Earning My Ears
- Oct 27, 2013
Mike and Sam Go West!
A Holiday Extravaganza
Well! Where to start!? You know I didn't even write a Pre-Trippie for this trip because I simply ran out of time. A previous Trippie (as some of you may have read) for Hong Kong & Japan got eeked out for a VERRRRY long time, so much so by the time I had finished writing it I had to really study pictures and notes to try and remember all the finer details. Suffice to say, it was finished just before this holiday began, and what with packing and what not, the Pre-Trippie just didn't happen. So I will give a few paragraphs at the beginning of Day 1 to introduce you to our holiday plans.
Firstly, I plan to make this trippie a combination of Vlog (Videos), Photos, and...well Trip Report writings! The vlog part of it is what takes up the most time, all the editing and creating it etc, (so PLEASE subscribe on YouTube for those sneak peaks before the trippie is live!) although some days may require longer episodes where more stuff happened, so bear with me.
How did this trip come about?
Well, whilst on holiday, myself and Sam got together as an item. It's crazy because we have known each other since we were 3, but it was only now it happened! So naturally we wanted to book something special for our first official holiday together. Sam had already been planning to go to California because one of her friends from college was getting married in Vegas. She was going to go with her best friend, Jade, who was also going to go for this wedding, and make it into a huge holiday with LA bolted on.
So then I became invited . I have been to both LA and San Francisco in 2012, and I remember when I left I said I knew I'd be back. I didn't know when, but I knew I would be, and here we are! I couldn't wait and jumped at the chance. The holiday developed and it ended up that we would be going with Jade, and her boyfriend Jake and sharing the holiday which was a nice idea. I suggested to Sam that it would be nice to visit San Francisco, but just the two of us which she liked the idea of. So it was set. A massive 18 day holiday.
But wait... whats this all about "Boomerang Flights" - well, it seemed that with all that we wanted to do, it was actually going to save us £400 (YES £400!) each to go to Dublin for the day before the holiday, enjoy an extra day of holiday mode, and then head off Stateside. So that's what we booked. It was even cheaper for me because I used some Avios so only paid £17.50 for my Dublin Flight :d:
And thus begins, the Trip Report...
ITS HERE! Holiday time! We booked this holiday on 4th July last year. LAST YEAR! And finally the count down had ticked around and here it was. Holiday time! Originally we were going to be parking at the airport, but I need all my quota from work for another cheeky trip later in the year which I won't mention now, so Sam's Dad offered to drive us to the airport. Our flight to Dublin did't depart until 10:25 so we had plenty of time to get there. Though Sam had some crazy idea of leaving at 5am. Now we only live in Watford (UK), and I work at Heathrow Airport (West London)...I don't even leave at 5am for a 6am shift! So I said absolutely no way. 6:00am and not a minute earlier!
Ding dong... 6am was here, and Sam was knocking on the door. I wish I had my camera available when I opened it, she was gleaming and jumping on the spot clapping - holiday time! I said my goodbyes to Mum & Dad (who promptly told Sam to ensure I ring on Skype every day and we loaded all my stuff into Sam's car. Her case was tiny! The same one she took to the Far East last year - how was she gonna bring back all that merchandise? Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The traffic hadn't really started to build up yet, so we were at Heathrow just before 7am which was in good time. Our bag drop didn't open until 0725, so we had some time to kill. Sam went to the loo (which is clearly her favourite thing to do - as you will see on this holiday!) and then we headed over to Caffe Nero which is in the corner of the terminal Landside. I grabbed me some coffee and we bagged a window seat to watch some of the aircraft pushing back and jetting off to sunnier climbs. I think I had a Vanilla Latte - and Sam had nothing - else she would have to go to the toilet again!
Our bag drop time soon came around and we got rid of those before going through security. It is weird going through and seeing people you know but I suppose its like seeing people you know when you work in a shop - you try to avoid but it never works! We didn't know what to do next really - we didn't really want to have any breakfast because we knew we'd get something on the plane, and then we planned to have both lunch and dinner in Dublin, so we headed downstairs and I took Sam to a place where I know usually has a spare few loungers - The Quiet Area - which isn't really that quiet at all and we made that our base camp for the next couple of hours.
I was tracking our aircraft (I knew which one it was - avgeek! which was coming in after an overnight stop in Bologna and it was making its approach to Heathrow, so I readied the cam and got some nice footage of it landing, plus the buildings in the way of course. I made a quick toilet stop before I found out our gate - could have found it out a bit earlier but really didn't have the energy to chase the aircraft around the terminal! We made our way over to gate A22 and took our seat with a nice view of the southerly runway. Sam isn't too keen on flying so I was trying to take her mind off of it, but she kept pointing out "pretty planes" (she knows I'm a big avgeek .
