I was glad I had one final weekend in Salamanca before I leave—I finally cooked for my host mom! I was really struggling with what to make her; she’s very picky. But I went for a crowd favorite: Chicken-a-la-King. Dad’s recipe. It was a hit! She even wants the recipe so she can make it once I leave.
On Thursday (11/28 - Thanksgiving) Danni and I left for Dublin, Ireland! When we booked buses the week prior, and had 2 hours between arriving at the bus station and the time our flight left, felt like more than enough time. However, due to traffic we arrived at the bus station a little late, and then had to wait 20 minutes for the metro to come. Our flight left at 8:30, and by the time the metro came it was 7:10 and it’s a 30-minute metro ride to the airport and we still had to take a shuttle to a different terminal, go through security and passport control. Needless to say, our brows were sweating a bit. With a little bit of jogging we made final boarding and enjoyed some hot cocoa on our 2.5 hr flight to Dublin.
We got to our hostel about 11pm that night, which we figured, by our previous European experiences, that that would be a prime time to go out. However, when we walked in our room at the hostel every one was asleep… that’s something I’ve never seen. So we decided to go walk the streets by ourselves, and what was even weirder is no one was there either! Dublin shuts down early! The Christmas lights in the streets were lit though and it really got me in the cozy Christmas spirit. We did find a pub though in the Temple Bar, paid 5 euros for a beer and met an array of people: some sloppy drunk AF Irish men that invited us back to their hotel (we didn’t go) and some Swiss guys that bought us our next few rounds. Only some of them spoke English though, so the language barrier was a bit of an issue. Although, when the American songs came on everyone started singing them—instant bonding. I love that music is a universal language.
The next day we went on a 3 hour walking tour around the city—saw the essentials: Trinity College, U2’s hot spots, PARK, and Dublin castle—GOT CHIPOTLE FOR LUNCH, and then headed over to the Guinness Brewery where we learned how to taste the beer and how to pour the perfect pint. Star pupil right here! Back in the states I do not like the taste of Guinness, but I don’t know what they do to it in Ireland, it’s so good!
It was quite nippy in Ireland and we had to be up decently early the next morning, so we decided to just go to a bar close to our hostel the second night. We were recommended by our hostel to go to Celt’s Pub just down the street. So we strolled in, but the crowd was much older than we were. We were hesitant at first, but we embraced it and just rolled with it. Danni and I were quickly approached by an older Irish man. He was very touchy and claimed his cousin was Vince Vaughn. He proceeded to hug us a lot and lick our heads. Come to find out, he owns the bar, and that was our sort of “initiation”, and his cousin really is Vince Vaughn!! How cool!! He wasn’t there though, that would’ve been even cooler. We found these two younger Irish guys, Paul and Collim, and hung out with them the rest of the night while continually getting interrupted by the owner and a guy from Jersey that kept giving Danni shit (she’s from Long Island). The guys we were with loved OUR accents for once! And listening to them try American accents was histerical—all they know how to say is “Oh My Gaaawd.” We as a nation HAVE to stop saying that phrase… that’s all the world thinks we say!
The next day we went up to Howth—a little fishing village on the East coast of Ireland about 20 minutes out of Dublin. We hiked up to a castle that people still live in, and then up to the top of this little mountain to see a view of Dublin and the entire east coast of Ireland. It was a clear day, blue skies all around—it was so beautiful. By this time it was time for lunch and we stopped at a little pub for lunch. I got some Beef Goulache and Danni the Fish and Chips. It was SO delicous and fueled us for our next hike over and to the cliffs. We got to the cliffs right at sunset. Could not have asked for a more perfect setting. God created some BEAUTIFUL places on this Earth—exihibit A.
We were supposed to see seals in the harbor in Howth. We didn’t see seals. Yea, I’m mad about it.
That night we met up with Lauren and Kathleen who were spending the weekend there, too, and tried to find a pub/bar/club to go to. We couldn’t find the one we wanted, and settled for one we stumbled upon. So Thursday night isn’t the night to go out, but Saturday sure is! The pub was PACKED with tons of Irish people in ugly Christmas sweaters. I must say, I’m a fan of the going out attire in Ireland. None of us had very much energy, so we called it a night early.
The next day Danni and I had some time to blow before our plane, so we just walked the city, did some souvenir shopping and got some Starbucks :)
On the way back, we experienced a similar bus situation as on the way there… We had JUST missed the metro that left. And apparently on Sunday nights they only come once every 30 minutes. We literally were sprinting through the bus station as the bus was pulling out of the parking spot. I had to flag down the driver to stop for us to get on the bus. But we made it with minimal damage to our health.
Besides the transportation issues we experienced on this trip, I loved Ireland. I want to go back with my family and see more of the island: Blarney, Cliffs of Moher, Giants Causeway. I know we didn’t see any of these big landmarks, but I feel like we got to really experience Dublin and see things that not every else gets to see. But I also loved the ambience of the city: in the streets, in the pubs, in the people. Couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving weekend to remind me what I’m thankful for!