Wednesday March 12
I hopped on another northern-bound train in the morning and was off to Edinburgh, Scotland to meet up with my friend Abby, from Florence. We checked into our hostel which was… adequate. Then went out and did a little exploring and got a beer at a pub.
Luggage update: HOW CAN THEY STILL BE LOOKING FOR IT?? Oh my god, I’m never going to get any of that back. That’s it, I’m going to sue them and file claims, and get all of my money back.
Thursday March 13
The next day we set out to see the sights. We walked up the Miracle Mile towards the castle and took some pics.
We were kind of wandering and weren’t really sure what to do so we though, hey, why not walk down to the coast. It sounded like a good idea until 45 minutes later we arrive at a shipyard with little-to-no view of the ocean. So, we went into a shopping mall that was randomly positioned right on the shore. Sat down for a bit, got some wifi, then opted to take a bus back up to the center.
We visited the national gallery and I got to see some Van Goghs, Seurats, and other famous works. We also visited the national museum which was quite extensive and impressive. Also, both were free so that was nice.
Did a bit of shopping and I bought a cap, apparently I wear hats now. Although I try to moderate it in Italy because it makes me look like a tourist here. I also learned about Scottish tartans (a type of plaid cloth unique to each clan) and tried to find an O’Connor one for my grandmother, but came up empty handed. I thought I’d try in Ireland but it’s not really a thing there.
Anyway, finished the night with some more pubs and beers/ciders… After climbing up to Arthur’s Seat for sunset.
Luggage update: Luggage? What luggage?
Friday March 14
So, our plane to Dublin didn’t leave until the afternoon so we basically had another full day to explore Edinbugh. And to be honest, we didn’t need another full day. But, we decided to do the castle tour despite it costing sixteen pounds. Still not really sure if it was worth it except for killing time. After killing some more time in the café, we walked over to the shopping mall and browsed for a little bit, sat down at another café and then I decided that we should just go see a movie. So that’s what we did. We saw The Grand Budapest Hotel and it was spectacular. I personally think it’s Wes Anderson’s best film.
Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel
By the time the movie was over it was time to get on a bus to the airport. Got to the gate and the people told us that we were supposed to get our boarding passes (which we printed out at home) stamped at check-in (which we never went to). Apparently this is a thing with Ryanair. Ugh, Ryanair. No worries though, they let us go on with nothing more than an annoyed eye roll. Almost died on the plane ride too, but that’s another story.
Thoughts on Edinburgh:
The people are extremely nice and totally willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Awesome accents, but sometimes a little hard to understand. Sadly, not too much to do (maybe I just misjudged how much time I had to spend there).
Oh hey, Dublin. Arriving in Ireland felt like coming home, nice people, nice place. We checked into our hostel, which was… satisfactory, then walked up towards the river in search of a good pub. Wasn’t hard to find one because the streets were crowded and so we picked one that looked good. We found a small one with (really good) live music and stayed there for a bit before hopping over to another one.
Luggage update: Beer.
Saturday March 15
Started the morning by walking around the city, up O’Connell Street, down Henry Street,
I’m happy, I just don’t look it.
and over to the Guinness Storehouse for our tour and obligatory pint. The tour/museum gave me a real appreciation for the craft of brewing beer, or at least Guinness.
Did we notice the hat?
Afterwards we walked to the train station to make our way to the Irish west coast, Galway.
Bridget and me
As per routine, in Galway we checked into our hostel which was… SOOOOO SKETCHY. But nothing bad ever happened so it’s okay. Like, no locks, no lockers, gross and dirty, and run by an old man who looks like he just got off the night shift in a haunted shipyard. So after that we walked up through the main pub street in search of a pint. We found a few pubs suggested to me by my friend Bridget (adventuresofagingingalway.blogspot.com) who studies in Galway. The Quays, The King’s Head and Skeffs were all awesome. These pubs are like four stories and have multiple bars and balconies, and seating areas, and music, and everything you could ever want from a pub. Soo cool. Also, we watched Ireland beat France in the Rugby Six Nations tournament so it was NUTS. And it was Brian O’Driscoll’s last game or something so it was even MORE NUTS. Oh, and I ran into Bridget too!
Luggage update: Forget it. It must be a sign.
Sunday March 16
Went to the Cliffs of Moher! We did a guided bus tour thing which was a great idea because our tour guide was awesome and we made several short stops on the way to see more of Ireland.
Michael O’Malley, our wonderfully charming tour guide.
Then, more pints to cap off the night, but early (ish) to bed for our 7:30AM train back to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day. Oh and my butt was grabbed at least 6 times between these two nights by drunk men and women. But hey, I took it as a compliment.
Luggage update: Beer.
Monday March 17
ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN DUBLIN. Check that off the bucket list. To sum it up quickly, I imagine this is their equivalent of our Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC. All of O’Connell street was blocked off for the parade and even (most) of the pubs were empty because everyone was on the street, or on some high structure, to watch the parade. It was so crowded I really didn’t even see the parade. But no worries because just the atmosphere of Dublin was enough. One thing about it that surprised me was there was a lack of drunk Irish drinking Guinness in the streets. The whole event was very family-oriented, but I imagine it’s different at night. I wouldn’t know because we had to catch a plane back to Florence in the afternoon. No problems with that though because we flew Air France, a nice change of pace.
Thoughts on Ireland:
Amazing pubs. Great people. Beautiful scenery. The accents. No pasta. Beer.
Tuesday March 18
Back to school, oh and my luggage arrived at school.
Overall, a fantastic spring break, and technically the first spring break vacation I’ve ever had (visiting a college in Miami doesn’t count). London might be my favorite place I’ve been so far, with Switzerland and Ireland coming in close second/third.
This coming week, my aunt is coming to visit me in Florence! Should be fun showing her around. I’m also going to Naples and Pompeii next weekend, then Croatia the weekend after that! Feelin blessed.