In the summer of 2003, I was reading an issue of Budget Travel magazine and found a killer deal for a week in Ireland: $399 (pre-taxes and fees) for a round-trip flight from Baltimore, 6 nights in a B&B, and a rental car with unlimited miles. The catch? The available dates weren’t the best. Still, I couldn’t pass up that price, and it was about time my empty passport had its first stamp.
By the end of the trip, I decided I would return for my 30th birthday. And 6.5 years later, I would do just that.
I mostly wanted to return on my birthday because I’m born on St. Patrick’s Day. Now I realize that the holiday takes on a different significance in Ireland than it does in the states and that going to Dublin for St. Patty’s Day may be a TOURISTY thing to do. But I wanted to do it.
When this birthday trip would come up in conversation over the years, people tended to ask if they could come too. I always said yes.
In the end, 12 super friends were able to join me for an unforgettable week. This is the first in a series of posts about that experience!
Speaking of firsts, that’s what this (first!) “30th birthday trip” post is about!
A Day of Firsts
- I hadn’t flown out of Dulles in about 14 months, so it was my first experience in the “new” Dulles. It may look prettier now, but I thought it was quicker to get through security and to the gate before. Is Dulles really big enough to need the AeroTrain? It may be snazzy, but the old school shuttles that reminded me from something out of Star Wars seemed to do the job just as well…and in less time.
- It marked my first flight with Scandinavian Airlines. A decent trip. No complaints.
- I broke in my new G-Seat Light, Gel Seat Cushion. Despite rave reviews, it didn’t help as much as I hoped it would. It gets its shot at redemption in just a few short weeks with a much longer flight.
- I’d always wondered if No-Jet-Lag really worked. So in anticipation of flying to Oz, I got a box of tablets before this trip. I figured an over-night flight and having a layover in continental Europe was enough reason to give it a whirl. Not sure if it really did anything, but again, I’ll have another go at it soon. Has anyone ever tried it? What are your experiences?
- During the safety video before take off, we were instructed that “passengers are requested not to sleep on the floor.” Really? Does this happen? I’ve never heard that one before and had never seen someone sleep on the floor either…until this flight of course! A few hours after take off, a girl in her late teens or early 20s got down on her knees, faced her seat, folded her arms on the seat, and laid her head down. And there she slept for a good while. Amazing.
Obviously, I haven’t even landed in Dublin yet, so look for birthday-trip-part-2 soon. It gets more exciting, promise.