I have been using public transport this week, while the Passat was unavailable

It all started when my Volkswagen Passat diesel felt a bit bouncy in its handling last Saturday. I wasn’t sure, but looking at it hard it looked like it was leaning on one corner. Right enough, something was suspect and it was lower on one corner. It hadn’t hit the handling that much, and with the sports suspension it has it sits low already.

So phoned the garage and they could take it Wednesday, so I wasn’t going to drive it unless it was to the Garage, scared that it would drop even further and hit the ground.

So out with the planner on Traveline Scotland, which uses public transport information to plan journeys in the UK, with more detail on Scotland. This is an excellent service, only tripping up occaisionally, like when the bus it had told me to catch outside my door failed to turn up.

The problem with the car turned out to be a broken spring, the Garage didn’t have the part and I was onsite for a couple of days so I haven’t the car all week. So I’ve been on the train from Edinburgh to Livingston, and Livingston to Glasgow. I’ve been to Livingston South, Livingston North, Edinburgh Park and Glasgow Central stations. And I’m off to Newcraighall station tomorrow to get my car back.

Back from four days in Dublin

I’m just back from a stay in Dublin. Up till now the kids hadn’t been in a plane, so I booked up cheap flights from Edinburgh to Dublin with Ryanair and we popped over for a few days.

First day there we went on the hop-on hop-off City Bus tour of Dublin, and did that about three times in total. This is the recommended technique for any city that you are unfamiliar with, lets you see where everything is and with the commentary from the Irish bus drivers, was quite amusing too. The open top had us absolutely frozen, so we grabbed a hot drink in the O’Briens in the Tourist Office on Suffolk Street.

Second day, when we managed to get up, was a visit to the Guinness Store House. Yes, they say the Guinness tastes better in Dublin but anyone who knows me knows that I have little experience to go on, so two complementary pints of the stuff wasn’t enough to form an opinion. That said, the gravity bar is an excellent experience and well worth the visit. This bar sits on the top of the factory and gives an almost 360 degree view of the city. Excellent stuff.

Third day was wandering about and a bit of culture, so we visited the National Gallery of Ireland, then popped almost next door to the Natural History Museum. Then wandered up the road and watched the pigeons in St Stephen’s Green. Then we went back down Kildare Street and visited the National Museum of Ireland there.

Opinions? An unfamiliar city and currency made it interesting, having the family to look after is a responsibility too. But I settled into it and would do it again. Could have sat on the tour bus a few times, the different commentaries are fascinating. Dublin and Ireland are a very interesting place too, the National Museum of Ireland has an excellent mix of archaeology and recent history and gives a potted history of the events leading up to the formation of the republic. Left Dublin with the impression that there is even more to find out. The City is going under a big change, with lots of cranes around the redevelopment of the town. I was surprised at the number of Motorcyles going around, Dublin has lots of dispatch riders on a variety of machines, the Garda were out and about on Honda Deaville’s and ST1100 machines and a few BMW bikes too.

And I didn’t even sample any of the night life !!