Monday, November 15, 2010

Irish eyes really do smile!

Top o' the morning to ya! Ok, so I do not think that I heard that once from an actual Irish person this weekend, but it was certainly an adventure. So as I wrote in my last little post, we were met at the airport by another huelga, this time against RyanAir- the plane company the we were taking. After that awkward situation, everything else with our plane went well (besides the fact the RyanAir is less than cozy) and we soon touched down in the beautiful emerald isle. There are constantly droughts in Spain so the earth is very dry and therefore very brown. Ireland, being quite the opposite on the rain scale, was a gorgeous dark green (occasionally draped in a white frost).

From the airport we jumped on the shuttle bus that goes to the bus station and soon saw the faces of our friends, Jennie and Casey. The next form of transportation, and thankfully the last for the night, was a trans-country bus leaving from Dublin and ending in Galway. It only takes about three hours to get from one end of the county to the other, and I hear that it is roughly the size of Maine.

When we finally reached Galway, we were concerned to discover that the directions to the hostel that I had printed out really were not much help because if there is a rare street sign, the street name can be different on the other side of the street or further down the street. However, after a few different and partially wrong directions from several different people, we were able to. Find Sleepzone, our hostel for the weekend. This is the first hostel that I have stayed in where I had to share a room with other random people whom I did not know. It ended up being fine though! Everyone just seemed to be interested in having a good time and being safe- just like us. The only thing that I less than enjoyed, however, were the showers. Each shower had a button that you pressed to turn on this upsettingly and obliteratingly cold water for about thirty seconds and then it would turn off again, upon which you would push that button and lose your breath once more.

The next morning we inquired about the Galway market that we had heard about and (finally having received decent directions) we spent a good part of the morning shopping there and in the surrounding stores. It was kind of funny to see all of the Irish jewelry and to think- what are they doing with all of Aunty Kathy's stuff? We then met up with my friend from Stonehill, Nate, who is studying there this semester. We all ate at a pub together, I had seafood chowder and soda bread (mmmmmm!), and then he gave us a little tour of the little city. We saw the Spanish Arch, the river, the Galway swans, the cathedral, the university, and Nate's apartment. Homemade grilled cheese, salsa, and spinach sandwiches made a delicious dinner and then we were off again! Nate took us to one of his favorite pubs, "Hole in the Wall" and we all had a blast dancing around (it wasn't a club, but they had a large dance floor in the back!). I had my first (and only!) Guinness in Ireland, and it really was better than Spanish Guinness. After we exhausted ourselves there, we headed for a club where one of Nate's favorite bands was playing- again, a blast!

The next morning, Pam and I decided to take the bus with Jennie and Casey back to Dublin so that we could explore the capital a little bit. We immediately found a church with a mass to start in fifteen minutes so we grabbed a pew, removed all our packs and enjoyed our first mass in English in about three months. It was so great to be able to be fully present in the service and to participate, and I even knew a few of the songs! Recharged and ready to face the day, Pam and I started walking towards Trinity College where the book of Kells is. I have always read about this book and heard of its influence, and I was excited to be in the place where it was held. Next we found and walked around the outside and the chapel of Dublin castle. On our march onward from there, we discovered a free walking tour that we had heard good things about so we joined them for the last hour and-a-half of the terrifically informative tour. After the tour, the guide invited us all to join him at this pub where people from the tour could get a discount on a mountain of food. Intrigued by this, Pam and went and stayed the next few hours chatting with our new friends. There were two Irish tour guides and two Australian boys (backpackers) with whom we chatted about everything from sports to politics. It was great!

After we realized that we had probably over stayed our welcome at the pub, Pam and I began walking towards the bus station again. We saw a movie theatre and decided that it was probably better to waste time at the movies than at the airport so we each bought a ticket for Mammoth and sat down to relax. I do not know if I have ever seen a more horrible movie. I realize that if I had probably taken the time to analyze it then I could have appreciated it more, but I was so tired and it was so depressing and heavy that it simply made me angry! After the horrible movie, we took the double decker bus to the airport, found comfortable seats and tried to sleep. I think anyone who knows me knows how cranky I can get when I am so tired- so just use your imaginations on this one! Needless to say, we survived and our bus is now pulling into Granada, let's hope our city bus ride and short walk home go well too! Night night (at 4:30 in the afternoon)!

PS I love you!

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