Scotland

Studying in Ireland, I knew I had to go to Scotland. It is so close! I had very little knowledge of the country other than bagpipes and scotch whiskey. We had heard great things about Edinburgh so we decided to spend our weekend there!

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Our first day started with an early morning flight. Once we arrived, we found our way to our hostel and began our search for food. After a delicious breakfast we began our hunt to find the Royal Mile, the main road in Edinburgh that ends with the Edinburgh Castle. On our way we saw the National Museum and decided to stop in. It is so cool to see such old artwork and admire how detailed the work is. Art museums are often a great way to get a quick glance at the history of a country, especially when there is a whole section on the buildings and people of the country like the one in Scotland.

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After our detour, we continued on to the Royal Mile. Edinburgh is one of the most amazing cities I have been to. It sits on a hill and there are so many historical and old buildings everywhere. We began walking up the Royal Mile and found ourselves right in front of the castle.

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My one complaint with Scotland is that it is on the pound and the pound is EXPENSIVE. Unfortunately, the castle was not cheap, but how could we not go into the Edinburgh Castle while in Edinburgh? We dropped the 16 pounds and began to wander the grounds. The views from the castle were panoramic and there were tons of small museums and educational areas. We also got to see them launch a cannon, which was really cool to see as well as incredibly loud.


After the castle we did the Whiskey Experience. The tour started with a ride that felt like the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. The ride took us through the process of how whiskey is made in Scotland. After the tour we got to do a tasting of whiskey. I chose the fruitiest one I could find and hoped for the best. I can now safely say that straight whiskey is disgusting and not for me, but I got to keep the tasting glass so that was cool.

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We ended our day with a free ghost tour that took us around the city. Apparently Edinburgh is one of the most haunted cities in Europe. We walked through cemeteries and execution points and heard murder and ghost stories. After being sufficiently freaked out, we made our way back to our hostel.

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The next morning we woke up early to get to our tour to the Highlands. The Scottish Highlands came highly recommended so we decided to see what the hype was for ourselves. Although we got an incredibly foggy day, the Highlands did not disappoint.

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We were surrounded by incredible mountains and scenery. The 12 hour tour ended with a trip to Loch Ness. There was an option to do a boat tour, but being the poor college students we are, we decided to opt out of that and explore ourselves. We found a path and began to climb. Unfortunately, trees were in the way of a view of the lake, but we were still able to peek through to see the water. After our brief adventure, we headed back to the gift shop to warm up with a cup of tea.

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Our last day in Scotland took us to Arthur’s Seat. I had read about the hike prior to going to Scotland and a girl we met on the ghost tour told us there were amazing views. We met up with two guys who are also studying abroad in Galway who were visiting Scotland as well and headed to the hike.

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This was by far my favorite part of our trip. The hike was not exactly easy, but once we reached the top we got the most amazing views of the city. With my hair blowing everywhere, I couldn’t stop smiling because I was in such a beautiful place. We began our descent back to the Royal Mile and headed to the the Elephant Cafe.

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The Elephant Cafe is where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter. I’m not going to pretend that I am a Harry Potter super fan (i have only seen the first, second and part of the fifth movie) but there was coffee and croissants and amazing views of the castle. I understood why J.K. Rowling chose this spot to write her novel.

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The cafe was pretty standard and lived up to the name (there were elephants everywhere) but there was little sign of Harry Potter until we walked into the bathroom. The walls were entirely covered with odes to Harry Potter and J.K. It was pretty amazing to see the dedication of so many Harry Potter fans.

After some more wandering around the Royal Mile, we headed to the bus to get to the airport. Our trip was short, but it was plenty of time to fall in love with such a beautiful country!

