Friday, March 11, 2011 at 12:26AM

the view across Dublin Bay from Howth Head - the city is lit up to the right out of shot (I took this in 2009)

It was nice to arrive home to Dublin. I thought I might be emotional but I had dealt with any nerves in the month prior. The flight back was simply another couple of airports appended onto one long trip. The only difference was when the policeman doing passport control welcomed me 'home'. A nice touch that I'm sure is appreciated by all those Irish people who live away from these shores for one reason or another but who still feel very rooted to the island of Ireland.  Perhaps it was a soft landing as my parents were away at the time and catching up with them would happen five days later. Still, a couple of friends met me at the airport and took me home for a hearty Irish breakfast. I love to eat and especially in good company.

My first task was to vote in what was an incredibly important general election for a country ravaged by economic woes that it brought unto itself. The next job was to build up a bike so that I could take to the roads and reacquaint myself with the city and its surrounding hinterland.  The weather was kind and showcased the incredible beauty of the Irish countryside.  I'm not particularly fond of urban Dublin but the bike regularly allows me to gasp at some stunning scenery in the hills and farmlands that lie outside the nearby city-limits. Despite all that I have seen in the world, the hills, lakes and farm tracks outside the city can always make my jaw drop. Certainly, my enjoyment of Dublin would not be the same without my bike. I clocked up over 700k in the space of 9 days retracing only some of my regular training routes to see what has changed.  Not much on the surface of things. Peeling back the layers one will be able to see the strain of economic malaise but it is not palpable in the air ... or at least, not to me yet.  I recall the veil of dread over the city during the Christmas of 2008 when every single worker in the country thought they were going to lose their job in the new year. Certainly the mood does not feel anything like it did then ... says I from the safety-net of the middle class.

I decided against having one big party in favour of meeting people one-to-one or group-to-group.  I'm glad I did this as it allows me to savour the return and have proper conversations with people as opposed to some half-conversation that is easily forgotten to the throbs of a hangover the next morning.

It's nice to be back, how long I stay remains to be seen. For the time being I have a bike racing season to distract me meaning reality remains parked. I will work on my own projects but I may yet escape to Berlin. I learnt German in university and it has never been revealed to me why I did that. All I know is that Berlin is an incredible city that would probably suit me very well. In addition, German girls are the most under-rated and hottest girls in the world based on what I have seen. I may have to follow up on these prompts.

mind how you go


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