The second segment of the eight-week voyage went by so quickly, it was as if I didn’t even live it. Segment I was jam-packed with activity—with my family and their friends on board, I didn’t have a moment of rest trying to balance work stuff with social obligations with being a tour guide while on land—then they left, I fell sick and missed a good portion of the second 15-day portion of the cruise. Plus, we were hitting ports back to back, many for two-day stretches at a time and with only had two-and-a-half days at sea, it really did pass in a flash.
Luckily, I had been to every destination on that segment, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on a whole lot (other than the chocolate in Belgium) while sidelined with the flu. Besides, I had one goal in mind: make it to Dublin
healthy alive. Why Dublin? Well, it’s where I was meeting SVV after a month apart—and on our third anniversary at that. (Side note: How has it been three years?! And if you count the fact that we were legally married in 2009, it’s been almost four!)
SVV flew in around 7am and arrived at the port just as we were docking. After giving him a few-hour nap during which I worked (always), we packed our overnight bag and headed into the city center to find our hotel for the night.
Now, don’t get me wrong: You can stay on the ship every night even when it’s a two-day port, but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up. Particularly when celebrating a special occasion. Particularly when the hotel looks like this.
And leaves you glitter-covered cupcakes—only your favorite treat ever—because you might have “accidentally” dropped a hint that it was your anniversary. (Whoops. Worked.)
I had found the Dylan simply by searching “boutique hotels near St. Stephen’s Green,” knowing nothing about the property or the fact that it would be so gosh-darn cute. But it was. A Victorian-era nurses’ boardinghouse gone modern.
“Cute” isn’t even the right word. Stylish. Chic. Contemporary. Quirky. They all fit the bill. I’m not entirely sure who the designer of this property is—at first, I only assumed Philippe Starck but the concierge assured us it was not—but whoever he/she is, I’d very much like to meet him/her.
Our room was massive, even by American standards, something I am not accustomed to when traveling in Europe. The location is about a 15-minute walk east of the Green, tucked away on a quiet residential street in a place you’d never find if you didn’t go looking for it.
Therefore, no street noise to keep us awake that evening.
But it wasn’t the room that was the wild part. The room was tame in comparison to the awesomely bizarre public spaces, some of which glowed blood red.
If I had a home that were not an 1800s Victorian and I could design it in any way I pleased, I’d like to think it would be identical to the Dylan.
Rather than go out for a romantic dinner that night like I initially thought we might, we had a change of plans. First, we met up with my absolute favorite group of people on the ship, the Pattons, then we went on a pub crawl organized by a hostel with 20 of our closest ship friends (or rather 20 of my closest ship friends as SVV had only arrived that day and not yet met anyone).
And it was so much fun.
Sure, we could have organized a similar pub crawl of our own, but for 16 euro, it was nice just to be able to follow along, go where the leader told us, play Beer Pong when he said to play Beer Pong, drink what he suggested (in retrospect, it does sound a bit sketchy).
And at the end of the night, we retreated to our luxurious quarters at the Dylan. Winning.
I slept better—and longer—than I had in a month, and the following morning, we woke up and had a leisurely breakfast downstairs in the beautiful restaurant.
We had planned to do touristy things around Dublin seeing as it was SVV’s first time in the Irish capital—and I’m determined one day to actually make it to the National Leprechaun Museum, so help me God—but those fell flat once we walked around (and got drenched) in the spotty weather for a spell. Instead, we returned right back to the Dylan.
With so much going on back home—from launching KEEN Digital Summit to keeping up with my freelance load to tending to our Odinn clients, not to mention trying to post regularly on this blog—any stretch of quiet (and solid Internet connection) was a welcome respite from the frenetic pace of the ship’s environment. So we buckled down and worked.
Plus, in a hotel so beautiful, you can’t help but want to test out every room.
And so we did just that.
(Bless the hotel staff for not giving us the crazy eye. In typical Irish fashion, they were just as kind, friendly and helpful as you’d find anywhere.)
Eventually, much later in the day, it was time to return to the MV Explorer so we’d make ship time, but not without some regret. I could have easily moved into the Dylan Hotel if they would have let me, and suddenly my second deck cabin was looking a lot less plush.