I dont feel like a tourist here in Ireland. I feel like someone who has lived here for a long time. Of course I’ve done a few tourist things, but actually getting to go day to day like everyone here is fun. Not many people who visit go to the movies, or go grocery shopping at the stores, or do any of the local things like walking the prom and the long walk in Galway city. I’ve enjoyed every single day here and I will truly miss it when I leave. I have 10 days left. I leave Dublin at 12:40 pm and then arriving in New York where I will catch a flight to Detroit. Not really looking forward to that. I dont like what I have to leave behind.
Went to London on Sunday (June 13th) til Tuesday. It was James, his brother Matt, sister Felicity, and myself. We woke up at 3 am on Sunday morning and left the house at around 4 am to drive to Dublin to make our plane to London Stanstead. The flight was only about 45 minutes. Then when we arrived in London Stanstead airport we took the train into London.
Train tickets are steep! I guess I’m not used to getting the train so these prices are shocking to me. I love taking the train though. Takes the pressure off driving and you can relax . The littlest things that are no big deal here amaze me though. I drive into school everyday or work. Most people catch the train and walk to their destination. I just pull into a parking lot and walk a few steps in. I much rather do it the way here.
When we arrived at Liverpool St. In London we got off the train and went for breakfast at McDonalds.
Friday, June 18, 2010
By the time we did that we got the Tube again to go find our hotel. We stayed at a Travelodge....in a part of London that you never see on TV. When you think of London you think of Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Sguare, the red telephone booths and the big red buses. Dont get me wrong it wasnt bad, but its definitely a side of London you wouldnt know about unless you went there. We were all exhausted and tired when we checked in so we pretty much just went to Tesco to buy a few things that we needed then went to KFC and got dinner then went back to the hotel. James and I took a little walk to one of the stores so I could buy some postcards then after that we all went to bed. It was a long day for all of us since we had been up since 3 am.
The next morning we left the hotel around 9 am and stopped at a little Cafe for breakfast called the Da Vinci. I had scrambled eggs and toast. Pretty American if I do say so myself. I’m not used to the food over here yet. I was too chicken to try the English breakfast. Then once we did that we were off to the Tube which was hot and overfilled again and the first place we saw when we got off was Trafalgar Square. Soooo pretty! I loved the fountains and the big Lion Statues. Then right by the Art museum there stands a statue of non other than George Washington. The first president of the United States. I went up to it and said “By George we did it!” haha If it wasnt for him we would still be under British rule. What made me laugh was when we took the bus tour they mentioned the statue there and said that George Washington vowed to never step foot on British soil again. So what do they do? They bring in soil from the United States and then put a statue of him up on it. So where that statue is the little area of land is US territory. There was also a big statue of Abraham Lincoln but I didnt get a chance to get a picture of it because the bus was going too fast.
We got to see the changing of the guards outside Buckingham Palace. It was soo cool. The mobs of people was insane and you literally had to run to keep up with the soldiers marching up the mall to the palace. Then we saw the soldiers change outside Charles and Camillas palace. Those are the soldiers you could go up and try to get them to laugh and whatnot, but you cant go up to them anymore. There was rope blocking people off and you could only get so close. Apparently someone got a little too close to one of the guards to try and get them to do something and they ended up knocking the button off of the uniform....which didnt turn out too well. So they made it now to where you cant get that close to them.
Buckingham Palace is big, but on TV it looks a lot bigger than it is. The statue of Queen Victoria...I believe not sure if I am right on the name, but its outside Buckingham Palace and her nose got knocked off so when they redid her nose the stone wasnt the same color so when you look at it, it definitely stands out. I zoomed in on her face and...she wasnt a very nice looking lady. Kinda scary actually. The securty around the Palace wasnt as bad as I thought though. Only a few police officers outside the gates and then two guards standing right by the doors into the Palace. James’ brother Matt actually stepped inside the gates for a few seconds before a police officer noticed him and told him he needed to take a couple steps back. There was more security around the United States embassy than Buckingham palace which I found hilarious. I was taking pictures of it and was close to the gates to see all the state flags lined up and I was actually told to not stand so close and take lots of pictures. It’s in a very secluded spot. You have to walk a little bit to get to it. Then just outside the US Embassy is the Roosevelt Memorial Garden. It’s a little park and it has a statue of FDR and the Garden is named after him. There was even a statue of Eisenhower. Then on the other side of the Garden was a memorial for all the people who lost their lives on September 11th. As well as a stone memorial for all the men who died in the Eagle Squadron in WWII. It was nice to see the support of the United States Military overseas with these plaques and what not.
We got a “free” ride on the river Thames and was able to see the house of Parliament and all that from the river. It was included in the bus tour and if you showed your ticket at the Sherlock Holmes Pub, you were able to get a fish and chips meal for 3 pounds!! Tower Bridge was opened when we were on the river. It opens up 400 times a year and you never know when it will open up.
Basically the whole time we were there we just walked everywhere to see the sights. We walked down Oxford St which is supposed to be the longest shopping rd in the world I believe. Or it might be for Europe. Not really sure all the facts on that. It’s about a mile and a half long though. I was so excited when I saw a Disney store. Spent quite some time in there. Ended up buying a Mini Mouse stuffed animal thing that said London on it. I know I could easily get that at home but it wouldnt say London on it. =) It was a fun trip and now I can cross that off my lists of the places I wanted to see, but will definitely be back for more adventures!
Yesterday James and I drove to County Clare and saw the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. Words cant even describe how amazing it was. Pictures dont do any of these places justice. We spent a good 3 hours just at the Cliffs of Moher. The scenery is magnificent. I was in aww the whole time. The ocean was so blue and the sea of birds below was so cool. You cant help but to stop and stare for hours on end at it. The Burren was nice as well. It’s over 6 thousand years old. The tomb was built way before Jesus was even born. It felt so werid to be standing next to something that was there before Jesus was born. Very surreal. To get to the cliffs we had to drive up this road called corkscrew rd. I can totally see why it is named that. You literally do 90 degree angle turns and is very winding. I felt a little dizzy once we got to the top. There was a little place to stop so we got out of the truck and you could see for miles. Very cool. =) After the Cliffs of Moher James and I stopped in so I could meet a classmate of his from college. It was nice to sit on the porch while drinking tea, and basking in the nice sun. It was actually really warm. Then James and I went for some Chinese food. It was his first time trying it and I think I converted someone over to liking Chinese food. There was a beach nearby and you could see all the people swimming and surfing. You would never catch me doing any of that. The water was freezing! I thought the water on the US side of the Atlantic was cold....that was nothing compared to the water here.
When we got back into Galway I had James turn around so I could take a picture of a sign that made me laugh. It showed a picture of a bicycle and it said underneath it. “Burn Fat not oil”. You would not believe how many people ride their bikes everywhere. They even use the same roads as the cars. That would be an accident waiting to happen for me. I would get hit by a car or something. But it would be something fun to do, havent road a bike since I was in 9th grade. James and I took a walk on the promenade. Not sure how long it is but it was a nice long walk. According to James I am now a “Galwegian” since I walked it. But I think I will always be a Michigander first and foremost.