Travel

Epic EuroTrip: The Isles

With the end of one adventure, comes the beginning of another. My brother, Zach, and friend, Kirstin, arrived from Canada for us to set out on an epic adventure of travelling Europe as best we can. First stop: I want to show them a little bit of Ireland. So, after having shown them around Waterford for a day, we headed on a bus to Galway.

We wandered the city, exploring the various spots that I knew of but had not seen. We went inside of Galway Cathedral, marveling at its beauty and learning a little history. The cathedral was built on the grounds of the old jail, bought for a minimal amount even for that time. We also walked through the Spanish Arch and into the Galway Museum. If you don’t know already, I absolutely love museums! So I was excited to check this one out.

When these two arrived in Waterford, lost and tired!

When these two arrived in Waterford, lost and tired!

 
 
I went for one last walk to Kilbarry, showing Kirstin one of my favourite spots in Waterford.

I went for one last walk to Kilbarry, showing Kirstin one of my favourite spots in Waterford.

 
In Galway, at the River Corrib

In Galway, at the River Corrib

The Galway Cathedral across the River Corrib. Actually got to go inside this time!

The Galway Cathedral across the River Corrib. Actually got to go inside this time!

 

Walking through the museum was interesting – the beginnings of Ireland are highlighted, and there are artifacts from thousands of years ago found by archaeologists around Galway and in the River Corrib. It was really interesting to look at the artifacts and see if they had come from places I knew. One part talked about Dun Aengus, the fort that I had been to on Inis Mor of the Aran Islands. For me, though, the most interesting was the exhibit on Ireland and Galway’s part in World War I. I had not realized that they had played such a large part in it, from thousands of volunteers going to the front to their deaths, to a very brave leader who died in a gruesome battle. The exhibit was done extremely well, with stories of people on one side corresponding to an outline of events on the opposite side of the room. I really liked it. We couldn’t finish the museum though, as it closed. So we quickly took some shots out the third floor window of the River Corrib and the views beyond.

We wandered and found a small place to eat for an Irish dinner. The rest of the night was just walking around or relaxing at the hostel. I think we are all a little tired, which does not bode well for the rest of the trip. Thankfully, some nights we will hopefully sleep better than others.

On Zach’s birthday, we had booked a day at the Cliffs on a tour, even though the weather did not look too promising. We were hopeful that it might turn into a better day. The tour was different from the one I took last time – including the weather. It rained and the wind was insane! It was so foggy that we couldn’t even see the cliffs. But, despite the wind blowing us over, it did afford us a view of the cliffs for a short time.

 
 
Galway Girls - the beautiful River Corrib!

Galway Girls – the beautiful River Corrib!

Cool tomb in Co. Clare. Saw it both times I went to the cliffs.

Cool tomb in Co. Clare. Saw it both times I went to the cliffs.

 
The wind at the Cliffs of Moher was ridiculous - & provided great entertainment!

The wind at the Cliffs of Moher was ridiculous – & provided great entertainment!

 
At the Cliffs of Moher!

At the Cliffs of Moher!

 

May 28 – after a 3 hour bus ride, we arrived in Dublin. After Zach and I grabbed a quick burrito, we headed to Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced ‘jail’). There was so much history, it was really interesting! We then learned to pour our own Guinness at the Storehouse, my second time through. It was super cool to get to pour my own though, especially having lived in Ireland and drinking it on tap. 😉 We hung out at the hostel before heading to The Porterhouse, a pub I knew from St. Patrick’s Day. We enjoyed some beers and live music before turning in for the night.

The next morning, we took a walking tour of Dublin to see some of the sights. It was a ton of history packed into a short session. I had already heard a lot of it over the months, but was still overwhelmed by the enormity of everything Ireland had gone through.

After the tour, we headed to the Museum of History and Archaeology- mostly because they had the bog bodies that I had been hearing about for months. Basically, Ireland is known for its bog lands, and years ago, archaeologists began to find things in these bogs from centuries ago. With the acidity of the bogs, many things are well preserved. We got ice cream, and then wandered around St. Stephen’s Green and Dublin. We had some problems finding transport out to the hotel we were switching to for the night.

 
Kilmainham Gaol (jail) in Dublin - so full of history!

Kilmainham Gaol (jail) in Dublin – so full of history!

 
"It's a lovely day for a Guinness!" Got to pull our own pints.

“It’s a lovely day for a Guinness!” Got to pull our own pints.

 
 
These are what the bog bodies look like (Ireland).

These are what the bog bodies look like (Ireland).

The next day, May 30, we left Ireland. It was super bittersweet for me, leaving a country that I had loved to call home for 5 months but embarking on an exciting adventure around Europe with awesome people. I took in the sights from the airplane window as we flew to Bristol. We were staying with Kirstin’s friend, Bailey. Bailey was really awesome, and we were very appreciative of her letting us stay in her tiny, British flat. It was a lot of people in a small flat, but it was so nice to be right in the city. We wandered the city that afternoon, cooked dinner together, and went out for the evening.

We ventured to take a train the following day to Cardiff. It was cool to add one more country to our list of many, and it was possible with only a day trip. Kirstin and Bailey went to the Doctor Who museum, the main reason that we had headed to Cardiff. Zach and I decided to tag along to the city, but we decided to explore instead. It was a great day!

Zach and I found Cardiff Castle and Bute Park, where we walked and sat, just chatting and enjoying our time catching up. We wandered the streets of Cardiff, down cute passageways called galleries. These galleries had really cute cafes and shops, and were all over. I absolutely loved them and took far too many pictures! We met up with the girls after, grabbed some dinner, and then headed back for a night in flat.

 
 
On the train to Cardiff with Bailey! This was Kirstin's first ever train - cool experience!

On the train to Cardiff with Bailey! This was Kirstin’s first ever train – cool experience!

Some random stonehenge in Bute Park, Cardiff.

Some random stonehenge in Bute Park, Cardiff.

 
I loved the little arcades down the streets of Cardiff, with cute stores and cafes lining them.

I loved the little arcades down the streets of Cardiff, with cute stores and cafes lining them.

 

Our last day in Bristol was specifically for exploring the city itself. Bailey had an exam, so we ventured to explore on our own. We went to St. Nicholas’ Market, where we wandered through the little stalls and we found Zac’s Café where we had a full English breakfast – it was delicious. We tried to find some street art, but ended up in an area that we didn’t feel entirely comfortable in, so we went back. Kirstin and I went into Bristol Cathedral – it was beautiful! We went to the Boston Tea Party café for some hot drinks on a cold day before meeting Bailey.

Bailey took us up a tower in Brandon Hill Park, and despite the wind being like that at the Cliffs of Moher, the views were spectacular. You could see all of Bristol, including Clifton Suspension Bridge. With the weather, we had decided not to walk all the way there. That evening, we went out for traditional fish ‘n chips, and tried to organize the next parts of our trip.

 
 
Climbed a tower in Bristol for some amazing views & crazy wind! We brought the Irish weather with us...

Climbed a tower in Bristol for some amazing views & crazy wind! We brought the Irish weather with us…

View from the top of the tower in Bristol.

View from the top of the tower in Bristol.

 

An early morning the next day had us on a bus to London. Our hostel was quite far from the main area of the city, but we made it work! We settled our stuff in and headed out, making our first stop at Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and then walking along the Thames. We took a ton of silly pictures with the lions and telephone boxes before seeing Big Ben and the London Eye.

I think the funniest part of the day was when we ended up at The Maple Leaf, a Canadian bar in Covent Garden, for dinner. It was great! We wandered Covent Market before heading back to the hostel for an earlier night.

June 3, the next day, was pretty grand. We ended up going through the British Museum after we eventually found it. I ended up seeing a lot of the same things, but museums never get old for me. I loved exploring the centuries of history stored within its walls.

My parents had arrived in London that day, so while we waited to hear from them, we wandered through the city. After getting a phone call from them, we went to Hyde Park to kill a little time. Except we couldn’t exactly find it. We ended up in a really ‘posh’ part of London, and accidentally found Churchill’s old house! We walked through Hyde Park and saw Kensington Palace from afar, before walking a long ways to see Buckingham Palace.

 
London was calling - & we answered!

London was calling – & we answered!

 
 
Canadian pub in London! (yes, we ate here)

Canadian pub in London! (yes, we ate here)

Beautiful walk in Hyde Park of London

Beautiful walk in Hyde Park of London

 
No, we didn't climb onto the lions. But I love this picture.

No, we didn’t climb onto the lions. But I love this picture.

 

We had walked almost to Trafalgar Square, a long trek, before we heard from my parents. Without wifi everywhere, it is very hard when you don’t have international phone plans. We ended up meeting them near their hotel at the other end of London, and going out for a nice dinner. It was really great to see them for the first time in 5 months.

We had to check out of our hostel the next morning, so we completely packed up and brought our giant bags with us into London. We stored them for the day at the train station before heading out to meet my parents for a day around London. We sort of went separate ways for part of the day: Kirstin and I would explore while Zach went on the London Eye with mom and dad.

Kirstin and I headed across London via tube to Tower Hill. We wandered around and crossed Tower Bridge to the other side of the Thames, where we had a great view for some lunch. We walked along to the Globe Theatre, where we both decided to recite our best attempts at Shakespeare monologues. It was quite fun. We did a lot more walking when we headed down to the London Eye and made our way towards the Imperial War Museum, the meeting point with my family.

This museum was somewhere that I really wanted to go. It was actually on my bucket list to see it – and I wasn’t able to last time I was in London. I had enough time to wander through two exhibits: the First World War and the Holocaust. The exhibitions were absolutely brilliant! They had so many primary texts, quotes, footage and so much more. It was amazing. I was in museum-heaven.

