We started the day extremely hungover from Woodstoke, but all managed to make it to the SU by around half 9. Tickle forgot his passport and had to run back to go get it even though we were doubtful of getting anywhere remotely far. At 10 we set off, watching other teams hop in cars for rides or wait at the bus stop with their bus stop. With absolutely zero plan we decided Crewe station was a genius idea, and hoped that the D&G bus would let us on. After a call to the manager, the driver let us on and we were on our way! After a very blunt lady at the ticket desk in Crewe station said that there was no way to get a train for charity, our hopes and dreams were crushed. We had one donation of approximately 83p and we walked aimlessly around Crewe for a bit. With failure to hitchhike, we stopped in a pub for either half pints or water (and run into the people who donated the 83p, oops sorry we gave up too soon).
Thinking we should start to move again, we decided to go to the bus station. Along with way we stopped by a Cancer Research charity shop and asked if we can borrow a bucket to collect donations in. Tickle almost bought a snuggie blanket, and later in the journey, we deeply regretted not buying it. Now with a proper donation bucket, we walked to the bus station and Arriva were generous enough to give us each day passes for the North West and Wales. As there was some time before the next bus, we stopped by Mcdonalds, naturally. The peanut costume got many strange looks from Mcdonald's customers and employees alike.
Already 4 hours in and we were ecstatic on the bus, hoping to get to Cardiff and arranging rides to help us get there. The bus we were on took us to Chester and then Wrexham, and we had plans to hop on another bus to mid-Wales. I seem to recall being on the wrong side of the road in Wrexham when Tickle pointed at the stop and retorted "We can't miss that bus." It drove right past as he said it. Maybe it was luck- if we hadn't missed that bus, we wouldn't have investigated the train station.
We were told at the desk that we could talk to the train security to see if we could make it on to the one going to Holyhead 30 minutes from then. Rather than return to the bus we missed, we scrapped the Cardiff plan and hoped to make it to Holyhead with goals of Ireland.
As the train rolls up I ran over to the ticket inspector and immediately started describing Jailbreak and our charity only to receive a definite no. I explained we're from Keele and trying to get to Holyhead and he yet again gives a solid can't, it's full. When I ask if there's any way we could get on, he looked up a bit and points up front. He said, "Go up front and get on." Tentative, we walked up to the front car and looked back at him confused. He gave a very stern point and said get on once again.
A little bit scared, we got onto the train and were in fear that he may come kick us off at any moment. We managed to stay on until a few stops from the end without any confrontations. At that point a man walked up to us asking for tickets. We were all rather baffled and tried to explain the stern ticket inspector further down. After our excuses, the ticket inspector said that Jailbreak students were not to be allowed onto any Arriva trains as there were riots last year. We said sorry and offered to get off at the next stop, only to hear him say it's ok, you can get off at Holyhead.
Relieved, we stayed on the train and got off right where the ferry docks. It was around 8pm and we went straight up to the Stena Line guest services with our Jailbreak paperwork. One phone call to grab the manager and a quick look through managed to get us tickets to Dublin! We secured a place on the 8:30 ferry. He asked for our plans of getting back and we said we had none. At this point he asked if we wanted return tickets and at what time we'd like them. This did mean the rest of our travel would be limited to returning to Dublin, but we accepted the return tickets gladly.
We met some Americans while we were boarding and hung out with them for a while- played hacky sack and discussed travelling. The ferry docked in Dublin at quarter past midnight, and we had been talking to some Irish friends about getting a bus to Belfast. The only one they mentioned left at 1 am and it was 4k away from the port. Team peanut ran through the streets of Dublin in order to make it onto this bus. When we asked the driver about charity sponsorship, he said he couldn't contact his manager as it was ridiculous hours in the morning, but we may be able to get refunded if we asked the next day. We used money that was donated to our travel fund, and got on.
The bus stopped in Belfast at half three in the morning, and the maximum amount of sleep gotten was 1 hour by the infamous napper, Lauren. After failing to get any accommodation from any of the nearby hotels, we started to walk around aimlessly for a while. We tried to go to the 24/7 bar inside the Radisson, but apparently, that's guests only. Tickle attempted to use the electric restroom outside of the Radisson only to find out that it clearly does not like him, took his 20p and locked him inside. Listening to the alarm go off inside of it and getting a phone call from him saying he's stuck was one of the trip highlights.
It was absolutely freezing and at this point we regretted not getting the snuggie. We walked around the river Lagan, watched the sun rise, and I managed to nap for maybe 20 minutes before the rest of team peanut scared me awake and we continued to walk. As we had plans to meet some Belfast friends at a decent morning time, we decided to spend the hours of 5-9am sightseeing and just enjoying ourselves. We got lots of pictures with random signs and buildings and walked through the empty streets.
Once it was a reasonable time, we had breakfast at Victoria square shopping centre and then met up with Rachel from rowing and secured train tickets to get back to Dublin. The translink staff were the friendliest and funniest we met on the trip- definitely recommend. When we asked to take a picture with inspector Colin, the hero, he brought us round the back where they had a DeLorean car from Back to the Future. Apparently, there was a DeLorean festival going on in Belfast that day and they had 56?? Regardless, he was such a great help and helped us get to our connection as well by contacting other inspectors there when the first train was late. After meeting up with another friend Matt, we searched for Guinness, but sadly it was far too early.. 11am? and then got onto the train.
The two-hour train ride was just enough resting before we got back on our feet to walk around Dublin. When we got off the train, we were shocked to see the Americans we befriended the day before in the same station! After saying bye, we walked up and down O'Connell street, saw the Liffey, had some ice cream, and got some Guinness of course. We were lounging in a park when we got a text saying we should be an hour early for the ferry for check in. This was news to us, and yet again, we ended up running around Dublin to get to the port.
With just enough time to spare, we get onto the ferry and continue the journey back to Holyhead where a ride was coming to meet us.
Jamie kindly drives us all the way back to Keele, and even stops by the longest place name in Wales as the train went past too quick for us to get a picture when we went through the first time.
Absolutely exhausted, we got back to Keele roughly around half 3 in the morning and we all agree it was one of the best adventures we've ever had.