Wahooo. It's been a CRAZY week!
Let's start from the beginning.
Friday, March 5thA group of us from school went to Ronda, Spain. It was about a 2 hour drive in a miniature bus that held 19 people. Funny. Anyways, Ronda is a super old town that was built on two cliffs and is connected by a beautiful, old bridge. It was incredibly gorgeous. Perhaps the prettiest place I seen so far! The pictures definitely don't do it justice! So we hung out there for the day and toured the city. A group of us had coffee outside at a restaurant that sat on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ravine. It was breathtaking!
Saturday, March 6thWe never made it to Gibraltar. Kelly, Heidi, and I were too exhausted.
Monday, March 8th
I went to Spanish class that morning which ended at 9:45, came home around 10:30 after printing off my boarding pass and such, made some last minute phone calls in case I got locked up abroad in Ireland and never made it back home (Spain), and boarded my 6 hour long bus to Madrid around 1:00 pm. (Here they run on military time, but if the clock reads 14:30, it's said 2:30, I had no idea!) Anyways, the bus to Madrid was long & boring, but I had a seat to myself and read Water for Elephants/slept the whole time. Approaching Madrid I had a decision to make. Do I take the Metro from the the bus station to the airport or do I play it safe and hop in a taxi? I had a little less than 2 hours to get to the Ryan Air desk to check in once I arrived in Madrid. As I was getting my clunky hikers backpack (that totally clashed with my cute outfit) out from under to bus, I made a decision and decided to brave the Metro! I thought it was a necessary learning experience and didn't want to depend on anyone else but myself. (How inspirational. Gag) The Metro has a stop at the bus station so there was no problem finding it. I purchased my 1 euro ticket, asked for a map, and made my way to the train! In order to get from the bus station to the airport, you have change trains 3 times. I boarded the first train, took a seat, pulled out my map and checked perhaps a million times that I was going in the correct direction. (I forgot to mention. I totally wore my security, necklace pouch thing just to make sure no hoodlums got at muh plastic, muh dolla billz ((actually euros)), or muh passport. You would be proud Mom & Grandma). Anyways, I totally on schedule hoppin' trains and hanging out like a Spaniard on the Metro. I'm about to make my last hop onto the train that takes me to the airport when it all goes down the drain... I get off the 2nd train and suddenly there's a huge rush of people in the direction I am going. I'm not sure what's going on, but I go with it. Pues duh. Everyone's boarding the train with the same route I want, so I hop on also. About a stop down the route I realized I'm on the correct line but in the WRONG direction! Oh god, how the hell did I mess this up?? I checked and rechecked that damn map atleast 100 times! It was the rush of people, I got flusstered and went with the flow, even though it was wrong! I immediately get off at the next stop. I have my map out, I'm pacing back and forth looking for a sign to point me in the correct direction. I'm palms are clamy and my beginning to develop neck sweat from my huge neck brace of a scarf. I take a deep breath to settle down, look at my watch and almost pee in pants because I realize I only have 20 minutes to check into the flight! I some how compose myself and figure out I need to get to the other side of the tracks and that train will take me to the airport. I board it. Make it to the airport. Get off the train and have to pay 2 euro to get out of the Metro. What theeee! Now, I'm in the airport and I'm trying to pull out my boarding pass from under my coat, neck brace scarf, and sweater. I was getting weird looks. Did I mention I was run walking at a very fast pace? So I finally make it to the Ryan Air check with approximately 2 minutes or so to spare. I so not over exaggerating this either. After having my passport checked and my boarding pass revceive a stamp on run walking again to the terminal. I have 30 minutes to get to the terminal. Of course the plane is departing from the 1st and fatherest away terminal. Right now it's probably 9:00 pm. There is barely anyone in the airport (kind of creepy), but nice because no one was able to point and laugh at my struggling along. So I'm on my way to the terminal running down the escalator sidewalks which made me feel like I was sprinting (totally cool). Find myself approaching security and see a huge crowd a people. Oh shit! I'm totally going to miss this flight!! Now I'm regretting braving the Metro. As I walk up to the line I realize they're all saying goodbye and aren't actually in line. My dreams of Dave Matthews are still in reach, not all hope has been lost. There's actually no one in line and I breeze through. I collect my belonings from the conveyor belt and shimmy on over to have my passport checked and stamped by security. 