the plane that was ready to take us to London

british-airways-plane-bhd

Actually we probably spent 65 minutes in the lounge (even though we SHOULD have only spent 60), because by the time I looked up, our plane was already boarding.  We had to quickly grab our stuff, rush out of the lounge, and run to our gate.  Thankfully our gate was right next to the lounge and we made it without any problems.

Transportation #6: Plane (again)

The flight from Belfast to London Heathrow was about 90 minutes and uneventful.  Having not wanted to pay extra for seat assignments, we were towards the back of the plane, but we crossed the Irish Sea without issue and made it to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 without issue.

It took us awhile waiting in line at the airport to get and load our Oyster cards for London’s public transport

Transportation #7: Subway

Well technically they call it the “Underground” in London, right? 🙂  We had chosen not to take the more expensive (and slightly faster) Heathrow Express, instead taking the Picadilly Line into central London and transferring at Green Park to the Victoria line.

We were staying at the Staybridge Suites Vauxhall (Where I “wasted” my 2 IHG free night certificates) and it was about a mile walk from the Vauxhall underground station to our hotel.

big-ben-dan

But after a long day’s journey, we just dropped off our bags before heading back out to see the sights and grab some dinner before returning for some well-deserved rest.  Our crazy first day in Europe had finally ended!

Readers: Have you ever had a crazy transit day like this?  Share your story in the comments!

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