If you can’t get a spot in the immigration bureau queue, hop on a bus to Glendalough.
I rose from bed at 6, before the sky lights turned on, and caught the 39A to city centre. Today is the day I will get my student visa card! Well, tough luck. I had no problem finding the building. The stone structure with a two-stranded necklace of bundled-up people? Yeah – I found it no problem. The end of the line was as hard to find as the start of an infinity symbol. Everyone in line carried either a hot coffee, a book, or an umbrella in one hand. Thank goodness the morning mist dissipated after ten minutes. I was about to melt into the sidewalk from despair. Isn’t the early bird suppose to get the worm? Looked like every bird in the town flocked to grab the grub.
The line moved quickly as numbers were taken and people left with their documents. Hopeful I was at receiving a number, by the time I got close to the door, a man in a suit and tie announced that all numbers were taken for the day. In disbelief, I looked at my new friends from the line and smiled, “Well, see you on Monday for take two?” The Turkish man I got to know, who wants citizenship because his children were born in Dublin, waved good-bye and wished me luck.
After two hours of standing in the cold, I went in search of a bus to Ballinastoe. What else was I to do on a sunny Friday morning? Along the way, I met a student from Nigeria, who was afraid to cross the street because she was use to her driver back home taking her everywhere in a city. We parted ways to find our bus stops. To add to my unfortunate morning, I was led on a wild goose chase to various bus stations all over town. I bought a ticket to Ballinasloe, misreading one letter of the alphabet. Fortunately, I figured out I did not want to head 2 hours to Galway in order to reach my destination. Upon returning the ticket, a wonderful woman at the information desk answered my prayers and gave me exact directions to the Glendalough bus (St. Kevin’s) – which stops directly in Ballinastoe. The clock read 10:30. I had one hour to walk to Dawson Street, parallel to Grafton Street. Every day at 11:30, the St. Kevin’s bus leaves to Glendalough for a fair price of 20 euro round trip. But for 8 euro, I went to Ballinastoe – a sweet gem just a few towns before the final stop. Most of the passengers headed to the end of the journey, while a man and myself hopped off early to find Biking.ie. On our walk up to find the biking and walking trails of Bstoe, we talked about what brought us to the same place. Come to find out, this man was the tour manager for Joan Baez! For over 20 years he has toured with musicians all over the world. During the daytime, he simply wants to get out into the countryside, away from all the hustle of the city. I feel the same way…sometimes the city life can be stressful. As a student, spending a day off campus and out of Dublin can be refreshing and rejuvenating.
Having a bad day? Need to get away from people? Maybe indulge in a spontaneous day trip to the Ballinastoe area or Wicklow in general. Fancy bikes? Biking.ie can sort you out with top-notch bikes for a road spin or mountain trails! Perhaps you will find yourself walking along the trails, and stopping at a vista point to take in the sheep grazing on green patch-work. Breathe the country air and escape into the emerald landscape!