How are you so rich? I wish I was this happy. *_____*-
I wouldn’t consider myself “rich”. This was a study abroad experience that I’ve saved up for and it really was life changing!! I think everyone should travel as much as they can, since the experience really is priceless.
A lot. I’m so used to being active everyday, going out to places and now that I’m back in a location with triple digits weather, I feel like such a lazy bum. I saw Brave last night, and that made me want to go back to Scotland.
I’m ready to go back now. There’s nothing to do in this state.
After 26 hours of travelling, I finally made it back home. I already miss Europe and want to go back! I guess it’s time to find something productive to do now that I’m home. For those that have been following me on my adventures for the past 6 wees, thank you! I definitely recommend studying abroad, if you get the opportunity to do so, you should!
I will be leaving bright and early at 4AM to catch a taxi to the Edinburgh airport, and it’ll be a 22 hour journey till I get home (cheap flight, lots of transfers). I can’t believe how fast the last 42 days went by. There will never be enough time to spend in Europe. This is the first time I’ve been out of the country for more than a month, and as cliche as it sounds, it was one of my favorite experiences so far. Europe is amazing.
We had something planned almost every single day, and we definitely took advantage of everyday and traveled all over the country. From going to Paris for the weekend to taking day trips to various country sides in Ireland and Scotland.
I only have two more days left in this amazing country. It didn’t rain (surprisingly) yesterday; we took full advantage of the sun and headed to the Royal Botanic Garden after class, which is only a 30 minute bus ride away. To my surprise, I’ve actually walked around this area last Thursday while we decided to explore more of Edinburgh, I just didn’t realize that we walked for at least an hour. The garden was beautiful, lots of grass, plants, and lots of bees.
Ghost tours, National Museum, St. Andrews & Glasgow
After class Thursday, we decided to explore more of the city. Edinburgh is phenomenon, I like it so much more than Dublin. We climbed the Scott Monument (287 steps) and enjoyed the view, went to a park and just enjoyed the scenery.
So food is much cheaper compared to London. Although the pound is still more expensive, everyone feels much comfortable eating out here. We have our breakfast served from the dorms everyday (and it’s fabulous), so we usually go have a nice dinner out. Here’s some of the things I’ve had in the past few days:
Hike to Arthur's Seat, Britain's Men Olympic Volleyball Team
Day 2 of Edinburgh:
After class today, we decided to climb to Arthur’s Seat, which is at the Holyroad Park, located right behind our housing area. The climb uphill was a bit of a struggle for me; instead of taking a trail like a normal person, we decided to scale the mountain to get up there faster. I realized that it was a bad idea when all of us at one point were pretty much crawling our way up the steep slope. We took many breaks on our way up there:
It’s 3:43AM right now, and I’m all packed up and ready for the airport! The 10 days here in Ireland was way too short, and the next 10 days are going to fly by as well. My journey ends in exactly 12 days…welp, Scotland, here I come!
We took a day/night trip to Galway for Gentlemen of the Road: Galway Stopover. Right before the concert, we went across the street to the ocean to take some pictures. Galway is such a beautiful place. During the concert, it didn’t rain and it actually got pretty warm throughout the day. Salthill Park was the venue for this little outdoors festival, and the size of it was perfect. There were two stages- a headliner stage and a smaller stage. We saw most of the performances and Mumford & Sons was definitely worth it. My friend and I slowly danced our way to the front of the stage towards the end of the concert, I couldn’t believe how close we were to Mumford!
Yesterday we took a day trip to the Wicklow Mountains & Glendalough. This is by far my favorite experience here in Ireland. We had an awesome tour guide, and he entertained us the entire way. He said: “If you can see the mountains, that means it’s going to rain soon. If you can’t, it’s already raining.” He was right. It rained on and off all day, regardless, it was still an amazing experience. We first stopped by the oceanside where we drove past Bono’s House. Afterwards we made another quick stop at Lough Bray for a quick photo opportunity, and the “Guinness Lake” was so gorgeous. We didn’t close to it, but that’s when I realize that we’re really in Ireland.
We toured the Guinness brewery today; it was pretty cool, but I was kind of disappointed- we didn’t actually get to see the factory part, it was a seperate building with pretty much just lots of video clips,animations and facts. When I visited Kavalan Whisky factory in Taiwan, we got to walk through the factory and actually see the process of Whisky.
