I don’t know which weekend it is anymore, I’m only counting the weekends I have left for my program, which are two. Thank you to all who’ve read my blog and hopefully liked my random thoughts and sometimes tangents of weird things I find interesting and also my strong opinions. I hope there are a lot of you (but it might just be my parents) and I hope this blog has provided some interest.
Friday, July 31
Today, I lost my phone. A sad, sad day. I was traveling for work and I guess it fell out of my pocket in the bus. This sucks because I almost always look back on my seat to see if I’ve forgotten anything and I never keep my phone in my back pocket, but I didn’t do both of those things and low and behold my phone is lost. The sucky part about it is that I was not in a very nice neighborhood so the chances of a good samaritan giving it to the bus driver was zero to nilche. Also, today I was traveling to Dublin, and I wouldn’t be here for the weekend, so I was SOH.
My work was nice and they let me leave early to prepare for my flight. I took a train, then a bus, to Luton Airport. It was my first time doing all of this by myself, but I got the hang of it. My flight was only 55 minutes (if that). I took a public bus to my hostel, where I checked in. It was a nice hostel, very young and trendy, definitely for the young traveler like myself. I went into my mixed dorm room and realized I would be sharing a room with a guy who wasn’t there. For safe measure, I took the closest bed to the door on the top bunk, this was my first time at a hostel afterall. Then I tried to go to sleep but realized that the guy had come back and turned the fucking light on and left it on all night. I was trying to sleep early since I had to wake up at 6am to make it to a tour bus.
Saturday, August 1
Since I had lost my phone, I have to find new ways of living life (literally) like my alarm clock. I put it on my iPad, thinking that my iPad was going to wake me up…well it didn’t. Luckily, the dude I was sharing the dorm with left the lights on all night, so my body I guess woke me up at the time I was supposed to. I got ready, realized that the place I had to meet the bus was 15 minute walk (I left the hostel 8 minutes before I had to be there) so I hauled ass to the meeting spot where I was supposed to take my tour. We were going to the Cliffs of Moher, and I guess I got there late and the bus with all the normal people left. I was stuck with the bus load of Spanish High School students. This didn’t prove to be annoying until later on but I’ll get to that. There was another solo girl who ended up sitting next to me from Canada. She has lived in Dublin for 3 months for work.
Now, the bus driver was great. He was a local Irish man from Cork (the second biggest town with only like 500k?) His interests were history (YESSS), music, anything Irish, he was very proud of his culture and I was extremely excited to learn (cos I’m a Geek who loves culture, history, and learning – and I actually appreciate culture and the “old fashion way” but maybe it’s because I’m so curious). As we got into the bus he was talking about things and asking people to respond, but since these were students who were too cool for school, no one wanted to participate. He said maybe he can talk later since maybe people are sleepy.
I slept cos I only got maybe 3 hours of sleep the night before. I awoke to him saying that we were at our next stop, a place called Barack Obama Plaza. Literally in the middle of nowhere, is this Barack Obama gas station pit stop. I guess Barack Obama visited this place since his mom is some Irish. They dedicated this place in his name and they even have an exhibit upstairs (which I’m really bummed I didn’t check out but I didn’t even know until I got back on the bus). I got coffee and breakfast and then we headed on our way. Our nice guide started to talk about Irish history (YESSSS). He was so freaking knowledgable, I was impressed. He seriously knew everything about Ireland, his country, and all the small details. Basically anything you needed to know about Ireland, he knew it. However, while i was trying to listen and while he was talking, some rude young girls who were too cool to listen were talking really loudly about some random shit (I’m not sure since they’re Spanish and I was listening to the guide. I kept glaring at them but they were in their own world. Other people around them were also glaring at them. Finally at one point, when I had it, I looked at them and said “Can you please be quiet” and they stopped talking. He started from the really early settlers, to the Kells (people who settled here), to them being bullied by the Brits.
