Sorry for the late post! It is hectic keeping up with this :(
DAY 92 TO 95 (06.05.13 - 06.08.13): TO THE MOTHERLAND!! LONDON!
Bailey, Colleen, and I had a mini sleep-over because we had to wake up early to catch our flight. We left my place at 3 AM to catch our 7 AM flight to London. We booked a hostel that Mitch recommended in Greenwich, which is pronounced 'Grenich' there, and it was a great location. It had a bar on the first floor and the living areas were above. We had an eight person room and most of our roommates were guys. We didn't see everyone much, but when we did they would most likely be asleep because we'd come back to the hostel around midnight, which I hated because we had to be very quiet going through our suitcases and also could not turn on any lights. I have bad vision at night :( Bad rods! I don't think I'm a hostel type of person. Despite that, the hostel owners were very helpful and gave us maps and great tips on what to do or see.
We couldn't check in when we first got there because we arrived so early, so we went into the chill out room and I think I took a one to two hour nap. We were able to put our belongings in special lockers (we paid for of course) after the nap because we wanted to explore. We mainly stayed in the Greenwich area because we were already in a great location. We happened to cross a cute little market where people sold their works including tea, jewelry, bound books, and more. Afterwards, we went into the city, passed the Queen's house, and climbed up a hill to view the glorious city. We heard that the Prime Meridian passed through London in this area and we stood in two hemispheres at once! We also went to the observatory and the planetarium. We headed back to the Queen's house, which was originally built in the 1600s and was also used as the 2012 Olympic Games headquarters. A worker we met there told us that Olympic polo was held outside in the yard and that many film directors used the street out front as a set for movies. It seems that we actually did a ton of sightseeing and exploring the first day because we also walked by Big Ben (learned about this in fifth grade man) and Westminster Abbey. Lastly, we went to St. James Park to sit and soak in the sun. There were many people there, but it made sense since the weather was so wonderful. This was the park that had the softest grass that I've ever felt! It felt fake, but it wasn't. I don't know how, but I feel like I need it in my life right now! To end they day, we headed back and bought some goodies. I think this is the first time that I ever had a chocolate orange and it was so interesting because to break the pieces apart you have to slam the orange into a hard surface.
The second day we woke up early to see the changing of the guards at the Buckingham Palace. It was a little bit of a wait, but during this time I coincidentally met someone from Kansas City! I know this was such a touristy thing to do, but it is cool to say that I at least went to this... Overall the change of guards was hard to see because there were so many people crowded in the area.. and of course we didn't see any Royals. It turns out that they celebrated the Queen's rule two days before we visited :(. After the change of guards, we went to look for guards to take photos with. I asked someone if they knew where I could find some and had a great response... Victory was ours because we found our victims and they were great! I asked first if we could take photos and they nodded. I was very excited! We were hungry and decided to picnic at Hyde's Park before heading out to the Tate Modern. I recommend this museum because there are so many great modern/contemporary artworks here, many that I recognized. We thought there was an exhibition for Salvador Dali, but it turns out that we missed it by a couple of weeks and were very sad :( After the museum, we walked on the riverside to see the Tower Bridge, met up with Sally in the evening, and had drinks with her and her friends. Keene was interning in London too. We went to his flat to ask him to join us for drinks, but he left to another country hours before we got there :( However, I did see Mason who I knew from high school and who coincidentally lived in the same flat as Keene while interning; it was a great surprise.
The third day we visited the British National Museum, which was free :) We all love free things and London has many free places to visit. I had my first "fish and chips" there. We met up with Sally and headed toward Camden market area, which is a pretty cool place to buy gifts ;) We went to the section of Camden where there was a horse stables market and I was hit on by some stranger who worked there. It was odd... Apparently he "fancied" me over the others and kept asking to talk to me and it would take only ten minutes. Um.. No. Awkward and I'm not looking to be hit on LOL... Gross. Anyway.. We got street food there and sat down and chatted. I was craving curry, so Colleen, Sal, and I got that and Bailey got an Asian fast food dish (I think).