Regardless, it was still pretty interesting. The entire building has about 5 buildings, with the highest level-gravity bar. The views were amazing up there, too bad it was way too crowded for us to stay longer.
Everyone gets a free pint of Guinness, and you get the option to either head straight up to the gravity bar to get your pint, or you can line up and go to the “Guinness Academy” and learn how to pour your own pint. Our group went to the academy, and all successfully poured our own Guinness
Today we departed at 6AM in order to meet our tour group 20 min away from where our housing is. It was freezing and rainy, and my shoes were completely soaked by the time we got on the bus, so I was kind of regretting my decision to go on this trip. A few hours in, the rain stopped; although it was still chilly, we got to actually see the Cliffs and it wasn’t blocked by clouds. The cliffs were beautiful. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and also the Princess Bride used the Cliffs of Moher to film some scenes there. This part of Ireland is exactly how imagined Ireland to be. The cliffs are fenced off with tall rocks; however, there’s a little section that isn’t fenced off and so we carefully crossed over and got close to the edge. It was a little scary looking down, but the scenery was so blissful.
Today we slept in and left at around 11 to explore more of Dublin. It was a cloudy day, therefore my sense of time was not there, and it felt like 5oclock when in reality it was only 2 in the afternoon. We found a bagel shop and had a delicious breakfast, and afterwards went to the Cow’s lane market in the Temple Bar district. I was surprised at how crowded it was already, and we stumbled into a food market that had some of the most delicious food I’ve ever seen. Too bad everyone was still full from the bagel, so we didn’t buy any of those foods. We finally got to Cow’s lane market (home made goods from jewelry to clothes), and it was interesting to see. No one purchased anything since it was expensive, but it was still a fun experience.
We left our flat this morning at 7 to go to the airport, and got to Ireland at about 11:30. First impression of this place-GREEN. SO MUCH GREEN.
Our housing is awesome, it feels like an apartment. The only thing is that I don’t really know what there is to do in Ireland…everything feels the same way right now. We live about 20 min away from the center of Dublin, so everythings just a bus ride away.
So far I wish we were still in London, it was much more exciting there. Hopefully this changes tomorrow!
Today was our last day in beautiful London. After class, a group of us went to tour Harry Potter studios- it was one of my most favorite thing on the trip. I was literally speechless as soon as we entered the set. I can’t believe I was seeing all the sets/props/architectural drawings/special effects in real life. Since I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, every second in there was magical. I was in awe of everything, and I took so many pictures that my camera died right as we’re leaving the studio.
Yesterday our class visited the Tower of London. It’s a historic castle that serves as a residence for royals, but also a prison in the 1100’s. A lot of people that we’ve recently learned about in class were beheaded there, so it was strange to see the location where it happened and walked around the castle.
Last night my friend and I went to see the London Symphony Orchestra. They are the world’s best orchestra and it was just really cool to see them live; the venue was really intimate- it used to be a church, but nine years ago they refurbished it and converted into LSO’s own venue, so the interior was pretty cool. Here’s a picture-
Hyde Park, National History Museum, Italian Dinner
Day 12 of London:
We have a good amount of homework to do this weekend before Monday. Today me and five other people decided to take advantage of this sunny weather and read a play (required reading due Monday) at Hyde Park. This park is magnificent; I have never been to a place this pretty. Halfway through reading a squirrel approached us
We saw the Stonehenge today; the history behind it is incredible. It’s weird to think that no one knows how those stones got there. After that everyone went to the Roman Bath’s and explored the town of Bath for a few hours. It took us 3 1/2 hours to get back from our trip since the London traffic is pretty bad. I have no plans for the weekend yet, I was going to go to Amsterdam but end up deciding last minute that I want to stay in London this weekend to try to see more of it since we’re going to be leaving soon.
It took us almost 8 hours to get to our hostel in Paris. The irony is that the flight itself is only 50 min…however because the instructions that we have to our hostel after the train station was so vague, we we’re wondering the ghetto of Paris for 2 hours before finally arriving to our place. Despite the not so glorious first impression of Paris, my three days there was amazing! We took an “off the track” tour and saw some of the most random places in Paris. I had one of the most amazing greek gyro there, followed by Paris’ best ice-cream. That same day we went to the Eiffel Tower (gorgeous and breath taking), the Arc de Triumphe and ended our day shopping and having our first Parisian dinner (french onion soup, creme brulee and a glass of champagne).