London from the sky
Train to Galway
Live band at the pub (they were awesome)
Market in Galway
Backpackers (took this from the bus– thought it was a cool shot since they were decked out in hiking gear and standing in front of both the Info and “Athlone Bus Station” signs)
Ireland was really great. We all wanted to get out of Dublin almost as soon as we got there, only because it felt too similar to London, in the sense that they are both large cities. This was my first time staying in a hostel after learning about them from pictures in my eighth grade Spanish text book (of all places), and I’d say it was a pretty good experience for not finding a place until 2 a.m. on Friday. On Friday afternoon, after doing some research at an internet cafe (it bothers me that my laptop doesn’t let me put an accent over that “e”), we caught a train to Galway, which is on the western side of the country. On our way there, we were serenaded by a large family who were all drinking and singing in the back of the train; it was pretty amusing :) I really like the Irish, and I don’t mean because of that encounter on the bus; as a whole, everyone we came across seemed like such relaxed, life-loving people, and it was pretty refreshing.
Galway was much more traditional-looking than Dublin, which was a really nice change, although it was still very touristy. Most of the roads were cobblestone, and there was a river flowing in the center of the town. The pub we went to had a live band, who covered some awesome songs (e.g. The Band’s “The Weight”) and sounded fantastic. It was a nice atmosphere. One of the most amusing things of the night was watching a group of women in their fifties dancing like crazy right in the middle of the pub, performing a variety of dance moves in front of the band and getting a bit drunk all the while. I think the craziest dancer was actually the guitarist’s mother.
It would have been cool to go to Sligo and Donagel to see the actual countryside with everyone else, but I have classes on Monday morning. I didn’t think I would really be taking any trips while I was studying abroad, so I didn’t even think to schedule no Monday classes. I’m glad I got to go on the trip, though. The only bad thing about it was that I spent so much money without even trying. Europe and the UK are so unbelievably expensive that it is discouraging. For instance, I was looking around for a new pair of shoes since I was lame and left my favorite boots back in Jersey, but boots are about triple the cost of what they are in the U.S. And sneakers… take the price of your favorite pair of U.S. sneakers (e.g. checkered Vans) and then replace the dollar sign with that of a Euro. Ridiculous). I am determined to find a pair of nice/comfy shoes here that are not a million dollars. Anyway, enough complaining. Ireland is a happening place. =)
Next trip will probably be a weekend with a host family in either Cornwall, England or Inverness, Scotland (hopefully Scotland!). Then from there, it’s Barcelona, Madrid, and Rome for fall break.