Anyway it was soon time to board, so we were herded off into the never ending queue maze like sheep to follow each other onto the aircraft. I had managed to bag us a fairly nice seat up near the front over looking the engine.
Ever since Sam & I got together, she knows that there are a few new rules which she has to stick to when it comes to flying. Firstly, I'm afraid I get the window seat. It's just a given. As I said at the top, my YouTube channel is about aircraft, so naturally I'm gonna take the opportunity to make a cheeky video! And the only other rule is - when the camera is rolling - sssh! Crazy I know, but thats my only requirements, take me or leave me! We chatted for a while but as it got closer to departure time she started getting a bit more quiet (from nerves!) but I assured her there was nothing to worry about! It wasn't long before we were pushing back and went on the long haul down to the other end of the airfield (literally) to depart.
I like taking short haul flights from Heathrow, because usually you get to about eye level by the time you reach the control tower, nice view! I was busy filming for the first 15-20 minutes of the flight so Sam tucked into her bag of Haribo minions and was reading one of her books. When I realised we were 20 minutes into what was only really less than an hours flight, I was getting a bit concerned they weren't going to feed us - and to be honest they may as well not have bothered! Most morning flights I've flown on with BA you get a croissant or similar in Economy. Not this one - oh no. A small bag of crisps and a drink of choice. Mine literally disappeared in seconds and if Sam hadn't done the same with hers, I would have made them disappear as well!
The flight was fairly uneventful and it was pretty cloudy for the majority. Soon the crew collected in our empty packets of crisps (not mine - ate mine in hunger... !) and we began our descent into Dublin. Because Dublin is near the coast nearly the entire approach is over the Irish Sea which is pretty cool, but the land soon appeared and we made a fairly on time touch down. Of course we then had to wait for quite frankly for ever! It seemed to be rush hour at Dublin so we had to queue for a gate. Sam was naturally itching to get off and away from the plane so the 20 minute wait wasn't really welcomed by her - nor me - still starving!
I had a word with the crew as we got off the aircraft, they'd had a long morning flying home from Bologna, and then to Dublin, last flight of the day for them back to Heathrow. They had a fairly quick turn around because of the delay of getting onto the gate so I left them be, and met up with Sam who was standing outside the aircraft door - she just didn't want to come in and see! Can't imagine why! Once we were in the terminal we quickly nipped to the loo, and whilst Sam was still in there I grabbed our suitcases which were just coming along on the belt that I saw. We made our way out of the terminal and went on what was quite the long walk to the central bus station where a free shuttle bus was meant to be picking us up to take us to our hotel, The Premier Inn - Dublin Airport (which is actually in Swords?).
Typical! Just missed the bus - and it was only every half an hour. So we stood around talking about...you guessed it - food. We were pretty hungry by now. I hadn't told Sam, but I had a surprise lined up for later to take her to her favourite restaurant of all. If you read last years TR, you'll know what one that was! When the bus finally turned up it was a fairly quick bus ride to our hotel - we were the end of the line (I think it only stopped at 2 hotels anyway!).
Check in was fairly smooth (though I had totally forgot that we hadn't paid for the room - I soon sorted that out. Then we were off up in what looked a little like a lift you'd find in a hospital, up to Room 301. Literally the furthest possible walk from the lift later, we were in! It was actually quite a nice room as you can see above. I don't think I'd ever stayed in a Premier Inn before, but compared to Travelodge - and for what was essentially the same price, it won hands down! We had a 20 minute rest or so whilst we got ourselves together, before went off in search of food. Sam has spotted a Subway just down the road when we were driving in - so that seemed like a pretty good bet! Sam only ever eats Subway when abroad (no idea why! ) so this seemed like the perfect time to start. I got my usual - the Meatball Marinara on Italian Herb & Cheese with onion and BBQ sauce - Sam grabbed the same but on plain.
The Irish woman behind the counter seemed to have great difficulty in understanding my English accent. Didn't think we were that far removed but clearly I was wrong!
