Irish Countryside and…Icelandic Volcano? part 1
So, now that I’m all settled back in London, with my one and only exam out of the way, maybe I should finally tell you all about my Spring Break with all of its disasters and semi-blessings in semi-disguise. Let me elaborate:
Wednesday 7/4 – I already knew this holiday would be an adventure based on how it began. I had to get to the bus stop by Brent Cross Shopping Centre, a place I’ve never been before that day. Well, I figured, there will probably be signs when I get out at the tube station. There was one, and it was somewhat lacking. An arrow pointing in a very vague direction, not telling me that I’d hafta walk down a residential street, make a few turns, and somehow end up in the middle of a busy highway. What? Once I got to this highway intersection of madness, there were no signs for the shopping centre, and the woman who was also looking for the shopping centre had suddenly disappeared. Was I really lost? Alone, with a backpack full of my stuff, screaming “Take me! She’s a tourist!”? No, don’t worry. I finally saw a tiny sign across the street for the centre. Only, it was pointing towards this never-ending walkway. I started walking it, after hesitating, and came to another sign for the shopping centre, pointing right. I knew that the bus stop was by the shopping centre, so I decided to go right instead of straight. To make an already long story slightly shorter, I ended up walking all the way to the shopping centre (15 minute walk) only to find out that the bus stop is not as close as the map suggested, and I needed to take a bus back to it. Basically, I walked around in a giant circle and I didn’t realize until coming back to London 2.5 weeks later that if I would’ve just gone straight, I would’ve been there in 5 minutes. Not even.
Anyway, enough of that. So the airport was typical – I was nervous about flying completely alone to/from foreign countries, but after a minor delay, I made it to Dublin! My uncle picked me up and drove me to his house, which is about 15 minutes from the airport. By the time I got there, it was about 11pm, so I didn’t do much. Just caught up with my family, had some soda bread, and went to sleep.
Thursday 8/4 – Everyone had off from school/work this week, so my uncle and my younger cousin Ciara were able to show me around Dublin – the basics. They took me to Grafton Street, which is this street full of shops, mostly big names and high-end shops like Debenham, BT2, H&M, and Penney’s (an inexpensive shop like London’s Primark). Then, right nearby, we walked through St. Stephen’s Green park, which of course was pretty. Then we stopped into the National Gallery. It wasn’t as big as I was imagining, or as big as the National Gallery in London, but it was still interesting. I always get really tired in museums though. Then later that day, Ciara wanted to go skateboarding, so they took me to Pope’s Cross in Phoenix Park, which is, as it sounds, this hill with a giant cross coming out of it. But apparently the cross is a monument of sorts for when Pope John Paul II came to speak in Dublin at that very spot over 30 years ago. A little bit of history on my very first day! That night I had a relaxing evening and went to the cinema with my cousin Katie and saw The Blindside. So emotional!
St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre on Grafton St.
Friday 9/4 – My aunt and uncle and my two youngest cousins went up to Newgrange, which is basically “the Irish Stonehenge” in that these rocks appeared thousands of years ago (around 3100 BCE) and it is a mystery how they got there, or what it was used for though theory says it’s probably a tomb mound of sorts. It looks so much bigger from the outside than it actually is – we were only inside the actual sight for about 5 minutes – but it was pretty interesting. Especially when you have to practically crawl in, since the openings where TINY! The most interesting part is when the guide shut the lights off and simulated a sunrise to show back in the day, they only saw light for 7 minutes from inside the mound, because of where the openings were located and where the sun rises. Pretty neat!
Ancient stone at the entrance
Close up of the carving
My cousin, the farmer. LOL (Candid shot)
Saturday 10/4 – This was a somewhat relaxing day. I spent the afternoon at Ciara’s gaelic game (they won 2-0!) and then went to Blanchardstown shopping mall (where the cinema is) where Katie met up with me and did a LITTLE shopping. That night we went out with my other older cousin, Megan, and her friend Claire. We went to a bar, Capital, and then to a club, The Village, where apparently we saw an Irish celebrity completely drunk! I didn’t know who this woman was, but it was a big deal to them. We got back at around 2 and I was exhausted!
Me, Katie, Megan, and Claire
Sunday 11/4 – This was the last day before everyone went back to work/school and everyone’s schedules started colliding, so I got to spend some more time with my cousins. Megan took me and Ciara to this park, Farmleigh’s because it was a beautiful day and we thought there’d be a bunch to do. Apparently it was Japanese Culture Day? We didn’t catch on until we saw people dressed in kimonos and other Japanese attire, with booths set up for karate and sushi. Very bizarre! There wasn’t as much to do as we thought, it was PACKED, and we didn’t bring lunch so it would’ve been pointless to sit down on the grass, so we just walked around a little. It was actually a really beautiful place, too bad nothing was really going on. After that we went back to Grafton Street to do some window shopping, and then Megan took us back to her apartment to show me around. Swank place! Then I went back and watched TV with my other cousins, which became routine for us on Sundays – Jersey Shore! Then I went to sleep to prepare for my first day on my own as an American tourist in Dublin!
The mansion at Farmleigh’s
More of Farmleigh’s
Well, it’s almost midnight here and I’m exhausted. Look’s like you’ll have to wait til next time to find out the rest! 🙂