We hopped on a double-decker bus into the city, and had dinner at Nando’s. I had wanted to try it, as they were everywhere in London. We then went to see the Thames and views lit up at night. It was beautiful and I seriously love London.

 
 
One of my loves: Big Ben

One of my loves: Big Ben

The London Eye. No caption needed.

The London Eye. No caption needed.

 
After 5 months, it was nice to reunite the family - although on another continent, halfway from home!

After 5 months, it was nice to reunite the family – although on another continent, halfway from home!

 

The next part of the trip got a little bumpy when we took our bus to Paris. It was an overnight bus and involved us taking a ferry – meaning we were woken up to provide our passports and board the ferry itself. Needless to say, we did not get a lot of sleep, and Paris started off very interesting.

But I’ll save that for another post.

With wifi being difficult sometimes, it’s hard to say how often I’ll be able to update my blog posts. However, I am posting short summaries with pictures on Instagram each day. Those are being shared on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Signing off for now,

From

JH

The Last of Irish Travels

Okay, so I’ve been pretty busy again. Let me mention some noteworthy things that happened a little bit ago, and then I’ll move on to my trips the past week.

– First, I started climbing at a new, local gym a couple months ago, and got to know the people working there. It was small and a fun atmosphere. On May 11, they were having a fundraiser for Nepal. The goal was to climb 8848 meters, the height of Everest – except with everyone donating and contributing laps on the wall. So, I made my donation and for my day of climbing, I did 50 laps to help Nepal (I climbed 350m total). All proceeds went to the Himalayan Stove Project, and the fundraiser was a great success! (The gym is Activate Waterford.)

 
Selfie at Activate Waterford for the Everest Challenge for Nepal!

Selfie at Activate Waterford for the Everest Challenge for Nepal!

 
 
Watched the sunset at Kilbarry before my last exam. Great night!

Watched the sunset at Kilbarry before my last exam. Great night!

– Technically, I was still finishing up school. I had my last exam on Wednesday the 13th. It felt great to get it over with, as that was the final I was most stressed about. It feels weird, however, that my semester is officially over.

– That afternoon, to celebrate, Brit and I went to city centre for some fun, before we met some of the others to do a mini pub crawl. We went to some of our favourite pubs, and tried a few new ones. It was great craic! Later we met up with ‘everyone’ as a sort of goodbye party. There have been a lot of goodbyes the past week, and they have been really hard for everyone. Who knew that you could grow so close in just a few months!?

Alright, now you’re caught up.

On May 15th, Brittany and I set out on a mini-trip to check out another area of Ireland we wanted to see. So, we left the Republic and headed to Northern Ireland to spend 2 days in Belfast. It still amazes me that we can take 2 buses, travelling for 4 hours, and cross an entire country, into another. As we all know, 4 hours would not even get you out of British Columbia…

We took a tour with a black taxi cab. It’s a historical and political tour of the city, and although it is a whirlwind of information, it is fascinating! The history is so tumultuous, from the conflicts and divisions, to the acts of violence which were common until merely 7 years ago. You can still feel the instability in some parts of the city. We went around the city seeing murals, memorials, Catholic & Protestant neighbourhoods, and the peace wall. It was truly interesting, and made me curious to know more about Irish history.

 
On the bus to Belfast!

On the bus to Belfast!

 
 
Quote in the hostel in Belfast. Loved it - even if there were spelling errors.

Quote in the hostel in Belfast. Loved it – even if there were spelling errors.

Queen's University in Belfast.

Queen’s University in Belfast.

 

Our driver dropped us off at a great place for dinner, and after eating, we wandered the city a little. We found Queen’s University, which we agreed looked like something from Harry Potter, and we quickly walked through the Botanic gardens before they closed.

The next day was the one we most looked forward to – a tour to Giant’s Causeway! Not only did we get to see the natural phenomenon, we also went to Bushmills Distillery for a pit stop, and saw Dunluce Castle from afar. The winds that day were insane, but we were pretty lucky weather-wise. Giant’s Causeway was not what we had expected, but amazing nonetheless. It is seriously busy with tours and tourists, but we had fun walking around and taking pictures, even hiking a trail to get a view from the cliffs above.

 
Dunluce Castle from a distance, on the Antrim Coast. It was crazy windy!

Dunluce Castle from a distance, on the Antrim Coast. It was crazy windy!

 
 
Post-wind selfie back on the bus. Love this girl - we can make crazy faces together and laugh!

Post-wind selfie back on the bus. Love this girl – we can make crazy faces together and laugh!

 
I am on top of the world at Giant's Causeway! (So many tourists though...)

I am on top of the world at Giant’s Causeway! (So many tourists though…)

Before the tour ended, we stopped at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, where you can cross to a tiny island that used to be used for fishing. Apparently, the fishermen didn’t have to pay taxes on what they caught there – but they had to lug the fish out of the water and across the bridge. To finish off our trip, we went to the infamous Crown Bar for a pint. Belfast was super interesting and I’m glad that we had the opportunity to see it, even for a couple days.

 
 
Giant's Causeway - a beautiful natural phenomenon! The rocks are so cool.

Giant’s Causeway – a beautiful natural phenomenon! The rocks are so cool.

Selfie at the Giant's Causeway cliffs.

Selfie at the Giant’s Causeway cliffs.

 
The Antrim Coast - view from the cliffs at Giant's Causeway.

The Antrim Coast – view from the cliffs at Giant’s Causeway.

 
 
The famous Crown Bar in Belfast. It was so cool! Enjoyed a pint there our last night.

The famous Crown Bar in Belfast. It was so cool! Enjoyed a pint there our last night.

Coming back to Waterford, there were more goodbyes and parties. Again, it was really hard to say goodbye to people we had grown close to over the past few months.

Lastly, was the trip I just came back from – Brittany and I went to Killarney for a few days. It was more bus rides, and 4 hours (again) to get there, but it brought us to the southwest of Ireland, a part we had yet to see. The bus ride into the city was beautiful, and the town of Killarney itself was cute – like a mix between Waterford and the town of Kilkenny. We took a short walk through Killarney National Park, as it began to pour rain on us, and looked around town before heading to the hostel to make dinner. We ended up sharing a room with 2 girls from Alberta – a whole room of Canadians, eh?

On Tuesday, we got up for what we had been looking forward to – a tour. We found out we would be touring the Dingle Peninsula that day, the Ring of Kerry the next. Weather-wise, we had wanted it the other way around, but it actually worked quite well! It didn’t rain on us either day and we were afforded spectacular views (of course).

 
 
Inch Beach - a beautiful place on an amazing day.

Inch Beach – a beautiful place on an amazing day.

Inch Beach - far longer than an inch, stretching far into the distance. The tide was out and it was amazing.

Inch Beach – far longer than an inch, stretching far into the distance. The tide was out and it was amazing.

 
Beautiful Dingle Peninsula

Beautiful Dingle Peninsula

 
Probably the smallest church in Ireland. In the Dingle Peninsula.

Probably the smallest church in Ireland. In the Dingle Peninsula.

 

The Dingle Peninsula Tour took us to so many amazing places. First stop: Inch Beach. The sun was shining and the views were spectacular as you looked down the far-stretching beach. The tide was out, so you could walk pretty far too. It was a great first stop. We made multiple other stops along the way at viewpoints overlooking beautiful beaches, the ocean, castle ruins, hillsides, the Blasket Islands, and we walked to the smallest church in Ireland. It was so adorably small!

Part way through the day, we stopped at the town of Dingle. It was a place I had really wanted to go, and I was ecstatic to have some time to spend there! We wandered through shops and along the harbor, taking pictures. We got ice cream from Murphy’s, an amazing place! I had Irish coffee ice cream (yes, it had Jameson whiskey in it), and chocolate. We continued our walk and took pictures with the statue of the famous dolphin – Fungie!

 
I was so excited to finally visit Dingle!

I was so excited to finally visit Dingle!

 
The Dingle Harbour was so cute!

The Dingle Harbour was so cute!

 
 
Yummy ice cream made in Dingle - Irish Coffee & chocolate.

Yummy ice cream made in Dingle – Irish Coffee & chocolate.

 
Fungie the dolphin statue! Famous in Dingle.

Fungie the dolphin statue! Famous in Dingle.

Back in Killarney, we went for a walk to Ross Castle in Killarney National Park, as the sun was still shining and it was a gorgeous day out. To finish off the night, we had a quick pint at a little pub, where I got to try a beer brewed locally in Dingle. I’m loving trying new beers now, trying to find new ones I like, and trying local ones whenever I can. Thanks to the guys for making me try new beers all the time – now I find them on my own!

 
Killarney National Park - we went walking because it was a beautiful day.

Killarney National Park – we went walking because it was a beautiful day.

 
Ross Castle in Killarney National Park. It was pretty cool!

Ross Castle in Killarney National Park. It was pretty cool!

 

Wednesday led us to our tour of the Ring of Kerry. Now, to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to see on this tour other than the landscapes of Ireland from a bus. I actually had no idea what the Ring of Kerry was. Anyways, the tour started off slow and was sort of a letdown in the beginning after we had just experienced the stunning Dingle Peninsula. The first stop was just a viewpoint of the peninsula from the opposite side of the valley, and the second stop was a tourist trap – pay to watch a mini show. We opted out and had lunch instead. Only to find that the next stop was at a single place for lunch. We walked a little to get a better view of castle ruins far down in the valley – apparently a filming site for a movie I love, Leap Year!

