While waiting in line for immigration, a sweet little couple from Indiana inquired after our stay. The little lady was originally from Ireland and she advised us to take a bus, rather than a train, from Dublin to Cork. We had a tad bit of difficulty with Immigration because we are staying in Ireland longer than 3 months and had to go through the first steps of the registration process. But, before we knew it, they stamped us into Ireland!
We visited the information desk and were again advised to take the bus from the airport to Cork. The bus did its job and got us to our destination, but it was a rough ride. I now wonder what a train ride would have been like. It was a five-hour drive with over a dozen stops. I don’t think it would have seemed so bad if Jenny and I weren’t trying our hardest to stay awake and resist jet leg. Our goal was to make it until 9:00 pm before going to bed, but we were exhausted. Dublin had a lot of trees and reminded me a lot of Wisconsin, which made me laugh. As we drove farther south, the beauty of Ireland popped out everywhere. Wide-open, treeless fields with sheep and horses surrounded us. So beautiful!
Cork is beautiful too, but in an entirely different way. The streets are busy and full, but calm and relaxed at the same time. Looking around Jenny and I realized that we had no idea where to go next. We could flag down a taxi, but we’ve never done that in America and had no clue about how that works in Ireland. So, we walked in a hopeless attempt to find our apartment. Lugging around seventy pounds didn’t make the attempt very successful.
After a solid half an hour of this aimless walking we spotted a grouping of taxis. Immediately one of the drivers waved us over and began to walk to his taxi (a minivan!) We followed and told him the name of our apartment. He assured us that he knew where it was. There are two sets of Leeside Apartments and he drove to the other one first, but then Jenny told him the street name of ours and he had to re-route. Inevitably, he dropped us at a building just a few blocks from where we started. He got out and told us to check in at the office, but said that he didn’t know where the office was, and then left. This place was extremely sketchy. We asked two guys who had just exited the building if this was Leeside Apartments and they laughed and said, “This definitely is not Leeside Apartments.” They directed us down the road to a building that was missing windows. We did not go there
Walking around aimlessly began once again. We peered into a building that looked like a flower shop to see if we could ask for directions when a delicate, white-haired, little Irish lady asked us if we were lost. This was her house. We told her that we were looking for our apartment and she set down her grocery bag, asked us to watch it, and crossed the street. She brought a man back with her. He called Leeside Apartments on his phone and told them to wait for us outside and then gave us specific directions to the building.
Once inside, we were led to one of the two Penthouses within the building. It was such a treat to be given such a large apartment and such a relief to finally drop our seventy pounds of luggage. If I wasn’t in Ireland, I would say that this was a pretty unfortunate day, but I’m in Ireland and can’t complain!
Katie Riesterer is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.