Wow, the time is just flying by here in Ireland! It’s crazy, coming into the semester, I thought that four months was a long time, but turns out it goes so fast when you’re having fun! Ireland has now [officially] stolen my heart and I wish I could stay here forever! (Don’t worry mom, I’ll come home! ) Everyday is filled with a new adventure, whether that means taking a trip to another country, another city, or just taking the bus to the city center to get some groceries.
Unfortunately, I kinda had to start doing that whole school thing in the past few weeks, but it is still nothing like it is in the states. Since we don’t really have assignments or tests (except for one or two small assignments per class) throughout the semester, it is so hard to get myself to go to the library and study. LOL I know I’m going to regret this come finals time, but it is barley March, so I’ve still got time!
These past few weekends have been packed to the max! The weekend after Morocco (second week in February) we had a half day trip to King John’s Castle here in Limerick! Although it was just a small trip, it was still really neat to explore the city that we’re living in! That weekend, it rained the most while I’ve been here.
After going to the castle, I went to the gym. After walking to the gym and back, I had to throw my clothes into the dyer because they were soaked, just from the 10 minute walk!! But, at this point (almost half way through the semester) I think I’m used to the rain. Rarely do I leave my house without my raincoat and my umbrella because I just assume that it’s going to rain everyday. Lucky for me, we are actually out of Ireland’s “winter” where it rains basically everyday. In fact, the sun has actually come out more than once!!!!!
The third weekend in February, we went to Cork with our program! It was really cool to hangout with everyone for the weekend because we hadn’t really done that since London, and even then not everyone was there. Cork was a super pretty city, and I absolutely loved it!! Our cab driver on Friday night said it best. He said that he loved Cork because it is the most personable city, and I couldn’t agree more. It truly was super personable, I wish I could have spent more than two days there!
On Saturday of the Cork trip, we went to the Cork County Gaol (Jail). It was beautiful, I’m not sure why they made the jail so pretty, but they did! Next, we got to go into the city and walk around and get lunch for a few hours. After lunch, we got back on the bus and went to Cobh (pronounced ‘cove’) or better known as Queenstown, which was the last stop for the Titanic! They had really neat exhibit there called the Titanic Experience, where you started the tour by “boarding the boat” with your ticket, which had a real person’s name, age, and class on it. That person actually boarded the titanic in Cobh that day. Our tour guide took us through the exhibit which consisted of a video of the captain welcoming us on board, a view of the actual dock that is still standing, the first and third class living areas, and it finished with a video of the boat sinking from the view of a lifeboat. The last part of that seriously gave me the chills and I couldn’t imagine actually being there! Once we were done, we got to see the fate of our “character” to see if they lived or not, and if they did, we got to see what they did once they were safe in America. My person, Annie actually survived which was super cool!
Sunday was a major bucket list day! We got to see the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone! The castle and it’s grounds were absolutley beautiful. There were flowers everywhere, and a river flowing through with a waterfall at the end. The castle itself was amazing as well, the way that it was built and hundreds of years later, it’s still almost completely intact was incredible! I feel like I could have walked those grounds and just enjoyed the beautiful day forever if I had the chance! The day we went wasn’t very crowded either, which made it even better. After we went to the castle, I got the chance to go to the Blarney Woollen Mills and buy myself an Irish sweater, so yet another thing checked off my bucket list! What an amazing weekend it was in Cork! ☺
This past weekend my friend Emily and I took a weekend trip to Barcelona! Although we didn’t have much time, we were able to see and do so much in Barcelona! We left on Friday afternoon from Dublin. When we got on the plane and were all seated, with the door closed and ready to leave, they informed us that we needed to deplane and get on another plane. The reason for this was because the toilets were both broken. LOL thanks RyanAir….Lucky for us they had another plane just sitting there, so we didn’t have to wait very long before we were able to board.