We had to pop into Swords before we headed off into Dublin, because somehow the day before the holiday I had lost my charger for my DSLR which was a disaster - I still don't know where it is to this day! So I had a universal one on reserve at Currys for €19 - frustrating as there was literally a Currys opposite the hotel - none in stock! It was about a 20 minute walk there, a quick browse around, and a 20 minute walk back. So about an hour later we were ready to head into Dublin! It was surprisingly warm so I dumped extra weight out of my back pack and we headed to the bus stop.
I hadn't been on a public bus in years so this was an experience for me! We managed to get a seat on the top deck which was the most important part! The journey into Dublin city centre was about 30 minutes ish - but it didn't seem to take that long at all. We really had no idea where we were getting off - it turned out we actually got off 2 stops too early, but we just followed the crowd. Lets face it most bus stops are only a minutes walk apart anyway these days! We had a little mooch around here but Sam was already hungry again - "I like food, food is good" in her own words my kind of girl. She was also gasping for a drink, so asked if I could reveal where we were going for dinner, and could we go there now? We had only had lunch a couple of hours ago! Never mind, it was about half 5 to be honest now anyway so it was close enough to dinner time. We were going here...
Hard Rock Cafe is without doubt Sam's favourite restaurant, so I thought it only right to start here! Plus we were aiming to go to everyone one we came across, and she wasn't keen on going to Dublin initially anyway - so it made that boomerang flight a bit more worth while for her. I actually had Sam's usual - Twisted Mac & Cheese & Chicken, and Sam opted for a Caesar Salad because it was so hot. She normally finds the spice too much in the Mac & Cheese too - and I distinctly remember this one being fairly spicy so it was probably for the best!
We also opted to share a Chocolate Shake for dessert which was heavenly. The only problem I noted with this Hard Rock was that the service was pretty slow. We had to wait about 20 minutes after being seated before we even saw a server to catch the eye of which was pretty poor, but never the less we enjoyed it anyway. I'm a member of the Hard Rock Rewards club, so I grabbed my points from the receipt naturally, and we headed into the gift shop. We collect the shot glasses from every Hard Rock we've been to rather than the T-Shirts so I grabbed one before we left. The T-Shirts are so much more expensive so this is a nice way to grab a souvenir as a lower price.
We headed out into the Temple Bar area of Dublin, which is basically a street which is just lined full of pubs, bars, and clubs - and everyone seemed to be having a good time! We didn't really feel like getting drunk or anything because of the long day ahead of us tomorrow which we knew we had to get through, so we opted to just take in some of the sights. One of which being this...
At some point over the holiday, we were seeing my friend Luke who lives out in LA (don't even get me started on how lucky he is...! who is seemingly in love with pizza. Sam has never met Luke before, so all she knew was of his love for pizza. So she insisted any time we saw any reference to pizza - we must capture it for our holiday memories and rub it in his face. So thats why we have a picture of Papa John's haha!
The Temple Bar nightlife was starting to pick up - so we decided to start heading back towards the hotel up near the airport and get a seemingly early night - on the basis tomorrow we'd be up for nigh on 24 hours - if not longer with the time difference! On the way back once we had crossed the river, Sam found her very own barber shop! Sam's Barbers! Of course she earns not a cent from it. Told her she should sue for the use of her name. The bus stop seemed to be fairly hard to find! Thankfully Three Feel at Home came into play here, and it seemed that (according to Google) that the bus came down one street, but went back up another - so we had to walk to a completely different place to pick it up to go back to the hotel. Thankfully we made it back onto the bus and enjoyed the bus ride back home whilst the sun was setting over Dublin Airport.
So that was pretty much the boomerang part of the holiday done! We had enjoyed a day in Dublin - and I wouldn't mind maybe going back for a long weekend to just explore it more. We really didn't have much time in Dublin, nor did we have much money to spend here as 99% of it for both of us was reserved for the almighty US Dollar. But it was nice all the same. When we got back to the room Sam jumped straight in the shower whilst I was watching some of the aircraft arrivals and listening to the air traffic control (just how I roll!) but then the light got pretty poor, so I jumped in the shower too. After a quick go of the new hard drive (which I didn't explain before - a portable hard drive with an SD slot - just put in your memory card and it saves all the photos and videos for you - awesome!) I managed to get into bed and fall asleep. Tomorrow was going to be a VERY long day! But we were off to Amurrrrrica!
Thanks all for reading and hopefully watching my first day of the holiday. Any YouTube subscriptions and likes I really appreciate as I want as many as possible to watch this series . Tomorrow sees us return to Heathrow where it all began, to turn around and fly back past Dublin to our first American destination - LAS VEGAS! Hope to have it up for you very soon! Comments and questions welcome as always!