I have the window open to the sounds of the street below, cars and motorcycles rumbling by, doors slamming, people calling to each other and laughing as evening falls over the city of Dublin. The streets in this part of town are narrow and cobblestoned; many of them are closed to auto traffic and instead are traveled only by pedestrians.
We spent the day in stages walking through the center of the city, passing between locations varying in age from hundreds to thousands of years. Our charismatic tour guide pointed out especially the various sites in which Ireland’s famous writers lived or worked or gallivanted in buildings of stone and carving. On free time, we wandered idly from Temple Bar across the river, to St. Patrick’s Chapel and back again, pausing for a drink in a pub where we were politely asked to move to a different table so the traditional music performers could have a place to set up. Before dinner we met our guide again for yet another drink in yet another pub, listening to the patter between the locals making the accented English sound completely foreign.
I walked home alone from the restaurant after dinner, parting ways with various groups in our larger party as some filtered back into the bar district and others took the most direct route home with the guide. I wandered back on my own, pretending I lived in this city, walking the cobbled streets back to the historic and grand Central Hotel where I now sit with the window open, letting the sounds of the city filter through the curtain.
I think about what it would be like to stay here in this foreign city for some time, travel in the footsteps of so many great writers, seek inspiration in the same places they created their great works and lived their lives. I could walk around the city every day, sit by the river and canals, haunt Trinity College like the ghosts of old professors who are said to roam the grounds from time to time. I could live in a studio apartment high above the gleefully vivid streets and write down my stories.
It’s a nice thought, for the time being. The novelty of this new place is still shiny and fresh; I have not yet thought about the trees and hills and water and open air. Tomorrow brings new places yet again.