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Check out my video of our trip to Scotland:

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Germany

When I made a list of places I wanted to go to while studying abroad, Germany was on the list. Partially because of the pretzels, but mostly because it is the one place I can clearly link my heritage too. My Oma (great grandma) and my great grandpa were both born in Germany before immigrating to the U.S. While I was never able to meet my great grandpa, I was fortunate enough to know my Oma. No one in my family has been back to Germany since my great grandparents left so I wanted to see where my family is from and experience the culture. Luckily I had the opportunity to do just that!

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Our journey started early in the morning on a bus to the Dublin airport. Our bus driver informed us that there may be delays on the way to Dublin and that we may be behind schedule. We did not book our bus to get us there too much before our flight so this made me a little nervous. As we got closer to Dublin we were in major traffic. I watched the time on the clock and as it got closer to when our gate was supposed to close, I got more nervous. After getting to the airport almost 40 minutes after we were supposed to, we ran to security only to be slowed down by a family who apparently had never gone through security before. As soon as we got through we sprinted to our gate. Margaret didn’t even have her shoes on. We got there just in time and luckily that was our only almost transportation disaster.

Our flight landed in Bremen (where my great grandpa was from) and we had a few hours to explore before our bus left for Berlin.

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This was our first of many bus rides around Germany. After five hours on the bus we were finally at our destination! I was excited for Berlin not only because I had heard great things about it, but also because it is where my Oma is from.

After taking longer than it should have to find our hostel, we were exhausted from our day from travel. We drank our free welcome beer and headed to bed. The next morning we went on a free walking tour. We had done this in London and it was a great, cheap way to get acquainted with the city. We started at the Brandenburg Gate and worked our way around East Berlin.

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Our first stop was at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This was a breathtaking memorial. We learned about the history of Berlin starting with World War II and then moved on to learning about the Berlin Wall. We ended our tour at Checkpoint Charlie and learned about Berlin rebuilding after the wall came down.

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After the tour was over we decided to find the East Side Gallery, the longest part of the wall that is still standing and was given to artists to decorate. It was amazing to see how something that had separated a people could be turned into something so beautiful. This was one of my favorite experiences in Berlin.

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After a few more sights and some food, we headed back to our hostel to get our stuff and head to the bus station for our overnight bus to Munich.

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We arrived in Munich early in the morning and made our way to our hostel. We dropped our stuff off and made our way to the train station to go to the Dachau Concentration Camp. We knew that we could not go to Germany without learning more about the history of World War II. It was eye opening and heart breaking to get a glimpse into what people had to go through in these camps. As we got ready to leave it began to snow.

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After a quick nap and shower (turns out sleeping on a bus doesn’t give you the best nights sleep) we headed to the Hofbrauhaus. How could we go to Germany without going to a beer hall!

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When we walked in we were overwhelmed by how hectic it was. We had no idea what to do and after walking around for a little bit we eventually had to ask . We were informed we could just sit anywhere so we began our hunt for a seat. This was not an easy task as it was a Saturday night. As we stood looking lost, an Italian man called out to and told us we could sit with them. They made some room and we sat down. Soon we had a liter of beer in front of us and basically no food in our stomach. Knowing this would not go well, we spotted a girl selling giant pretzels. We bought two and that made up our dinner.

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The atmosphere in the Hofbrauhaus was amazing. Everyone was happy (thanks to the beer) and making new friends. Our new friends were three guys from Italy, a guy from England and a girl from Korea who was studying in France. As we got to the end of our liters, everyone at our table encouraged us to chug the last few sips. After finishing our drink the waiter came over and told us we were not allowed to do that there and we took this as our cue to leave.

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The next morning we explored downtown Munich a little more. We climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Cathedral and got one of the best views I have ever seen. We then headed to the bus station to head to Heidelberg.

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We had basically no plans when we got to Heidelberg. The castle was right above our hostel so we thought that would be a good place to start. We hiked up to the top and explored the grounds. Once again we got a beautiful view.

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After the castle we were hungry and decided to find a place for brunch. After a leisurely lunch we decided to check out the bridge.