 
Views of the Ring of Kerry

Views of the Ring of Kerry

 
A beach at the Ring of Kerry.

A beach at the Ring of Kerry.

 
The beautiful hillsides.

The beautiful hillsides.

 

Then it only got better. The sights became even prettier as we ventured further into the valley and weaved through the mountains. We made multiple stops at viewpoints, including Ladies’ View, where the Queen (I don’t remember which one) saw the mountains and lakes of Killarney. It was beautiful.

After the tour, we decided to wander Killarney National Park since it had become such an amazing day. We ended up finding an open field and taking tons of pictures of the amazing views: fields, mountains, lakes, and just nature. And deer. Weirdly, I became obsessed with the fact that there was technically no proper fence up, and there was a massive herd of deer in the center of the area we were walking. And I became fascinated watching them as they attempted to ‘escape’ their enclosure – literally just stepping over the fallen fence. But one deer left and multiple others followed. And I got to fulfill a wish of mine for Ireland: walking through a wide open field. It probably wasn’t illegally trespassing, as I’m pretty sure it was somehow part of the park…

 
Lady's View in the Ring of Kerry!

Lady’s View in the Ring of Kerry!

 
Slightly obsessed afterwards, we found a Murphy's in Killarney, too.

Slightly obsessed afterwards, we found a Murphy’s in Killarney, too.

 
I got to fulfill my bucket list - walking through a random field in Ireland. I'm pretty sure it wasn't trespassing.

I got to fulfill my bucket list – walking through a random field in Ireland. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t trespassing.

 

To end off a great day, we had dinner at a restaurant called Failte, the Irish word for ‘welcome.’ It was great! But the best was yet to come – we walked around the corner to The Shire, a Lord of the Rings themed pub. Yes, it was amazing! We walked into Mordor, and I ordered a tankard of Gandalf’s Ale. We met some Americans, listened to live music, and had a great night!

I’m so glad that we got to have these last trips to explore the other areas of Ireland. It’s such a beautiful country, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to travel around it in my time here. I cannot wait to come back to explore some more.

 
We found the Shire in Killarney - cool Lord of the Rings themed pub!

We found the Shire in Killarney – cool Lord of the Rings themed pub!

 
 
Loved this sign in the Shire!

Loved this sign in the Shire!

This weekend, I get to see some familiar faces – my brother, and friend Kirstin are coming to Ireland so we can begin our epic European adventure. The 3 of us, one month, 11 countries, 17 cities, friends along the way, and multiple stories. It’s going to be legen- wait for it -dary. Legendary. 😉

Now, I had to say some more goodbyes the other day, and many more are coming. I am going to save these for one post – when I leave Ireland. So get ready guys, it’ll be a sad one.

“Travelling tends to magnify all human emotions.” – Peter Hoeg

May the road rise up to meet ya

From

JH

P.S. – Sorry for the lack of pictures of Belfast… I actually lost all of the pictures from that trip from my camera. And my videos. I’m super bummed about it. But at least I had pictures from my phone and the memories!

EuroTrip Pt. 2

Let’s just pick up where we left off, shall we? (Warning: this is a long’un, but there are lots of pictures!)

Thursday April 2, 2015

Amsterdam had been an amazing city, but it was time to move on. After attempting to wake up early (which didn’t necessarily happen), we caught a tram and metro to arrive to catch our bus.

We arrived to our next stop, Brussels, Belgium with excitement for another country – only to be slightly disappointed by the huge modern buildings we found surrounding us! We had been looking forward to the old, the history. We walked to our hostel (which turned out to be really cool actually) before wandering the city.

And that’s when it got much, much better. We had Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce, and stopped to get “frites” or ‘fries.’ Fries are actually not French, for those who do not know – they were invented in Belgium, and are probably the best fries I have ever had in my life!

 
 
Delicious Belgian waffle with chocolate in Brussels!

Delicious Belgian waffle with chocolate in Brussels!

 
Mannekin Pis in Brussels is a lot smaller than you would think. And he's the 3rd famous statue in the world...

Mannekin Pis in Brussels is a lot smaller than you would think. And he’s the 3rd famous statue in the world…

Grand Place, Brussels. That building isn't symmetrical, but if you don't know that then it's beautiful.

Grand Place, Brussels. That building isn’t symmetrical, but if you don’t know that then it’s beautiful.

 

We went on a walking tour around the city with SANDEMANs New European Tours (I’d recommend). Our tour guide turned out to be Irish – what are the odds!? We leave Ireland to find an Irishman. We had a good laugh with him over that one. Walking around the city, we saw amazing sights and learned so much history. The history of Belgium is actually quite interesting, and I can’t wait to look into it some more. We saw Mannekin Pis, Grand Place, Royal Park, cathedrals and more! I drank a Belgian beer, and we met some people on the tour from other places – I ended up talking to a guy from Melbourne, Australia, and another from Galway, Ireland. They were really cool!

After the tour, we wandered some more, bought some Belgian chocolate (of course), and then tried to find some late dinner. We ended up eating Italian (a recurring theme on this trip), and talked for a long time. It was a lot of fun! But we ran out of time to go and see Atomium, a giant metal atom structure close to Brussels. So we explored the city at night and went to the Statue of the Unknown Soldier, a sight I had wanted to see. It was very cool to see at night, and especially interesting to see for me, the history student.

 
 
Grand Place, Brussels lit up at night.

Grand Place, Brussels lit up at night.

Buying some Belgian chocolate in Brussels!

Buying some Belgian chocolate in Brussels!

 

The Statue of the Unknown Soldier in Brussels. With anniversaries of the wars, there was a torch lit.

The Statue of the Unknown Soldier in Brussels. With anniversaries of the wars, there was a torch lit.

 

Friday April 3, 2015

Again, we got up late and ended up taking a later train than planned. But, we were on our way to our next city – Bruges! (or Brugge in Dutch)

The city didn’t look too exciting when we arrived, but we took a bus farther in and found it had a lot to offer. “The buildings were old, streets narrow, and it seemed to be older Brussels on a smaller scale” (journal entry). One difference – it had little canals, similar to those of Amsterdam. Talking about it after, I decided that the city, to me, was exactly that: a mixture between Amsterdam and Brussels.

We explored the city for a while, eating more waffles and fries (we all really like food, okay?). We found some windmills, walked through the streets, and took a lot of pictures. I even stole Carlos’ camera for a bit and had some fun taking artsy photos. Brittany bought some new shoes, as hers were literally falling apart. We went back to our hostel (which was literally a part of a bar) to go on a walking tour through the city at night.

 
 
We finally saw some windmills when we got to Bruges!

We finally saw some windmills when we got to Bruges!

My attempt at artsy photography on Carlos' camera - a pathway in Bruges.

My attempt at artsy photography on Carlos’ camera – a pathway in Bruges.

 

More artsy shots - a dog in the streets of Bruges. Which then barked viciously as we walked by...

More artsy shots – a dog in the streets of Bruges. Which then barked viciously as we walked by…

 

Now, we had taken the amazing free tour the day before, and we had gone on a free walking tour previously in Galway as well. This tour, however, was nothing like we could have imagined… but not in a good way. This tour included a tour guide with some of the crudest and inappropriate jokes I have ever heard, and facts that we later found out were from a movie. Yes, we got to see the city, the sights, the beauty of it at night – but we all agreed that it would have been best to simply wander by ourselves. I think the tour put a tinged feeling on the whole city for us.

We wandered the streets a bit more after the tour, trying to get a better feel for the city. We found a little bridge that the guide had mentioned: when you crossed the bridge, the next person you made eye contact with would be the one you married. We had a lot of fun and jokes with that one! From Brittany and I finding no one on the other side, to us joking about the guys crossing the bridge together.

 
Group selfie wandering Bruges!

Group selfie wandering Bruges!

 

The canals in Bruges. Apparently this is the most photographed spot!

The canals in Bruges. Apparently this is the most photographed spot!

 

We found dinner, and went back to our hostel, ready to move onto Paris. It was interesting: everyone had told us that Bruges was amazing while Brussels was boring. Our experience, however, was the complete opposite.

Saturday April 4, 2015

Our last day of travel as a group. We headed to the train station for a complicated day of switching trains, and long travel time. After a few hours, we arrived in Paris.

Our view of Paris was immediately skewed when some man tried to basically con us in the metro station. He claimed that he worked there and would help us buy tickets. The whole situation seemed sketchy, and we agreed that it wasn’t right – so we lied and told him we had changed our minds, we’d buy tickets the next day. After he walked off somewhat miffed, we headed to the tourist office, bought our tickets, and were on our way to our amazing hostel in the Montmartre district (Le Montclair Hostel, I would recommend it).

We got in sort of late, so by the time we were settled, it was already dark. We knew that one sight was close to our hostel, so we headed there. The beautiful church and basilica, Sacre Coeur, is really a sight to see at night. Lit up with all the lights of Paris below it, there is a magnificence. Especially if you can get past all the people trying to sell you trinkets on the street and walkways in front.

Sacre Coeur on our first night in Paris.

Sacre Coeur on our first night in Paris.

We ventured inside the church to find ourselves in the midst of a service. In all our travelling, we had temporarily forgotten that it was Good Friday, with Easter Sunday just around the corner. It was amazing to see the service for a few moments.

We went around the corner, possibly to an area we weren’t supposed to be in, and found an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower from very, very far away. We took many pictures of it lit up at night, we waited for it to sparkle, and then we headed back to our hostel to crash after a long day.

Sunday April 5, 2015

We woke up and had breakfast at the hostel, hoping that our second day in Paris would be much better. The first impression of Paris had left us a little weary, but we were ready to give it another chance!

