Day 2: Dublin Part Deux and the Voyage to Bergamo

Dublin’s great. It really is. I don’t consider myself a seasoned traveler, though I find it hard to believe that a friendlier bunch exist elsewhere. I mean… I’m a friendly guy too under the right conditions, but I can’t say I was expecting much as we approached the end of our initial stay in Dublin and our first encounter…

…with Ryanair.

“Avoid at all costs.”

“Worst around. Tickets might be cheap but the attitudes are awful.”

“Want to experience an unnecessary rush of anxiety? Fly Ryanair.”

“I don’t always fly Ryanair, but when I do, I try to sleep the whole time.”

I’m the kind of guy who reads reviews of stuff before he buys it. I read reviews of everything; really everything. I’ve read your standard reviews of the big ticket items: TVs, computers, cameras and items of the like. I’ve read reviews of middle-ticket items as well: phone cases, ammunition and other odds and ends. What might set me apart from your average reviewer though is that I won’t think twice about about figuring out what the public consensus is regarding shaving cream, garbage bags, and, only once that I can remember… twice to be honest, that I needed to know if vegetables from Wegman’s would hold up better than Vegetables from Tops Markets.

It’s a sickness really, needing to have as much information as I do before making a decision I’m comfortable with. Which is why my decision to fly Ryanair may surprise many of the friends and family that know my compulsions best.

RyanAir is pretty awfully reviewed with the exception of one facet of their booming business… their ticket prices. Everything else though, from the (un)timeliness of their flights and tendency to over book, to the monasterial strictness of their cabin baggage allowance have been anything but heralded on the world wide web. Their tickets are CHEAP though. The process of buying tickets online is amazingly clunky as well. Not only would you have a better chance navigating Times Square tied to a blind seeing eye dog than you would their primitive website, but they reinvent the term “over the top” by trying to sell you everything but the kitchen sink along with your ticket(s).

“Would you like to purchase travel insurance?”

“No”

“Are you certain you don’t need insurance?”

“Yes, next please.”

“You know, people get sick in Europe. Travelers insurance could save you over 10,000 euros in hospital bills. Might you reconsider your decision not to purchase insurance.”

“No.”

“Then could we offer you a train ticket to the city, priority boarding, our own custom Ryanair cabin bag, a pocket translator, GPS, overpriced food and drink, possibly a hug…”

Understand Ryanair yet?

As I sit here thinking if I’ve been to hard on Ryanair (especially because we survived the flight) I remember that I had original started to write with it in mind to make a point. Despite the rumblings of the blogosphere, the countless horror stories, and the lack of any reasonable expectations, our experience with Ryanair was actually pretty awesome. The desk clerks were happy, the flight attendants attentive, and the captain funnier than watching Lindsay Lohan go from Parent Trap to Rehab for the 6th (and finaI) time… It was truly just that, an amazing contrast to what we expected and I think I know why.

It was Ryanair in Dublin.

Fast forward 6 hours…

Flight was short. Log wait for the bus in Bergamo. Short ride to city center. Shorter taxi to Repopo’s B&B (totally got swindled by Piero, the old man in the Best Western who told us our B&B was “was too far to walk” (i.e. let me call my buddy who’s a cabbie so I can get a kickback when he charges you 9 euro to drive you 300 yards)

Let’s just call that our first 9 euro mistake we’ve made so far 🙂

Anyway… Made it to the B&B. Husband and wife team. Amazing people. Too great to elaborate on now, but their story will be told eventually.

Now laying in bed next to my lovely wife, tired. Bed. Now.

Oh… Photos include our hotel in Dublin, Sarah leading the way to St Patty’s Cathedral, Dublin city hall, and the bar at the Old Jameson Distillery (awesome).

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