Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Galway

So. It has been a while. I've surfaced online once in a while, but otherwise, I've been pretty MIA. I promise I'll get to reflections on my time abroad once things settle down a bit more. Since I've been back, I've been thrown into so much life. I had work training the day after I got back, and the week after, I started planning Marlee's bachelorette. Basically, this is the first week I've had time to look at everything and figure out what I need to be doing over the course of the summer. As a side note, I know there are some bloggers that have a full time job as well as doing daily posts and taking care of their family. To them, I pose this question: HOW? I've never been consistent in the summer, and I say it's due to work, but there are no grounds to that argument because I work only part time. Oh well.

To make up for lost time, I thought I would share a couple of the trips I went on before I came home. I haven't picked the pictures yet, but I am already excited to go through them and relive the trip. I went to Galway, Ireland with my friend Natalie (find her on Instagram and Twitter). Natalie and I met a few summers ago when we worked together, and we've become closer over the years. So when she told me she was going on a European trip, I had to see her. We saw each other in the airport, and it was the most amazing moment. She cried, not me. It was the first time I had seen someone from home in months, so I was feeling rather overwhelmed.


We had a wonderful breakfast, caught up, and waited for her friend from Spain to show up.  We landed in Dublin, so the bus drive to Galway was still a few hours away. When we got there, our friend mentioned a boat tour we could go on. The boat tour itself wasn't fantastic, but there are some amazing ruins along the coast. Also, they started playing the Titanic theme song at the end, and that just seems a little ominous to me....


We spent a bit of time wandering around Galway and the area we were staying in. The road was full of little shops and restaurants, and the flags were flying everywhere. It was so much fun to walk around. People have the best spirit in Ireland.


We settled into hostel and found a pub for dinner where I had a Guinness (because where else would I have one?). There was also a football (soccer? I feel weird saying that now) game on, but it was an English team playing a Spanish team, and the English team lost, so my Spanish friends made fun of me.



The next morning, we had an early start for a bus tour. There were so many stops, and I was asleep for half of them because it was too early for me. We stopped by Dunguaire Castle although we couldn't actually go in it which was disappointing.



The other cool thing is the Gleninshine Tomb we stopped at. It's one of those mysteries like Stonehenge where they're not 100% sure what it was for or what kind of rituals were involved, but it was fascinating.



Personally, I love the Irish countryside. I wish I took more pictures of it. It's all hills, but it stretches out forever. It's all farmland, so there are animals everywhere. Every type of farm animal is in Ireland, including alpacas. So yes, I saw alpacas from a distance in Ireland.



The main stop on this trip was the Cliffs of Moher. Now, I have been to some cool places, and I have seen some cool things. However, this was the absolute best. The Romantics called experiences like this "sublime," and I totally understand how that feels now. I was standing there in complete awe at how beautiful nature is. Man had nothing to with the power in front of me.



The thing about the Cliffs is that the water below eats at the side of the cliff – erosion and stuff. The bus driver told us not to go near the edge (we took this picture there and that's it). They actually have a sign dedicated to all the people who lost their lives at the Cliffs. How terrifying is that? Yes, I know my eyes are closed in this picture.



There were a few other stops, but these were the mains ones in my mind. Our final stop was along Wild Atlantic Way which is the highway along the ocean. It was beautiful, and Natalie and I couldn't resist just one more adorable picture.



When we got back, there was still some daylight left, so a few of us went to find the Spanish Arch. It was underwhelming.



On the way back to the hostel, I bought myself a souvenir knit sweater that says Guinness (I have no regrets whatsoever). We also found ourselves near the marina, so the walk ended up being pretty nice.



The morning we had to catch our buses back to Dublin, we ended up going to the Cathedral. It's one of those buildings that has a looming presence like the York Minster. It looks old from the outside, but it turns out it was built only 50 years ago.


The way home was rather uneventful. It was a few hours on a bus, then an hour on the plane, then a couple hours on the train. Needless to say, I was tired. Galway itself was not the prettiest. It's actually kind of ugly. I loved the road we stayed on, but that's about it. If you go to Galway, you're going to the cliffs. The bus tour had another trip to take people to the islands, and I wish I had more time to go on that one as well. When Natalie saw me for the first time since she got back, my parents told her I didn't stop talking about it, and it was my favourite trip. It was definitely the best experience. If you're in Ireland, go to the Cliffs of Moher. I've learned that the people you travel with can make or break a trip, and Natalie and I have already made plans to travel together in the future. It's just a question of where.


Daniella