One word: Ireland
Here it is, my last blog on my semester abroad. While I fill your screens with memories of a life of travel and adventure, I think I should preface the fact that I’m writing from a dirty Chicago terminal on hour five of my six hour layover. With over half of my journey home traveled I find myself on the edge of reality. Soon I will be home in my childhood bed, testing out the old toothpastes in the bathroom cabinet, doing laundry for just one pair of pants, and seeing what my parents’ have been DVRing. It’s scary to think that the last three months are going to fade away and feel like they never happened. To combat this feeling of fleeting memory, I’ve decided to detail a list (in no particular order) of my most memorable experiences from this semester.
- My first hostel. I think it’s safe to say that my first hostel experience was memorable. Sure hostels smell like feet most of the time and you have to share sleeping space with strangers, but overall they do their job. Traveling with friends is important though and I would recommend making that a priority if you’re going hostel hopping.
- Brunch. One of the best parts of traveling on the weekends is beginning each of your days with amazing brunches. Since you’re traveling you’re forced to eat out, which means many trips to Yelp to find the best spots.
- The history. The world is so old and being from America it’s hard to grasp this because our history is so small. Walking across a campus each day that was established before the United States was unreal. Also seeing Roman ruins in Cologne, Fjords in Norway, and Viking forts in Ireland added to its awe. In fact, Ireland itself will just blow you away if you like ruins. Every several miles driving through the country there is some sort of structure from the past that could go back to the Neolithic Era.
- Air BnB Mia. Let’s just say Mia was a treat. On our trip to Norway we stayed in her apartment, which was obviously outfitted by Ikea. Within minutes from letting us in some Sweedish house music was bumping and Scandanavia started making a lot more sense.
- Pretzels. Okay, so there is actually very limited pretzel selection in Europe that was a big disappointment on the snacking front. However, we got our fill when traveling to Germany and making sure we had at least one Bretzel per day.
- Old Irish men. In a very non-creepy way old Irish men always seem to be there for you in times of need. Though their kind accents made any situation feel a little better, the Irish in general are such a lovely folk. It’s hard to distress when you’re with them; needless to say they are great craic!
- Music. Although there were faster paced nightlife options, my favorite evenings were the ones where I could listen to live music. Dublin has a lot of options and famous pubs to listen to new artists, but my favorite night of music actually happened in Cork! Cork has a great local music scene with new and traditional bands that cozy-up even the coziest pubs.
- Free walking tours. In several of the cities we visited we took advantage of the free walking tours. Technically they are free, but you are assumed to tip your tour guide at the end. The walking tours ranged from 3-4 hours and really gave us an insight on the places we were visiting. Traveling is so fun but knowing the history of where you are is also very rewarding.
- Sheep. I’m a sucker for sheep and all their woolen cuteness. This made my trips in Ireland a joy because sheep are not sparse on the green landscape. Definitely getting to see sheep all the time was one of my favorite parts of Ireland and I will certainly miss them!
- Greenness. It’s really hard to pinpoint my favorite part of this semester, but I can narrow it down to one country: Ireland. Ireland is so beautiful and I regret not seeing more of it. Though I spent most of my time there in Dublin, my favorite moments were getting to travel into the countryside. Every acre of Ireland is filled with lush beauty even though it’s such a small country. There is still so much more to see and I cannot wait until my next visit!