This past weekend, Kelsey and I flew up to Dublin to see our good Crusader friend (and fellow blogger) Amanda M. Unfortunately, our other Crusader friend (and fellow blogger) Amanda G who is studying in England was unable to join us because of a little snow in England, that shut down the Gatwick Airport for three days! Needless to say, we were all a little disappointed about Europe´s inability to deal with snow. However, we all realized that one of the challenges of studying abroad is accepting the fact that not all countries have the same resources and luxuries as the States, such as quickly cleaning up snow quickly.
Kelsey and I left A Coruña at 9:30 AM on Friday, had a smooth flight over to Madrid where we caught another flight to Dublin. About 20 miles outside the Dublin Airport, the pilot made an announcement that the Dublin Airport was closed due to weather and that we would be making a brief pit stop at the Shannon Airport. As the plane started to descend towards Shannon, I looked out my window, and saw rolling green hills, sheep, cattle, stone houses, small rivers; the ¨classic¨ Irish landscape. We waited at the Shannon airport for an hour, and then landed safely in Dublin. While I was a little annoyed that we were delayed in getting to Dublin, I was happy that I was able to see the gorgeous Irish countryside.
After sprinting through the airport and rushing through immigration, we finally made it past the glass doors where Amanda was waiting. After five minutes of hugs, screams, photos and a few tears we caught a bus to downtown Dublin and Trinity University. As soon as we climbed off the bus, we realized that the entire city of Dublin was ice. Almost everywhere we walked, the sidewalk was covered in ice and snow. Needless to say, walking to Amanda´s dorm was quite an adventure. Loaded down with our suitcases and complete exhaustion from a day of travel, we nearly slipped every 10 feet. When we finally made it to Amanda´s room, we redressed in warmer clothes (Ireland is quite further north than Spain…) and headed out for a wonderful dinner and walk around Dublin to see the beautiful Christmas lights.
The next morning we woke up and explored Dublin. We first did a little shopping and I bought an extremely warm green Irish sweater (Amanda bought a white one!) and of course invested in many bars of the famous English/Irish chocolate! After shopping, we boarded a double decker bus (they are quite neat) and headed towards the Dublin Zoo. We walked around the zoo for a few hours, taking pictures of the seals, tigers and the favorite red panda. The zoo keeper actually took us on a private tour to see the lion! After the zoo, we headed back to Trinity and made an amazing Irish/American feast of: baked beans, homemade macaroni, Irish sausage and a salad. Yum!
On Sunday, we explored the famous ¨National Leprechaun Museum¨, visited the National Museum, toured around the beautiful campus of Trinity and ate at the BEST milkshake/hot chocolate cafe. I ordered a hot chocolate that included 2 Mint Areo candy bars and pounds of chocolate sauce. It was absolutely delicious. Even though it is a bit embarrassing to admit, we ate at ¨TGI Friday´s¨ on Sunday night. While I have absolutely loved Spanish food (especially Marieta´s cooking) it was so nice to eat in an American restaurant, with American food, in Dublin.
Later that night I realized how small and interconnected this world can be…as we were making snacks in Amanda´s kitchen, I started talking to her roommate´s friend. I asked her where in Ireland she was from and when I found out that she was from the same city as my cousins, I just had to ask if she knew them, in the 1% chance that she did. It turned out that she was their nieghbor and has Christmas parties with them every year! We were both absolutely shocked!
While I have greatly enjoyed my time this semester in Spain, I have greatly missed my friends from Holy Cross as we have become so close over the past two years, as at HC, your friends are your family. Therefore, when Monday morning rolled around, we were all a little depressed that we would not see each other for a long period of time, but happy and relaxed from the amazing weekend. After a teary goodbye, Kelsey and I hopped back on the plane and after a long layover in Madrid, we finally made it back to A Coruña. Even though it seems a little cheesy to say, coming back to A Coruña last night, felt like coming home.
Sorry this entry is a bit long, but Ireland was quite exciting and I felt guilty leaving anything out!
P.S. The Christmas lights are up in Coruña and it is BEAUTIFUL! If the rain stops the other HC students and I might go out and take a few pictures…which I of course will post in my next blog!
Amanda welcoming us to Dublin!
At the Dublin Castle
Our Visit to Santa!
A real pot of gold!
Our matching Irish sweaters!
The best hot chocolate! Areos and Chocolate Sauce! Yum!
Our favorite animal at the zoo! (Red Panda)
Kelsey and Amanda
The beautiful campus of Trinity University!
Amanda and I with the beautiful Christmas tree!
Yes, we made matching t-shirts!