One thing that Ireland has taught me is that there is nothing more beautiful than a weekend in the country. Two weeks ago, I had the chance to escape city life for the weekend with my study abroad program. We stayed in Blessington and traveled to Glendalough where the views were simply astonishing. The wind that weekend was insane, but we didn’t care, we walked around and took photos of everything. We arrived on Friday and had some free time to explore the grounds, that night after dinner we participated in Ceili (Irish Dancing) which was harder than expected and lots of fun to learn. The next day we spent a lot of our time at Glendalough just walking around and enjoying the views. Saturday afternoon we participated in a baking class and made our own scones, which were delicious. While I had a lovely time, I don’t think I will be entering any baking competitions for the time being. Saturday night we did trivia and made our way back to our home away from home for the weekend.
As lovely as my weekend away was I did, unfortunately, develop a sinus infection over the weekend and spent most of my Saturday night between being too cold and too hot. The last thing you want to happen is to get sick abroad, but luckily, I was able to see a GP on Monday and get on antibiotics. The only big bummer was that I was sick for my birthday, but I still had a lovely time with my friends at a birthday dinner.
Valentine’s weekend I traveled out of Ireland for the first time since arriving in December. A short flight away from Dublin is a much busier city, London, which I had the joy of exploring with two of my roommates on Friday and Saturday. We were very lucky to stay with one of my roommate’s family friends outside of the city in an area that was easy to get to by bus and Tube. Friday morning, we made our way into the city for breakfast and I had my first experience with gluten free bread, which was surprisingly good. After breakfast we set off for Buckingham Palace and by luck walked up twenty minutes before the changing of the guard and got a spot right next to the fence. We traveled on from Buckingham Palace and treated ourselves to phenomenal views all day. We got extremely lucky that the weather was beautiful on Friday and we walked over fourteen miles, my legs are still sore.
Saturday, we woke up and headed back into the city, we had breakfast at a lovely restaurant right next to the globe and explored Tate Modern for a couple of hours. After lunch we made our way to the Shard building which offers an amazing view of the city from the 37th floor. It was an awesome weekend and I am thrilled to explore it more when I travel back to London in April.
This week we had midterms and next week we have semester break, which means that I am now halfway through my time here in Dublin. While I look forward to the idea of having a week off, I am astonished by how quickly the time is flying by. I often find myself wishing I knew how to slow time down even though I know there isn’t really a way to do that. One thing I knew would happen while I was abroad is that some days I just miss home, I miss my parents and my friends, but even when I miss home I can’t imagine leaving Dublin behind. I’ve found that the longer I’m here the more I feel like Dublin is home and I have to admit I’ve fallen hard for the Emerald Isle.
The first three photos are from my weekend at Glendalough. The tower is from the Glendalough national park and is still a full standing structure from when the area was first founded. The scones are from our baking lesson, as you can see there were many different ideas of sizes for the scones. The last photo is from Blessington about a 10-minute walk from where we stayed, my friend Molly (pictured here with me) came across a small path and upon investigation we found a beach with the most beautiful view of the mountains behind us.
The second set of photos is from my time in London. We were absolutely astounded with how amazing the weather was and we got lovely pictures of Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge. It took us a while to find Tower Bridge, but once we did it did not disappoint. The last photo happened because we by chance crossed a bridge with a perfect backdrop of the London Eye in the distance. I did not do the eye this time around, but I am planning on doing it next time I visit with my mom in April.