Monday, 3 March 2008
am i breaking up?
Last weekend, February 23-25, I went to Dublin, Ireland. From Wednesday, February 27-March 1 I went to Barcelona, Spain. Both were beyond what I could have hoped for. But, I am going to have to put them into separate blogs because they both deserve their own.
My friend, Lauren and I decided to couchsurf in Dublin. Couchsurfing.com is a website where you can find people from all over the world who you can stay with for free, for a cultural exchange and a friendship! There are verified members, references, and ratings, so it is very legitimate. Anyway, a girl named Una decided to let us stay with her in Dublin!
People in Dublin are friendly. I was sitting on the side of a road in Dublin with Lauren and people kept talking to us. People really just wanted to say hello and be nice. It was shocking to me, but there was such a warm sense of community there. Old Scottish men roamed the streets in kilts to celebrate the rugby (or football, I can't remember) game. The first night, we went to a club with Una in the city center called Dicey Riley's. It had a beer garden with hanging heated chandeliers so that it wouldn't be cold. There were also hanging changing fluorescent lights. There was a private 30th party for a friend of a friend of hers that we spent some time at in a separate room. We wandered around and met many fun and strange people, namely Liam and Fergel, who were the favorites. We danced for hours. Lauren and I tried to dance as weirdly as possible, coming out with moves like the "lobster," "dying polar bear," the typical "shopping cart," etcetera. These guys were ridiculously cool, especially since they were not the creepy type and did not hit on us. It seemed that people there just wanted to be friends, which was exactly what we were looking for!
My brother, Marc would be jealous to know that Una and her friend Carole were actually at the Slane Castle U2 concert which he has the dvd of: "U2 Live at Slane Castle." I was excited to hear about it, since I have seen that dvd, along with many others, thanks to the influence of my older brother. Una knows someone who is good friends with Larry Mullen. She also explained that celebrities are not elevated in Ireland like how they are in the United States. She said she saw Colin Farrell in a pub and no one was bothering him. That's just the way people are, and I like that.
I of course tried a sip of the Guinness. I don't like it at home and I don't like it in Ireland. I just had a Kilkenny's, which had a plastic ball at the bottom. I assumed that that was the way it was supposed to be.
The next day, Una brought us to Glendalough. Before we left, she made us coffee in a french press and we had Special K, which was crunchier than American Special K. She says it has more sugar. We also had soda bread with orange marmalade homemade by her mother. It was at least an hour drive to Glendalough, which was generous of her! On the way, we saw boglands, which she explained are a source of fuel and are preserving. Perfectly preserved bodies from the iron age have been found there. There were views of mountains and fields of long grass in shades of brown. I have never seen anything like it before, and we continued on to a waterfall and the the main site. At Glendalough, there was a monastery and graveyard. I did not expect a grave yard to be so beautiful. We walked along a path in the woods to see a lake and mountains.
On the way back, we stopped at a shoppe and pastry place called Avoca Weavers, where I had some of the best berry crumble and cream ever made. We passed the Sugar Loaf, a mountain which I am told is very famous. We heard Damien Rice there, who is of course huge in Ireland, considering he is Irish.
Una's parents cooked us a real Irish meal that evening. We had tender steak, baked potatoes, mashed turnips, mushy peas, rhubarb pie, ice cream, wine, broccoli and califlower, and black magic chocolate. I was very full especially because I had the berry crumble not long before the meal, but I could not refuse, considering the whole family cleaned their plates completely. I just kept thinking about how thankful I was for their generosity, kindness, and welcoming attitudes.
Our last day, we walked around the city and saw Trinity College, the Book of Kells (an 8th century translation of the Bible), Dublinia (a historic museum focusing on the vikings in Dublin), Dulbin Castle, and Christ Church. We took the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) to Sandy Mount to see the sea, which was enjoyable, but caused us to miss our flight and had to catch a later one. I just see it as paying 75 Euro to go to the sea. That was not great, but being on a hill looking at the ocean and collecting clovers was wonderful.