3 strides from the check point I look down at my wrist to see how much longer I have until I'll be in tears because I will have missed my flight and realized MI RELOJ NO ESTA ALLI (my watch is not there). I jog my memory as to the last time I had it and 2 seconds later (because I'm really sharp) it hits me that I had to take it off when going through security. Great! I turn to one of the police/security guard men and tell them in panicked Spanglish that I forgot my watch. He lets me pass. I go back to the conveyor belt I was at and see my watch posted up on the desk. THANK GOD. I love that thing. I ask him for it. He asks me the brand. I say I don't know. (Very convincing that it's mine, I know). He senses my panicked rush and hands it to me. THAKS GOD again. I zoom past the passport check again and got the head nod from the man. I'm totally legit. So, now after that craziness, I check my watch to see that I have about 15 minutes to get to terminal 1. Again the run/walk starts up again which is turned into a sprint on the sidewalk escalator. I nearing terminal 1, it's finally in sight and so is a HUGE mob of people. What the hell is going on here? Oh look Ryan Air to Dublin is the first plane departing from terminal 1. Lucky. I hope in line. I'm probably in the front of the last third of people. Not bad. And I hear ENGLISH all around me. Heaven. I board the plane realize I don't have an assigned seat number on my boarding pass & prepare myself for the worst before I ask a nice flight attendent what the sitch (situation) is. I am then delighted to hear that Ryan Air doesn't do assigned seats. Get there early, sit where ever you want. Budget air fare. It was a smooth, 2 hour 20 minute flight to Dublin.
Well uh, the plane landed and when I came out
There was a dude who looked like a leprechaun standing there with my name out
I ain't trying to get arrested yet.
I just got here!
I sprang with the quickness, like lightening disappeared
I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said GOLD and it had 2 pots in the mirror
If anything I can say is that this cab was a marvel
But I thought 'Man forget it' - 'Yo home to Jacob's Inn Hostel'
Creativity at it's best. Thank you very much. Anyways, I made it to the hostel that night around 11:15, checked in, found my way to room which was a 12 bed (6 bunkbeds) mixed sex room at the sweet price of 12 euro a night. Score. There were 2 Spanish girls (they were weird) and 2 girls from Hungary, both sets were there before and after I left. The 4 girls were around my age, early twenties. Besides us there were some random 1 night, never seen except for sprawled out on their beds sleeping visitors. The bed seems clean and so did the room. People were hanging out downstairs were the WIFI was, very college-esque. I fell asleep right away. It was a very stressful day.
Tuesday, March 9th
I wake up around 8:30, hop on down to the free breakfast and feast. I had 2 pieces of toast and ate 1 with strawberry jam and decided to rep Sevilla by using Sevillan Orange jam. The Sevilla jam was disgusting, I tried to mask it with honey--even worse & then I spilled honey on my shirt. Great. On the flip side there was CEREAL, real, crunchy flakes of corn with MILK. Can you say HEAVEN? First bowl in 2 months. How have I survived without my sweet love? Anyways, after breakfast I grabbed my stuff and bounced to the mean streets of Dub. Wandered around a bit with no destination and after awhile thought I should see some of the major Dublin sights, a reasonable tourist thought. I jumped on an embarrassing double decker bus and sat on the top floor and listened to the sweet sounds of tourism while being paraded through the city. Glorious. Among the nearly 1 million stops, I can recall St. Patricks's cathedral, the Guinness Factory, Phoenix Park, the Ha' Penny Bridge, and Trinity College.
Guinness Factory--I toured it the next day. It was full of interesting information and neat things. The coolest part was obviously the Gravity Bar at the very of the touring facility! It had a panoramic view of the city along with a free pint of Guinness. I choked down the dark ale and gazed upon the city. It was great.
Pheonix Park--I just stayed on the bus and let it take me around the park. It's absolutely huge. It's the largest urban park in all of Europe and fit 3 Hyde Parks inside of it. Crazy. Also, the US ambassador lives there along with the President of Ireland. Side note: the prez lives in a house that looks almost identical to the white house. The white house was indeed designed by the same Irish architect who designed the Irish president's house. Crazy. Another side note: There is the Dublin Zoo housed in the park as well. Its one of the oldest zoos in Ireland. Additionally, from the zoo came the lion who makes the roar in the beginning of movies! Wahooo. I've learned so much!