We took the metro into Paris, getting off somewhere in the center. We walked along the streets, marveling at the different architecture. Walking along, we found the Louvre. (I think the guys knew where we were, but for me, it was even sweeter coming up to the building not knowing what it was.)

 
The Louvre in Paris was amazing - and we got nice weather for lining up!

The Louvre in Paris was amazing – and we got nice weather for lining up!

 

 
Waiting in line for the Louvre on a beautiful day!

Waiting in line for the Louvre on a beautiful day!

Apparently, on the first Sunday of the month, the Louvre is supposed to be free. Now, for students of the European Union, it is technically free the majority of the time. We didn’t want to take a chance for Brittany and I though, so we decided to go on the Sunday – and got in no problem!

The Louvre is amazing. If you have never been, you need to go there. Even if you don’t like art. The ceilings and rooms are masterpieces themselves. I found myself continually looking up at the beautiful ceilings, only to remember I was supposed to be looking at the art on the walls. We wandered for probably two hours. We found the Mona Lisa, a lot of Biblical paintings, and the enormous Egyptian section. I also took one selfie that I am particularly proud of in the area for art from Holland and Flanders.

 
Selfie wandering the Louvre!

Selfie wandering the Louvre!

 

 
This is the one I am proud of - my amazing Louvre selfie! :)

This is the one I am proud of – my amazing Louvre selfie! 🙂

 
Group selfie with the Mona Lisa!!!

Group selfie with the Mona Lisa!!!

Upon leaving the Louvre, we ventured to walk some more. We crossed the love lock bridge, marveling at the sheer number of locks along the way, and wondering how many of these couples were still together. We continued on to encounter Notre Dame. It loomed over that part of the city. All I could think of was the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – and yes, I sang some of the songs in my head. We waited in a decently short line and entered the cathedral. It was beautiful. The stained glass alone had me awed, but the number of people and candles, and the structure – it was amazing.

We wandered the streets along the Seine after, trying to find something to eat. We found a place that sold crepes, so we stopped. It was delicious, but just as good as the crepes my flatmate has made! Carlos was upset when he found out that his coffee cost him 4 euros. It became a sore spot but also a great joke.

 
 
The love lock bridge

The love lock bridge

Selfie in front of Notre Dame

Selfie in front of Notre Dame

 

 
Notre Dame from across the Seine.

Notre Dame from across the Seine.

The beautiful Eiffel Tower at night.

The beautiful Eiffel Tower at night.

 

Later, we met up with our friend, Hubert. He was visiting Paris with his girlfriend, so we all went out for dinner together. Following a pretty great dinner, we hopped on the metro to stroll underneath the Eiffel Tower at night and walk the Champs Elysees. The Eiffel Tower up close at night is beautiful. I couldn’t stop taking pictures – which may have annoyed some of the others…

After a lot of walking and a great day, we all headed back to our accommodations with tired limbs, saying goodbye until we were once again in Waterford.

Monday April 6, 2015

We got up, ate breakfast, and headed to Sacre Coeur, so we could see it in the daytime. There was a group performing there that were amazing, and we stopped to listen for a while (the guys even bought cds). We wandered through souvenir stores and around a painter’s market, where beautiful paintings and drawings were being sold by local artists. We grabbed some baguettes for lunch and relaxed in the shade.

Catching the metro, we headed to the center of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. This was our first instance of seeing the Eiffel Tower up close in daylight. It was really exciting. We spent a couple hours relaxing on the grass, taking silly pictures, and just basking in the sight.

 
We wandered to see the Moulin Rouge theatre!

We wandered to see the Moulin Rouge theatre!

 

It's so cool to just walk around it, dwarfed in size.

It’s so cool to just walk around it, dwarfed in size.

 

Lovin the Eiffel Tower

Lovin the Eiffel Tower

 

We took a “stroll along the Seine” (yes, that is a Disney reference), and ended up in a Spring Market – so Brittany and I bought macarons, while the guys went for crepes and cotton candy. We walked through the grounds of the Army museum before finding somewhere to eat.

For our last night, we went to the 56th floor of Montparnasse, a very tall building. Unfortunately, tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower had been sold out, so we went here instead. It was great! We went close to dusk so that we got to see all the lights of the city come on, including the sparkling Eiffel Tower. We went back to the hostel after to relax and hang out for our last night together on the trip.

 
Eiffel Tower, Paris. It was a beautiful day! (Thanks for the pic, Carlos)

Eiffel Tower, Paris. It was a beautiful day! (Thanks for the pic, Carlos)

 

Parisian macarons under the Eiffel Tower - that's where it's at!

Parisian macarons under the Eiffel Tower – that’s where it’s at!

 

Paris at night from the top of Montparnasse.

Paris at night from the top of Montparnasse.

 

Thursday April 9, 2015

Now, you may wonder why I skipped a few days here. Let me briefly explain.

Basically, on our last night in Paris, I somehow got food poisoning. It was not pretty. I was up most of the night. In the morning, I said goodbye to the others, waving them out the door. I felt super ill, and ended up missing my train to Nice. Commence some problems, but I got it figured out – stayed an extra night in the hostel, and had a ticket bought for me for a train the next day (thanks Carlos!). I still wanted to go to Nice, and that’s where I was flying home from. So, after a 5.5 hour train ride, and some issues trying to find my hostel in the dark, I was finally settled in. And this is the day I walked Nice.

Nice was beautiful.

I ended up exploring with a girl from my hostel room. Her name was Kate and she was from Melbourne, Australia. We had a great day just wandering the city, and getting lost. We found a harbor and the coastline which was beautiful. There was a lot of stairs in a cliff that we decided to climb. We ended up in Chateau de Nice Ville, affording an amazing panoramic view of all of the city below.

 
The harbour in Nice was so quaint, and the boats were so colourful!

The harbour in Nice was so quaint, and the boats were so colourful!

 

The city of Nice from Chateau de Nice Ville. The stairs were worth the view!

The city of Nice from Chateau de Nice Ville. The stairs were worth the view!

 

Beautiful waterfall at Chateau de Nice Ville.

Beautiful waterfall at Chateau de Nice Ville.

 

We stopped for a bite to eat before walking the boardwalk and eating gelato by a fountain. It felt sort of Italian to me, but it is very close to the border. Then we got lost trying to find our way back.

Even though I only had one day in Nice (and didn’t get to go to Monaco), it was a great experience. I learned that I am not particularly a fan of travelling by myself, that I can get myself through bad situations travelling, and that no matter what happens you just have to roll with it. Plus, I discovered that after you have been to the sandy beaches of Hawaii and Mexico, the rocky beaches of Nice are nice, but definitely not for laying on a beach.

 
 
Gelato and fountains in Nice - felt like Italy!?

Gelato and fountains in Nice – felt like Italy!?

The beach in Nice! I put my hand in the Mediterranean

The beach in Nice! I put my hand in the Mediterranean

 

 
The view of Nice from the airplane was beautiful!

The view of Nice from the airplane was beautiful!

That evening I had some stress with my flight possibly being cancelled due to a flight strike. But it wasn’t, thankfully. The next day I spent in the airport, just in case. France was not very good to me. And yet I plan to go back! I also found it interesting how excited I was flying into Ireland. The trip had been amazing, and it was exciting to see mountains in France and Nice, but the green of Ireland was a beautiful sight. It felt like coming home. I’m going to miss this place a lot.

Well, there you have it. My entire two week trip condensed into two blog posts. Obviously a lot more than this happened, and there are tons of pictures. I am trying to upload some to Facebook, but with internet here, it may take a while.

For those wondering, I am fine now and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. I am so lucky to have met these amazing people that I can travel with for two weeks and we all don’t want to kill each other by the end of it. Actually, I missed them after they left. I don’t even want to think about the end of the semester…

May the road rise up to meet ya

From

JH

EuroTrip Pt. 1

So, after two weeks of travels and adventures, I am back in my cold room in Waterford. I have experienced so many things, and I am excited to attempt to retell my stories here on my blog. For some things, though, words will not suffice to portray the reality of my feelings or experiences. But, alas, I will do my best. Prepare yourself for a long’un – I’ve tried to condense but there’s too much to say!

Just over two weeks ago, I set out to conquer 4 countries and 6 cities with some great friends. Of course these friends would include my flatmate, Brittany, our Spanish friend, Carlos, and our Dutch friend, Bert. We had all become quite good friends over the months, and were excited to set out on an adventure!

Saturday March 28, 2015

This was the beginning of our journey. Bursting with excitement, I honestly didn’t sleep very much the night before. Getting up decently early, we caught a bus to Dublin and waved goodbye to Waterford with weary limbs.

Arriving at the airport, we attempted to figure out our next step. Because Brittany and I are living here on Visas, we have to get a ‘Visa check’ each time we fly – leading to an extra line-up that we could otherwise pass if we actually lived here – which is basically just a stamp or a person writing “VISA OK” across our boarding passes. Slightly frustrating, but I guess necessary. After security and waiting around, we were on our way to London!

Now, for those of you who know me, I have always wanted to go to London. It was basically #1 on my list of places to go since forever. So, I was beyond ecstatic to be finally travelling to my dream destination. After another bus ride from the airport and our first ride on the underground, we were finally there…

Getting in later in the afternoon, we checked into our hostel and decided to wander the city at night – the perfect decision! Wandering aimlessly through the streets, and turning towards the infamous Thames, we stumbled on an amazing view across the river of the iconic London symbols. Big Ben and the London Eye loomed in front of us, and it felt like something out of a dream. At first, I didn’t even know what I was looking at, mistaking the London Eye for ‘some big red tower…’ (Embarrassing when you’ve only ever wanted to go there…).