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As we were standing on the bridge we saw a path going up the hillside and people hiking up it. We decided to go and find this path. We eventually found it and started the climb. We were definitely not dressed for a hike and this was definitely not a walk in the park. We eventually made it to the top and got another breathtaking view of Heidelberg.

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As the sun started to set we decided it was time for dinner. After getting a few recommendations we ended up at a restaurant called Vetter. I ordered spätzle and Margaret got a Sausage plate. When our food arrived we were surprised as to what was on Margarets plate some of the strangest sausage we had ever seen. Luckily there was enough familiar sausage to fill her up and we headed back to our hostel.

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We were talking to two guys who were staying in the room with us and told them about the sausage. They laughed and told us they were at that restaurant and saw a girl looking horrified at her sausage.

We left the next morning to take a bus up to Cologne to head home. We were going to explore Cologne a little bit before our flight but when we got there it was hailing and we were tired so we decided just to go to the airport.

The only thing we saw in Cologne
The only thing we saw in Cologne

It was a whirlwind trip to Germany and we packed a lot into our short stay!

Check out my video about our trip:

Blarney Castle

One of the places on my list to go in Ireland was the Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. I had heard not to actually kiss it because it isn’t exactly hygienic, but I felt I couldn’t have lived in Ireland for five months without doing it!

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We got up early on a Saturday morning and started our journey to Cork. I feel lucky to live in a country where things are so close and I am able to make day trips to see some of the well known places around Ireland. After about a three hour bus ride, we made it to Cork. We then had to get another bus that would take us to Blarney. This bus was a double decker bus and I felt like I was back in London again.

Once we got to Blarney, we walked a short distance to the castle and entered the grounds. The grounds surrounding the castle were beautiful and I can only imagine what they must look like in the summer. The towering castle stood above, capturing my attention. It was one of the coolest castles I had seen so far. It was so large and as we walked around, we were able to find small entrances and caves. I was cool to just wander around and explore.

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After doing a walk through we decided to make our way to the stone. After all, that was the reason for our visit. As we made our way up to the top of the castle, I couldn’t help but to notice how narrow and short the staircase and doorways were. People must have been smaller back then because if you were even too much taller than me, you wouldn’t have fit through!

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Once we made it to the top we got an amazing view. There are few things I enjoy more than a beautiful sweeping view of Irish landscape. We then made our way over to the stone.

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I must say, the Blarney Stone was much different than I thought it would be. I guess I had never really seen pictures of the actual stone, but I thought it would be much larger than it was. In order to kiss it, you had to have someone hold you as well as hold onto handlebars. You arch back a ways before you are finally close enough to kiss the stone.

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They take pictures of you and allow you to view them and purchase them if you would like when you’re done. These are not flattering pictures, that’s for sure. The angle is so awkward that even a supermodel would look silly in one of those photos. I decided my iPhone photo would do.

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We spent some more time wandering around and found some cool waterfalls and walkways. It was fun to spend the afternoon walking through gardens and getting lost in the scenery.

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We eventually made our way back to town and got some dinner before heading home. I love seeing different parts of Ireland and experiencing as much of it as I can!

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Check out my video of our trip to Blarney Castle:

London

For our first excursion out of Ireland we decided to go to London because how can you live in Ireland for five months and not go to London?

You would think that traveling to London would be easy from Ireland considering England and Ireland are so close, but that is not exactly the case. Travel started on Thursday afternoon with a bus ride to the Shannon Airport. It then took a plane, a bus, a short walk and a taxi to get us to our hostel. We then went straight to bed as it was 2 am and we were exhausted.

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We woke up the next morning in time to eat breakfast, check out of our hostel and make our way to our next hostel (travel tip: don’t wait too long to book your hostel if you’re cheap like me because you will end up having to move hostels to get the best deals). After arriving at our next hostel, we stored our stuff and hit the city!