As he spoke he would point out some cool things out on the road, like the different cows, the horses, the sheep, the stone fences, the types of stone, the types of castles, the types of abbeys and churches, and towns. It was amazing, I loved every part of the trip. Our next stop was Limerick (like the poem), where he was trying to find a stone that some important Irish people signed with the Brits to keep peace. I thought they carved it in the stone but no, they signed it on a piece of paper that was on top of a stone (DUHHHHH?).
Our next stop was finally the Cliffs of Moher, we were to spend an hour and a half here. When we got here the cliffs were AMAZING. They were beautiful, and I can’t really use words to describe this breathtaking view. I was very speechless. I guess people have fallen off the cliffs because they tried to get to close or they were very close to the edge and lost their footing (there was significant wind as well) but there weren’t any precautions to keep you from falling so you had to be really careful. They had an awesome visitor’s center that is made inside the cliff. This is probably best since a big building would have ruined the beauty of the landscape.
After the Cliffs of Moher, we went to this small town for some lunch. It was a local town that the guide knew very well. He recommended this pub and I was totally smitten with this culture, so I went and checked it out. I first got a pint of Smithwicks, and I finally found a pint of AMBER ALE! It was the best pint I have gotten since my time here abroad, and the best part was that the waitress lady spilled the little bit I had left so she gave me another half pint for free. I also ordered Irish Stew, which was AHHHMAZING. If you don’t know me I’m obsessed with gravy, meat, and mashed potatoes, and that’s what it was. The guide was eating next to us and he ordered the same thing as I did, he literally licked his bowl clean.
On the road again, we stopped at this area that the guide called Lunar Landscape. It’s actually called the Burren, but since it looks like you’re standing on the moon, they call it a lunar landscape. The guide also mentioned that the British rulers moved all of the Irish to this area of the land, since you couldn’t really grow any crops, have any cattle, and it was the worst place in Ireland to live. This place was pretty cool and it made for some awesome pictures.
Our guide also took us to another small town, the only interesting thing about that was this little shop I went into had a fairy exhibit on the upper floor. This felt extremely Gaelic to me for some reason. We also stopped at an old Abbey.
After the tour was done, the group with the students thought that they were going to be dropped back off where they came (some 45 minutes away from Dublin) since they got picked up. But, the bus driver had been with us for over 12 hours and I’m sure his shift was ending. It also said that pick-ups and drop-off were not included in the tour. This man had just driven us around all day and they were extremely angry. The students were also angry in that they had to pay for a train ticket home. Who ever organized the tour for them didn’t get the full information and that wasn’t the driver’s fault. In the end, he kindly dropped them off at the train station so they didn’t have to walk from the drop-off point. None of the students gave him tips, not even the teachers. I was very angry by this since I thought he was amazing and he put so much effort into making our trip awesome. By the end I gave him 10 euro tip (that’s all I can afford) because I felt so bad for him and I wanted to show him that I appreciated all of his effort and his stories and knowledge.
I walked back to my hostel where I met 3 other people who were in my room. Two of them were from the states and one was from Sweden. By the time I got back to the hostel, it was already 9 almost 10pm. I went to get some food and had a chat with some of the kids in the lounge. They were all very cool and in the same boat I was–they were traveling abroad for a long time hopping from place to place. I guess it’s very common, especially in Europe. There was a girl from England, a guy from England, a girl from Australia, and 3 guys from the States, one was even from San Jose and went to Cal. They invited me out but by the time they got going it was almost 1am and I was POOPED from my day trip, so I had to pass. I went to sleep and literally passed out.
Barack Obama Plaza
The Barack Obama Plaza, guys
It just literally looks like this
The City of Limerick
The city of Limerick
How picture-esque is this place? Straight out of a movie
Castle + Swan = SWAN PRINCESS
The stone that they used to sign the treaty (but didn’t actually sign on it)
Random Scenic Views while Driving
Refurbished Castle bought by the O’Brien’s. There are hundreds of castles like these and most of them are ruins unless they’ve been bought and restored like this one.
What once was a castle
These stone fences were common, they use the stones from the burren
So lush and green
THE CLIFFS OF MOHER EVERYBODY
Inside the mountain in the Visitor’s center
Little Random Local City (with a hidden Fairy Exhibit in a small shop)