i'm on a bus

After traveling for the past six days, I feel like I could write an entire book. So much to talk about; I am feeling like this is going to be a really long blog post. I am heading back to the Dublin airport to fly to Paris, an there is free wifi. It's awesome to have internet for this three hour bus trip, although I feel like I could sleep the entire time. I won't have much time to write before traveling again, so I should just take advantage of the time now.

My first stop was London, and I found out that I had too high of expectations for the city. London was one of my top places to visit when coming to Europe, but it was different than I was expecting. Our experience in the aiport was an interesting one. We were waiting for our friend to get out of class, and then we all were going to go through security together. Here boarding pass wouldn't print for some reason, and the airport was insane because of the strikes going on in Paris. Lots of flights were getting canceled, and people were rushing to get other flights. We were standing in the security line with about 10 minutes before our flight was going to be down boarding. We were freaking out and stressing because the line for security was so long and hectic. Other people in the line were on our same flight, which made us a little more hopeful. This random worker said, "Ladies, do you want to make your flight?" He let use through to the front of the line as we threw our shoes off and stuff in the bins. We literally ran to our gate, only to find that there was a huge line waiting to board it.. hahaha. We were so thankful! It was really funny because we were rushing so much all for nothing. Great start to the trip, lol.

We arrived in London and found a train to Southall, where our hostel was. As we got off the train, all I could smell was onion. And, all I could see were Indian people everywhere. The hostel was a bit sketch, but for 8 euros a night what was I to expect? We grabbed some lunch down the street, of course at an Indian restaurant. It was my second time having Indian food; the first time I did not like it. However, this time I got something different and really liked it. I am hooked on Inidan food now! We went into the city after, which was a short train ride from Southall. The London Eye was first on our agenda, after missing the last tour bus. It is a huge ferris wheel type thing that goes up to an amazing view of the city. It was about a thirty minute "flight", as they call it. We walked and explored the city, looking for a nice pub to go to. We ended up at one, which was full of "after work" adults. This guy at the bar informed me that I was in the wrong pub and I should be in Soho where all the cool young kids are. It was still a cool place; we played some cards at the table while enjoying an English beer.

The next day, we visited the British Museum. Surprisingly, I loved it. There was so much to see because it is so huge, but still the Louvre is bigger. I went into so many different exhibits; my favorite were the Greek and Egyptian ones. After the museum, we went to the place I was look forward to the most (haha).. chipotle! I indulged in a burrito, which was a little bit different than the ones in the States. Unless, they have changed some. I remember reading an article awhile back about how the owner wanted to make it more healthy and whatnot. I got a whole wheat tortilla, which we don't have back home. also, the corn was a bit different. It was still amazing, as always. Can't wait to enjoy it more in December!

Of course I had to go on the double-decker tour bus in London. It stopped off different places, which was cool. We saw a lot of different parts of the city. I saw Big Ben, Westminister's Abbey, the London Bridge, and so much more I could list. There was so much to see from the top of the bus, and the tour guide was quite entertaining. We went into the piccadilly circus area, which reminded me so much of NYC. It was crazy, loud, and busy. I actually did not enjoy it. Every two steps you would take, a guy would come up to you begging you to buy tickets to a club. They all would say, "Ladies, you looking to go out tonight?" It was by far the most annoying thing ever. We went to an ice bar though; it was so awesome. Everything inside was made of ice, even the cups you drank out of! They gave you a cape type coat to wear inside, but I still was freezing. You got 40 minutes inside, but many people left before because it was so cold. I was on of them.. haha. I tried staying long to get my 16 pounds worth, but it was just too cold. An awesome experience though! The next morning we went to the changing of the guards ceremony, where it was super super crowded. I got to see Buckingham's Palace and the park across the street was awesome. The trees were beautiful, with their orange and red leaves. I love fall!

Erin and I attempted to go see Wimbledon, but of course the metro line was shut down. We took the bus, but got off the wrong stop because we had no idea where it was.. ugh. I was disappointed. But we got a nice "bus tour" of the town, which looked really fun. We headed to St. Paul's Cathedral and actually attended a worship service there. We were led inside and all the way to the front, where the priests go.. haha. It was kind of awkward, and we were wondering if we were even allowed up there. Other people were up there though, but we still decided to go back to the regular seating. The choir sang, and it was one of the most amazing things I have experienced. It sounded so beautiful in the chapel; I loved it. We all visited the Tate museum, where I saw some pretty cool modern art pieces. The night ended with fish n' chips (the best I have ever had) and an English draft in a traditional pub. Mmm. SO good. It was the perfect way to end our time in London.