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We decided to do a free walking tour as we felt it would be the best way to see the city. We arrived and met our tour guide, YY, a small man originally from Australia with an enormous amount of energy and insight into London.

We followed YY to all of the must see sights in London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. It was amazing to walk around and see all the monuments I had seen in movies and T.V. in real life. I almost felt like I was in a movie myself!

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We were surrounded by so much history and places I had always dreamed of seeing. I remembered watching Will and Kate’s wedding on T.V. and there I was standing in front of the very place they said I do.

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Because we were already being as touristy as possible, we went the full nine yards and took pictures in the phone booth and stood in awe in front of Buckingham Palace.

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Once the tour ended, we went to a restaurant where we got some food. There was still a whole other side to London left to see so we decided to go on a second walking tour of Old London. This one unfortunately was not free. While I really enjoyed the tour, at this point I was pretty tired. We saw some beautiful buildings and had a mocha so thick it was basically drinking chocolate so at least that got my energy up a little.

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We were able to “touch history” on this tour in the form of damage on buildings from bombs during World War II. It was interesting to see the physical evidence of something I have learned so much about in school. We also got to see more historic landmarks such as the Tower Bridge, although we didn’t go on it (it’s definitely on my list for the next time I go).

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After the walking tour we had just enough time to go back to our hostel, change and head to our pub crawl. Pub crawls are a great way to see the night life of a city and I would highly recommend it! We met some cool people and got to dance the night away!

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The next day we got a little later of a start and headed toward Buckingham Palace where the changing of the guards was going to happen. Our tour guide, YY, had recommended actually going to St. James Palace for this as he said if you try to get too close to the gates of Buckingham Palace, you will most likely not see anything at all. On our way to St. James Palace, we met some very nice people (we actually met so many nice people along the way without whom we would have never navigated London) who told us we should check out the Horse Guards Parade. We went there first and saw guards on horses make their way to Buckingham palace.

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We then made our way to St. James Palace and Buckingham Palace where the main event was happening. The changing of the guards is such a longstanding tradition in England and it was cool to witness something that had been happening for so long.

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After this, we made our way to the Camden Market which came recommended to us by several people. On our way we had a slight mishap where Margaret and Jayna wound up getting separated from Liz and I on the tube. If this happens to you, my advice is to stay where you are if you are not the one on the train and let the others come back to you. Unfortunately, we did not do this and we didn’t reconnect with them until we ran into them as we walked around the market.

Photo cred to Jayna!
Photo cred to Jayna!

The market was awesome and a great way to see a different side of London, I only wish I had more money to spend on the amazing food and fun souvenirs!

After the market we went back to our hostel and napped before finally dragging ourselves out of bed to get some dinner. Our hostel was basically half hostel, half bar and when we got downstairs, the place was packed. After going to get some dinner, we came back and danced a little before heading to bed for our early morning flight.

We had a jam packed but fun two days and i can’t wait for our next adventure!

Here’s the video of our London adventure:

Connemara

Our second excursion out into Ireland took us to Connemara. Connemara is a district in west Ireland that has amazing landscapes and landmarks.

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The beginning of our journey took us to a few roadside stops and a look at the fjord. The fjord was an amazing view with the mountains being broken apart by the water.

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When we first pulled over to take photos of the fjord, the weather was overcast but not raining. I decided not to wear my jacket as it had been warm in the bus. As we got closer to the water, the wind started to pick up and i began to regret my no jacket decision. My view of the water was quickly obstructed by my hair blowing crazily in the wind and the rain that soon followed. Within a matter of minutes heavy drops began to fall.

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One of the greatest things about bing in Ireland is how care free I feel. As the rain fell I didn’t care that I was getting wet or that I would surely be cold soon. I didn’t care that I had left my jacket in the bus because I was surrounded by such an amazing place with awesome people having the best time. I also knew there was a fire waiting for me in the pub we were going to, so that helped too.