 
Our first night, stumbling upon this view, took our words and breath away.

Our first night, stumbling upon this view, took our words and breath away.

 
Typical tourist photo with the infamous telephone box.

Typical tourist photo with the infamous telephone box.

 
Piccadilly Circus and a station to the underground.

Piccadilly Circus and a station to the underground.

The whole time we walked along the Thames, we were all at a loss for words, constantly looking at each other with huge grins on our faces and trying to fathom that we were actually there. We took a million pictures before walking closer and finding dinner, and quickly taking a look at Piccadilly Circus lit up at night. We could honestly not have asked for a better first night in London.

Sunday March 29, 2015

A perfect day in London. I was very excited to see all of the sights in the daytime, those structures standing out along the London skyline. We ventured another trip on the underground, and I found that I was quite good at navigating it and where we needed to go. I was quite proud of myself!

We headed to the Westminster area, and wandered around taking pictures and goofing off, surrounded once again by Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey. We took a stroll through St. James’ Park before coming to Buckingham Palace. As luck would have it, we arrived just in time to see the changing of the guards. It was pretty cool actually! We took some pictures and hung out before moving onwards.

 
 
You can't really see Westminster Abbey, but it's a great pic of us our first full day in London.

You can’t really see Westminster Abbey, but it’s a great pic of us our first full day in London.

 
London was amazing.

London was amazing.

We found a piece of home at Canada Gate near Buckingham Palace! Had to get a picture.

We found a piece of home at Canada Gate near Buckingham Palace! Had to get a picture.

 

During this day, a joke began that would run for the rest of the trip. My friend, Carlos, has a serious camera for taking pictures, a DSLR that I am super jealous of. We decided that we wanted a group photo in front of [insert name of whatever close by structure or building we would be standing in front of in each city], so Carlos would venture to ask someone to take a picture of us. Well, he ended up asking someone who turned out to be Spanish the first time – so it became a joke that he would try to find Spanish people to take our picture. In London, it worked almost every time without fail! We had a lot of laughs about that.

We found some cool monuments and the Hard Rock Café, before catching the tube to Camden Market. It was really neat! We wandered the streets looking for souvenirs for ourselves and people back home, and we even stumbled on The World’s End pub (you’ll get it if you know of the movie, but we didn’t end up going in).

That night was probably the best part of London though – we headed back to the center to go on the London Eye itself! It was so amazing. Even with the rain and some clouds, you could see the entire city as you slowly went higher into the sky. We had tons of fun taking pictures and pointing out all the different sights. It was great to see the lights come on as well.

 
 
Selfie on the London Eye!

Selfie on the London Eye!

 
The London Eye lit up on a rainy evening.

The London Eye lit up on a rainy evening.

View of Big Ben while on the London Eye. Despite the clouds and sprinkling of rain, it was amazing.

View of Big Ben while on the London Eye. Despite the clouds and sprinkling of rain, it was amazing.

We walked through Covent Garden before heading back to our hostel to crash. It was a great day.

Monday March 30, 2015

Our last day in London – so I skipped breakfast and caught up on some sleep! I wanted to make sure to really enjoy the day on a full 8 hours.

We headed to the British Museum to see the wonders kept inside. We had briefly wandered through the Museum of Natural History the previous day, and had been slightly underwhelmed. But the British Museum definitely did not disappoint – it was huge! There were so many different sections to look through: Ancient Egypt, Greece & Rome, Medieval Europe, Asia, North America, and so much more. For a history nut like me, it was Heaven. I could have wandered for a long time. But, we had split up with the guys and not having cell service, it became imperative and difficult to find them once again. And I was starving by this point, having only snacked on granola bars.

 
Outside the Tower of London. (Yes, we took an 'us-ie' at a place where someone was beheaded)

Outside the Tower of London. (Yes, we took an ‘us-ie’ at a place where someone was beheaded)

 

 
Tower Bridge, London. We walked across afterwards, to explore the other side of the Thames.

Tower Bridge, London. We walked across afterwards, to explore the other side of the Thames.

We ate lunch (thank goodness) before catching the tube to go to the other areas of London we hadn’t seen. Wandering along the other end of the Thames, we found the London Fire memorial, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the London Shard in the distance. It was amazing to be surrounded by so much history and so many iconic buildings. I was in awe.

But the best part was yet to come, as we walked along the opposite side of the river. We found a cute pub and stopped for afternoon tea – something we all wanted to partake in while there. Brittany and I shared a treacle sponge with our tea, apparently a typical English dessert served with cream. It was delicious!

Continuing on, we eventually found Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. I was so excited, and could not stop looking at it, staring in awe. If I go back, it would be amazing to see a play performed there. We settled for sitting on the wall along the Thames, staring at the historic building, as I quoted my favourite quotes from various plays.

 
Cuppa afternoon tea and some treacle sponge for the sweet tooth.

Cuppa afternoon tea and some treacle sponge for the sweet tooth.

 

Shakespeare's one and only Globe Theatre! (This picture was actually hard to get...)

Shakespeare’s one and only Globe Theatre! (This picture was actually hard to get…)

 

 
Here, we are on Millennium Bridge, and you can see St. Paul's Cathedral in the distance behind us.

Here, we are on Millennium Bridge, and you can see St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance behind us.

We walked across Millennium Bridge (yes, the one from Harry Potter) and saw St. Paul’s Cathedral before heading back to our hostel for dinner. It was such an amazing end to our adventures in London. I had high expectations that London definitely lived up to!

Tuesday March 31, 2015

“3:15am came incredibly early this morning… None of us could really get out of bed – but we had to catch a taxi to the bus station” to fly to Eindhoven! (quote from my journal that day).

It took us a while to figure out where to go, but we finally arrived at the airport. We waited in lots of line-ups (again having to do a Visa check before security), and then relaxed before the flight. Now, even though the flight was only 40min, and I have taken many flights before, this was actually the WORST flight of my life. Take-off was bumpy because there was some wind in London, and then it was smooth sailing the whole time we were in the air.

But the landing – Oh. My. Goodness. See, there was a storm in the Netherlands the two days we were there; the winds were incredibly strong (and cold) as our plane tried to land. Brittany and I were freaking out as the plane experienced turbulence and possibly even flew sideways for a bit. It was not enjoyable, but we had a safe landing! Bert, who had only flown a couple times before this, was eerily the epitome of calm between all of us. Thanks for lending some of your calmness, Bert! Hahaha.

Anyways, I digress. We took a bus to catch our first European train (and Brittany’s first ever train)! It was a smooth, short ride into Amsterdam. At the station, we immediately tried some Dutch food thanks to our own personal tour guide and friend, Bert. It was called frikandel. Don’t ask me exactly what it is – I’ve learned not to ask that question with some foods in Europe… Basically it was something like a hot dog or sausage (but not quite) with curry, mayonnaise and onions on it. Previously, I would never have eaten that – but it was actually really, really good!

 
Vondelpark, Amsterdam - the famous, huge park. There were so many people! (Not sarcasm, I swear there were...)

Vondelpark, Amsterdam – the famous, huge park. There were so many people! (Not sarcasm, I swear there were…)

 

Standing in front of the iconic sign.

Standing in front of the iconic sign.

 

 
The canals of Amsterdam are beautiful.

The canals of Amsterdam are beautiful.

 
The canals were lit up very pretty at night. The bikes did not glow, though - random cool effect from my camera.

The canals were lit up very pretty at night. The bikes did not glow, though – random cool effect from my camera.

We took a tram to the hostel, adding one more type of transportation to our day, and hung out for a little while (either taking siestas, reading or relaxing). Brittany and I decided to wander Vondelpark before accidentally stumbling on the “iamsterdam” sign. We went back with the guys to take a ton of pictures, before wandering all over the city, exploring Dam Square and seeing the many canals.

We ate some dinner, and then met up with some of Carlos’ friends from Spain. We all went out to a pub and had a round of beers. It was a lot of fun! The guys decided to stay out while Brittany and I walked back, stopping at a little bakery to grab some sweets. The city was amazing at night and felt pretty safe.

Amsterdam really surprised me. I hadn’t been as excited for it as some of the other cities, but it ended up being one of my favourite cities that we visited. The canals were beautiful and it was a great city to explore!

Wednesday April 1, 2015

After waking up way later than we had all planned, we grabbed some breakfast from the grocery store (frikandel brootje – similar to what we had the day before, but in a breakfast pastry), and headed out for the day.

We met up with Bert’s twin sister and their friend and began our explorations of the city once again. The plan was to go to the Anne Frank House, but the line-up was over 2 hours long! We decided that two hours, standing in the cold wind wasn’t worth it. So we took some pictures and headed to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum instead. It was a ton of fun!

 
Trying to escape Madame Tussaud's to take E.T. home...

Trying to escape Madame Tussaud’s to take E.T. home…

 

Dam Square, the large main square of the city of Amsterdam. (View from Madame Tussauds)

Dam Square, the large main square of the city of Amsterdam. (View from Madame Tussauds)

 

 
There weren't a lot of flowers at the Tulip Market yet, but there was a wall of wooden shoes! Can't get more Dutch than that...

There weren’t a lot of flowers at the Tulip Market yet, but there was a wall of wooden shoes! Can’t get more Dutch than that…

We got food, bought souvenirs, and said goodbye to Bert’s sister and friend. That night, we went on a canal cruise of the city, being shown the beautiful canals and city sights at night. It really was an amazing experience.