Once we finally got to Barcelona, we took the bus and the metro to our hostel and checked in. By this time, it was around 7:30 pm. Our hostel was offering unlimited homemade paella and sangria for only 7 euro, so we signed up for that. In Spain, just like in many European countries, they eat dinner really late, so our dinner wasn’t until almost 10:00 pm. After we signed up for dinner, Emily and I walked around the area a little bit, we got a shot of espresso to get us through the night and a little snack to hold us off until dinner. When it was finally time for dinner, we were so hungry, but it was so worth the wait!!! We got to watch them make the paella and sangria by hand, and wow was it good. Honestly one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. The paella had different types of fish in it (crazy that I ate it, I know!!), and rice and vegetables, it was so filling, but so good. After everyone was done with dinner, we walked with a bunch of people staying in our hostel to a bar and club in Barcelona. We had to experience the legendary Barcelona nightlife while we were there.
On Saturday morning, we woke up before 8 (and didn’t go to bed until around 5 am) so we could do as much as we could while we were in Barcelona. Having only one full day in Barcelona was definitely not enough, but we packed it full so that we could do and see as much as we could. After the night before, we were completely exhausted, but you gotta do what you gotta do! A few days prior to leaving for our trip, Emily and I sat down and made a list of everything we wanted to see while in Barcelona. We started the day off with a free walking tour that was recommended by our hostel. The walking tour took us throughout the Gothic Quarter, and our guide really knew what he was doing and taught us so much about the history of the city of Barcelona.
After the walking tour, we went to La Boqueria which is the large public market to get some lunch. The market was beautiful with all of the fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere, it smelled so good as well. We had to eat lunch kind of quickly because we had tickets for La Sagrada Familia at 3:30. After lunch, we found the metro station (it ended up being the wrong one and we had to get on the train and back track a little bit so that we could get on the other train which would take us right to the basilica). La Sagrada Familia basilica was one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. The architecture in the church was just fantastic. One of the craziest things about the building is that it is not finished yet, even though the construction of the building started in the late 1800s!!!! While we were walking around, the sun was shining perfectly through the stain glass windows, it was absolutely incredible, I had no words.
Once we were done walking through the basilica, we jumped on the metro (the correct one this time) and went to the infamous Park Guell. If you ever google Barcelona, and look at the images, a lot of them are from Park Guell. The park is situated at the top of a very large hill. At one part of the park, there are beautiful mosaic benches in front of you and a 360 view of Barcelona, with the Mediterranean Sea in the background. Being at the park honestly made you feel like you were on top of the world and that the entire city of Barcelona is at your finger tips. Since seeing the park was one of the last things we did for the day, the sun was beginning to set over the sea and it was incredible.
Going into the weekend in Barcelona, we had been watching the whether and noticed that it got kind of cold and rainy during the weekend that we would be there (I guess the rain just follows us). This was kind of a bummer because we were super excited for warmer whether and the sun (since we don’t get that as often as we would like in Limerick!). But, we embraced it and enjoyed the day. We actually ended up getting pretty lucky. Originally we thought it was going to rain basically the entire day, but it only rained a little during our walking tour, and then while we were on the metro to get to the park, and then of course at night. So it ended up being a pretty nice day, which made the day so much better!☺
Originally we thought we were going to experience the crazy Barcelona nightlife both nights that we were there, but we were exhausted, and couldn’t imagine doing that again, especially since we had to leave for our flight around 7:30 am. Instead of going out, we found a cute little cafe and ordered some sangria and just talked for about life and what not while it rained outside. When the rain was starting to slow down, we decided to go find some dinner. Since we had paella the night before, we wanted to experience tapas which is the other food famous to Spain. The tapas were so good, of course, I didn’t expect anything else!
All in all, Barcelona was a huge success, and we got to see basically everything that we wanted to, even though we weren’t there that long. I seriously can’t wait until I get the chance to go back to Barcelona one day, it was such a beautiful city!