Alright, this update is something i should have done last night, but i was way too drunk to give a proper post :P
Cork and I didn't get off to a good start. I couldn't find my hostel, even though i was sure i was in the right place (i was very close, if i'd expanded my search by a 1-block radius i would have found a sign pointing me further on), so i spent the majority of the first hour in Cork wandering aimlessly for a tourist information point that has relocated in the time since my guide book was published (2008 lol). I did end up finding my hostel at about 2:30pm, and the guy at the desk told me Blarney Castle (the real reason i'm in Cork) closed at 5p, and if i missed the 3:30 bus I might as well not go.
He was wrong, it closes at 6:30, but i didn't know that, and i'm glad i caught that 3:30 bus, because there's *so* much more to Blarney Castle than kissing the Blarney Stone and receiving the gift of gab!! The landscaping around the castle, and the rock cove with a real-live Dolmen and
druidic sites were super-cool to me. it was peaceful on the Blarney estate. It felt a lot like walking in to Pompeii in Italy: it was very, very much like stepping back in time. I definitely busted myself just staring at nature, mouth agape, for what was probably 10 seconds before i realized what was going on. THIS is why I wanted to come to Ireland. I'm not here for the city life, or the quaint towns, no matter how picturesque they may be... I'm here to see the cool historical stuff and be amazed at the world around me. idk how to explain it, but i when i look at some of these things, i feel less pressure. like... everything that i would normally worry about during a day, reasonably or not, just kind of goes away, and i'm just...there. and it feels great.
Don't get me wrong haha i know that's not something i can reasonably expect of life, but it's giving me a new perspective on vacations. While i love going around and seeing all the cool historical stuff, learning about the world, and putting some of my other knowledge in context, sometimes just existing in
an aesthetically-pleasing place hits the spot in the way nothing else can.
I bought some souvenirs in Blarney. a few tea towels with clever sayings on them, and the souvenir pic of me kissing the Blarney Stone. it's the next day, and i still don't have buyer's remorse, so they must have been good purchases lol
I got back to Cork, set to find some food and call it a night/get ready for Killarney today, and i met Mike, one of my roommates in the hostel. He's a Californian with extensive experience in Ireland. He's an International Studies guy from a smaller university in California, focused in International Politics, specifically Irish-English conflict. He graduated last spring and is here on a working visa. Ends up, Mike was about to take these three German girls on a tour of Cork, and asked if i wanted to go. Fuck yeah, i wanted to go, and off we went :P
Cork itself is a sight to behold if you can get it from the right angle (from on top of a hill), which is the first place we went. The English Market here is over 400 years old, but it
was closed when we went by. It's basically a giant food market. I wandered by it earlier and poked my head inside, so i don't feel too bad about missing it this time. I was hungry, and we wandered by this place called "Hillbilly's Chicken". According to my make-shift tour guide, you haven't experienced Cork as a local unless you've had some Hillbilly's hahaha so I grabbed some up and ate it outside a bar while we all had a pint.
We went to two or three or four bars last night, i'm not exactly sure, and i wasn't diligent enough with picture-taking to document it properly :P but i know this: i drank a lot, had a great time, and at some point, probably while dancing like a madman, tore a palm-sized hole in the crotch of my jeans hahaha i didn't notice it until i got back to the hostel with Catherine, Simone, and Ramona (my best attempt at spelling the German girls' names based on sound) at about 1:30. They were in another room, and i sat up for about a half-hour looking to see if i managed an exemption for my French exams (i did.
Mike stumbled in at around 4. it was pretty funny lol. I didn't sleep much at all last night considering how drunk i was, but apart from a minor headache and a general need to hydrate, i don't feel too bad. I *might* be getting a ride with these German girls to Killarney today, but they might be headed down to the south coast, which i would normally be all about, but I am *dying* to get to Killarney and get this Ring of Kerry tour booked for tomorrow (the 15th)!! so if that's the case, i may well take a bus to Killarney. it's not that far of a ride, and i'm kind of excited to see Killarney National Park!
In other, maybe a bit sad news, i've determined that actually climbing Skellig Michael may be off the itinerary. There's supposedly a great view of it from the RoK tours, and in order to get back out there, i'd have to either hire a car or take a taxi quite a ways. it could well end up consuming 3 of my 9 days of vacation if i went through with it, and i think if
i can get a good look at it, i'll push through with the tour and be OK with that : )
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