Our First Flight on RyanAir

Day 11 of our trip was a bittersweet one, as it meant the end to our time in Ireland (which we loved), but also the start of the next leg and some cask ales in London.

This day was mostly a travel day, so unless you’ve very enthralled with the trip it may be one worth skipping.

We took a one hour drive to Kerry International Airport and dropped off the rental car.  We had vigorously sorted the contents of our bags and carry-ons to make sure and stay under the weight limits (just barely), so we didn’t have any problems.  The same can’t be said for the guy in front of us, who’s overweight backpack left him shoveling cans of baked beans into his mouth to reduce the weight and avoid the hefty fine, which would have been more than the ticket itself.

Once at the gate, we didn’t’ really think things through and consider that RyanAir is just a free for all boarding process.  As such, we were towards the back of the boarding line and worried we were going to get stuck apart and in cramped middle seats.  As it turns out, they board from both the front and rear of the plane and most people just take the first seats available.  We went in the rear and were able to walk to the middle where we found two juicy wide open exit rows for the taking.  In the end, the exit rows were the last to fill.  Why?  I have no idea, but I don’t ask too many questions when the mystery leaves me with ample legroom on a $42 flight.

Landing in London Stansted, we lined up for the bus to Victoria Station which would drop us off near our hotel.  Upon meandering to our hotel through what can only be described as Arab-town (essentially China town, but with Arab cuisine and shops instead of chinese) I learned an important rule about naming your own price on Priceline (which we’d had good luck with before).  Namely, Priceline draws its own borders around the bidding zones you can bid in, even if they have the same name as a neighborhood with differently defined borders.

You see, after doing lots of research online I determined that the Bloomsbury area offered the best mix of affordability and closeness to the pubs and places we’d want to be.  As it turns out, the Bloomsbury bidding zone on Priceline extends quite a bit further than the area typically referred to as Bloomsbury by Londoners, and we ended up a little ways from where we really wanted to be.  Fortunately, the 1.5 mile difference was covered fairly quickly via a couple Tube stops.  Unfortunately, I poorly remembered the map of London’s 100 best pubs I had looked at several times and had us get off a Tube stop too soon.  After walking around without coming across any pubs, we threw in the towel and headed back to the hotel where we grabbed a couple drinks at the hotel bar and knocked down some delicious Lebanese food for dinner.

One other quick note in an otherwise pretty uneventful day is that Priceline put us in a Marriott whereas the rest of our trip was mostly local, European style hotels.  That day and a half in London at the Marriott marked pretty much the only time in our entire trip when we had even somewhat reliable wifi.  It was nice getting back a few of the day to day creature comforts like that in the middle of the trip.

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