Monday, March 9, 2009

UK Loving!

So, I went to class, like always. I had Composición and Literature. Both were uneventful. But AFTER... that's when the fun started. Dottie and I hopped on the metro (which was crowded because it was 1:30 and everybody was headed to the Plaza de Ayuntamiento for the daily 2 o'clock Mascletá. However, we finally made it to the train station and hopped our our 2:20 train to Madrid. When we got there, around 5:30, we took the metro from the train station to the airport. We checked in and waited for our plane to leave at 9ish.

We finally got to Dublin around 10:30, their time, and took the airport shuttle into the downtown area, where our hostel was. We stayed in Abigail's hostel on Aston Quay, right by the river Liffey. We dropped our stuff off in our dorm room (there were 4 bunk beds) and then headed to the Temple Bar street, Dublin's most notorious street for night owls, named for the one and only Temple Bar. Which is where we went.

It was so awesome!! There was this amazing live trio singing lots of well known classic rock and country songs.

We finally headed back to the hostel around 2, only to be surprised by what we found. When we dropped our things off earlier in the night, we didn't take note of our bunkmates. But it turns out that we were accidentally placed in a room with all boys, half of whom were sleeping nearly nude. And of course, all I had with me for pajamas was a simple little nightgown. Definitely an adventure, but we made the best of it.

We woke up early, to take advantage of the day and also to avoid awkwardness with our roomies. We got breakfast in the hostel (toast) and headed out! We walked around for a while.

Dublin is a really cool place. It's pretty small for a European capital, and walker friendly - it's not too spread out.

We headed towards Trinity college and got to know the campus.

Next, we went to the Dublin castle and took a tour there. 

It is so rich with history - I absolutely loved it. After that, we went to St. Patrick's cathedral.

It was very beautiful, but not quite the most impressive European cathedral I've seen. It doesn't hold a match to El Escorial, or even the cathedral in Toledo.

Our last touristy stop of the day was the Guinness Brewery. It was actually the storehouse, because the brewery is not open to the public, and it's officially the largest pint glass in the world - 7 stories high.

On the 2nd story, we stopped in at the cafe and got coffee and had our bocadillos, that we brought from home to avoid spending too much money on food. At the top there is a Gravity Bar that overlooks the whole city. Even though it was overcast, it was still a beautiful view.

When we finished there, we headed back to our hostel, strolling alongside the River Liffey as we went.

Elizabeth was actually in Dublin for the weekend as well, and got in in the afternoon. So we met up with her at the Temple Bar, went back to collect our things from the hostel, and then went to dinner at a nice restaurant called Fitzer's off of Temple Bar Street. We had fish and chips, which were SO incredibly delicious, and for dessert, I had toffee pudding with butterscotch syrup and vanilla ice cream. Heaven in my mouth, for sure.

Around 9:00, we headed to catch the shuttle back to the airport. Our flight was delayed until 11:30, and we finally arrived in Liverpool a little after 12:15. We caught a taxi to our hostel - the cab driver was amazing, and had that awesome Liverpool accent. We finally got there: 3 Mostyn Hall, Gainsborough Rd. off of Smithdown Rd. And we had our own room!! We went to sleep almost immediately. It was great.

We accidentally slept in a little, until about 10:00. We woke up, showered, and got on our way. There was a shuttle that comes really close to Gainsborough, on Smithdown, so we went to catch it. By the way, all the public transportation in the UK is the double decker bus. We headed to the downtown area, to buy our train tickets for Sunday to London, and then we walked through Liverpool One - the largest shopping center in Europe. Guay. We were headed to Albert Dock.

When we got there, we immediately went to the Beatles Story museum. This was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It walked through every step of the band, from when the boys were early teens and just starting their music to the end.

Afterwards, Dottie and I ate our bocadillos in the starbucks. Our next stop was the Tate Liverpool art gallery. On display was a collection of William Blake - so cool because I remember well studying him in AP European History. Also, on the two levels above, there was a lot of modern art, including Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. We spent a while here - it was great.

During the evening, we walked around the mall... taking it all in. They had everything. We stopped in the Apple store and met a girl named Patrice from California who is studying in Liverpool. She told us about the cool hot spots, but it turns out that the girls are CRAZY in Liverpool and basically every night is prom night. You can't get into anywhere unless you're wearing a dress and high heels. We were out of luck.

So we headed back to the hostel, stopping on the way at a superstore to get dinner. We stayed in, watching random British TV shows and chilling. We eventually hit the sack, because the morning would be early.

We woke up around 6:30, got ready, and caught the shuttle to the Liverpool Lime Street train station. We caught our train at 8:15 and were on our way to Londrés! We got there around 11:00 and took the metro to Finchley Road, were a hostel was. We stayed in Palmer's Lodge Hostel, and even though we were in a room with 20 other people, it was definitely the coolest hostel I've been in. It looked like a mansion. It had a huge sitting room with computers, a nice restaurant downstairs, and a bar.

We settled in, then hit the road. Because we only had the afternoon, we got a hop on - hop off bus tour ticket and got moving. We saw so many things - Trafalgar Square,

Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben,

London Tower,

the Tower Bridge,

and basically every bridge, The Globe Theatre, Buckingham Palace... 

and more! We even got to take a short cruise on the River Thames.

It did rain in the afternoon, and it was FREEZING. But it was still so cool to be in London. However, I had to remind myself several times of where I was - it definitely is still like any other big city, minus the awesome accent and rich history.

After our tour, around 7:00, we headed back to the hostel and chilled for a while. Then we went to the London train station, where we had to catch an express to the airport the next day, to buy tickets. On our way home, we stopped in a Thai restaurant for dinner. Amazing.

We went to sleep around 12:00!

We woke up before the kitchen opened and then caught the metro to the train station, where we then caught the express to London Stansted. Dottie and I had different flights, so when we got there, we checked in and headed our separate ways. My flight left at 11:30 to Valencia. I got to the VLC airport around 2:30 and caught the metro back into town. From there I walked home.

It was an amazing weekend, but I can't describe how amazing it felt to be back at home! Sweet Matilde was excited to see me, too. Because I hadn't eaten all day, she fixed me just about everything she had in the kitchen - pasta with potatoes, an egg sunny side up, a little bit of paella, bread and chorizo and queso, and then an orange. It was amazing.

I went upstairs, unpacked, studied all afternoon, took a little nap, and then for dinner, we had soup, bread, and fried artichoke. It was so good to be home and fed delicious meals.

La viajera,


  1. I was beginning to go into withdrawal, not getting to read your posts for a week. I'm so glad you had a good, educational time and are back home safe and sound. I'm really looking forward to seeing you next week in Dallas.

    Love ya, Aunt Sharon

  2. your post makes me miss college (some things at least)


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