Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Ireland. Enough said.
Five days in Ireland and I am speechless.
Ballyvaughan is a BEAUTIFUL place and I cannot WAIT to return. Sarah said it best on our somber journey home yesterday, "I fell in love with place- and that's never happened before!!"
I completely agree. We cried a lot on our way home to Rennes.
This was our adventure:
We found a woman through a carpooling website that was going to Paris on the day of our flight. We each paid her 25 euros and we were off to Paris- a 3 hour drive. It went by pretty quickly however and we arrived at Porte Maillot where we needed to take a bus to the Paris-Beauvais airport, which is a tiny little airport about an hour away by the bus.
Once at the airport, we checked in, ate some food and took our very short, hour long flight to Shannon. Once we arrived Shannon, it was late- around 8:00 and there were no more buses to our hostel that was only a few miles away. So, we hailed a taxi and went to the little town of Sixmilebridge, where we stayed for the night. After making tea and some dinner at the cute hostel (called the Jamaica Inn) we passed out.
We woke up at 7:00 AM to catch our bus, as we had to walk into town- a short walk. We got on the first bus and the bus driver was AWESOME. He told us all about the history of Ireland, which was interesting. We had to switch buses at Clarenbridge, but we had an hour and a half to kill before we could get on it.
Thus, the delicious IRISH BREAKFAST. I really wish I did not like black pudding, but I ADORE IT. It is heavenly and homey and a complete comfort food. I looked for it at the very small grocery store in Ballyvaughan, but they didn't seem to have it. :(
So sad. I would have left ALL my clothes and hairdryer just to fill up my backpack with pudding. But I think it's the kind of thing that you make.
However, there is a lot of blood involved, so I don't know if I'm up for that. I just want to eat it- not make it.
So after the breakfast, we got on the bus to Ballyvaughan and met yet another talkative and friendly bus driver. Upon arriving in Ballyvaughan, we had instructions from Sarah's friend Seth (who we stayed with for the week) on how to get to the house. We had to wait until he was out of class, so we decided to walk slowly and take TONS of pictures.
We passed the house and were planning on walking up towards their school (a ten minute walk from their house) but we got distracted by some big rocks that looked comfortable and decided to sit and wait for Seth to meet us when he got out of class.
He met us soon after and we went to his house. After showing us around, he had to go back to class. Since they were all letting us stay there for days, we decided to clean their kitchen and living room and such.
After doing this and showering, we started playing cards whilst speaking french, eating croissants that we brought with us and drinking until Seth came back with his roommate Brad. As soon as they walked in, we all started talking at once and they were a bit overwhelmed.
After some more card playing and getting to know one another, we headed off for a pub crawl downtown. The town is about a fifteen to twenty minute walk down a very gravelly and muddy road. We went to one bar that was really cool where we tried hot irish whiskey. It was almost like a tea and was not bad at all.
The next day we took a long walk up to these faerie forts (picture below on the left) and also went to Aillwee Cave and took a tour. It was amazing! The best part about being in the cave was that they turned off all the lights and let us "see" what complete darkness is like. It was a little frightening, but incredible.
On Friday, we went to Galway and stayed in a hostel. We had REAL fish and chips. It was the best fish I have ever eaten in my LIFE. After this, we stopped at a little shop to get some drinks for the night before we went out. Brad and I both bought this drink called "Buckfast" which is a wine that is made by monks. It had the consistency of cough syrup and had caffeine in it. Which is probably why I danced like a fiend all night until 2:30 AM when we had to head back to the hostel because the club closed.
The next day we went back to Ballyvaughan and relaxed. We went out again that night to meet more of the art students! On the way to the bar I made Brad carry me and he tripped and we fell on the gravelly road and I got quite the bruise. Hilarious. Never going to let him live it down.
Once at the bar, there was live music!! I requested my song, "Galway Girl" and the guitarist played it! It was wonderful to be in an Irish bar, relaxing, drinking a Guinness and listening to my song LIVE!
Also we met a whole bunch of the other art students, who were all incredibly nice and cool. Some of them even live near us!
Sunday we got to see the school and the studios where they all work. Incredible artwork, I have to say. I was very impressed. (Photo above of Brad's portraits). We also did a polar dip at a beach a few miles away! It was freezing, but I insisted on going in twice!!!! With my bathing suit ON I might add- though most everyone else went in naked. (Photo below of us after the dip!)
Monday, we had an early morning and had to start our journey back home. This was exhausting as we had to take a bus from Ballyvaughan to Clarenbridge, then a bus from Clarenbridge to the airport, then the plane to Paris-Beauvais, then a bus from Paris-Beauvais to Montparnasse, then a train from there to Rennes, then the subway back to Kennedy, then a short walk to our dorm.
We got back around 11:30 last night.
And we cried a lot on the way back just because of the love of Ballyvaughan and the fact that we had to leave all its beauty behind.
All in all, I had an absolutely amazing time, though and I could not have had any more fun if I had tried. Everything was beautiful and perfect and so, so real.
The whole experience changed and widened my perspective, which is what traveling and meeting new people is all about. Thus, I would not change anything about our trip at all!
There is nothing like that place in the world and I would give ANYTHING to go back.
Another trip will have to happen. Plus, we didn't visit the Cliffs of Moher and I'm DYING to do that. So of course we have to return!!!!!!
In other news, I will be visiting Margot's family in Saint-Brieuc this weekend and I cannot wait!
It's a town about an hour by train from Rennes. Since it's so close, the tickets are cheap, too!
And that is all I have for today :)