Before crashing at the hostel, we found the “iamsterdam” sign at night, and with no one on it we had fun taking pictures and climbing all over (also, Brittany and I frolicked on the lawn in front of it, cause why not?).

Amsterdam was truly amazing.

——

This post is getting long, so I will stop there. Perhaps I will include less detail in the next post, seen as I have to fit in 4 cities. This trip was truly amazing and honestly, I’m not even including everything that happened nor all the pictures and jokes. Stay tuned for the next post, that will include Belgium and France.

“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” – my motto for this trip [Pinterest, of course]

Waterford Wanderings & Excited Ramblings

So this post is a little late. A lot happened over the last week, so I will try to fill you in with a minimal amount of writing.

Last Saturday (February 28), a few friends and I decided that we would go to city center. Bruna, Carlos, Brittany and I set out to tour Waterford Crystal and Reginald’s Tower. Having been here for over 2 months, we decided it was time to do more of the tourist-y things in Waterford.

Waterford Crystal was really interesting! We learned about the processes used to make the crystal, we saw vases being made, and we viewed the amazing artistry of the sculptors. The pieces were beautiful. It was cool to see how it was all made, and why exactly it is so expensive (other than the fact that it’s crystal).

 
 
Entrance to Waterford Crystal.

Entrance to Waterford Crystal.

Carving the lines into the crystal with precision.

Carving the lines into the crystal with precision.

 

 
Amazing pieces by the sculptors of Waterford Crystal.

Amazing pieces by the sculptors of Waterford Crystal.

 
Wandering the streets and narrow-ways of Waterford city.

Wandering the streets and narrow-ways of Waterford city.

We wandered around city center and explored areas we didn’t know after we found out Reginald’s Tower was closed for the day. We stopped for hot chocolate before heading back. We decided to meet up later and have a potluck dinner and movie night. Some of the others were going to make food from their homes – we were really excited!

The dinner was fun – just a bunch of us hanging out, eating Spanish tortilla, pizza, salad, and a Polish dish (although he wasn’t sure if it was exactly Polish, it was really good). A bunch of our friends stopped by and ended up staying, so we all hung out instead of watching a movie. It was fun!

Early in the week, Brittany and I met up with our friends Carlos and Bert in the evenings to plan out our trip for the two-week Easter break. We had it all planned and booked in two night! It is going to be amazing. We will travel from Dublin to London, and on to Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, and finally Paris. We are all super excited! It was relatively easy to book, and we all get along great, so I am definitely looking forward to this trip.

On Wednesday, there was a party planned by the International student society for Brazilian Carnival. Brittany and I decided we would go after mulling it over a bit. It was going to be a costume party, and neither of us really enjoy completely dressing up. So we headed to city center and tried to find something simple, settling on an ‘80s punk vibe. We looked great! We went to the pre-party here and had a blast with our friends, before heading to The Reg bar in city center. Our night had some hiccups, but it was great to dance with our friends in a fun atmosphere!

 
Brit and I at The Reg in our 'costumes.'

Brit and I at The Reg in our ‘costumes.’

 

Not the best picture of all of us (and includes some random guy in a wig), but it's a great memory! (Photo cred: Bert)

Not the best picture of all of us (and includes some random guy in a wig), but it’s a great memory! (Photo cred: Bert)

 

Skip ahead to Friday – probably the day I am most excited to tell you about. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might already know some of the details.

So, for the trip that we booked, there was one hitch: the other three were planning to leave Paris the Tuesday of the second week to come back to Ireland. All of their parents are coming here to visit them. While I’m super happy for them, I didn’t exactly want to come back to Waterford and sit around for a few days. Instead, I began to look up places I could go for a few days! I wanted to go to Spain, but it was proving too expensive, and I didn’t have many choices of reachable and affordable places. Oddly enough, the best place seemed to be Nice in the French Riviera. Friday morning, I booked everything – I will be spending a few days in Nice, and doing day trips to other cities. I am super excited!

The afternoon only got better. While searching Facebook one day, I saw a random advertisement about a climbing area that had just opened in a rec center. Curious, I clicked it to find out that it is in Waterford!!! I was super excited and immediately contacted the gym to find out when I could go. Friday afternoon, I set out on a long walk (40 minutes of uphill to be exact), and reached my destination. It’s a small area of two rooms: one for rope and one for boulder. But there are a few autobelays and the staff are super friendly! I did an induction and can now climb whenever I want! I probably won’t go often, because it’s so far, but it’s great to know it’s there. I can work on keeping up my strength and the roughness of my calluses for when I go home.

 
The top rope climbing section is on the left - including three autobelays- with bouldering in the back @ Activate Waterford.

The top rope climbing section is on the left – including three autobelays- with bouldering in the back @ Activate Waterford.

 

 
The bouldering section of the climbing area! All new holds was heaven...but hell for my hands.

The bouldering section of the climbing area! All new holds was heaven…but hell for my hands.

Friday night Brittany and I met up with a few of the girls to go to a football match (every time I write ‘football,’ think soccer. I’m trying hard to adopt their words here). It was Waterford United FC vs. Athlone United. I was super excited to get to watch a football match that I didn’t have to pay a lot for. It definitely wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped, but it was a fun outing and experience! I’m not even sure what the score was, although I believe it was a tie due to Waterford’s last minute goal.

This weekend has been pretty relaxed. Yesterday we went shopping and then had a cooking night with Kitty and Carlos. Brittany, Kitty, and I learned how to make a Spanish tortilla and fajitas. They were honestly delicious and I regret not taking a picture of any of it. And then we watched Shaun of the Dead, which I know some of my friends (and my brother) will be very happy about.

A walk in Kilbarry Park.

A walk in Kilbarry Park.

For this week – lots of school work and possibly some nights out.

It seems that my life has fallen into a routine here, and I love it. The routine is oddly never the same. Although it includes school, friends, nights out, and lazy days, there are always factors that are changing and keeping things interesting.

I’m still loving it here, and I’m glad that I’m not homesick (sorry mom and dad). Of course I miss people and things from home, but I am determined to enjoy every minute of my time here as it shortens. I can’t wait for the next adventures around the corner.

“Trust that an ending is followed by a beginning.” (Pinterest quote)

From

JH

Ireland Trip Pt. 2

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Day 4 – Cliffs of Moher

Having breakfast in a common hostel kitchen is definitely an experience everyone should have. You get to meet some very interesting people, who are there for all different reasons. The morning before we caught the bus, we met a guy who had just moved to Galway from England, staying in a hostel until he could find a flat. Super interesting stories and thoughts.

Through our awesome hostel, we booked a bus tour to see the Cliffs. This way, we got to have numerous stops, and someone would tell us what everything was or meant. Otherwise, I would never have noticed the ‘tombs’ since they look like mounds of earth, nor the fairy trees or groves, where there are trees in a circle and the grounds are considered sacred by some. We got to see Dunguaire Castle, hear multiple interesting stories about fairies and crazy women of the past who married 9 times to keep a house… plus lots of adorable baby lambs!

 
 
Our first stop: Dunguaire Castle, Co. Claire.

Our first stop: Dunguaire Castle, Co. Claire.

Do you believe in fairies? This is a circle of trees where the ground is thought to be basically sacred, and fairies are there.

Do you believe in fairies? This is a circle of trees where the ground is thought to be basically sacred, and fairies are there.



 
 
If I remember correctly, this was a stone tomb. It was pretty cool - and the rocks throughout the Burren were fantastic! All over the ground, there were lines, like fissures, carved out from glaciers and water.

If I remember correctly, this was a stone tomb. It was pretty cool – and the rocks throughout the Burren were fantastic!

And then we reached the Cliffs of Moher.

Now, a lot of my friends were absolutely speechless. Being an English major, I was only speechless for a moment before a multitude of words came to mind – amazing, breathtaking, spectacular, brilliant, natural, beautiful! Of course, climbing also came to mind, but I tried to take in the wondrous sight instead, storing it in my memories.

We spent 1.5 hours wandering the trails along the cliffs (not going too close, mom, don’t worry), and taking great and silly pictures. It was a lot of walking and a magnificent afternoon. We could even see the Aran Islands in the distance, our next adventure.

 
We had a gorgeous day on the Cliffs.

We had a gorgeous day on the Cliffs.



 
 
"And now I'm closer to the edge..."

“And now I’m closer to the edge…”

Standing at the railing of the Cliffs of Moher.

Standing at the railing of the Cliffs of Moher.



 

That night was nothing exciting unfortunately. We were all pretty tired and knew that we had an early morning, so we hung out in our tiny hostel room.

Day 5 – Inis Mor (Inishmore)

We got up early to catch the bus to Ros a Mhil, where the ferry would depart, only to find the bus completely full. We were disappointed, but the bus driver let us stand for the ride so we could make the ferry. I got a seat part way through – the others, however, had to stand for the hour bus ride.

The ferry ride was a whole other story. I have been on multiple ferries, going to Vancouver Island with my family since I was quite young. I never really thought about the fact that the others may have only ridden a ferry once or twice in their lives… and this was not the best ferry to start on. A 40 minute ferry ride across the Atlantic Ocean, with rain and wind outside, meant the ride was pretty rough and choppy. The lads survived, though.

On the ferry, a very nice, older gentleman saw our group and struck up a conversation with me. He was a local of the island and ran a bus tour. He offered to give our group a discount, and he would take us around the island for the day. We all jumped at the idea, since it was still raining, and our only other option was to ride bikes. This way, we could get the full history of everything on the island, and have the chance to go to all the amazing sights and places.