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I came into the pub and was greeted by friendly faces and that warm fire. Gaynor’s Bar has a tradition where if you come into the bar wearing a hat, you have to leave it. The woman said she has over a thousand hats. Many of them were hanging on the ceiling and told the story of the many travelers who have made a pit stop in the same place as us. A Giants fan, representatives from states all across America, and a variety of colors were all present.

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On our way to the Kylemore Abbey, we stopped by a fairy tree on the side of the road. Our bus driver explained that if you leave something on the tree and make a wish then it will be granted by the little fairy people. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything I felt I could part with, but it was fun to see other people make their wishes!

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We then made our way to the Kylemore Abbey. The abby is incredibly grand and surrounded by grounds to explore. We spent the next two hours being taken back in time to when the abby was filled with nuns.

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We walked through the gardens that were so beautifully manicured with blue accent doors and bridges that it felt peaceful and serene. After lunch in the restaurant, we went to explore the church that was built on the grounds. This was one of the most beautiful parts of our tour. I am not a very religious person, but there was a sort of energy when we walked into the church. It was so beautifully built and preserved that you couldn’t help but to be quiet.

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The church was built by a man in memorial after his wife, Margaret’s death. It was amazing to see the love someone had for another through such a grand and withstanding gesture.

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As we continue to explore more of Ireland, I love learning about the history and developing a deeper connection to the place I am calling home for the next four months!

Check out this video of our trip to Connemara!

The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

Prior to studying abroad, whenever I thought of Ireland I thought of the Cliffs of Moher. So obviously it had to be our first stop!

We decided to take a tour to the cliffs and got even more than we thought we would. The tour not only took us to the cliffs, but also the Burren. The Burren a vast landscape in County Clare. As we drove up to the Ailwee Caves in the Burren, there was green as far as the eye could see. The bright green farm land is separated by stone walls that makes the Irish landscape unique.

Before heading up to the caves we stopped by Dunguaire Castle. It was so picturesque with the water glistening as the sun beat down on us through the crisp air. We wandered around the castle and explored the surroundings.

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We weren’t expecting to go to the Ailwee caves, but once we got there, it was an experience I was glad we got to have. Walking into the dark depths of the caves brought us into another world. We ducked our way through the cave and crossed bridges while learning about the history of the environment surrounding us.

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Once we were out of the cave it was time to move on to our next destination, the Cliffs!

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My excitement grew as we got closer to the Cliffs. As soon as we got off the bus the wind was blowing our hair like crazy. Wind is all part of the experience. As the cliffs came into view I was in awe of the vastness of the well-known landmark.

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We went to the left and started walking toward a castle that stood facing the cliffs. We were lucky enough to go on a nice day and got clear skies making the cliffs even more beautiful. After taking picture after picture, we decided to go to the other side and explore.

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The paved path eventually ended and we were met with mud and puddles. Luckily I had worn my waterproof boots, but the puddles were so deep we decided to try and go around them. After climbing over the edge, we found ourselves in a mud pit.

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We continued to waddle our way through the mud, determined to get on top of the cliffs. Each step I took was deliberate in an attempt to not sink deeper than my boots until I took one wrong step and slid down a tiny mud bank. With my side covered in mud, all bets were off. I was determined to get there.

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Once reaching our final destination, we took in our surroundings. One way laid the ocean and the other way was filled with green grass as far as the eye could see.

After a delicious lunch of seafood chowder, we were on our way back to Galway.

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On our way we stopped at the “mini cliffs”. This was one of my favorite parts of the tour because it was something I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We pulled off to the side of the road and got out to explore. We were able to get even closer to the edge here and the landscape was different than that of the Cliffs of Moher, it was rockier.

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Overall, we had a great first excursion out in Ireland!

Check out this video of our adventure:

Galway Week 1

We have officially been in Ireland for a week! It has been a crazy, fun-filled week with a lot of adjustments.

