1. All the Christmas Craic
Side note: Craic is a term the Irish use here for vibe/atmosphere/fun. For example, That pub was really good craic.
There is something to be said about winter and Christmas, they just go together. Growing up my mum used to always tell us that Christmas wasn’t Christmas without snow. I guess it wasn’t Christmas for her when we were lounging in a pool and having a braai outside. Granted I grew up in Durban, and most Christmases were overcast and grey back home. But, it was never cold!
Since I have arrived in Dublin, the atmosphere around this holiday is just electric. Christmas music playing, homes heavily decorated, families going out and picking fresh, live Christmas trees. It really feels like Christmas should be, and I am loving it. Best of all, I think it has turned Rob from a proper grinch to someone who wears matching Christmas sweaters and wears his Rudolph beanie out in public on any random day.
2. The Sunsets
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I post a lot of pics of my view on our walks and travels around Dublin so far. The sunsets here can definitely compete to the ones in Joburg. I used to think nothing could beat a Jozi sunset, but I am starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, Dublin can.
Recycling is a BIG thing over here. Our street is too narrow to have big wheelie bins, so we have to leave our garbage out in colour-coded bags. The bags have very clear instructions on what can and cannot be put inside them (for example – no glass in the recycling bag, you have to take it to a glass depot, located in your town. The closest one to us is about 1 km away near the stadium). The one big shock to both of us was you have to buy these special branded garbage bags – you have to use them – or they won’t take our rubbish away. Not sure if that is because we don’t have the wheelie bins, but I think this is standard practice regardless. The yellow bags cost about €3 a bag (that’s R 50!). The clear bags with green writing are for recycling (paper, plastic, tins etc – just not glass). The recycling bags are a bit cheaper, around R 30 a bag.
It is so great that we can recycle quite easily – back home our specific neighbourhood didn’t have an option for recycling pick up, so it made it hard to do. Although having said that, now I walk to recycle. I am beginning to think I was actually quite lazy back in SA. Anyways, we are getting use to recycling now and it is really one of the things I most enjoy about being here.
4. Public Transport
Ok, so I am sure you knew I was going to say this. But let me surprise you – the buses here are not great. In fact, they do not always run on time. The app is super frustrating and unless you know exactly where you want to go, its difficult to navigate. The train is wonderful, but two swans can delay the trains (seriously, that happened a few weeks ago). The tram is great – it has two lines – problem is, the two do not connect, so you have to walk in between. *update: as of December 2017 the tram lines now connect and the green line has been extended further north – hooray!
The one thing Dublin has gotten right is their bike system. It is AMAZING. And that is why it is on my list on things I am loving about Dublin lately. You pay €20 a year to subscribe to the use the bikes (you need a thing card a leap card – which is like a Gautrain card expect you can use it on trains, buses, trams and bikes). There are bike stations all over the city, and one thankfully very close to us. You swipe your card at the bike station, select your bike, and viola! The best part is that if you return the bike to any one of the bike stations around town within 30 minutes – its FREE! Thereafter its like 50c for an additional half hour. Its super cheap for commuting to places and Rob uses this as his main mode of transport to and from work.
I am my mother’s daughter and Dublin has certainly unleashed this bargain queen! I love a good bargain. Since we are on a bit of a tight-ish budget with my salary coming in as Rands, it works out to be about 10 euros (ha! slight exaggeration for effect). So I am always watching the specials and finding bargains. Our firm Friday fave is to buy 99c Tesco double pepperoni pizza – seriously that is under R 16 for a full pizza – ridicoulous!
One of the things Rob and I promised we would NEVER do was compare or make SA sound worse than Dublin. It is not. It never will be. The two just can’t compare. South Africa is where our hearts will always be, but we have big hearts, and I think there may be a little space in there for Dublin too.
What is the best thing you love about your city?~ Meg ~