Monday, June 29, 2009

Castles and buses (which should have 2 "s"es- and it apparently can, I looked it up- but it looks funny like that)

Here's my crazy English roommates from the hostel in Dublin- Ben, Dave, Jamie, Tom (who's a musician- can you guess which one he is? He gave me a cd of his too, which I'm excited to listen to when I find a cd player), and Rich.

Here's the beautiful map of Ireland that I drew, with my proposed path...

Yeah, I'm now in a little town called Kilkenny. Took the bus here from Dublin yesterday afternoon (I accidentally slept nearly the whole 2 1/2 hours though), met my new hostel roommates and hung out with them for a bit.
Here's 2 of them and I- German guys named Florian and Philip. The other 2 in the room were 2 young guys from France.

And then I got to hang out with my friend Yvonne (who lives in Holland ((MI)) but she's Irish and was visiting her family who live here in Kilkenny) for a bit. She toured me around the city for a while and showed me some of the highlights.
Kilkenny castle- built in 1100 somethingish.

And soon I hop on a bus again to travel to the next place, Cork.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dublin, hospitality, and the beginning of my hostel experience

Hello all.

I write to you from the Kinlay House Hostel Dublin- a really cool hostel right downtown here... My very first hostel experience, and it's been pretty darn exciting and enjoyable thus far. I moved in to my room, met my 5 new roommates (these 5 English dudes who've been friends since high school- I'll include a picture of me and them next time hopefully. They're quite a riot.) and went shopping for some dinner with them, ate, and hung out for a while. And I also met some other new friends- 2 girls and a guy from France, who I got to pratique ma francais avec, some folks from california, an Aussie, a couple German guys here for an AC/DC concert... All kinds of people here, it's kind of insane (in a really fascinating way).

So, a quick recap of some highlights thus far:

Day 1 (monday)- Traveled all day.

Day 2 (tues)- Arrived in Dublin. Wandered. Met Nick, who I stayed with for most of the week (Nick is a friend of my friend Claire, an Irish girl who lives in Holland now), and moved my pack in to his place- he lives with 2 other folks- Ben and Linda. Here's the place: Watched some cricket at Trinity College (one of the oldest colleges in Europe apparently), Nick made me some dinner, and then I crashed (after 30ish hours without sleep)...

Day 3 (wed)- Started my day with a bowl of Kellog's "Frosties". Got purposefully lost in the city and walked around for 5 or 6 hours, trying to get familiar with Dublin. Put a good 15-20 miles in probably. Played some soccer with some Irish lads (friends of Nick), and walked some more to get some fish & chips with Nick and Linda, and stopped by the local pub for my first Guinness- purchased for me by my new friends (who've refused to let me pay for anything).

Day 4 (thurs)- Bike ride/ hiking day. I biked out to a place called Howth- a small coastal fishing village(a big peninsula) about an hour and a half bike ride from where I stayed. I borrowed a bike from one of the dudes I'm staying with, arrived and ate some lunch, and then took off hiking along these georgeous shoreline cliffs. Hiked for a couple of hours (I kept on telling myself I was going to turn around cause it was getting to be dinner time and I was out of water, but I just couldn't manage to do it cause it was so beautiful I didn't want to miss out on any of it) around the whole peninsula and then back to get my bike.

Enjoyed some more great hospitality from my hosts- Ben cooked up some dinner for his girlfriend and myself- a feast of salmon over spaghetti noodles w/ cooked brocolli... Deliciousa. And then all my hosts had stuff to do, so I got to chill at their place for a while (which was actually great, because I got to serve them a bit and thank them for their hospitality by cleaning up the kitchen and doing all the dishes and such)- they gave me a spare key and gave me the combination for their gate and security and all that, so I could come & go as I pleased.

Day 5 (fri)- Packed up my gear and cleaned up my room. Wrote note of thanks to Nick, Ben, and Linda. And then me and my pack headed out on the bus to find my hostel.

Here's my lovely room at Nick's place. Perfect size for me, and a nice bed made from some sofa cushions.

Here's a quick peek of my new hostel room.

Day 6 (today)- Did some laundry in my sink, did some blog updating here, and I'm about to walk around and explore and maybe take a tour of the Guinness factory. Also, went to the supermarket and got some buns, lunch meat, cheese, some cookies, bananas, and some orange juice to bring back and share with whoever else was eating i the lobby/ dining room part of the hostel- good way to meet/ connect with people.

So, today's my last day in Dublin and I'm beginning my trek to the southwest tomorrow afternoon. Headed for a night to a place called Kilkenny next.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Detroit, Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin (not a bad list for the day)

I made it to Dublin.

Flew through the night(kind of- it never actually got dark, which is a pretty bizarre feeling...) and finally arrived in Dublin, where I took a bus downtown and met a new friend from Poland, found a payphone to call the first person I'm staying with here(Nick, who I'll be hanging with for the next couple days. It was a great moment meeting him as neither of us had any way of identifying the other- we just walked down the street opposite ways figuring that we'd maybe recognize the other somehow. And it worked.), bought a sim card for my phone, wandered around for a bit, found an internet cafe so I could let y'all know I made it (ok mostly just the parentals), etc...

So, here we go. Off to explore Dublin a bit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nervous Excitement Bubbling Up In My Insides

Welcome to the new blog.

So in 5 days, I'll be taking off for the whole summer to some fantastic places in Europe. I'm still working out a lot of the details, but my destination list includes Ireland, Northern Ireland (technically part of the UK), England, Netherlands (probably), and maybe some other stops depending on what happens and who I meet and such things...

Here's my rough itinerary:

End of June: Wander around Ireland. Explore. Stay in hostels and wherever I can find a place to sleep.

July: Volunteer at a place called "Corrymeela"- a Christian reconciliation center.

Early August: Stay at L'Abri.

Late August: Explore Netherlands.

I plan on updating this whenever I'll have access to a computer (I'm not bringing one with, so I'll be using internet cafes and whatever else I can find), and I look forward to sharing a bit of my experiences with y'all.