I arose early on Good Friday – I was a man on a mission, with places to visit and things to do. Late last year when Ryanair was doing another of their promotions I managed to find an Easter deal to visit Stockholm – departing on Good Friday and returning on Easter Monday – for 98 euro return. Stockholm (or Sweden) had never featured highly on my ‘places I must visit’ list – partly because I had visited Malmo on a day trip from Copenhagen years earlier. This meant I had already been to the land of IKEA and Volvo, so it was not a gaping hole on my European travel map. This coupled with the fact that it was still sub-zero at night in Stockholm in April, meant my attitude towards Sweden was one of mild interest rather than burning desire. Don’t misunderstand me – I adore ABBA as much as the next person, but they are a band that has transcended time and space that can be appreciated from anywhere.
I packed my bags, taking special care to look after my passport card. When I replaced my ten year passport book last year I also invested in a five year passport card. This credit card sized item enables travel within the EU without the need for a regular passport. Good thing really. My passport is currently at the Nigerian Embassy in Dublin as I wait on a visa for my brother’s June wedding. This would be my first trip solely using the passport card. Into my hand luggage it went along with bank cards; phone, insulin; change of underwear and a book – my reading material for this journey was ‘The wonder’ by Emma Donoghue.
To the station I went to catch the 12.55 train to Dublin. This wouldn’t be a direct train – I would need to change at Limerick Junction. Regular readers will know of the existence of Limerick Junction – a bleak, desolate station in a field in county Tipperary where passengers from Limerick travelling to Dublin must change to the Cork train to their final destination of Heuston. The Junction is a hovel where dreams go to die, suffering as it does from a micro-climate where it rains 367 days a year, where the temperature rarely exceeds 4 degrees and where there are only two hours daylight even in the height of summer. While I might be exaggerating somewhat, you’ll understand the type of place it is.
Surprisingly that Saturday the Cork to Dublin train was already waiting at the Junction. The sun was shining. How unusual, I thought to myself. My seat was D33. I was seated at a table of four. The other three passengers at my table were three Dublin grannies who had been to Cork to support their grandchildren at an Irish dancing Feis (competition).
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