London let me down, but it could have just been my experience. It may be surprising, but I feel much more safer in Paris. London was a bit sketch in some parts. The transportation system was horrible. First of all, it made no sense at all and so many lines were shut down. We had to walk so far to some places because lines would not go there. It was ridiculous. I am pretty sure it is because they are preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games, so there is a lot of construction going on. Oh, and the metro was 100 times worse than Paris as far as it being super cramped. It was disgusting. Another thing was London was SO expensive. Everything was super expensive compared to the US dollar, I wanted to kill myself.. haha. London was a cool city though; I liked hearing the accents. Sometimes they were a bit loud and annoying; it made me wish I was back in Paris where everyone is quiet. I have gotten used to that. Oh, haha, and this guy on the metro was telling me how he hates American football. He was Scottish and kept going on about it. I guess he didn't notice I had no interest in what he was saying.. lol.

From London, it was time for Dublin. We went to the airport around 12am and slept there until our flight to Dublin at 6am. It was quite an experience: cold and uncomfortable. It was hilarious because all five of us passed out on the plane because we were so exhausted. None of us remember taking off.. haha. We all stayed with Alisha's friends in the city. It was right by Christ's Church. I feel like I have seen so many churches in Europe because they are just so beautiful. The architecture is amazing here. We went by Temple, which was a beautiful college campus. As we walked the streets, I noticed the amazing shopping that they have. I loved all the stores there. It's funny how I live in the fashion capital, but yet I love the shopping in other parts of Europe more. Stephen's Square was so pretty. Again, the fall trees were the perfect setting.

The Guinness Storehouse was my number one "tourist attraction" (haha) to visit in Dublin. It was so awesome. Seven stories of information on how Guinness is made, which led up to a bar that overlooked the city where we got a pint. It was perfect. We went out to dinner before I passed out at the apartment around 9pm of exhaustion. I remember laying on the bed and just falling right asleep. It's so crazy how exhausting traveling is. Sometimes it's hard to have the energy to go and see everything. Coffee helps me get through it. I am drinking some now, haha. In the middle of this blog post, the bus had to stop because something was wrong with it. So I ran into the station and grabbed a cup!

From Dublin, it was time for Galway.. and rain. Lots of it. It's still raining now, as it was when we first got here. I loved Galway! We stayed right outside the city, which is pretty small and really easy to get around. Our hotel was so nice, with two huge beds. I wanted to stay in the shower forever after not showering at all in London because it was just too gross.. haha. With the limited time that we had here, we couldn't do much besides explore the city. There were tours around to the country parts outside of Galway, but we just did not have time. Kind of disappointed, but more reason to come back! We went by the Cathedral, Town Hall Theatre, and grabbed some seafood chowder for lunch. It was so good; I have missed soup so much. This compares to no other kind of soup I have had before. We stopped by this little store that were the original makers of the Claddagh ring, which is explained in the phrase "let love and friendship reign." Marcy and I both got a necklace of the Claddagh. Love it! The woman working there was so incredibly nice. Have I mentioned how awesome the Irish people are? They are AMAZING. So helpful and nice. They talk to you about anything and everything. It's like you are their friend. I cannot even believe how many "friends" I made there.. haha. Mostly old people, but hey, they are the best! We saw the Spanish Arch and shopped some more. There were so many cute shops in Galway, and awesome Irish merchandise! The best part of the trip was listening to live Irish music in a pub while enjoying a Bulmers (Irish cider). It was so awesome. Brianna, who has visited there before, told me it would change my life. I could say that it did.. haha. It's amazing how talented people are.

On the bus into the city this morning, I sat next to this old lady. Another example of how amazing the people are here. She struck up a conversation with me, and we talked about everything from politics to our family. She told me that today was the anniversary of her husband's death, who died nine years ago when they were living in South Africa. She was such a nice woman, and I told her all about my studies and travels. She asked about my family and was giving me advice on life. She seemed so wise; I love listening to old people. I have so much respect for them. I invited her to coffee with Marcy and I, but she was heading to the Cathedral to pray. I will always remember her. She asked my name, and told me her's was Sarah. Maybe someday I will run into her again in Galway! When we got to the city, Marcy and I grabbed some coffee and a pastry at the oldest grocery store in Galway. My travel guide said I could not leave the city without going there! We stopped by the Galway City Museum for literally five minutes. It was pretty boring and we didn't have much time before catching the bus. Before leaving Galway, we enjoyed some more fish n' chips at Mcdonagh's (the best in Galway). I was not extremely impressed; I thought London was better! It was almost like a fast food type of place. Well, the Five Guys version of fish n' chips.. haha. Still, it was good! I can officially say I am sick of fish n' chips; don't think I will be having some for awhile, lol.

It is so amazing and unbelievable to me that I now have been to five countries in Europe. I loved Ireland so much; I would definitely love going back there and seeing even more of it when there is not rain, haha. Now that London and Ireland are checked off, it's time for even more traveling. Sorry this blog post is so long, if you are even reading this right now, lol. I will post pictures later; no time and too many to look through! Bonne nuit.

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