Nice, Dublin, Stratford, & only a few days left!

I have a lot of days to cover in this blog (but not as much food to cover, as I’ve been unfortunately cooking for myself, unlike on Spring Break when I got to eat nice exotic European food).

I’ve luckily gotten to do a lot of traveling since Spring Break and have made it to Nice and Dublin! Nice was the first weekend trip I took after Spring Break and it was, in a word, nice (I apologize for the joke but I haven’t made it in a while!). I met Kimmy in Nice, and we had an awesome time walking around the city and adventuring to the tops of different places, including one that had an awesome park and allowed me to get this nice shot (sorry for the adjective again):

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We also found this awesome view:

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Basically, Nice was a place where everywhere you look you find a nice view (the continuous pun is unfortunately inevitable). There was also amazing ice cream that we ate as we walked along the boardwalk (I knew I’d find a way to quickly mention some food).

We also got to go to Monte Carlo for the day, which was only about a half hour bus ride and 3 euros away. The bus ride had amazing views, as it went along the French coast and into Monaco. Monte Carlo was basically a playground for rich people, with different designer stores at every corner and even a rainbow helicopter landing pad (is that what you call something that you land helicopters on?) Anyway, Monte Carlo was beautiful and I pretended I was Grace Kelly for a good majority of the time, and for the rest of the time I thought of myself as Princess Mia of Genovia, because what else would you do? There were also some nice “We’re going to Monte Carlo!” references from the aptly titled Selena Gomez film Monte Carlo (Hey Kimmy, I know you enjoyed those).

We visited the royal palace and went to the oceanography museum and aquarium, which was really cool (despite the lack of penguins). It was a really awesome weekend, especially because I got to see Kimmy after being separated for about eight months!

The next really awesome weekend trip I got to take was to Dublin, which was my favorite place I’ve been so far. From the first store we went into, a bookstore, the people were so friendly and the city felt like one huge community. I met Lauren there and we spent the first day just walking around the city, visiting parks and taking pictures.

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We also went to the Guinness Storehouse, which was basically Willa Wonka’s chocolate factory for beer (sadly, there was no big prize for good behavior at the end of the tour). We learned how Guinness is made, how it has been advertised throughout the years, and just what exactly goes in it. We also learned how to taste and drink it correctly, as well as the correct way to pour the perfect pint. Here is Lerv and I enjoying our perfectly poured pints:

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The next day we took a day trip to my favorite place I’ve been since I got to Europe. We went to the Cliffs of Moher and the bus ride to and from the cliffs was full of the most amazing views of the Irish coast. Ireland is such a beautiful country and I loved seeing the country that my grandparents are from! The Cliffs were so beautiful and (obviously) extremely high. You can pretty much walk wherever you want at your own risk, so there are some parts of the trail that get really close to the edge. It was so cool standing looking out onto the water and seeing the rest of the Irish coast in the distance.

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The bus tour also made some stops at different places, including a cute pub where Lerv tried fish and chips for the first time. Our bus driver was the coolest and he sung us different traditional Irish songs on the way, including my favorite, “Galway Girl.”

Lerv and I also took a tour of Trinity College and visited the library where the Book of Kells is kept. The library is really beautiful, but has no midnight coffee/ hot chocolate cart (which was definitely one of the aspects of my own college tour that I made a special note to remember and factor into my college decision).

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Being in Ireland felt like I was in an awesome dream. We went out to a pub in Temple Bar and there was traditional Irish music and dancing, with everyone singing along (even a singalong to The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be”). Ireland was my favorite place I’ve been and I can’t wait to go back one day!

Another awesome place I got to visit was Stratford-upon-Avon, the place of Shakespeare’s birth back in the day. I loved being there; it was awesome to see where he was born, where he courted Anne Hathaway (not Princess Mia Thermopolis- she already got a shoutout in this post… the other one), and where he is buried. We got to see three plays while we were there: Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and Arden of Faversham. It was really cool being in Stratford and seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company perform, something that I’ll definitely remember.

Shakespeare's birthplace

Shakespeare’s birthplace

Anne Hathaway's cottage

Anne Hathaway’s cottage

The Shakespeare scenes on request at his birthplace was one of the coolest parts of the trip. There were actors in the courtyard of Shakespeare’s house, waiting to perform whatever scene you could think of. We heard a scene from Hamlet and then they asked if we wanted to see something funny, and proceeded to recite a scene from The Comedy of Errors. It was so amazing to see them perform all of the scenes from memory, though I was hoping for Billy Madison to pop out and finish it off with a “to die, to sleep, no more.”

We also visited Kenilworth Castle on the last day of the Stratford trip, where we walked around what was left of the ruins of the castle. It was really cool to be in such a historical place, but being in a castle also just made me really want to watch Game of Thrones.

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After Stratford week, we had one more week of classes and this week is finals week. It’s strange to think I’ll be home this time next week, but I feel so lucky to have gotten to do so many amazing things while I’ve been here.

Some other interesting things that I’ve gotten to do that I forgot to mention: visiting Horace Walpole’s castle at Strawberry Hill and taking a Jack the Ripper tour of London for my gothic class, exploring the city visiting the Tower of London, visiting Dartmoor, climbing the Hay Tor there, having cream tea at Agatha Christie’s summer home at Greenway, visiting the Prior Park Gardens in Bath, and drinking water at the Roman Baths! I’ll attach some pictures 0f those trips! Thanks for reading! :o)

Horace Walpole's castle at Strawberry Hill

Horace Walpole’s castle at Strawberry Hill

Hanging out in front of Buckingham Palace, a.k.a m y future home

Hanging out in front of Buckingham Palace in London, a.k.a my future home

Big Ben

Big Ben

Tower of London

Tower of London

Hay Tor at Dartmoor

Hay Tor at Dartmoor

Agatha Christie's summer house at Greenway

Agatha Christie’s summer house at Greenway

Cream tea at Agatha's

Cream tea at Agatha’s

Prior Park Gardens in Bath

Prior Park Gardens in Bath

Roman Baths

Tasting the water at the Roman Baths

 

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