After 24 hours of travel, we were exhausted by the time we got here. We arrived at our accommodations (apartment) and were ready to get settled. When we walked into our apartment, we were greeted with a large spiral staircase and several closed doors. We were surprised by how closed off the apartment was, but we soon figured out why that might be. Heating is incredibly expensive here and we think there are so many doors to keep the heat in.

The first night here was overwhelming and I felt like a freshman again because I had no idea where anything was. It was dark and raining and while that isn’t all that different from home, I could feel the distance between Oregon and Galway.

While there are many similarities to the Pacific Northwest, there are some differences:

  1. Cashiers at grocery stores sit down when they are checking you out. I’m not sure why I find this so interesting, but I do.
  2. Almost all signs are in both English and Gaelic. I love that even though I am studying abroad in an English speaking country, there is still another language very prevalent in the culture.
  3. The paper is longer. This threw me off at first, but it is actually pretty handy when taking notes in class.

These may seem like small things, but they definitely stand out!

Our first day in Galway consisted of orientation and a tour of the University. As soon as orientation started, I began to feel like Galway could feel like home for the next five months. While I had heard that the people of Galway were of the nicest you’ll meet, they are also incredibly funny.

After orientation, we went back to the apartment and napped before our tour of the school. The tour was nice and we met some other international students on it. NUI Galway is a beautiful campus with the original building looking like a castle.

NUI Galway
NUI Galway

After the tour, we decided to explore town and went to our first pub. It was a little weird getting carded for the first time even though I’m not 21 yet. After enjoying some Irish coffees and eating some delicious pasta, we were ready to head to bed.

After another day of orientation, we decided to go out. The nightlife in Galway is crazy fun and every time you go out is an adventure. The streets are lit up with string lights and there is music coming out of all the pubs. It’s unlike anything i’ve seen in Oregon, especially in McMinnville.

Downtown Galway at night
Downtown Galway at night

We took a tour of the city on Sunday, which consisted of our tour guide telling us all about the death that has plagued the city for hundreds of years all with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.

It was awesome to hear about the history behind the cobblestone streets we were walking and the buildings we were passing by. Galway is a city with so much history, I’m hoping to take in as much as possible.

The next couple of days were spent trying out classes, which are not too exciting. It is strange being in large lecture halls and having professors with accents, but I am getting used to it.

The view on the way to school!
The view on the way to school!

There is still so much more to see of Ireland and I can’t wait to travel for the next five months!

Georgia

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shan213/15160796555
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shan213/15160796555

There is nothing like arriving to your final destination after sitting in a car for six days straight. Our excitement grew as we counted down the hours and minutes to our destination. As soon as we arrived in Savannah, we felt a little bit of relief. Knowing that we wouldn’t be spending hours on end in the car anymore was exciting, but it was a little bittersweet. Although the road trip portion of our adventure was over, we still had plenty of time to explore Savannah.

Savannah is incredibly different from Portland. It felt like I was taking a step back to another era of cobble stone streets and historical buildings. Of course there are still modern day amenities like cars and fast food, but there are also horse drawn carriages.

Savannah is a unique city that was built on top of graves. Because of this the sidewalks often bulge up from the coffins making it almost impossible not to trip while waling down the street. I made it almost three days with out tripping but alas my luck ran out when my toe caught on a crack in the cobblestone.

Tree lined runway
Tree lined runway

Savannah has a distinct feel and is filled with southern charm. The branches of the trees twist and curl around each other like a girl who just woken up and has yet to brush her hair. Moss hangs off the trees in an eery yet beautiful way as you wander through the many squares that are scattered throughout the city. I felt as though I was walking down a tree lined runway every time I walked down the street.

