Port of Dublin
The weeks are slipping away from me here. The trees are blossoming and blooming and slowly, but surely, the Barcelonans are beginning to emerge from their layers of black and grey down jackets, boots, scarves, mittens, and hats. Every once in a while I’ll spot a few toes twinkling in the sun if someone happens to be daring enough to wear sandals – but usually those people are the most obvious foreigners. I honestly don’t know what’s up with the very strict policy of black, brown, beige, and grey clothes that the Spaniards seem to adhere to. And honestly, they wear as much clothing, or more, as I did on a cold day back in Fairbanks… and we’re on the Mediterranean? With the thermometer regularly reaching a lovely 18 or 19 degrees (about 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit) my Alaskan feet can hardly bear their closed toed shoes anymore. I asked my Spanish professor why the only thing people wore was black; he seemed a bit puzzled and thought it was funny that I and other people in my class had noticed that, but he said people wear very colorful clothing in the summertime. Well, this is my summertime. So
spring in ireland
for every horrified stare I receive for baring my toes too early in the spring, I give one back – for wearing a knee-length down jacket in the Mediterranean sunshine.
If I sound frustrated, I guess I am. The enamored feelings I had for Barcelona at first have, at the moment, been replaced with resentment. I still love the place, the city itself, more and more every day, actually. But the people, oh… I just feel like they are so stuck-up. I’m just so tired of they way they eye me, and each other, with such contempt. They way they look at each other on the street, I feel like they must be some of the most unhappy people. But then again, not every encounter is bad. In fact, when actually talking to someone here, like in a restaurant or at the grocery store, they tend to be very nice. Their overall demeanor and attitude on the street is just bothering me to the umpteenth degree. Or maybe I just wish I could wear my sandals without dealing with gawking stares and people who turn all the way around in their seats at a café to watch my feet
as I walk by.
My trip to Ireland a few weeks ago was a much different story. Of course, it was too chilly to have the inkling to wear sandals, but the Irish were also exceedingly friendly. Just Connor and I went on this trip, which was a nice change from the previous excursions that have been more chaotic and full of people who can’t agree on what to do. We stayed in a hostel right next to the Temple Bar district and the Trinity College campus, which was definitely the best location we could have asked for. Our room had 18 beds, a few too many if you ask me. The room was full every night… you can imagine what it smelled like in the morning after a night of 18 of us in a stuffy room. Plus, there was a terribly annoying French man who chose to answer his phone at 8 am every morning and lie in his bed and talk very loudly in French to his wife while everyone else was trying to sleep. I loved Ireland though. It may have been my favorite place I’ve been. I adore the culture, the people, the coffee,
One of many Catholic churches
the food (there’s another thing: have you ever noticed that there’s no such thing as “Spanish restaurants”, at least compared to Italian, French, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, etc? That’s because their food is terrible. Although, I admit that I thought I loved it for the first two months.)
While we were in Dublin we visited the Guinness Factory, which was great. The tour was cool, and we could see the lease that Mr. Guinness himself signed for 900 years. That’s how confident he was in his beer recipe. We also saw the Book of Kells in the Trinity College library, experienced the nightlife in the Temple Bar district, looked up our families history, and heard lots and lots of great live Irish music. Our last day in Ireland we took the train about an hour down the coast to the little town of Wicklow. It was a perfect sunny day (although we were lucky and got sun every day and no rain) and the train ride on the coast was so gorgeous. The trip to Wicklow was my favorite part of Ireland; the countryside is just so “Irish” and the town was so quaint and full of fisherman, little dark
pubs, plenty of cafes with Irish stew, and kids walking down the streets after school in their Catholic school uniforms. I’m just dying to go back to Ireland see more of the “real Ireland.” We saw a bit of it: the stone fences with green fields full of sheep and the men playing penny whistle’s on the corner in-between sips of a pint of Guinness, but I could spend weeks exploring Cork and Galway and the other smaller towns. Here are a few pictures, because they do a better job anyway.
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