Five and a half kilos. It wasn’t even close.
I hadn’t been through an airport since Heathrow, and I had definitely gotten used to trains. Only on the Eurostar to Paris, and for some reason from Valencia to Madrid were my bags x-rayed. They only started checking my passport once I ventured behind the Iron Curtain, and nine times out of ten the station was walking distance from my hostel.
However, yesterday I had to catch a two-hour long bus to the airport, pay an extra forty euro to the RyanAir luggage counter for The Beast’s weight problem, perform the walk of shame past everybody to the ‘Oversized Luggage’ counter, throw out my sunscreen as it was over 100ml, put the rest of my liquids and creams into a pathetic little plastic bag and carry it on the flight like that, had my entire bag emptied as my light-up pen from the hundred yen store in Tokyo apparently looked like a weapon on the screen, and was questioned as to how long exactly I had been in Germany by scary passport control people who looked like ex-Gestapo officers.
‘Oh, since the second I think.’
‘You don’t have a stamp.’
Instantly I panicked. I’d been in and out of Germany three times and had nothing to show for it. Damn that Schengen Agreement. Then I remembered. On the train from Zurich, people got on and checked all our passports, and handed them back.
‘Here it is, on the first page.’
Thankfully, I had asked for a stamp, wanting my passport to look respectable after a five month trip, which forced the nice man go through his whole bag to find it. Steph at the time rolled her eyes.
My troubles didn’t end there. I got all the way to Mallow pretty much incident-free (apart from having the honour of being the sole non-EU citizen on the plane, and therefore walking straight up to passport control past a mile-long queue) when the train stopped. And didn’t move again.
All around us were green hills. It would have been lovely if I hadn’t been up since five and still not at my destination twelve hours later. The fifty or so of us sat on our bags in the middle of nowhere, and waited for a bus.
This could have been agony. But this was Ireland. Instead, everyone shrugged their shoulders and chatted to the person next to them. I chatted to an old Irish lady from Brisbane about the Lions-Tigers draw, and an old man about garden hedges. When the bus finally rolled along, everyone made a queue, and not one person tried to jump the line. I was fascinated.
I had been introduced to Ireland.