When your main job and focus in life is exploring the kind of countries that Premier Trump calls “shitholes”, you end up kinda neglecting what one might call“normal” countries – places that are very much on the beaten track. In fact,aside from my yearly jaunts to pre-apocalyptic Britain, my sole Western European adventure in the last 3 years was a night in Munich and Salzberg. This was largely spent researching beer gardens and schnapps (both were very good).Yet fate was to deliver me back into the first world, searching for islands in Ireland on behalf of our island buying group.
The initial part of my journey had me flying from Hong Kong to London Heathrow. When it comes to flying (whether long- or short-haul) I have a number of magic tricks to make said journey that bit easier, one such trick being deployed to Jedi 3 seats to myself. The G cook book decreed that adding valium to said 3 seats would result in sleep, and I thus managed to sleep for 10 of 12 hours. On the other hand I missed duty-free, and my anus still feels like it has a piece of a seatbelt in it.
I had tactically arranged a 5 hour layover in LHR before my ongoing flight to Cork – good forward planning – but I was also now with 3 hours to kill in dank,dark morning London. Thankfully, last January I bit the bullet and got an American Express Platinum Card, which gets you Priority Pass lounge access. I duly went to Plaza Premium arrivals lounge for breakfast and a shower. And, of course, that wonderful feeling of superiority that being in a lounge gives you.
I guess I’m now becoming quite the lounge expert, and there is quite a difference between your low-key arrivals lounges and your big sexy departure ones. After checking into my Aer Lingus flight to Cork I was into my second lounge of the day. If you’re wondering what flight lounges are all about: it’s basically free food, drinks, comfy chairs, smugness and plugs. And I embraced it all. You really cannot start the day much better than with a full English (breakfast, for our North American friends).
It turns out the UK and Ireland are quite close both culturally and geographically, and no sooner had I closed my eyes on the flight, I was in Cork. One of the great things about flying into the EU – that I guess we’re gonna lose soon (but hey we do get the iconic blue passport back!) – was the ease of passport control. They look, it’s red, you go through.
And there it was! Literally 20 hours after I’d left the YPT office, I was standing in Cork Airport. I immediately called my friend who was supposed to be picking me up, only to be informed that he was running around four hours late….
Thus my adventure was to begin like genuine poor person; I was to take public bus! This was gonna be an exciting trip.