Savannah Trees
Savannah Trees

One of the advantages of Savannah’s location is how close it is to the beach. A quick 20 minute drive lands you on Tybee Island. As I walked out onto the beach I was automatically transported to a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Tybee Island
Tybee Island

While Savannah is known as a historic and beautiful city, it is also undergoing some big changes. As my friend Daniel says, Hollywood is moving to Savannah. One of the many movies filmed in the area was Magic Mike 2. As we wandered down the beach we found ourselves on the same bench Channing Tatum had swung on a scene in the movie. It was interesting to think about what Savannah’s role is in today’s world. It plays several different roles today. It is a touristy city where people can be taken back in time, but it’s also the place where the second Spongebob Movie was filmed.

This was a great place to end our trip because it was so different from where we started. We had seen the landscape of the U.S. change before our eyes and saw more sights in six days then some people may see in their whole lives. A road trip is a great way to see as much of a country like the U.S. as possible and will provide an endless amount of memories.

Tennessee

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On our way to Nashville, we decided to book our final hotel on the trip. We had been using hotels.com for most of the trip, but decided to check out hotels tonight just to make sure we weren’t missing out on a deal. We found that we had a discount and began looking through the hotels available. We found an open room at the Sheraton and it was cheaper than any of the hotels we had stayed at so far. We decided to book it and hope for the best.

When we arrived in Nashville late at night, we went directly to the hotel. We were welcomed with a dramatic entrance and a very large and beautiful hotel. We were little out of place walking through the lobby, surrounded by people dressed in their best. One look around and we could tell immediately that this was definitely not like the cheap motels we had been staying at in every other state.

When we went up to our room we were deliriously exhausted and ridiculously excited to find that we would each be getting a bed, rather than sharing one as we had done throughout our trip. It was a nice way to end out final hotel stay and I was glad we had saved the best for last.

The next day, we woke up and decided to check out the Grand Ole Opry. We were in Nashville, so obviously we had to! When we arrived, I was a little surprised to find it was surrounded by a large shopping mall. Other than the unexpected surroundings, it was cool to see something I had only ever seen on the T.V. show Nashville.

The Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry

We thought about taking a tour inside the Opry, but it was $20 and we weren’t prepared to shell out that cash after everything we had done. We put going inside the Opry on our bucket lists and decided to try and find some food.

After searching for somewhere to eat, we finally settled for a place called the Frothy Monkey. As soon as we stepped inside, it was like we had been transported back to Portland. This place exuded the hipster vibe and we immediately felt at home. It was nice to find somewhere similar to home so far away.

While we were waiting for our food, we began chatting with an older couple sitting next to us and learned they are from right outside of Savannah, our final destination. One of the best parts of a road trip is the people you meet along the way. You never know what connections you may make!

 

Illinois and Kentucky

One of the greatest things about going on a road trip is that you never know what you are going to do. Sure, you can have an idea of where you want to go and big stops you want to make, but you never know what you will see along the way. Be spontaneous.

As a part of our trip, we had to go through Illinois and Kentucky. We were basically clipping the edge of each state and had planned on getting through both states along with part of Missouri and Tennessee. Because we knew we would have such a short amount of time in each state, we didn’t even look to see if there was anything for us to see as we passed through.

As we crossed the border into Illinois we knew we needed a break. We stopped at the next rest stop expecting to be back on the road within 10 minutes. As we left the rest stop we saw a small sign saying “Giant Superman Statue.”

Metropolis, Illinios
Metropolis, Illinios

We were intrigued by this and decided to start following the signs, unsure where we would end up. About 15 minutes later we found ourselves in front of a giant superman statue in the middle of superman’s hometown, Metropolis. This small town in Illinois had dedicated themselves completely to superman with a museum, gift shop and old fashioned car with a sign for the Daily Planet Newspaper.

Metropolis, Illinios
Metropolis, Illinios

This detour ended up being a highlight of the trip. We found that the most important part of a road trip is to be curious. It is ok to get off schedule and break away from your plans for a little while. It will actually probably make your trip better!

Plans can often make a trip go more smoothly, but if you plan too much, you will loose your sense of adventure which is incredibly important on a trip like traveling across the country.