The Joys of a Walking City

Beatrice Gantzer
May 23, 2014

In less than 24 hours, I’ll be getting on a plane back to the States. I’ve been looking forward to seeing my family and friends (and root beer, and Famous Dave’s BBQ) for a while now, but the realization of all the daily routines I’ll be leaving behind didn’t hit me until sometime yesterday.

One of my favorite things about Dublin is how much you see, even just running errands. Take my grocery route to Dunnes, less than a mile away. I start off walking past our local, The Ginger Man, with a pack of people at the outside tables and music coming out the doors. Then by the knotty Fenian/Merrion Street intersection; a couple of big hotels are right next door, so you get a lot of tourists asking for directions. On to Lincoln (which turns into Leinster, which turns into Nassau; never expect Dublin streets to make sense), past a few more pubs and coffee shops, walking alongside Trinity and weaving through the crowds of people waiting for buses. Then making my way up Grafton Street: more tourists, more locals, huge flower stalls in the alleys, street performers on the nice days (a sand-sculptor making dogs, half a dozen accordion players, a woman sending huge soap bubbles into the air to the amazement of gawking toddlers, a decent indie rock band raising money to go on tour, a violinist playing “La vie en rose,” a man singing Sinatra), occasionally a political protest. Duck in to the shopping center, which looks like a frilly greenhouse, just short of the flowers and fountains of St. Stephens Green. Always, always people.

I also love walking or running along the Grand Canal, just a few blocks from my apartment. The canal itself is lined with grass, daffodils, and the occasional swan, but the paths alongside it are always full of runners, bikers, people reading on the benches, swarms of commuters in business suits and trainers at rush hour, and sometimes food trucks.

In the beginning, this felt overwhelming, like getting anywhere required elbowing through hordes. Now, though, I think it’s the main thing I’ll miss. Walking in Dublin always feels safe, because you’re never walking through empty streets (though obviously, ambling around alone at 4 a.m. isn’t the best idea). You always feel tapped in to the city, part of the flow. 

Beatrice Gantzer

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Bea Gantzer, and I am a junior English major at Washington University in St. Louis. I&#39;m a distance runner, baker, and Minnesotan. This will be my first time out of the United States, and I look forward to experiencing a new culture, soaking up Dublin&#39;s rich history, and getting little-kid excited over seeing buildings older than the U.S. itself.</span></p>

Destination:
Term:
2014 Spring
Home university:
Washington University in St. Louis
Major:
English
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