DAY 95 TO 97 (06.08.13 - 06.10.13): LUCK OF THE IRISH! DUBLIN~
It was sad to be leaving London because I loved it so much. At this point I decided that I wanted to live in London.. Ireland is a place that Colleen and Bailey were very excited to go to, I never really had a desire to visit, but I wanted to come along anyway. We were supposed to be at the train stop at 5:20 AM, however we all slept through our alarms and woke up exactly at 5 AM. We woke up and rushed to get there, and somehow made it.. We had to be quiet in the hostel because the other people were sleeping in the same room. It seemed as though all odds were against us because the only metro line we needed was down! So it took us longer to get to the airport and we NEARLY missed our flight.. we rushed through check in and security, ran across the airport, and got there just as the flight was boarding. I'm pretty sure I looked like a gypsy or a grandma because I layered a ton of clothes, had no make up, and had my little bowl hat on :(... Not cool.. When we got to Dublin, we met up with a friend from Luxembourg named Aoife (pronounced Ee-fah) because she was offering us a place to stay. Her bed is the most comfortable bed and it was huge! Aoife showed us around the city and we ended up at Trinity College, which is a famous college where many famous literary pieces were born. I think the Book of Kells is there too, but we didn't get to see it! The college itself was huge and filled with greenery. We were about to leave the college, when a group of student actors persuaded us to watch their rendition of Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream. We sat in the grass with a small crowd. I'm really glad we stayed to watch this because it was funny and the group did a great job. It makes me wonder why I don't watch plays more often because I enjoy it. After the play, we decided to eat lunch in a park. This park had a ton of people! I think this is where we say guys running around half naked or in weird suits. It must have been a drinking game or just a 'dare' game in general. No idea, but it was pretty funny. I didn't capture any of these moments, I suppose I wasn't quick enough! We visited a suburb of Dublin known as Howth to hike around the peninsula. I think it was about an hour or two hike and it had a nice pathway. The scenery was beautiful and it definitely fit my original idea of what Ireland looked like. We hiked alongside the cliffs and the sea the entire way. I made it through without any complaints! SO BE PROUD! I don't usually like hiking and I didn't grow up outdoorsy. Never been camping neither. I did like hiking here though; it wasn't bad at all. It seems like I haven't done a lot of things. This could change in the future. When we got back to Aoife's place we decided to make pasta for dinner and to conclude our long day. This day wasn't the best day because I think I had a huge stomach ache from Camden's curry last night... But I tried to make it through. I would have enjoyed it way more if I didn't feel sick the entire time.
On our second day in Ireland, I felt much better. We decided to go to Bray, which is a town in north County Wicklow, Ireland. (Yes I copied this off of Wikipedia LOL). We mainly went to see the beachside since Colleen hadn't gone to a beach yet, and Bailey and I spent a whole week surrounded by beaches in Greece. It was great to see the look on Colleen's face when she saw the sea. I always feel the best when I am near a body of water. I want to live by one in my future. I haven't even gone to Clinton Lake in Lawrence! I never had or made time for it.. but now I see that I should make time for these kind of things. Before leaving Bray, we got some ice cream and shared it. We also did this in Cologne, so it may be the start of a tradition :) Afterwards, we visited the Enniskerry Powerscourt Estate, which I think is nearby. Originally we planned on visiting a waterfall. However, Colleen and I didn't plan on taking an hours hike to see it.. If I had known beforehand I would have gone, but I didn't want to walk that far and we also had to keep up with the timetables of the bus.. So to our disappointment, we didn't see the waterfall. However, the estate itself was gorgeous. We had the best view of the mountains and enjoyed our picnic. The weather was also perfect! We felt like little prairie girls because we each made flower headbands after our meal (leftovers from last night). When we got back into Dublin, we had dinner at a pub called Darkey Kelley's. I had my first shepherd's pie and IT WAS GREAT!!! I loved it! Although it was all carbs and what not, it was wonderful. I don't know how I've never had this before lol... I didn't really know much of traditional Irish food until now. This pub was very cute because it had live Irish music and the customers would sing along. We had a great time, but decided to visit another place to try the alcohol. We went to The Porter House, which had about four floors and a live Irish band in the middle of the first floor! I really enjoyed this bar, and so did the other girls because we stayed there until it closed. First we got a round of beer, three or so different flavors. The malted foam part of the beer was thick and I had never seen anything like it. I don't even like beer, but I tasted it and it was too strong for me, but Colleen and Bailey enjoyed it. I did have my own fun in drinks though, I had a Kopparberg pear cider, which was AMAZING and I hope that we have it in the States.
Our last day in Dublin was pretty chill. We walked near the river and ate breakfast in Phoenix Park, which is the largest park in all of Europe. We didn't walk the entire park only a fraction of it, but at least we can say we were there! We got lost in a neighborhood, did some shopping for gifts, and then headed to the Guinness Storehouse! Surprisingly, this was one of the things that I really enjoyed in Dublin. We were able to pour our own pints, learn about the factors that goes into making great Guinness, and drank free Guinness.. Duh! Now, we all know I dislike beer a lot, but this Guinness was actually not that bad. I wasn't able to chug the entire thing, but I had at least half a pint!! That is saying something! One day in Lawrence, Billy and I went to Dempsey's and he ordered a Guinness. However, that Guinness smelled too strong for me to the point where I didn't even want to taste it. The Guinness in Dublin had a great aroma and tasted light. You would think it would be very strong and dense because of the dark color. This was a great experience and we all were given certificates to say that we passed pouring the perfect pint. I was very sad to be leaving Dublin, as we all were, but I'm glad to experience place where I didn't ever think I would visit.