* I’m in Ireland! I’ve never been to Ireland, but now I have!

TL;DR: I went up Chester Cathedral’s tower, did Roman sightseeing, and trained and ferried all the way to Ireland.

I never really figured out how the heater worked in the hotel room in Chester and as a consequence I woke up early and cold. The shower disappointed me due to a lack of pressure, but I managed to clean myself anyway. I had a quick and delicious breakfast and headed out at 8:30 for my Roman adventure in Chester.



First stop was the amphitheatre, discovered in 1929 when the town council wanted to straighten out a road that had an obnoxious curve in it. They then discovered the reason for the obnoxious curve. The amphitheatre is only partially uncovered as the rest of it is under a listed house. I was impressed with the scale of it, and wandered around the floor, imaginary gladius in hand, fending off the advances of Sparticus.


My appetite whetted, I then found myself at the Dewa Roman Experience, which, alas, we’re doing maintenance that morning, and wouldn’t be open until after I had to head for the railway station. Too bad.

Instead, I went to Chester Cathedral, which I will categorize as fairly spectacular, with quirky bits of architecture and an excellent cloister garden (which was also closed, grr!). Since I had extra time with the lack of the Roman Experience, I opted to go on the Cathedral at Heights tour, which brings you up into the rarefied heights (it’s very obviously named) of the cathedral, ending up on the roof. The floor of the church from the gallery seemed o, so very far away, and the twisting spiral staircase we climbed seemed to go on forever until it suddenly didn’t. It was a clear morning, and we could see all the way to Liverpool from the roof. The wind blew hard up there, and I held on tight. I didn’t repeat my mistake at Senj, and properly ducked my head when I went back inside (On the rooftop of Senj Castle, I cracked my head so hard on the door frame I think I had a concussion. Not cool, Chris. Not cool).


Getting dizzy looking at this…

On my way out, I heard a to-do happening in the town square. There was a town-crier competition going on! (I actually knew this, but still cool ;)). I managed to catch the crier from Kingston, ON do a call for witnesses of a duel between Shott and Knot. It was impressive how he kept it together on such a tongue twisty speech.


Next, I went to the Grosvenor Museum, on the prompting of yesterday’s Legionary. It had quite a collection of Roman finds from the town, and gave a thorough going over of why the Romans chose the location, and stepped through the changes to the town over almost two thousand years. It also houses an exhibit of Roman tombstones found inside the wall. Workers had opened up a section to do some maintenance, and found that an early medieval fix (um, I think it was then!) had used some tombstones as filler. Great, because it meant they hadn’t weathered over the millennia and are all prime examples of 3rd century burial markers. Well, I thought it was great, at least.


Conwy Castle, from the train

I managed to not go back to The Pied Bull for lunch, even though every taste bud begged me to have another of those sandwiches (no repeats, remember?) so I went to another pub and had a pulled pork sandwich. It was also awesome. I meant to write down how they made it, so I could request it this way when I got home, but I didn’t! What?! Writer much?!!?! Anyway, I think it had lettuce and tomato and caramelized onions and cheese and mayonnaise(? Something, at least), all on a soft bun that kind of looked like a ciabatta, but wasn’t. Yum!

Then I got my luggage and caught the train to Holyhead. It wasn’t packed like the train to Chester, and I managed to relax and enjoy the countryside, and not sing “Torremolinos, torremolinos!” when we passed Rhyl. There was, of course, a bunch of drunk guys on the train. They were going on about how they’d been drinking all day, and one of them said something very drawly, and another said “Well, “that’s the problem with american politics, we here in Britain think we understand it, but we don’t, not really. They have a different mindset. I think it’s because they went through that revolution of theirs.”  They went on to have a quite insightful discussion about different revolutions around the world in different time periods and debated whether they were an improving force for the people, or destructive. They got into it for a bit, but started to peter off. A bit of small talk and then one piped up, “you know, I wouldn’t mind going to Australia at some point.”

“Nah,” said his friend, “you don’t want to go to Australia, it’s shit.”

“How’d you mean?”

“Well, for one thing, it hasn’t had a revolution, has it?”

At least they weren’t spitting.


Longest totem ever. The town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

The ferry was late, due to rough seas, and so the crossing tossed me to and fro. I amazed myself with my ability to carry a plate full of food and a glass full of wine to my seat without spilling much of it. Ah, you thought I’d say any of it, but this is a totally truthful narrative, my friend, and I must admit that I slopped a bit of wine. At least it was the cheap stuff. Maybe Australian. Ok, that dig’s just a continuation of the Rhyl thing, and it won’t happen again. I’ll stop it, because it’s silly. Oop. So the crossing was rough. Rough enough that I couldn’t write, as I was getting seasick looking at the screen. Doh. I grinned. I bore it. I arrived in Dublin Port with all my innards on the inside.

A disappointment, and then an appointment. No one manned the customs desk at the ferry terminal. I had hoped for an Irish stamp in my passport, but no. Then reality struck. I had to get to the hotel. I intended on taking the bus, but the bus route convoluted, and needed two transfers. And we were already an hour late. What to do? I scrabbled impotently at the loose change of euros I had in my pocket, knowing that they would not secure a taxi all the way to the hotel. And then, someone said hello. I met a family that also meant to go to Shamrokon, and also didn’t relish the idea of bussing it with all their suitcases, so we made a pact to share a taxi. And share we did, and arrive we did. The hotel room I’m in is quite swank, and has facecloths. I lay on the bed to test it out, and had the hardest time getting back out of it. I meant to go down to the bar and sample my first ever Guinness in Ireland, but no, that would have to wait until tomor…zzzzz