Last Saturday was absolutely gorgeous. We had clear blue skies, fluffy white clouds, bright sunshine and it was warm, really warm. Irish weather forecasts cannot be trusted (unless they forecast rain that this) so I was a bit sceptical when the news said something about a heatwave over the weekend. I should probably explain, in Ireland anything over 20 degrees Celsius can be classed as a heatwave. Nevertheless I decided to throw caution into the wind and made some last minute plans with my friend for a lovely day out.
When Saturday did come around the weather looked really promising so after spending the morning running errands, I threw on my summer dress and sun glasses and headed into city centre to meet my friend. We had the glorious idea to try some Indian food since I usually drag everyone I know out to have Chinese food, but we couldn't find a good Indian restaurant that was actually open. Pity! My friend knows quite a bit about good Indian food, a chance to get her to recommend some dishes to me would have been great since I'm a novice when it comes to Indian food. With the lovely summer weather, we opted for something light to eat for our late lunch and headed for sushi instead.
There are a bunch of great restaurant scattered all over the back alleys behind Grafton Street and after some aimless strolling we finally got to our destination, YO! Sushi on Clarendon Street. They serve a great selection of sushi, it's fresh, it's fast and it's fun. It's not the cheapest place to eat sushi at but you get quality and taste so I'll happily fork out a bit more and since I don't make eating there a regular occurrence, I can afford it.
|They serve unlimited Miso Soup. You pay for one cup and get as many refills as you like. Yay! I love Miso Soup.|
|One of the sushi dishes I picked off the belt, a vegetarian dish, freshly wrapped. Add a little soy sauce to that and some wasabi - yum.|
|Made to order chicken ramen with egg, fresh vegetables and a delightful light broth.|
|I tried sake for the first time and I'm in love.|
We also had some desert but I gulped the chocolate mochi and the custard-filled pancake down before I had the chance to snap a photo so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say that they were yummy. I love that YO! Sushi serves little portions of everything, giving you the option to try several different dishes. Having the conveyor belt with all the fresh sushi pass by beside you is quite a temptation and you tend to eat a little more than you should... But my guilty conscience didn't last for too long. It lasted up until my friend convinced me to have some sake. What I really mean by "my friend tried to convince me" is that she asked once and I jumped at the chance to try something new. We ordered warm sake instead of chilled and it was lovely. Fruity and fresh, a delightful treat for the taste buds. I will definitely be having some more sake in the near future. There is just no way I'll ever bring myself to try Baijiu but I will definitely enjoy some sake. At least that drink doesn't smell or taste like it was processed in a chemical plant.
Any good meal should always be followed up with a leisurely stroll and that is exactly what we did. We ended up in Powerscourt shopping centre, which is also off Grafton Street, near the George's Arcade. It's a lovely little place, built to resemble an Atrium, with three floors. A large restaurant and coffee shop make up the centre of the shopping centre and the surrounding area is filled with little shops where you can buy anything from children's clothing to gorgeous pottery to hats and wedding dresses. All the shops are small, independent boutiques so if you're looking for something special to give away as a gift or for yourself to enjoy, Powerscourt shopping centre is definitely worth checking out. There are also a few small jewellery shops dotted around the place where you can find some gorgeous, unusual pieces. It was a bit stuffy inside and instead of some window shopping we took pictures with my friend's camera. By taking pictures I mean we passed the time with a proper photo shoot, trying different angles and places.
|Powerscourt Shopping Centre|
When the sake and the stuffy air finally got the better of us, we continued to George's Street Arcade and Stephen's Green shopping centre for a refreshing blended juice drink and some cool water. After all that strolling we were sufficiently exhausted and decided to nap in the Stephen's Green Park. I didn't think we'd find a quiet spot in the park but we did. Usually all of Dublin can be found in Dublin's various parks once the weather is nice so it can be hard to find a relaxing spot. We got lucky and I napped under a tree while my friend took photos of the holes in the tree's leaves. Let's just blame it on the sake, shall we? It makes people do weird things...
|This lovely elderly lady sat near us in the park. She was busy scribbling away on a notepad and reading various notes. I love that she came out to enjoy the good weather instead of spending such a lovely day home alone.|
I like to people-watch while sitting in the park. Usually there are a lot of interesting people around. Tourists who are walking through the park for the first time ever, kids who demand to feed the ducks, parents who are terrified their kids will end up in the pond, teenagers who come to relax with their friends, a group of lads who are enjoying a spot of football, groups of girls who are relaxing in the shade, performers who are juggling and performing other tricks, dancers, locals who just want to take a stroll away from the bustling city life.
When you're in the heart of Stephen's Green park all the city noise fades away. You can see some of the buildings peaking through the treetops but the only city noise you'll hear is the one or other odd siren passing close by. All the hustle and bustle of the city kind of just goes away and when you emerge from the park a couple of hours later, you feel refreshed and relaxed. I'm usually in a bit of a holiday mode, which lasts up until I've left the park and have to fight my way through city centre to my destination of choice.
|Relaxing under a tree in the park|
|I stole my friend's sun glasses and because the park has so many great backgrounds for taking pictures I insisted on posing by the pond.|
If you're anything like me, a relaxing nap in the park just isn't enough to make the day perfect. So to finish the evening off in style we headed to Bewley's Café on Grafton Street for a large pot of coffee. They have the best filter coffee in town and since I can't quite remember the last time I got to sit on the balcony by the window, watching the life on Grafton Street go by, this was a perfect finish to an already perfect day. Bewley's is the perfect place if you want to sip your coffee in peace and chatter away to your friend(s). The waiters usually leave you in peace to enjoy instead of pestering you to order more or pay and leave. I have fond memories of my first few days in Dublin. I literally spent every afternoon there for two weeks. There is just something about Bewley's Café, some kind of magic that makes you come back for more.