Brittany and I saw a girl who we had met on our tour to the Cliffs the previous day. She was Canadian and travelling by herself. So, we talked to her the whole ferry ride, introduced ourselves (since we hadn’t exchanged names the day before – hers was Lisa), and we invited her to come along on the tour with us. She accepted, and we all had a great time.

I’m going to list some random facts we learned about the island(s) that I found interesting:

– There are 3 islands: Inismore, Iniseer, and Inisman, with Inismore being the largest.

– It has 3 churches, 3 schools, 6 pubs, 1 store, and 1 cash machine (which I used…)

– The main language is Irish, and the main industries are fishing and tourism.

– The bank on the island is open only 1 day a week, and they have a lunch break of about 2 hours.

– While other places have doctors that fly from one area to another, the islands had a priest that would fly to each island to give mass.

There you go. Random facts.

 
 
This began our walk to Dun Aengus fort on Inis Mor.

This began our walk to Dun Aengus fort on Inis Mor.

Inis Mor was beautiful! Amazing view on our walk to Dun Aengus - we even saw a rainbow.

Inis Mor was beautiful! Amazing view on our walk to Dun Aengus – we even saw a rainbow.



 
 
Dun Aengus looked really cool at the top of the hill, situated right on the cliffs.

Dun Aengus looked really cool at the top of the hill, situated right on the cliffs.

On our tour, we stopped at the infamous ruins of the Dun Aengus Fort. The walk up was gorgeous, and the views were spectacular. I think our group loved the views from the cliffs more than the ruins themselves. It was far more exposed than the Cliffs of Moher, as you could literally walk right up to the crumbling edges. We were, of course, quite careful. It was definitely worth two euros just for the views.

We went to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, saw ruins of the 7 churches and stopped in another graveyard, and bought souvenirs (I bought postcards and a ring). We wandered the main village of Kilronan before catching the ferry back. The ride back was much smoother for the latter half, and we got to ride on a double-decker bus to get back into Galway.

 
 
The cliffs and views along Dun Aengus were amazing! Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, you could walk right up to the edge.

The cliffs and views along Dun Aengus were amazing! Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, you could walk right up to the edge.

 
I don't want to ever forget this place. Standing on the cliffs at the ruins of Dun Aengus, Inis Mor Aran Islands.

I don’t want to ever forget this place. Standing on the cliffs at the ruins of Dun Aengus, Inis Mor, channeling my inner Judd Nelson.

 
From the cliffs, you could see almost the whole island around you.

From the cliffs, you could see almost the whole island around you.

We reached the farthest point of the west of the island, stopping at the Atlantic Ocean. Canada was only an ocean away!

We reached the farthest point of the west of the island, stopping at the Atlantic Ocean. Canada was only an ocean away!



 

We were pretty tired again – the ferry rides and another long day of bus had really worn us down. We parted ways with Lisa, and decided to hang out in our hostel. Brittany, Carlos, Bert and I went to Napoli’s to order pizza, and walked along the River Corrib. It was pretty at night, and the sky was clear so you could see the stars. We took the pizza back to the hostel, and after the guys picked up some beers, we all just hung out. It was a ton of fun, and the pizza tasted delicious!

Day 6 – Final Day – Travelling ‘Home’

We had to check out in the morning, but a few of us decided to sleep in until we had to get up. Then we just grabbed hot drinks and a snack at a local café.

We wanted to take a free walking tour of Galway city, as we hadn’t seen much of it yet. We waited for 30 minutes with no guide showing up… Finally, a girl came (her name was Laura) and explained that there had been a mix-up, the other person hadn’t shown up, and she would cover. I’m glad we stayed, because she was actually amazing and knew a lot about the city.

She told us a lot about Galway’s history, and showed us the various sites around the city. I wish we would’ve had more time to have gone back and explored them fully.

– The cathedral looked really old, but was actually built in the mid-1900s. And the ceiling was apparently made of Canadian cedar – it would have been cool to go there and ‘smell home.’

– We got to see Lynch Castle, and hear the story of how a baby saved a monkey from a fire.

– We saw the Spanish Arch, where the Irish used to trade with the Spanish, and the remnants of the old wall that used to enclose the city.

– Laura explained why the post boxes in Ireland are green – they are actually left over from the British and have the Royal crest on them. After the Rebellions, it was too expensive to replace the boxes, so they used cheap green paint and painted them green!

 
 
Eyre Square in Galway. Where we began our tour.

Eyre Square in Galway. Where we began our tour.

 
We walked along the River Corrib on our walking tour - it is one of the fastest, smallest rivers (I think in Europe...), and so pretty.

We walked along the River Corrib on our walking tour – it is one of the fastest, smallest rivers (I think in Europe…), and so pretty.

– We learned about Brehon laws – the idea of the ‘honeymoon’ comes from Ireland. If a man was strong and rich enough, he could have 2 wives. BUT – if the first wife wasn’t happy, she had 3 days to murder the second wife before it was considered illegal. So, the honeymoon was created for the husband to protect his second wife!

– Also, Halloween was an Irish tradition – it used to be thought that the veil between the worlds of the dead and living was weakened on this night, and evil spirits could come into the world and possess or kidnap you. So people would disguise themselves by wearing the skins and heads of animals. Creepy, right!?

Perhaps the coolest thing though: Laura taught me some words in Irish. I learned ‘slainte,’ which means ‘cheers,’ ‘failte’ means ‘welcome,’ and ‘creol’ means ‘music.’ (Plus: ‘craic‘ means ‘fun.’ Don’t ask me to try to say them though, as I’m told by the other international students that we have terrible pronunciation for basically every language except English).

After that, we took a bus to Limerick. Here, we wandered the city at night along the river. We realized we hadn’t really explored the cities at night, with there either being nothing to see or us being too tired. We couldn’t decide on where to eat for dinner, and somehow Brittany and I agreed to eat kebabs. They actually were pretty good – although not what I had expected at all. I probably won’t eat another one for a while – at least, not sober.

 
 
To get some people in this post, Carlos, Brit and I when we wandered Limerick at night.

To get some people in this post, Carlos, Brit and I when we wandered Limerick at night.

 
Limerick at night. King John's Castle just across the river. The city lights were amazing on the water at night!

Limerick at night. King John’s Castle just across the river. The city lights were amazing on the water at night!

The trip finished with a bus ride home to Waterford, with lots of jokes and laughs along the way. It’s weird to call this place home still, even though that’s what it is. It will be my home for the next 3 months even.

But it’s not just the place – these people I got to travel with and meet are a huge part of it. Thinking about the end of the semester, and not seeing all of them, makes me really sad. BUT – for now, we will plan more adventures and enjoy all the time we have left here!

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Pinterest

From

JH

Ireland Trip Pt. 1

This was on the kitchen wall of the Barnacles Hostel in Galway. Loved it!

This was on the kitchen wall of the Barnacles Hostel in Galway. Loved it!

 

 

Well, I have now planned a trip for 8 people (with help obviously), stayed in hostels for the first time, bused along the West of Ireland, and been to some of the most amazing places. All within 6 days.

I have a lot that I want to write – I’ve experienced so much, learned a lot, met some great people, and seen some amazing things. But, for the sake of your eyes and brains, I will attempt to condense as much as I can.

 

 

 

Day 1 – Cahir and Cashel

(We pronounced Cahir wrong for numerous days until someone corrected us – you say it like ‘care.’)

8 of us set out at the beginning – 5 guys and 3 girls.

We had wanted to go to Cahir to see a castle we had seen on the internet, but were super disappointed when we arrived to find it under construction. So, instead, we went for a walk along the river behind the castle. Honestly, it was a great decision! The natural scenery was beautiful, and we all got some great shots. Even though we had torrential rain and sideways winds for the walk back, our wet jeans and dripping jackets were definitely worth it for the views we found.

We had lunch at a little café before taking a bus to Cashel. Cashel is home to the ruins, the Rock of Cashel. My friend Hubert and I were the only ones who saw the ruins from the bus window, our excitement growing as we would finally see something really cool!

 
 
Our walk in Cahir afforded beautiful scenery. The river looked like glass at some points, and the sun held up for the walk there.

Our walk in Cahir afforded beautiful scenery. The river looked like glass at some points, and the sun held up for the walk there.

 
Despite it being under construction, the Rock of Cashel was still really cool to see! (We could actually go into this one!)

Despite it being under construction, the Rock of Cashel was still really cool to see! (We could actually go into this one!)

We walked all the way around the Rock of Cashel, and the other side afforded a view with less construction.

We walked all the way around the Rock of Cashel, and the other side afforded a view with less construction.

We found our hostel (pretty good for my first hostel actually), and headed off to explore the Rock of Cashel. We might have walked along an ‘out-of-bounds’ area (we aren’t sure), but the views were amazing and worth it. Green hills surrounded, and we could see even more ruins in the distance. The ruins were really cool to explore – although dodging stepping on tombs was a little interesting and morbid…

We found a little local pub for dinner that was edible, and had a quiet night in at the hostel.

Day 2 – Limerick

To get to Limerick, we had to pass back through Cahir. So, we stopped for brunch there. I got to have pancakes with maple syrup for Pancake Tuesday! I was so excited to find food from home on a menu!

Limerick was probably one of my favourite cities that we have been to so far these 2 months. The atmosphere is really relaxed, and sometimes it definitely doesn’t feel like you are in a city. We wandered until we found King John’s Castle. We had a ton of fun exploring and taking pictures all around the castle grounds!

 
 
St. John's Castle, Limerick.

St. John’s Castle, Limerick.

The view from the very top tower of St. John's Castle. You could see almost all of Limerick, and with the sun going down, it was gorgeous!

