First travel week
13.02.2010 - 21.02.2010 60 °F
I feel like it has been so long since I’ve written, but there has just been so much going on! I went on a 9-day trip to Ireland and London and had the time of my life. I am going to do the best I can to describe it, but there are no words.
I have fallen in love with Ireland and completely understand this PS I Love You nonsense because not only do you fall in love with the country, but the cute Irish boys with the accents…. No elaboration necessary. I’m going to start by outlining the Irish culture a little to give you a feel for the country. They have the most sarcastic, witty, cynical sense of humor that is just charming. We learned from our tour guide that in order to be Irish, you need to master the art of “telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the journey.” Their food is described as simple but sincere. Irish stew, potatoes, cabbage, corned beef, Irish soda bread…. Just delicious. Once you get use to the accents and the driving on the other side of the road, you really feel at home in Ireland. The food feels home cooked, the charm of the pubs…. I could go on forever. But I’ll talk about the actual trip now.
We arrived in Dublin on sat. afternoon after a long morning of travel. We flew the discount airline, Ryan air, which was a great deal, but a bit of a ghetto flight to say the least. We found our hostel pretty easily riding in a double-decker bus, after adjusting to driving on the other side of the street! It was a very nice hostel. We shared our room with three Australian students who asked "where abouts are you from" and "is university in America really like the movies ?". They were taking a year off before college to travel, which we found out was a common practice in Australia after meeting tons of students doing just that. How amazing would that be.
Our stay in Dublin was filled with Irish Cider, shopping, pubs, live Irish music, and a tour of the Guinness Factory, which confirmed my disliking of Guinness. However, it was so interesting to see the history, how it was made, and the 360-degree glass bar at the top of the factory where you could see all of Dublin. We made some great friends at our hostel and managed to find a valentine to take us out on Vday. He surprised us by having the Irish band at the pub dedicate *Galway Girl to us (*see PS I Love You).
The next 3 days we took a tour down the west coast of Ireland. It was just breathtaking. We booked our tour with Paddy Wagon tours, so we had a tour guide from Ireland driving us around, explaining the history and the sights. His name was Conrad and he definitely loved having us girls on his tour. He took us to Galway, The Cliffs of Moher, Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny… my favorite by far being the Cliffs. They were so beautiful, I can’t describe them, you need to see the pictures. We also kissed the Blarney Stone at the Blarney Castle which entailed leaning backwards over the edge of a castle to kiss the historic stone, AH. We learned so much about the history of Ireland and it was amazing to see where everything took place. I would go back to Ireland in a heartbeat, I really enjoyed it.
The next day we went to London. When we got there, our hostel just wasn’t what we were looking for and we were pretty disappointed. We looked everywhere for a new hotel and found ourselves kind of stuck with nowhere to stay. Luckily, Colleen’s parents had credit card points that we used to get a very nice hotel in the center of London, we really lucked out. So once we got settled we immediately headed to Leicester Square to find theatre tickets for the night. We decided to see Jersey Boys, which was INCREDIBLE! We had such a great night at the show and they were SO talented. I felt like we were at a live concert. We went out after with some of Colleen’s friends who were studying in London and got a good feel for the nightlife. It was easy to adapt to London, we felt like we fit in a bit more and didn’t stick out as tourists…. Well until we crossed the street and looked the wrong way ☺
The next few days in London were filled with sight seeing! We saw London Bridge, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, The changing of the guards, Notting Hill, Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abby ect… we took a boat ride through the center of London, it was just beautiful. London was exactly what I pictured it being and we had a great time learning to use the Tube and the double-decker buses! We got to see Les Mis the second night, which is my favorite musical of all time. It was SO good, we just cried. I could have spent all of London seeing shows, it is just in such a great area of town with all the theaters and the lights.
Well I could go on forever about this trip! We got back to Paderno and have been crazy busy studying and writing papers. The classes are so intensive here, we really have no down time! But we are very excited for next weekend. Me, Jake, Colleen, Jessica, Chris, and JJ rented an apartment in Sicily for 3 days and are going to go lay out on the beach and relax a bit down south. We are sooo excited! Then the following week we are working out the details of our next 9 day trip going to Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. Time is flying so fast here and I cannot wait to keep traveling! I love you all and hope you are surviving the cold weather at home! Xoxoxoxxoxo