So I’d been in Europe for five days already and had yet to start my blog, so I decided to sit and recap my travels today. And what better place to do it than the Elephant Room. Yup that’s right, my flat is right around the corner from the café where JK Rowling spent much of her time writing Harry Potter! And if she could get inspiration to write seven novels here, I’m sure I can crank out a blog post…as long as I don’t get distracted by the amazing view of the Edinburgh castle out the window. Welp here goes nothing, hope you guys enjoy my stories! Cheers!
I made my crazy journey to Edinburgh with my friend and fellow EAM major Sam, and after sitting on a plane for a two-hour rain delay for our flight to Dublin, we were finally in the air at around 9pm. For anyone who doesn’t know me, you should probably know how much I hate planes and that I’m petrified of flying, so a seven hour flight wasn’t exactly my dream come true. But I sucked it up and took some natural anxiety relief drops (which I’m convinced were just drops of vanilla extract but whatever) and I was good for the entire flight. Didn’t even have to clutch onto the armrests once! I managed to sleep most of the time and before I knew it we were descending and I got my first glimpse of Europe from the sky. Green. Green everywhere. This was the first point where I started to deny that any of this was real (still in denial almost a week later) and I thought that any minute I’d wake up in my bed back in Philly. But I keep waking up and I’m still here, so hopefully it’ll set in soon.
We got off the plane at around 8:30 Dublin time, went through “customs” (a woman asking why we were there and stamping our passports), grabbed our luggage and ventured out of the airport to find a bus. Busses in Ireland try to be tourist-friendly with their small luggage sections, but it doesn’t really help when your bag is 50 pounds and you can’t lift it over the edge to put it inside. So I sat on the stairs of the bus, cuddling with my suitcase that’s almost as big as I am and tried to fall asleep so I wouldn’t think about how nauseous I felt riding sitting sideways. FYI bus drivers and taxi drivers have the same “yolo” lifestyle as they do at home, just on the opposite side of the road. After what seemed like the longest bus ride of my life, we were dropped off in the center of Dublin and walked a few blocks to our adorable hostel. Abbey Court is the cutest purple building covered in flowers that’s right along the River Liffey (my new favorite river, especially when the locals refer to it with their accents). It was exactly what I pictured a hostel would be, but luckily our roommates were much less scary than I had imagined. Most of the people who were staying with us were college students or in their late 20’s, and from what it sounded like they didn’t speak much English.
We dropped off our luggage and attempted to fight the jet lag by wandering around for a while and we found a group that was about to go on a three hour walking tour of the city, so we tagged along. Our tour guide Ciaran (Ky-ron) was so cool, and took us to a bunch of amazing places around the city. We learned about Ireland’s crazy history, where their battles and rebellions almost always began with heavy drinking at the pub and didn’t always end well for the Irish (shocker). It was also confirmed that all of the Irish stereotypes about drinking are absolutely true and have been throughout history, and the American version of an Irish pub is pretty accurate. Here are some of the things we got to see!
The remains of the Dublin Castle (the rest was burned down)
After the tour we went back to the hostel to bring our luggage to our room and take a little rest. No naps though, we fought that jet lag to the death. I almost gave in at one point, so we went out to explore the city more to stay awake. We went back over to Trinity College and got to see the library right before it closed. If it looks familiar to you, it’s probably because it was used as the Jedi library in the Star Wars movies. It was basically a church full of books and was by far the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen.
After the library we realized that we had hardly eaten all day, so we went to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (yeah my first meal in Europe was a burger, sue me) and had delicious burgers, fried mushrooms and the best chocolate milkshake ever. Afterwards we did a lot more wandering, went back to the Temple Bar pub to hang out for a while, and called it a night after getting to use Wi-Fi for the first time in what felt like years. Needless to say I passed out the second my head hit the pillow that night, but it was the best feeling in the world. Ali:1 Jetlag: 0