Monday, April 28, 2014

Semana Santa: Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow (Part 2)

I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

In the spirit of completing the deadlines I give myself, I'm here again to tell you about the second part of Semana Santa. Side note: I didn't make this deadline. Oops!

I think I left you in Paris (sorry about that... I hope you speak French).

Well, from Paris, we flew to Dublin.

That flight wasn't great. I usually like to make small talk with the person next to me. I need to exchange at least one kind word or witty remark with them. I mean, we're stuck in a plane together for a while. Might as well be pleasant, right? The woman next to me was having none of it. On the contrary, she insisted on jabbing her elbow into my side the entire ride. I fit perfectly in those seats. They are like a little cocoon of Kirt. Yeah, that happened (and I'm leaving it for your entertainment). Oh no... she had to take up her seat and half of mine with her stupid elbow. I eventually took over the arm rest and refused to let her put her elbow back into my seat. If she would have looked my way, she would have received a smug look of victory.

We made it to Dublin and ate lunch at the airport before catching our bus to the hostel. Did you know they have curly fries at McDonald's in Ireland?!?!

More importantly, the UK has Diet Coke. None of that "Coke Light" business. God bless the United Kingdom!!!

I might have hugged this machine. I'm really not at liberty to say.

This is the face of a happy Kirt. 

We made it to our hostel (which was a terrible place to stay, but with the free airport bus, the place paid for itself), and got ready for a walking tour of Dublin.

New Europe tours are great! Our guide was great. Shout out to Sean in Dublin! I really love walking tours here in Europe. Take them every chance you get. 

Afterwards, we found the Molly Malone statue. I learned the song when I was in third grade choir. It has stuck with me in the years since then (I have no idea who my music teacher was, but thanks for teaching me that song!). 

I tried to get a selfie where our faces were together. Turns out, I'm really short and couldn't get next to her face. Ah, well...

I felt like it was obligatory to try Jameson while in Dublin (since I don't care for beer [Guinness]). It was pretty good, I suppose. 

We went to bed very reluctantly that night (questionable hostel). 

The next day, we toured St Patrick's cathedral. We also stopped by the Guinness factory (which is actually quite a walk). It was interesting to see. We didn't tour it. 

Stained glass in the back of the cathedral. The entire thing has very rich history. It kind of felt like the entirety of Ireland wanted to memorialize their loved ones here.

We then picked up our luggage to fly to Edinburgh (pronounced "Edinburra" by locals). 

Our hostel there lived up to its name "KickAss Hostels." It was new, modern, super clean, and the wifi was great! We briefly talked with the girls in our room before going to sleep.

When we woke up, there was only one other person asleep. The girls from the night before were already gone. So, we quietly started to get ready for the day. Right as I went to unzip my suitcase, a voice from the bunk above said, "No way!!!!" I looked up to see Diana! We knew that we were in the same city. But not the same hostel, and definitely not in the same room. 

When the shock wore off, we decided to go for a walking tour. We met with the Spanish tour group first, so we decided to join them. The guide was convinced that we were guiris that just thought we spoke Spanish (seriously, I had to keep convincing him that I understood him perfectly, like a constant Spanish test [I almost offered to show him my teaching license that says I'm a Spanish teacher]). The tour was somewhat lackluster, so we bailed halfway through to go eat lunch.

We went for lunch at a place called Oink. They do one thing, and they do it well: pulled pork sandwiches.

Being from the Southern USA, this piqued my interest. I have high expectations of pulled pork. They were met. It was amazing!!!

After lunch, we decided to hike Arthur's Seat. 

We were hopeful at first. 

The going got rough.

My hair was escaping the pony tail. I finally decided to embrace it. Diana got this shot and said, "You're going to love this!"
And I really do. 

We eventually made our way back down. We found a lake filled with these giant swans. Seriously. These things were huge. I was nearly accepted as an honorary swan, but we decided finding our way back to town was more important than my initiation. Next time, swans!

SCOTLAND HAS DIET MTN DEW!!!! Excuse the crazy eyes ;)

We went back and cooked dinner. Then, we decided to get a few drinks with our new roommates (special hello to Ana, Ludmila, and Max: the best new roommates I've ever had!). There was a ping pong table, so I decided to teach everyone how to play Jungle Pong. Yes. That happened. I also slipped in someone's spilled beer and landed hard on my knee. The bruise just now faded (this is nearly two [okay three] weeks later!!).

We ended up playing Jenga until about 12:30. At that point, Diana wanted to go out for "just 30 minutes" to hang out and chat with Max and Jamie. The group consisted of two American girls, one Scottish/Spanish guy, and a Swedish guy. We all had very different ideas of personal space. The awkward dance between the four of us in a booth was utterly amusing. However, it was great company. We ended up staying out until three thirty in the morning (which is way past my bedtime, but well worth it).

The next day, Aliyya and I packed up, took a few photos, ate at Oink! again, and set off for Glasgow.

Can we talk about how much I enjoy the trains in Scotland? Yes.

The train was wonderful. It was a high speed train from Edinburgh to Glasgow. The train only cost ten pounds. It was an hour long trip. The train was clean, comfortable, had free wifi, and reasonably priced snacks. And we haven't even mentioned how stunning the Scottish countryside was. Seriously.

Best train experience ever!

Getting to Glasgow was super easy. I wouldn't recommend our hostel to anyone. I've decided that any hostel is survivable if you compare it to summer camp! Seriously, though. Yikes.

We walked around part of Glasgow to see the city. There wasn't much to it, to be honest. I wish we had more time to give it a better chance, but a day and a half didn't impress me much.
We kept joking that someone must put an "i" in "To Let" signs as a prank. We found this a few days later!

We went to Kelvingrove park the next morning. The park was lovely and had a great museum! It was full of the town's history and tons of information about the UK. It was my favorite part of Glasgow (besides the crazy amount of Diet Mtn Dew I consumed).

This was too funny not to take a photo. This place exists in real life... 

After our adventure to the park and museum, we gathered our things to head to Rome. Which was one of the most interesting journeys I've ever endured. I look forward to telling you all about it!


PS I feel like I've rushed through this post. I have so much that I want to add. However, that would be an insanely long post. Sorry xoxo

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