The view from the very top tower of St. John’s Castle. You could see almost all of Limerick, and with the sun going down, it was gorgeous!



 

And then we were 7, as we said goodbye to Kitty at the bus station – she was going back home to Waterford, and we were continuing on. That night, the guys wanted kebabs and pizza for dinner, but Brittany and I decided we wanted something better. So, we asked the lady at reception, and she recommended a restaurant called Marco Polo. It was quite fancy, but pretty average prices – so we were really excited that we got to have one night out with really good food!

We met up with the guys afterwards, and headed to a local pub for a pint and to listen to live music. The band was only two guys playing guitar and using back beats and music, but they were really good! It was a great night out. And our hotel that night was amazing! The beds were incredibly soft, like sleeping on clouds. We all got a great night’s sleep with no bunk beds.

Day 3 – Galway

One more thing that made our hotel awesome – free breakfast in the morning! So we got to have a mini Irish breakfast to start off our day. We hung out in our great room for a bit before wandering the city streets of Limerick and buying food at a grocery store.

We caught a bus to Galway in the afternoon, and checked into our hostel. I cannot stress how awesome this hostel actually was! The people were great, and it actually offered a lot while being in a central location. I was so happy with it! And there was a Canadian girl working there who checked us in and gave us recommendations of where to go in the city – thanks, Rebecca!

 
 
Despite it being blurry, this was us in Galway our first day! (Carlos joined us later)

Despite it being blurry, this was us in Galway our first day! (Carlos joined us later)

It's hard to see, but the musicians were sitting in a circle playing music together - all from memory, of course. They would switch off leading songs, singing, and one guy even did some Irish dancing. It was a great experience!

It’s hard to see, but the musicians were sitting in a circle playing music together – all from memory, of course. They would switch off leading songs, singing, and one guy even did some Irish dancing. It was a great experience!



 

And we became 8 again, as Carlos joined us after coming back from Spain.

We booked our tours for the next few days around Galway and the surrounding areas, and then headed to the Cellar Bar for dinner. The food was amazing, and the atmosphere was great!!! We had an awesome dinner there. After going back to the hostel and hanging out for a bit, we headed to The Crane Bar for a pint and some live, traditional Irish music. The bar was small and fun, and we all had an awesome time. It was a great way to end off the night!

So this post isn’t too long, I’m going to post part two of my travels in a day or two. That blog post will include the Cliffs of Moher, Inishmore, and a little more of Galway (and is longer). Honestly, I would recommend any of the places we went to or stayed at, as we had an amazing trip!

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

From

JH

Adventures and Ramblings

This band was amazing - so exciting when they played Mumford & Sons!

This band was amazing – so exciting when they played Mumford & Sons!

“Cada persona es un mundo – Each person is a different world.” – Spanish saying. (Thanks, Carlos!)

It’s funny. When you set out on an adventure or journey, you never know exactly what to expect.

Planning to come to Ireland, I never would have imagined that I would be out at pubs and clubs on school nights, going somewhere new almost every weekend, and experiencing some very different and crazy things from my life at home.

Last week, on Thursday, we ended up going out. First, we went to a friend’s house to all hang out and have a mini get-together. Later, we headed to a local pub, Kazbar’s, for some live music. It was so amazing! We had been told that it was “Irish music,” but it was funny to see when we got there that the signs said “Newfoundland music.” The band was brilliant, and even played a few Mumford and Sons songs that my friends and I loudly sang along to. Thankfully, there were people who were extremely drunk, and the music was loud, so no one cared or could hear us. It was a great night! I even got to talk to some more of the international students, and meet a few more.

Friday turned out to be an interesting day as well. I have no classes, and Brittany finishes in the afternoon. So, we met up with Bruna and headed to city center. We decided to try a new café this week. We ended up going to O’Brien’s where I had a Nutella hot chocolate! Yes. You read that right. It was amazing!!! So chocolate-y and good. I don’t think it trumped the Chocolate Café hot chocolate, but definitely close.

 
 
These ladies are awesome! We had a blast listening to the music.

These ladies are awesome! We had a blast listening to the music.

Had a great afternoon with these girls!

Had a great afternoon with these girls!



 

Then we went shopping and picked up little things that we needed. I got a yoga mat so that I can finally do some workouts in my room. It was great! And I got a thing of four rings – for one euro!!!!! I was excited. (It’s a girl thing. Hahaha.)

We decided that we wanted a little day trip; so, around 11 on Saturday, a group of us met up to go to Dunmore East. Like Tramore, it’s a coastal town with beaches and the ocean. Except for one thing: the cliffs here were amazing. It makes me wonder how much greater the Cliffs of Moher will be next week.

We wandered around the beaches, climbing through tiny caves (and taking cave selfies), climbing over rocks, and exploring. Our group of 10 often found itself separated, but we always met back up. We followed a trail that ran along the cliffs and the length of the majority of the coast. The views were spectacular. The guys climbed up a hill to get to the top, so I followed along. We found out after that there was a trail, but it was actually pretty awesome to climb the hill – despite the sketchy, moving rocks.

 
The cliffs of Dunmore East were spectacular.

The cliffs of Dunmore East were spectacular.



 
 
Cliff selfie with these guys - so funny!

Cliff selfie with these guys – so funny!

The coast line was so pretty, and the water looked amazing.

The coast line was so pretty, and the water looked amazing.



 
 
The rocks looked so cool along the shore.

The rocks looked so cool along the shore.

The cliffs and ocean were beautiful. I honestly could have sat there for hours, just looking at the view. It’s moments like these that truly remind me that I am surrounded by a beautiful and amazing country. Sometimes, the monotony of school and life causes me to forget exactly where I am. These moments allow me to take a deep breath and soak up the naturally beauty and splendor around me. Ireland is gorgeous, and I’m excited to see all of its beauty.

We had lunch in a little café before heading back. I ordered a BLT Panini, forgetting that bacon here is not like at home. It’s so odd to me that when I order bacon, I am expecting bacon strips like at home; but instead, I am given ham. I seriously miss bacon (even though I don’t eat it that often at home).

But here’s the exciting news – Brittany and I have now seen two places within Ireland that sell Tim Hortons coffee!!! I kid you not. Like the coffee machines at gas stations and convenience stores back home, we have now seen signs for Timmy’s coffee in Kilkenny and Dunmore East. Honestly, it made me really want Tim Hortons. But for now, adorable cafes and The Bagel Factory will have to do (as our friends have never eaten bagels, I’m sure that I’ll get to go there a few times 😉 ).

 
The guys wanted to photobomb my selfie!

The guys wanted to photobomb my selfie!



 
There was water streaming from here, down the rocks to the ocean.

There was water streaming from here, down the rocks to the ocean.



 

One of the things I definitely did not expect was to be partying during the week. For people who know me back home, I’m not exactly a party person. Sure, I’ll have a drink or two and go out every so often. But getting me to Roosters or a night club is a challenge sometimes. (Sorry girls…)

But here, I have surprised myself. I loved going to the live music nights, especially because I had no school the next days anyways. (Somehow, I lucked out with getting only 2 days of school a week…) Monday night was a little more though. Here in Ireland, there is an event called Rag Week. Basically, everyone parties. Every day and every night. Drinking and going to clubs. And I was so not ready for that.

I had heard of it, but didn’t really know what to expect. Thankfully, my friends aren’t really into the huge club scene either. I lucked out on that. But we were going to experience it nonetheless. So we bought our tickets for the Monday night.

 
The rocks were fun to walk across. There was probably a 15ft drop behind me!

The rocks were fun to walk across. There was probably a 15ft drop behind me!

 
I love this shot. Want to use some old rusted railings to get to the cliff edge? We didn't.

I love this shot. Want to use some old rusted railings to get to the cliff edge? We didn’t.

The sun peaked out near the end of our long walk.

The sun peaked out near the end of our long walk.



 
My awesome roommate and friend is great about my constant selfies...

My awesome roommate and friend is great about my constant selfies…



 

We went to a friend’s apartment first to hang out (I’m sensing a pattern here). And then we went to the school. Now it’s so weird to me that the school is having a party week, hosted by the Student Union. But I guess that is the way here! It was actually a ton of fun. There was a live band that was awesome and played great music. Our huge group danced around and had an overall great time.

Technically, we had tickets that would get us a discount to a night club in the city that night. But we decided it might be too busy, so we might check out another one. We ended up at The Foundry. Again, a typical night club. Not necessarily my scene. But I was having fun, and I was with friends, so I didn’t care. We went onto the dance floor and danced around for a while before heading home.

At The Dome! Awesome live music and people. (photo cred: Bert)

At The Dome! Awesome live music and people. (photo cred: Bert)

Obviously there were many other things that happened, but I will spare you the details. Essentially, there were a lot of laughs, some awkward moments, lots of joking, drinking, and fun. For my first Rag Week adventure, I had a great time!

But here’s the exciting news: next week, my friends and I venture on our actual adventure. We get a week off for studying for school, but every one of us is basically just using our weeks off for travel. So, Brittany and I decided to plan a trip through the parts of Ireland that we most want to see. A bunch of our friends were interested, so now there will probably be a group of about 5-7 of us. (Don’t worry – we’ve already booked hostels for those of us who are sure we’re going).

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write for blogging next week. A post will probably go up the week after. But keep an eye on my Instagram and Twitter, as I’ll try to update there. We are going to see many amazing things, from cathedrals to castles, museums to nature, and the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. We will pass through Cahir and Cashel, Limerick, Galway, and Inismore.

I am beyond excited for this adventure, and cannot wait to tell you all about it when I get back.

May the road rise up to meet ya.

From

JH