Ha' Penny Bridge--1 of the many bridges in Dublin, but particularly special because it's a pedestrian only bridge. The story goes that back in the day, people were charged 1/2 a penny (idk how you make half a penny?)/penny to cross the bridge. One day 2 clever men approached the toll bridge and asked if there was a charge of baggage when crossing the river. The toll person replied no. One man jumped on the others back and they paid only 1 penny for the two to cross the bridge. Oh good one!
Trinity College--I was confused at first as to how to get inside, the college is like fortified. Finally after meandering along tall walls and being really confused, I found a little door with plenty of foot traffic. I hopped in line and soon enough it opened up into a huge courtyard with buildings and students all around. Super cool! I walked around for a bit and decided to check out the inside of one of the buildings. I opened the door and it was like just at home. Student lounging around in between classes, eating food, and sitting behinds booths for different organizations. So I played it cool and started walking around, made it to another door, tried to open it, but a special key card was needed so when I tried to open it, I created a miniature scene and thought it best to just walk away like nothing happened. As I was a sufficient distance away from humiliation and my face was now only a soft pink, I was approached by a young man asking for directions so I must have looked like I had some idea what was going on. Thank goodness.
Later that night was the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND concert! WAHOO. I took a tram that ran from near the hostel to the O2 where the concert was being played. I picked up my ticket at the box office and to my surprise, the standing room which was the cheapest ticket was right on the ground floor in front of the stage! WHAAAAAAT!?! It was absolutely crazy! and There really weren't that many people there!! Set list:
1. Bartender Play Video
2. Stay or Leave Play Video
3. Funny The Way It Is Play Video
4. Squirm Play Video
5. Shake Me Like a Monkey Play Video
6. Lying In the Hands of God Play Video
7. Gravedigger Play Video
8. Anyone Seen The BridgeAdditional Information: song segued directly into the following onesong segued directly into the following one Play Video
9. Ants MarchingAdditional Information: with Too Much "fake" introwith Too Much "fake" intro Play Video
10. #27 Play Video
11. Seven Play Video
12. The Stone Play Video
13. Crash Into Me Play Video
14. Crush Play Video
15. Where Are You Going Play Video
16. Why I Am Play Video
17. You & Me Play Video
18. You Might Die Trying Play Video
19. All Along The WatchtowerAdditional Information: introduced by Stefan Lessard bass solointroduced by Stefan Lessard bass solo (Bob Dylan cover) Play Video
20. Baby BlueAdditional Information: performed solo by Dave Matthewsperformed solo by Dave Matthews Play Video
Pretty good setlist. Shake me like a Monkey, Ants Marching, Crash into me, Why I am, and Cornbeard were the best. Many of them were new/slow songs, not my fav, but overall it was AMAZZZZZZZZING! Nothing like seeing DMB live, pure bliss. Love ya Dave!
Came back home after the concert that night and got a bag of popcorn from the vending machine. Another thing I haven't eaten in 2 months.
Wednesday, March 10th
Woke up around 9:30 went to a little cafe for breakfast. I had scrambled eggs with bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, a piece of toast, a cappuccino, and an apple juice. Wow. That day I hopped back on the tourist bus and went to Guinness and took the tour again. Went shopping. Great shopping in Dublin. Walked around, took in the city, and enjoyed life. Later that night I voyaged over to the Arlington which is a hotel/bar with live Irish dancing and singing everynight! I had a huge 2 course dinner there, a delicious potato soup & some kind of beanie, mushroomie, artichoke baked in flakey crust with a white sauce. It was great! Not my fav, but I eat so many strange kinds of food here I would never consider eating back at home. I love it! I enjoyed my dinner while watching the traditional two steps of the dancers! It was really neat! I'm glad I ventured there even though I was alone and felt like a bit of a creep eating alone. Oh well. I had a fun!!
Thursday, March 11th
Woke up super early in order to catch my 7:25 am flight back to Madrid. I took a bus from one of the main roads to the airport, just navigating the city using public transit. Very economical. No crazy stories like my way getting to Dublin, I'm a pro airporter now. What's up? Departed for Madrid, made it there 2 hours later, hopped on the Metro again, made it to the bus station without a hitch, hopped on the bus, made it to Sevilla in 6 hours, and was home by 7:15.
Overall Ireland was a great city! It was different from Sevilla and provided me with a nice little get away for a couple of days! The concert was absolutely incredible and completely worth missing a week of school. I'd do it all over again in a second! Cheers to having a great life! Thank you God!