Dona and Joe’s European Vacation, Episode 1: Dona Calms Down; Joe Gets Back to His New York Roots

Not quite in Europe yet, as we decided to stay a few days in NYC before the overnighter to Dublin. We’ve already had our share of excitement.

You know the trip is getting off to a bad start when your hotel in Dublin calls before you leave to say they’ve lost your reservation and have now overbooked and can’t accommodate you. Yeah, well, we only made the reservation last December, on the hotel’s own website, so sure we can understand how we can have to scramble to find a last-minute replacement…ugh. That’s the Castle Clontarf in case you want to know which place to avoid. Dona’s on edge even before we leave.

Day of, and my first near gaffe. I figured leaving at 5:30 am would be soon enough for a 7:40 flight. Maybe in Peoria. Not Seattle. Fortunately Dona talked me out of that one and we left at 5. And with the requisite accident bottling up the freeway, we made it just in time.

Dona calm yet?

Don’t bet on it.

Get to the gate and for some reason the gate agent has accommodated another passenger’s seat request and inadvertently split us up. After holding us at the gate while they tried to figure it out (which let everyone else board so that there was no overhead bin space left), we figured we’d just ask whomever the passenger was to switch with Dona—she’d take their middle seat and give up a window seat. Who could say no? Well, let me introduce you to the first passenger in the history of aviation who WANTED the middle seat. Fortunately another passenger was willing to trade and it worked out. Dona, though, is still not calm.

Our flight was full of New Yawkers. I could right away tell from their lack of courtesy, mostly because I used to be one, although I haven’t lived here for forty years. In a strange way it felt good to be back, and let that darker, New York side of me—the side that would never dare come out in Seattle—have its day. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when within five minutes of landing I wound up calling some guy a jackass. (He barged through a doorway even though I was already in it, so yeah.)

After having our luggage delayed, and an Uber through Friday night NYC traffic, we are finally at our hotel. With a room upgrade. And a bar downstairs beckoning. Dona is almost ready to go down.

And she’s calm again.

More tomorrow.

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5 Replies to “Dona and Joe’s European Vacation, Episode 1: Dona Calms Down; Joe Gets Back to His New York Roots”

  1. What is it about Dublin hotels losing reservations? I had exactly the same experience, though I can’t be sure whether or not it was the Clontarf. I had booked months ahead of time through a trusted travel agent, and had a copy of my ticket in hand. For some reason, even though I was a student without a car and didn’t have any way into Dublin central, they had originally booked me in a branch of their hotel out in the burbs. Then, when I got there, complete with both backpack and some more conventional luggage (and I figured the backpack was the problem, they had a fancy dinner party getting together in the dining room, and I thought at the time that maybe their “loss” of my reservation was intentional), they couldn’t find it. Luckily, they had a space in one of their sister hotels in Dublin proper, along one of the Liffey quais, which was a little smelly, but actually turned out better for me in terms of locale and walking distance. So, I took a bus into town, and after a few days was ready to go to Trinity College Dublin for rooms anyway, the place where I was going to be staying while I took classes (incidentally, I think they also have some nice little rooms-sitting room-bathroom-with-kitchenettes for tourists who want to stay there and imbibe the scholarly atmosphere. I don’t know how far in advance you have to book them, though, or if you do, because mine was part of a course package). Dublin is beautiful as a city, so maybe when you get there, you’ll have a great time. There’s also University College to see and visit, and all sorts of cultural activities. I hope you and Dona can both relax and shake the bad luck that has been a part of your initial leg of your trip. Make sure to have a look at Stephen’s Green if you’re going to be any time at all in the city.

    1. I’m optimistic we’ll have a great time in Dublin. Rather than take the Clontarf up on moving us back to their place after one night, I was able to find move us to another, more accommodating (albeit more expensive) hotel. But at least the new one is right by the City Centre, so we can now walk to the sights. Clontarf would have necessitated ground transportation, and we haven’t been lucky in that regard either. We’ll definitely check out Stephen’s Green. Thanks!

  2. Okay, hopefully the worst is behind you. We’re all pullin’ for you to have a GREAT vacation!

    BTW, just ordered your book! Really looking forward to “reading you” again! I kept thinking it wasn’t being released until July—honest mistake. It was that danged “7.13” Publishing title I had in my head. Well, now I need you to sign it for me!

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